Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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* Report News

Algoma cancels bulker order from Sainty Marine

6/30 - Sainty Marine's under-construction newbuild at Nantong Mingde Heavy Industry (NMHI) has been abandoned by its shipowner because of Sainty Marine's failure to deliver the newbuild as scheduled.

Canada’s Algoma Central is the shipowner, according to IHS Maritime The newbuild –38,000 dwt handysize bulker (believed to be hull number MD-153, Algoma Conveyor) – could not be delivered as scheduled on 31 March, a stock filing of Sainty Marine said on 10 June.

Algoma Central had informed the company via email on 9 June that it had decided to abandon the newbuild with immediate effect in accordance with the shipbuilding contract signed with Sainty Marine.

The shipowner reserved the right to seek compensation from Sainty Marine over the breach of contract, which means that Sainty Marine would have to refund the installments for shipbuilding costs and relevant interest.

Sainty Marine has been in co-operation with NMHI to sell newbuilds by NMHI since 2013. The company is also seeking to take over NMHI as it has provided funds for NMHI to finance a series of newbuilds over the past years. In the end of 2014, NMHI was unable to repay its funds, as Sainty Marine had predicted.

IHS Maritime 360


Another Petro-Nav charter

6/30 - Petro-Nav has applied to use the Antigua and Barbuda flag Sloman Herakles for multiple trips between the ports of Levis, Montreal, Oakville and Sarnia. The multiple voyages from July 3 to August 2 will carry 10,000 to 14,000 cubic meters of refined product.

Mac Mackay


Port Reports -  June 30

Port Inland, Mich. – Raymond Hill
On Monday, the tug Defiance and barge Ashtabula arrived and began loading. Arriving and dropping anchor later in the day was the Saginaw.

Cedarville, Mich. – Raymond Hill
On Monday, Algoway arrived and began loading. This is an uncommon trip for her.

Grand Haven, Mich. – Dick Fox
Calumet delivered a load of coal Monday morning to the Board of Light and Power plant on Harbor Island in Grand Haven. Later, the Algorail delivered a load to Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg. It was seen heading out into the Lake about 4:15 p.m.

Stoneport, Mich. – Raymond Hill
On Monday, the Manitowoc arrived and began loading.

Calcite, Mich. – Raymond Hill
Ken Boothe Sr. and Lakes Contender arrived at the South Dock Monday and began loading. Later in the day, American Mariner arrived and dropped anchor to wait for the pair to depart the South Dock.


Lake Carriers’ Association sees major progress on top issues

6/30 - Cleveland, Ohio – Prospects for ending the dredging crisis and resolving other pressing issues on the Great Lakes are the best in 12 years according to Lake Carriers’ Association (LCA), the trade association representing U.S.-flag vessel operators on the inland seas, in its State of the Lakes report issued Monday. Only uniform, Federal regulation of ballast water remains elusive, particularly since Canada has yet to issue its ballast water regulations.

The greatest progress has been made on the dredging crisis. Just a few years ago more than 18 million cubic yards of sediment clogged ports and waterways and the backlog was projected to grow. Now, the backlog is down to approximately 17 million cubic yards and shrinking.

LCA credits passage of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA) of 2014 for turning the tide. The legislation designated the Lakes a system in terms of dredging and directed that expenditures from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund be incrementally increased until they reach 100 percent of receipts (in 2025). “Treating the Lakes as a system rather than pitting the 60 Federally maintained deep draft ports against one another for dredging dollars and increased funding should allow the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reduce the dredging backlog every year going forward,” declares LCA.

However, the report stresses that the rise in Great Lakes water levels has not restored full loads. The largest single iron ore cargo carried in 2014 totaled 69,859 tons. “The record for the Head-of-the-Lakes trade (Lake Superior to lower Lakes ports) is 72,300 tons, so even the best load of 2014 was still 2,400 tons short of the trade’s benchmark.”

The report repeats LCA’s call for more icebreaking resources on the Great Lakes. “The launch of the new Mackinaw in 2006 ensured we maintained the status quo in terms of a heavy icebreaker, but the following nine years have put a lot of wear and tear on the other icebreakers that have been in service since the late 1970s and early 1980s. Simply put, despite the best efforts of their outstanding crews, the U.S. Coast Guard’s icebreaking assets are now overmatched when nature sends us winters as challenging as the past two.”

Thanks to Great Lakes legislators, Congress has gotten the message. The Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2014 passed by the House of Representatives includes provision authored by Congresswoman Candice Miller (R-MI) that authorizes the Commandant to design and build a new icebreaker for its Great Lakes Fleet. The Senate FY16 Homeland Security Appropriations bill directs the Coast Guard to conduct a Great Lakes mission analysis within 180 days after its enactment to determine whether another Mackinaw-class icebreaker is required.

LCA then urges the Coast Guard to move quickly once the legislation has been enacted. “The new icebreaker will probably take two years or more to build. Time is of the essence.”

Another project that is time-critical is a second Poe-sized lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Eight out of every 10 tons of cargo moving through the Soo Locks transit the Poe Lock, and that chamber is now nearly 50 years old. The project remains stalled by a flawed benefit/cost ratio that mistakenly assumes the railroads could move the cargo if the Poe Lock went down for a lengthy period of time. Thanks to Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Rep. Dan Benishek (R-MI), the Corps is re-evaluating the b/c ratio and prospects for twinning the Poe Lock are the best they have been in years.

The report cautions that lack of a Federal standard on ballast water that pre-empts state regulations and the threat of Canada imposing a transit standard when its ballast water regulations are implemented following ratification of the International Maritime Organization’s ballast water convention “casts a pall” over all the positive news. State regulation of ballast water has created a patchwork of differing requirements.

Most troubling are the yet to be released Canadian ballast water regulations. There is no treatment system that can work on lakers, so a transit standard, which has been endorsed by some in Canada as an option, would ban U.S.-flag lakers from Canadian waters. The problem is U.S.-flag lakers must transit Canadian waters, not only when loading or discharging in Canada, but when trading between U.S. ports. If Canada imposes a transit standard, the U.S.-flag Lakes fleet could be put out of business.

“The State regulation problem could be solved if the Vessel Incidental Discharge Act (VIDA) was enacted. S. 373 sets a uniform and achievable Federal standard. States can suggest more stringent requirements, but they must prove the need and that systems exist that can meet the requirements. The bill also recognizes that vessels that operate within a limited geographic area, such as lakers, do not have the potential to introduce aquatic nuisance species, so requires best management practices rather than treatment.”

The VIDA is still moving through the Senate, both as a stand-alone bill and in the Senate Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2015. The House does not have companion bill right now, but has passed similar legislation in the past.

The ballast water issue notwithstanding, the report concludes that “Great Lakes shipping is on the verge of solving some of its most pressing problems. Challenges will remain, and new ones will appear, but the State of the Lakes in 2015 is proof positive that our efforts, some of which have required years and years of engagement, are paying off, and the future is brighter because of that.”

Lake Carriers’ Association


Kids' Fest coming to National Museum July 4

6/30 - Toledo, Ohio – The National Museum of the Great Lakes continues its newest effort to attract families with children to the museum by offering Kids' Fest at the museum on July 4 between 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Kids' Fest offers children of all ages a wide variety of physical experiences to test their stamina, strength and speed. On site will be the "Pictured Rocks" Rock Climbing Wall, the "Rock Cut" Obstacle Course, the "Bosun's Chair" Bungee Experience and the "Lake Superior Rolling Waves" Bounce House. Kids' Fest is included in the price of admission.


Breakwalls and Docks #22 – Pinedale sunk as a breakwall off Wesleyville, east of Toronto

The self-unloader Pinedale carried cargoes as part of the Dale fleet from 1961 until the end of the 1976 season. The ship was then laid up at Hamilton and stripped of useful parts to help keep company fleetmates in service.

Pinedale was sold to Pitts Engineering & Construction Ltd. in 1977. It was loaded with stone in 1978, towed to Wesleyville and sunk as a breakwall. When the local work was done in 1980, Pinedale was refloated and arrived at Toronto, in rather sad condition, on May 27, 1980.

The tug Stormont brought Pinedale to Hamilton on Aug. 19, 1980, and scrapping at the hands of United Metals got underway the following month. Work on dismantling the hull was completed early in 1981.

Pinedale was built at Wyandotte, Mich., and launched as E.D. Carter on Jan. 31, 1906. It joined the American Steamship Co. as b) William T. Roberts in 1916 and also sailed for them as c) Dow Chemical (i) and d) Norman J. Kopmeier.

Originally a bulk carrier, the 524 foot long vessel was rebuilt as a self-unloader at Lorain, Ohio, in 1932. When it was sold to Redwood Enterprises, one of the Reoch fleets, in 1961, it was renamed e) Pinedale and became the first self-unloader in company service.

The last operating season of 1976 was plagued with engine problems and a grounding in the Wyandotte Channel on Dec. 9. Tugs pulled Pinedale free but few trips remained before the ship was retired.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #590 – Guido Donegani aground in St. Lawrence on June 30, 1962

The Italian bulk carrier Guido Donegani got into trouble in 1962 during its first trip to the Great Lakes. The 542 foot, 11 inch long vessel was headed back to the Atlantic when engine trouble developed after clearing the Iroquois Lock.

Guido Donegani went aground below the lock and some of the cargo of corn had to be lightered to P.S. Barge No. 1, the former Edwin T. Douglass. This enabled Guido Donegani to float free on July 1 and continue its voyage.

After an absence of several years, Guido Donegani was back on the Great Lakes on four occasions in 1965 and four more times in 1967 for a total on nine inland voyages.

The ship had been built by Ansaldo S.p.A. at La Spezia, Italy, and launched on July 17, 1955. It was completed the following December for Soc. Di Nav. Carbonas. The ship was sold in 1969 and remained under the Italian flag as b) Punta Mesco.

An earlier Punta Mesco had come to the Great Lakes in 1960, and this one also came inland with a Seaway voyage in 1970. Another sale in 1973 brought the final name of c) Coclerdue and this ship was a Seaway trader in 1979.

The vessel was sold to Italian shipbreakers and arrived at Savona, on June 1, 1981. It was later taken to Vado where it was broken up by G. Riccardi.

Skip Gillham


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.

1889 WILLIAM ARMSTRONG, a wooden rail car ferry, sinks in the St. Lawrence off Morristown after being swamped. One life is lost but the ship is refloated and repaired. It was renamed MONS MEG in 1910 and served as a drill barge but was abandoned due to its age and condition in 1938.

1940 The Imperial Oil tanker ACADIALITE cuts too close to shore and strands off Cape Hurd of the Bruce Peninsula. The ship received about $100,000 in damage and is repaired at Collingwood. It later sails as IMPERIAL CORNWALL and GOLDEN SABLE before being scrapped at Louiseville, QC about 1980.

1959 TAXIARHIS, a Lebanese flag visitor to the Great Lakes and the West German freighter CARL JULIUS are in a collision 6 miles west of the Eisenhower Lock. The former is most seriously damaged and goes aground with a V shaped dent in the port bow but both were repaired. The former arrived at Piraeus, Greece, for scrapping as d) TONY C. on March 29, 1972, while CARL JULIUS was scrapped as d) MACHIAVELLI at Savona, Italy in 1982.

1962 The GUIDO DONEGANI gets stuck in the St. Lawrence below the Iroquois Lock due to engine trouble. Part of the cargo of corn is lightered to P.S. BARGE NO. 1 and the Italian freighter is refloated on July 1. It is also a Seaway trader as b) PUNTA MESCA beginning in 1970 and as c) COCLERDUE in 1979. This ship arrived at Savona, Italy, for scrapping on June 1, 1981.

1974 KIMIKAWA MARU began Great Lakes trading in 1962 and the Japanese freighter made a single visit each year through 1965. It went aground as b) WELFARE NO. 2 off Navlakhi, India, on this date. The ship later broke in two and sank in shallow water as a total loss. 1980 VILLE DE MONTREAL was engaged in pre-Seaway service to the Great Lakes. It was sailing as c) CHERRY MAJU, enroute from Bahrain to Colombo, Sri Lanka, when it developed a list and drifted aground off Karwar, India. The ship became partly submerged and was abandoned as a total loss.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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

St. Marys River
Traffic Sunday included the upbound Algoma Mariner in the morning and Stewart J. Cort and Presque Isle in the afternoon. Algoma Harvester was downbound around noon, while Tecumseh was downbound later afternoon. Late evening downbound traffic included Great Republic and John D. Leitch.

Cedarville, Mich. – Raymond Hill
On Sunday, the Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder arrived and began loading. This is an uncommon trip for the pair.

Grand Haven, Mich. – Dick Fox
Two boats came into port early Sunday morning, both with cargos for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg. They were the Undaunted/Pere Marquette 41 and the Algoway. The former is our most frequent visitor having delivered nine cargos so far this season. Both were observed unloading about 8:30 a.m.

South Lake Michigan – Matt Monahan
Saturday evening American Integrity arrived to unload at Indiana Harbor. Sunday afternoon the Integrity headed up the lake. Sunday morning, Saginaw called on the stone dock south of 106th on the Calumet River. By midafternoon, she was turning around in Cargill Bend heading out to the lake. She passed the Calumet loading coal at KCBX South, and the Federal Leda at Iroquois Landing. After Saginaw and Calumet made their way to the lake, Algorail headed inbound to call on 92nd St. with a load of salt.

Stoneport, Mich. – Raymond Hill
On Sunday, the Algosteel arrived. This is an uncommon trip for her. Later, the Joseph H Thompson and Jr. arrived and went to anchor to wait for the Algosteel to depart. The final ship of the day was the Philip R Clarke, dropping anchor to wait for a clear dock.

Calcite, Mich. – Raymond Hill
On Sunday, Cason J Callaway arrived at the North Dock and began loading. Inbound later was the American Mariner, calling on the South Dock.


Breakwalls and Docks #21 – Brynbarge one of three consort barges sunk west of Toronto

The tugs G.W. Rogers and Traveller towed the long-idle consort Brynbarge down the Welland Canal for the last time on Aug. 19, 1968. The ship's cabins were removed at Hamilton by United Metals. During the fall, the vessel was taken to the Lakeview Generating Station of Ontario Hydro, west of Toronto, and sunk as a breakwall. It is the hull closest to the shore.

This barge dated from 1900. It had been built at Chicago as Bryn Mawr and joined the Carnegie Steamship Co. The 412 foot long consort was rigged for sail if it became necessary due to a break in the towline. Bryn Mawr joined the Pittsburgh Steamship Co. in 1901 and sailed for them until being sold to the Upper Lakes & St. Lawrence Transportation Co. in 1940.

Renamed Brynbarge when coming into Canadian registry, the vessel was often towed by the company steamer Howard L. Shaw and used in the grain trade to Goderich, Sarnia and Port Colborne. It rarely carried anything for the trip west.

Brynbarge was retired at Goderich and served there as a grain storage barge from 1961 until 1968.

Skip Gillham


Lookback # 589 – Alvin Clark was lost in a squall on June 29, 1864

The wooden schooner Alvin Clark was built at Trenton, Mich., in 1846. The 105 foot, 8 inch long by 25 foot, 4 inch wide sailing ship was owned by John Clark and often used to carry salt one way and fish the other between Buffalo and Oswego.

It was sold to G. W. Bissell in 1850 and handled cargoes of grain, coal, lumber and salt. It was purchased by W. Higgie in 1855 and hauled lumber from Manistee to Chicago.

The Alvin Clark was overwhelmed in a squall near Chambers Island, Green Bay, 151 years ago today and sank to a depth of 120 feet. Three sailors were lost.

The tragedy was forgotten until a commercial fisherman snagged the hull with his nets in 1967. A diver went down to recover the nets and discovered the Alvin Clark intact and resting on the bottom. It was carefully refloated in July 1969, towed to Menominee and operated as a museum.

There was no government subsidy to maintain the ship and it could not generate sufficient capital to cover expenses. In time the hull deteriorated and what was termed “the oldest documented floating vessel” was dismantled and the remains taken to a landfill.

Skip Gillham


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. The hull gradually deteriorated and was dismantled in May 1994.

1934: The retired wooden schooner LYMAN M. DAVIS was torched as a spectacle off the Sunnyside Amusement Park at Toronto and it burned to the waterline.

1962: The Swedish freighter AMACITA was beached in sinking condition after hitting a shoal in the St. Lawrence near Brockville. It was refloated and towed to Kingston for hull and rudder repairs. The 10,137 gross tons vessel also visited the Seaway as b) HERVANG in 1965 and arrived at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, as f) MALDIVE PIONEER on January 5, 1984, for scrapping.

1966: Two Canada Steamship Lines ships, LEMOYNE and MARTIAN, were in a collision while passing at Welland and the former struck the Main Street Bridge during rush hour. The ships only received minor damage, but land and Welland Canal traffic were held up.

1994: The tug A.F. FIFIELD was built at Port Dalhousie by Port Weller Dry Docks in 1955 and sank in the Gulf of St. Lawrence as c) J. MANIC while towing a barge from Sept Iles to Port Cartier. All on board were rescued.

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


Port Reports -  June 28

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
H. Lee White arrived on the Saginaw River early Friday morning, calling on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. She was outbound during the late afternoon, after unloading. Alpena was inbound early Friday evening, calling on the Lafarge Cement dock in Essexville. She was expected to be outbound on Saturday.


Breakwalls and Docks #20 – Imperial Hamilton used as breakwall for Palasaides project

Imperial Hamilton was loading ethyl gasoline at Sarnia when fire erupted on Sept. 4, 1961. The ship sustained considerable damage and six members of the crew were injured. The vessel was able to continue with limited service making short runs north to Sault Ste. Marie and Georgian Bay ports but, as the navigation season drew to a close, the ship was laid up and retired.

The hull was converted to a barge and taken to Windsor but was idle there from 1962 into 1967. The pilothouse was removed for use as a marine museum at Corunna, but the structure was vandalized over time and eventually had to be demolished.

Imperial Hamilton was towed to Lake Michigan in 1967 and was part of the breakwall for the Palasaides project near South Haven, Mich. The hull did not handle the winter well and went to pieces. The remains were clammed out and scrapped during the summer of 1970.

Originally the Sarnolite, the ship was Hull 47 from the Collingwood shipyard with launch day being Sept. 27, 1916. The 258 foot long tankers served Imperial Oil and saw duty as far south as the Gulf of Mexico and even made a trip to France during World War One. It was also on the coast during World War Two.

The name was changed to Imperial Sarnia (i) in 1947 and then to Imperial Hamilton in 1948. A new pilothouse was installed at Port Dalhousie over the winter of 1951-1952. At different times, the ship was used for fleet training purposes and, due its tendency to carry crude oil for many years, was known as the “dirty ship”.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #588 – CSL Niagara ran aground in the American Narrows on June 28, 2005

The large, modern self-unloader CSL Niagara lost power and ran aground off St. Helen's Island in the American Narrows section of the St. Lawrence 10 years ago today. On board was a cargo of coke loaded at Quebec City. The 740 foot long freighter received a hole in the forepeak Damage was reported as $84,000 and the ship was soon released, repaired and returned to service.

The stern of CSL Niagara was originally part of the J.W. McGiffin that had been built at Collingwood in 1972. It sailed for Canada Steamship Lines, setting several cargo records in the early years as it traded throughout the Great Lakes and down the St. Lawrence.

The old forebody was removed at Port Weller Dry Docks in 1999 and replaced with an entirely new cargo area. It was rechristened CSL Niagara on June 15, 1999. The vessel resumed trading for Canada Steamship Lines and again set a cargo record loading 29,707 metric tonnes of wheat at Thunder Bay.

Over the years, CSL Niagara has been the first ship of the season both upbound (2002) and downbound (2005) in the Seaway, opened the Welland Canal in 2000 and closed the Seaway as the final transit in 1999 and the Welland Canal in 2004.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  June 28

News Photo Gallery


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.

1923 The PHILETUS SAWYER sinks in the Detroit River off Windmill Point after a collision with the HARRY R. JONES.

1960 DIVINA sustained heavy damage to the portside after striking a pier of the Prescott-Ogdensburg Bridge along the St. Lawrence. The Norwegian freighter had been a Great Lakes visitor since 1952 and was scrapped as d) PETROL 20 at Eleusis, Greece, in July 1984.

1970 CASTOR, enroute from Japan to Chicago with automobiles and steel products, sinks in the Pacific after a collision with the ORIENTAL HERO two days out of Yokohama. All 38 on board are saved. The ship dated from 1960 and first came through the Seaway in 1966.

1979 STAR GERANTA, a Seaway visitor in 1966 and a return caller as d) REGAL SWORD in 1977, sinks in the Atlantic off Cape Cod, MA after a collision in fog with the EXXON CHESTER.

1987 The small tanker NADY was built at Rochester, NY as the army tanker Y-86 in 1944 and returned to the Great Lakes as b) NADY in 1953 and again in 1955. It was abandoned, in leaking condition as d) ELENI S. while inbound 12 miles off the Lagos, Nigeria, breakwall. Water is entering the engineroom and the ship settles in shallow water. (One source suggest this may have occurred 2 days earlier) 2005 CSL NIAGARA loses power and goes aground in the American Narrows of the St. Lawrence while upbound with a cargo of coke. The ship is holed in the forepeak but soon released and repaired.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


2 freighters in Huron staying put for now

6/27 - Huron, Ohio – A pair of massive freighters docked in Huron since winter will remain anchored there through at least the summer.

The American Steamship Co. plans to leave both ships — the Adam E. Cornelius and the John J. Boland — tucked away in Huron harbor off U.S. 6 for several more weeks, according to Huron city manager Andy White.

Original plans called for the freighters possibly leaving sometime this month. An exact departure date and where they’re heading from Huron, however, remains a mystery to the public.

But when they do leave, other boats could fill the space.

“The company has identified other vessels in need of maintenance as opportunities to make further use of the dock when it is vacated by the current occupants,” White said.

For many years, the company docked the freighters at a port in Toledo. A falling out of some sorts, however, led executives to choose a new docking site for 2015, which ended up being in Huron. The shipkeepers said the new area presents many advantages, including quick, easy access into Lake Erie. It did, however, take a full day just to dock the ships in Huron because of their colossal size.

During the winter and spring, crew members and contracted workers repaired and enhanced the 42-year-old transporting ships, including replacing ropes or upgrading the power systems. The company contracts with 10 or so different businesses, all helping in some fashion to improve the ships.

Sandusky Register


Port Reports -  June 27

St. Marys River
Engineer’s Day saw the downbound passage of the Hon. James L. Oberstar and the upbound transits of Lee A. Tregurtha and Herbert C. Jackson during the time the locks grounds were open to the public. Traffic also cooperated for the annual Boatnerd Freighter Chasing Cruise in the evening, with good photo opportunities for CSL Assinibone, HHL Volga, Edgar B. Speer and Great Lakes Trader. There was a bit of excitement when a malfunctioning MacArthur Lock fender boom caused the tour boat hosting the cruise to have to back out of the lock chamber and eventually lock up on the Canadian side.

In reference to the Sturgeon Bay report of yesterday, the new tug Leigh Ann Moran will not be mated with the barge Texas, as was reported. She will be mated with the barge Mississippi, presently under construction. The barge Texas will be delivered by another tug that will arrive and take her out on delivery probably about September.


Breakwalls and Docks #19 – S.M. Douglas sunk as breakwall at Kingston

The S.M. Douglas was originally the sidewheel passenger ship White Star. The vessel dated from 1897 and construction at Montreal. The 167.2 foot long steamship first joined the Oakville Navigation Co. and saw service on Lake Ontario before it burned at Toronto on July 5, 1905.

It was rebuilt at Cornwall for the St. Lawrence & Ontario Navigation Co, later the St. Lawrence Canadian Navigation Co. and joined Canada Steamship Lines in 1915 in a trade for the Boucherville.

Another fire, this at Hamilton on March 1, 1926, led to a decision to use the hull as a barge in the Lake Ontario coal trade. This work continued until about 1940 when the ship was abandoned.

In 1950, the almost forgotten vessel was converted to a diesel-powered sand sucker and saw service on the St. Lawrence as b) S.M. Douglas. It was noted as laid up at Brockville in 1973 and then sunk as a breakwall at Kingston two years later.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #587 – James J. Hill struck and sank wooden freighter Panther on June 27, 1916

It was 99 years ago today the big bulk carrier James J. Hill of the Pittsburgh Steamship Co. collided in fog with the wooden vessel Panther off Parisienne Island, Lake Superior. The 248 foot long Panther was no match for the 497 foot James J. Hill and it sank as a $30,000 loss.

The captain of the ore carrier kept his ship against the Panther until all the crew could reach safety and, after backing away, the small vessel sank. James J. Hill had been built at Lorain, Ohio, in 1900 and served the American Steamship Co. for a year before becoming part of the newly-developed United States Steel fleet in 1901.

Other than this collision, and a grounding at Star Island on the Canadian side of the St. Clair River on April 30, 1902, the James J. Hill had a relatively routine career in the ore and coal trades. It operated through the 1957 season and was then laid up.

The hull was sold to the City of Cleveland in 1961 and sunk as a breakwall the following year off Gordon Park along with the William Edenborn. The area has subsequently been covered with landfill to create a recreation area and fishing pier.

Panther had been built at West Bay City, Mich., in 1890 and had several owners over the years before it was lost on June 27, 1916.

Skip Gillham


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 vessels ever built and lasted until September 1905, when she sank in Lake Superior.

1916 JAMES J. HILL collided with the wooden steamer PANTHER in fog off Parisienne Island, Lake Superior and held its position so all of the crew could come safely aboard before their ship sank.

1952 WOODFORD, enroute from Quebec City to Europe, received major damage in a collision off Ile Verte, near the mouth of the Saguenay River, with the pulpwood laden canaller JOHN A. FRANCE. The former, a British freighter, was holed and leaking and the crew was taken off to the BIRCHTON. The damaged WOODFORD was towed back to Quebec City and almost sand at the dock but was kept afloat and repaired. It was a Seaway visitor in 1960 and was scrapped at Shanghai, China, in 1978 as d) WOOSUNG.

1954 WILCOX, a former minesweeper that was rebuilt for passenger and freight service down the St. Lawrence from Montreal, was blown ashore at Potato Bay, Anticosti Island, and was a total loss. The remains of the hull are still there. 1982 CLIO, a West German freighter, made 12 trips to the Great Lakes from 1959 to 1965. It arrived at Callao, Colombia, with engine damage as e) SUNLIGHT on this date in 1982 and was abandoned as a total loss. An apparent effort to repair the engine was not completed and the ship was eventually scrapped.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series from the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.


Port Reports -  June 26

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Jim Conlon
On Thursday morning the newbuild tug Leigh Ann Moran was float launched at Bayship. The tug was built for Moran Towing of New York and will be paired with the newbuild petroleum barge Texas, which Bayship also built. The tug and barge will used on the East and Gulf coasts.

Green Bay, Wis. – Scott Best
Thursday evening the Frontenac arrived in Green Bay with a load of salt from Windsor on her first visit to this port in 20 or more years and the first CSL vessel to visit also in 20 plus years. They were assisted into the slip by Great Lakes Towing Co tugs Texas and North Dakota.

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
After more than two weeks at anchor in Port Weller, the bulker Rodopi arrived at Redpath Wednesday afternoon. The dismantling work on the Colby unloader has been halted while the Rodopi is discharging its cargo of sugar. Earlier this week workers removed stiffeners and beams that supported the front legs of the Colby. The next big item to come off will likely be the massive hopper located at the back of the Colby. Spruceglen is alongside at Terminal 52 and joins fleetmate Pineglen in early summer layup. The gearless bulker was launched in Govan, Scotland in 1983 as the Selkirk Settler for Misener Transportation.

Seaway – Rene Beauchamp
Shortly before noon Thursday, the Tundra tied up in Montreal for more inspections. Algonova has been in lay up since June 7. Strangely, the agent is not Algoma as might be expected but Robert Reford. Vega Desgagnés has now a plain blue stack. The Desgagnés logo stripe has been painted out. The bunkering tanker Arca has been laid up since December 30. According to ISR, the owner is Shell Royal Dutch Group with an address in the United Kingdom since 2003. Registered owner: Shell Trading Canada.


Q & A: Captain Lori Reinhart hauls ore across the Great Lakes

6/26 - Cleveland, Ohio – Lori Reinhart, captain and first mate of the Philip R. Clarke, is the first and still the only woman to command an American ore boat on the Great Lakes.

• How'd you become a captain?
I grew up in Cleveland Heights, and we had a sailboat. I love the water. I still live on the water in Euclid. My cousins worked on the ocean as captains. I went to Great Lakes Maritime Academy. I started in '95 as third mate with what was then Inland Steel. Then I went to American Steamship Co. and worked my way up for about 15 years. I became captain of the Buffalo. I just left this year and went on the Clarke with Great Lakes Fleet. It's a 767-foot steamer.

• What ports do you work?
All the ships pick up ore in northern Minnesota and Michigan. The Buffalo brings it to Cleveland. The Clarke takes it to Detroit, Toledo, Ashtabula, Conneaut, Gary, but not Cleveland.

• How tricky are the Great Lakes?
Every lake is scary. On Lake Erie, the prevailing winds are out of the west. Sometimes there's no water in Toledo. Towards Cleveland, the seas can be too high. I've had to turn around and put an anchor down on the northern end of the lake. We spend a lot of time running from the weather. We've got more access to better forecasting now. We have pictures. Before, all we had were numbers. Now we can see the lows and highs coming across. But you can still get caught. We're there to make money. That means keep the boat moving. But it's always a captain's prerogative to change course or put the anchor down. The main thing is to get your crew home to their families.

• How tricky are our rivers?
The Cuyahoga is hard. It's fun. Normally, you have to lighten your load at the port and make two trips up the river, depending on water levels and current. The Clarke could have around 25,000 tons, but you can only take about 19,000 up the river. The steel mill's not far, but the best runs are probably two hours and 40 minutes. Bad runs can be 7 hours because of traffic. You can sit at a bridge for two or three hours. Once they had a runaway train, so they had to keep the bridge down. There are a lot more rowers now. We're on the radios all the time giving security calls. Sometimes we're five feet from another ship. Ocean shipping is easy. But the Great Lakes captains are known as the best ship handlers in the world.

• Scary moments on board?
I had a fire on a ship. It worked out OK, but still. The Buffalo went black right here. We lost power. I had to put all our anchors down. We ended up about 10 feet off the breakwall.

• Scary moments in port?
Back before cell phones, I was in Gary, Indiana, and had to catch a boat, and all the pay phones were busted. I stopped in a bar to see if they had a phone. The next thing you know, guns got pulled out, and I jumped behind the bar. I'm thinking is this worth catching a boat for?

• Is the water cleaner today?
Even in 2000, the joke was, "Did you see any three-eyed frogs today?" But Lake Erie and the Cuyahoga have gotten a lot better.

• Do you ship in the winter?
The Clarke takes two months off, usually.

• Tell us about your crew.
I have 23 under me, all male.

• Do they respect a woman skipper?
In 20 years, I've had maybe one or two problems with crew members. It's always sit back and watch. After they find out I can do the job, that's all they really care about. But sometimes management has a problem putting women at the top.

•Do other captains respect you?
It's a very small community. Everyone is very willing to help everybody else. We call each other all the time. I just dropped off some socks for the crew of the Buffalo. It's been raining so much.

• Shore leave?
If it's a normal rotation, I'll have 30 days off. I love Geraci's in University Heights. I go downtown to Johnny's Little Bar in the alley off West Sixth, and to the Nauti Mermaid. In Lakewood, I like to go to Phantasy for music.

Cleveland has changed a lot. Now there's so many neighborhoods you can feel comfortable going to that have restaurants and nightlife and things to do. It used to be that, if you were from the West Side, you never went to the East Side, and vice versa. Now people go everywhere.

My friends and I do the beaches a lot. We go to the Metroparks. It's beautiful how they've redone Acacia Country Club. We do all the church fairs and festivals. I can't say no to a pierogi.

I have had season tickets for the Browns since I was 14. I only make maybe two games a year. Some friends look after my apartment, and they get the rest of the tickets. I like Cleveland because it's my home. My friends are here. I could never leave. I'll never give up my Browns tickets, ever.


Breakwalls and Docks #18 – Second Henry R. Platt Jr. became a breakwall at Hamilton

It is a curious coincidence that both ships that sailed the Great Lakes as Henry R. Platt Jr. ended up as a breakwall during the development of a steel plant. Another similarity is that both ships were also owned by the Canadian scrap firm Marine Salvage during a late stage in their career.

The second Henry R. Platt Jr. was built at Lorain, Ohio and, from 1909 to 1959, sailed as the first G.A. Tomlinson. It was under the Douglass Steamship Co until the vessel joined the Pioneer Steamship Co. in 1915.

This ship had a reputation for its capacity to carry grain and it was often engaged in this work. It came to the Gartland Steamship Co. as Henry R. Platt Jr. (ii) in 1959 and operated until tying up at Cleveland during the fall of 1968.

There had been some thought to converting the vessel to an unmanned bulk barge in 1963, but the work was cancelled and it remained a powered steamer to the end.

While the ship became part of the American Steamship Co. in 1969, it never sailed on their behalf and was sold and resold until arriving at Ramey's Bend, Port Colborne, under tow of Herbert A. and Traveller on Nov. 27, 1970. The following August it was moved to Hamilton and, after being stripped to the deck and loaded with stone, it was sunk as a dock facing off the Steel Co. of Canada property in a land reclamation project in November 1971.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #586 – Steamer Pathfinder sold to Upper Lakes Shipping on June 26, 1964

After tying up at Superior, Wis., on June 20, 1960, the Pathfinder, of the Interlake Steamship Co. remained idle until being sold. It was purchased by Upper Lakes Shipping for $260,000 on June 26, 1964, and this resulted in a new career in the fleet of the Canadian company.

Pathfinder had been built at Wyandotte, Mich., and launched as the third Samuel Mather on July 28, 1906. The ship was part of the Pickands Mather fleet and remained with them after becoming b) Pathfinder in 1925.

The 551 foot, 4 inch long bulk carrier had been important in the ore and coal trades but its age and limited carrying capacity led to its retirement on the U.S. side of the lakes in 1960. However, the Canadian fleets were expanding with the opening of the Seaway and this was one of numerous idle American lakers to get a reprieve when it was sold 51 years ago today.

Pathfinder made one trip in ULS colors and was then renamed c) Goderich (ii). It proved to have a longer life on the Canadian side of the border than many of the similarly-sized ships acquired for the short term expansion of the fleets. Goderich continued sailing for Upper Lakes through the 1979 season providing 15 years of company service.

It was resold to the Soo River Company in 1980 and, after one more trip as Goderich, it was renamed Soo River Trader and looked spectacular when painted up in their colors. During this time, the vessel was the first to call at the newly completed, $18 million, dry cement distribution dock, when it arrived at Duluth from Clarkson, Ont., on May 1, 1982.

With the economic woes of Soo River, this steamer was laid up at Midland in June 1982 but joined P. & H. Shipping when they acquired the Soo River fleet on August 8, 1982. Renamed Pineglen (i), the ship completed the season and was then laid up at Toronto.

After the final sale to Port Maitland Shipbreaking, Pineglen cleared Toronto between the tugs Glenevis and Glenside on Sept. 27, 1984, for the Lake Erie port of Port Maitland. With the use of a bit of paint, the ship was later renamed f) Neglen and scrapped as such in 1984-1985.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  June 26

News Photo Gallery - still adding captions, should be done on Friday.


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 raise 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.

1916: The first STORMOUNT, a steel canaller, was wrecked on Gull Ledge, near Marie Joseph, N.S.

1937: Passengers from the SOUTH AMERICAN, stranded on a shoal, were removed with the aid of ALGOMAH II.

1993: The Norwegian tanker BOW ROGN first came through the Seaway in 1970. It was back as b) JO ROGN in 1981 and was leaking sulphuric acid into the pump room on this date as c) BETULA after discharging at Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico. The vessel was towed offshore but later driven aground on a sandy beach north of the port on June 28-29, and then blown over on its side during the passing of Hurricane Calvin on July 7, 1993.

2000: EMIL REITH first came through the Seaway in 1970. It was attacked by Tamil Tiger rebels as h) MERCS UHANA off northern Sri Lanka while carrying foodstuffs from Colombo to Tricomalee. The ship caught fire and five lives were lost. The ship sank the next day about 48 miles off Point Pedro.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Port Reports -  June 25

Stoneport, Mich. – Raymond Hill
On Wednesday, the Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder arrived and began loading.

Calcite, Mich. – Raymond Hill
On Wednesday, H Lee White arrived at the North Dock and began loading. Later, Great Republic arrived at the South Dock. There were no vessels in Cedarville and Port Inland on Wednesday.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Sunday was a busy day at Lafarge. The tug G.L. Ostrander and barge Integrity loaded cement and departed during the evening. On the way out it passed fleetmate Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation, who were heading into port. The tug Leonard M and its barge tied up at Lafarge Sunday night and cargo was unloaded off the barge. The Alpena arrived early Tuesday morning and tied up under the silos to take on cement for Green Bay, Wis.

Manistee, Mich. – Brian Ferguson
John M. Selvick with the barge Lake Trader was inbound about 6 am Wednesday, heading for Rieth-Riley for another load of logs. The cruise ship Grande Caribe was inbound at 12:45 pm.


Obituary: Emory A. Massman

6/25 - Emory A. Massman, Jr., age 90, died on Thursday, June 18. He was the author of the acclaimed books "Hospital Ships of World War II" and "The Nicholson Lines and Their Captains," among others.

He sailed the lakes with his father from an early age and rose to be chief mate while sailing on three Liberty ships during World War II. He became a member of the Detroit Police Department and, after retirement, became a captain for St. Philip Towing Co. of Tampa, Fla., and a member of the Tampa Bay Ship Model Society.

A long-time member of the Marine Historical Society of Detroit, he was named Historian of the Year by the group in 2012. His books provide a treasury of rare insights into life aboard ships in earlier eras and he will long be remembered for his valuable contributions to marine history. Arrangements by Kicliter Funeral Home, Palmetto, FL 34221 (518 8th Ave. W.) 941-722-0204, have not been announced.


Breakwalls and Docks #17 – Pillsbury part of the Burns Harbor project

The Pillsbury was one of the four ships sunk as a breakwall in the development of Burns Harbor, Ind. The ship spent its final years as a grain storage barge at Buffalo before being placed on the bottom in 1967.

The vessel was built at Chicago and launched as Frederick B. Wells on Oct. 5, 1901. It joined the Peavey Steamship Co. and saw considerable work in the grain trade.

The 450 foot long steamer joined the Reiss Steamship Co. as b) Otto M. Reiss (i) in 1916, moved to the Gartland Steamship Co. in 1931, was renamed c) Sullivan Brothers (i) in 1934 and d) Henry R. Platt Jr. (i) in 1958.

The latter was damaged on Lake Erie off Southeast Shoal in December 1958 when ice pressure squeezed the hull during a voyage with grain from Duluth to Buffalo. Declared a total loss for transportation purposes, the vessel was laid up at Buffalo and used by the Pillsbury Co. as a grain storage barge. The name was changed to e) Pillsbury's Barge in 1960 and then shortened to f) Pillsbury in 1966.

After several transactions that included Hudson Waterways, the U.S. Maritime Commission and Marine Salvage, the ship was towed to Burns Harbor and sunk as a breakwall during waterfront development.

As with the other Burns Harbor hulls, we cannot verify if this vessel was buried as part of the program or cut up for scrap as its usefulness terminated.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #585 – Whaleback steamer Washburn was launched on June 25, 1892

It was a festive occasion at West Superior, Wis., on June 25, 1892, as the 320 foot long whaleback steamer Washburn slid into the water for the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railway. The ship was to be operated by the Soo Line in the grain trade between Gladstone, Mich., and Buffalo.

Four years later, on June 22, 1896, the vessel was sold and renamed b) James B. Neilson by the Bessemer Steamship Co. They had the ship rebuilt as a bulk carrier for the ore trade. It became part of the Pittsburgh Steamship Co. when United States Steel was formed in 1901.

The James B. Neilson was sold to the Spokane Steamship Co. in 1928 and renamed c) J.T. Reid. The new owner modified the vessel to carry new automobiles and it usually ran between Detroit and Cleveland.

This work was impacted by the Depression. As a result, the J.T. Reid was sold for scrap and broken up at Cleveland in 1936.

Skip Gillham


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.

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.

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.

1903 – JOHN CRAIG was seriously damaged in a grounding on Simmons Rock in the Straits of Mackinac. Once refloated, the wooden steamer was taken to St. Ignace and declared a total loss. It was subsequently rebuilt as PANAMA only to be lost in a storm on November 1, 1906.

1950 – Five lives were lost and another 12 passengers injured aboard the passenger ship CITY OF CLEVELAND III when it was in a collision with the Norwegian freighter RAVNEFJELL in fog on Lake Huron. The former was a total loss while the latter was repaired and returned to service. It became b) RINGSTEIN in 1955 and visited the Great Lakes through 1958. It was wrecked near Achona Point, Ghana, on September 11, 1966.

1959 – The Liberian registered MONROVIA became the first saltwater vessel of the Seaway era to sink on the Great Lakes. It went down in heavy fog on Lake Huron after going off course and colliding with the downbound ROYALTON off Thunder Bay Island. The vessel landed upright on the bottom and some of the cargo of steel was salvaged in the 1970s.

1980 – MONTREALAIS of Upper Lakes Shipping and ALGOBAY of Algoma Central collided head-on in heavy fog on the St. Clair River and both suffered massive bow damage. These vessels were repaired and today both sail in the Algoma fleet with the former as ALGOMA MONTREALAIS and the latter, later rebuilt with a new forebody in China, as RADCLIFFE R. LATIMER.

1980 – JEAN LYKES collided with and sank an 18-foot fishing boat in the St. Clair River, 2 miles north of St. Clair, MI. The American flag saltwater vessel was later beached at Alang, India, for scrapping as b) VELMA LYKES on July 9, 1994

1994 – While departing Bay City, McKEE SONS was swept crossways in the Saginaw River and went aground. Four tugs pulled the ship free without damage save for some shoreline erosion.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Tugs release Tundra from Seaway strand

6/24 - About 11:15 Tuesday morning, Groupe Ocean tugs Ocean Intrepide and Ocean Georgie Bain pulled the Tundra off her strand. The ship had pumped out her ballast water, which lifted the ship off the sand bottom. The tugs towed Tundra down the river to the St. Zotique anchorage. Traffic through this sector was temporarily suspended while this operation was taking place.

Ron Beaupre


Last of ex-Canadian Miner removed from water off Scatarie Island

6/24 -

Main-A-Dieu –The community of Main-a-Dieu was ecstatic Monday as the last piece of the derelict bulk carrier Canadian Miner was removed from the coastline of Scatarie Island. "I think it's a monumental day for us," said Amanda McDougall, president of the Main-a-Dieu Community Development Association.

"It's close to four years ago we started this fight to have the Miner removed from our fishing grounds. Officially, we can say it's no longer in the water. It's a really wonderful feeling."

McDougall praised the relationships between the province, RJ MacIsaac Construction, fishermen and the community, describing communications as "open, clear and transparent." However, McDougall took the federal government to task, saying they didn’t do their job from the beginning.

"Not even being able to understand how much fuel and other contaminant was on board the ship, that is disgraceful on behalf of the federal government. They absolutely didn't do their due diligence in issuing these kinds of permits."

McDougall said it will be time to celebrate once everything is barged off the island. "It's been four years of a lot of work, a lot of commitment and passion from our community."

Geoff MacLellan, Nova Scotia minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, announced Monday the final piece of the wreck had been removed from Scatarie's coast. He thanked the community association for its support and advocacy.

"For the first time in a long time, Scatarie Island looks as it should," MacLellan said. The $11.9-million contract for the removal of the ship was awarded to RJ MacIsaac, an Antigonish-based contractor. Once work began, an additional 32 tonnes of asbestos and 26,000 litres of diesel fuel were removed.

MacLellan said if the wreck had been left to erode into the ocean, those contaminants would have permanently damaged the fragile and lucrative fishing grounds off Scatarie's coast.

He said the next step will be to tear down the temporary camp and related structures. In the meantime, fishermen in Main-a-Dieu praised the contractor's work.

"It's a beautiful job, it's a clean job. It took a lot of money to do it but I know you could ask any fisherman and they'd say it's a perfect job,” said Ken Wadden. However, Wadden wasn't happy with the federal government, saying the wreck should have been cleaned up years ago.

“We know someone has to clean someone else's garbage up but why should we pay for it? When this is all said and done, they should go back to Parliament and say, 'There's the federal government, they released it, they put it there, they paid those people so many millions of dollars, now we want it subsidized back.'"

The Miner broke free of its tow line as it was being hauled by a Greek ocean-going tug across the Atlantic to Turkey in 2011, where it was to be used for scrap.

Cape Breton Post


Diesel fuel believed to be trickling out of stricken tugboats

6/24 - Cornwall, Ont. – Nearly 10,000 litres of diesel fuel is believed to be trickling from a pair of tugboats overturned on the St. Lawrence River near Cornwall, and some geese in the area are getting covered with an oily substance.

J.J. Brickett, a superintendent of environmental response with the Canadian Coast Guard, said Tuesday his agency and others are monitoring the scene of a double-capsizing Monday that saw two tugboats go under the water.

Brickett said the coast guard has been told that the larger tug, the Lac Manitoba, contains some 9,700 litres of diesel fuel, while the smaller LCM 131 has about 227 litres on board.

He said the fuel tanks appear to be holding for the most part, but because the tanks are submerged, the strong river current is likely pushing some of the fuel out tank vents.

"I would say it's probably a very small trickling of the tanks," he said. "We haven't had a big sudden rush."

But that's not to say some fuel isn't being seen downstream. There is a noticeable sheen on some parts of the river, and Seaway News has been contacted by individuals with imagery of wildlife, including a goose, that was covered in an oily substance.

Brickett said the coast guard is monitoring the tugs and river downstream to determine the severity of the situation and environmental impacts. "The first priority is safety," he said, adding second to that is clearing the area of pollution. "All indications we have are the tanks are intact."

Brickett said if diesel fuel is released into the environment as much as 60 per cent of it can evaporate in any 24-hour period.

The City of Cornwall's water intake is located upstream of the incident, near the R.H. Saunders Generating Station. Cornwall police have barred access to the Cornwall boat launch so that emergency officials can have clear access to the river if they need it.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has deployed a team to Cornwall to investigate Monday's tugboat incident. The tug Lac Manitoba went under the water around 4 p.m., while a few hours later a smaller tug capsized, TSB said in a statement.

While the TSB said it's not known if the incidents are related, it's clear the tugs were assisting a barge in the river that contains a large crane that will be used in the demolition of the high-level Seaway International Bridge.

Tuesday officials with Nadro Marine said the company is working with the Eastern Canada Response Corporation, Canadian Coast Guard "and all environmental authorities to ensure effective containment and safe removal of the flooded vessel."

There was residue oil, wood and debris from the initial flooding.

The tug continues to sit capsized in about 15 feet of water in the St. Lawrence River just west of the Cornwall boat launch in Lamoureux Park.

The company said there were three crew members (two aboard the tug and one on the barge) at the time of the incident, however all crew are safe and have no injuries.

Employees of American Bridge, the company tasked with demolishing the bridge, told Seaway News at the scene Monday that the powerful current of the river played a major role in the incident.

Dan Murphy, project manager for American Bridge Canada in Cornwall, said in an interview Tuesday salvage plans are being worked on and added demolition of the bridge over the river will be delayed.

Murphy added that the barge currently moored in the middle of the river against a torrent of fast-moving water is not in danger of moving.

The barge, which contains a crane, is being held in place by what he called a "spud" - a lengthy piece of pipe that has been sunk into the bedrock beneath the bottom of the river. Additional personnel and equipment has been dispatched to the site, including the tug Seahound, to assist in oil response operations.

It's anyone's guess as to how long it will take to get the pair of stricken tugboats righted and moved away from Cornwall - but it's not expected to happen quickly. J.J. Brickett, a superintendent of environmental response with the Canadian Coast Guard, said third-party salvage teams must prepare plans that require government approval before proceeding.

In this case the coast guard and Transport Canada must sign off on any salvage plans, he said.

McKeil Marine, the sister company of Lac Manitoba owner's Nadro Marine, has been retained for salvage operations for this incident. They are presumably still assessing the situation, including the size of the rigs and speed of the water, before presenting a plan of action.

Cornwall Seaway News


Port Reports -  June 24

Port Inland, Mich. – Raymond Hill
On Tuesday, Undaunted and Pere Marquette 41 arrived and began loading. There were no vessels in Cedarville on Tuesday.

Stoneport, Mich. – Raymond Hill
On Tuesday, Olive L Moore and Lewis J Kuber arrived and began loading.

Calcite, Mich. – Raymond Hill
On Tuesday, Defiance and Ashtabula arrived at the South Dock and began loading.

Fairport, Ohio – John Unterwagner
The Manistee was offshore at Fairport Harbor, Ohio Tuesday morning waiting for the level of the Grand River to go below flood stage. The river crested at just under none feet at about noon. Flood stage is eight feet; the area received 3-1/4 inches of rain in just over 12 hours. Tuesday evening she was preparing to load at the Morton Salt dock.


S.S. Badger receives TripAdvisor's 2015 Certificate of Excellence Award

6/24 - Ludington, Mich. – TripAdvisor has recognized the Lake Michigan car and passenger ferry S.S. Badger with a 2015 Certificate of Excellence Award. This award can only be earned through consistently great reviews of a business published on the world's largest travel site.

As expressed on the formal notice of excellence, the award reads, "For five years, TripAdvisor has shared this award on behalf of travelers across the globe. Today, whether you're a first-time recipient or a five-time winner, we hope you're proud to see S.S. Badger: Lake Michigan Carferry, recognized by customers as one of the very best in the business."

The Badger is the last remaining coal-fired passenger steamship in the United States and is currently under consideration for National Historic Landmark Designation from the United States Department of Interior.

Lake Michigan Carferry


Woman safe after sailboat grounds on Round Island

6/24 - Mackinac County, Mich. – A 65-year-old Richland woman was rescued by the Coast Guard after her sailboat ran aground Tuesday morning in the Straits of Mackinac.

The woman was participating in a solo sailing challenge from Chicago to Mackinac Island when her 35-foot vessel ran aground near Round Island in Mackinac County, Coast Guard officials said.

She used a marine radio to call for help about 4:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 23, and was eventually airlifted from the sailboat after two unsuccessful rescue attempts. A crew from a Coast Guard station in St. Ignace first arrived on a 25-foot response boat about 5 a.m.

Both the Coast Guard's boat and a commercial salvage crew that volunteered to help were not able to maneuver close to the sailboat due to waves and shallow water. Several attempts to reach the woman with a life raft were not successful.

An air crew from Traverse City arrived about 7:50 a.m., but the helicopter developed mechanical problems while overhead and had to divert to Mackinac County Airport. Another helicopter arrived about 9:40 a.m. and lowered a rescue swimmer to Round Island, which is uninhabited.

The swimmer walked about 15 yards in the water to where the boat was grounded and carried the woman to shore. She was then hoisted into the helicopter and brought to the airport to meet EMS.

She was transported to Mackinac County Straits Hospital for evaluation. The woman was prepared with a life jacket and cold-water gear, the Coast Guard said.

"This case may have had a different outcome had the skipper not been as prepared as she was," said Lt. Ludwig Gazvoda, command duty officer at the Sector Sault Ste.

M Live


Obituary: Barry “Riverbear” Hiscocks

6/24 - Barry “Riverbear” Hiscocks, a frequent contributor to this site, passed away peacefully Tuesday afternoon in Sarnia, Ont., in hospital around 4:15 p.m. after a long fight with cancer. He was surrounded by his family and loved ones. The family will have a memorial service at a later date.

Angie Williams


Breakwalls and Docks #16 – Consort barge Alfred Krupp saw duty as a breakwall

6/24 - The 370 foot long consort barge Alfred Krupp was launched at Chicago on Sept. 12, 1896. The 5,500-ton capacity carrier joined the Bessemer Steamship Co. and then moved to the Pittsburgh Steamship Co. that developed through a giant merger in 1901.

The barge served under the U.S. flag until coming to Canada for Mohawk Navigation in 1936. They usually used the vessel, often under tow of the Captain C.D. Secord, in the grain trade from the Canadian Lakehead to the Georgian Bay ports.

Alfred Krupp got loose in Lake Superior during a fall storm in 1951 and the crew spent five scary days adrift on the churned up lake.

The vessel was idle at Owen Sound and used for grain storage from 1960 through 1967. It was sold to Luedtke Engineering and taken to Lake Michigan. The hull served there, off Two Creeks, Wis., as a breakwall during a hydro-electric project.

On Sept. 14, 1972, Alfred Krupp was towed to Kewaunee by the tug John Roen V. It was resold to Hyman-Michaels in 1973 and arrived at Duluth under tow on Nov. 29, 1973. The hull was slowly broken up there from 1974 until the work was completed in 1976.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #584 – John A. France went aground in the St. Marys River on June 24, 1962

6/24 - The second John A. France was only two-years old when it stranded on the upper St. Marys River on June 24, 1962. The 722 foot, 6 inch long laker was downbound with a cargo of grain and it required some of the prairie gold to be lightered before tugs and pull it free.

John A. France had been built by Canadian Vickers Ltd. in sections, joined on the Champlain Drydock at Levis, QC and christened on Aug. 26, 1960. It entered service for the Scott Misener Steamship Co. loading Labrador ore for Ashtabula, Ohio.

The vessel, while less than the full Seaway maximum, still set some early cargo records. These included 859,000 bushels of grain from Port Arthur to Baie Comeau in Sept. 1960 and 835,195 bushels of flax from Fort William to Montreal in November 1961.

The John A. France remained in the Misener fleet until they ceased operations. It joined Algoma Central Corp. as Algoriver in 1994 and managed 38 trips, mainly in the fall grain rush, from 1996 to the end of 2000. It tied up at Montreal for good on Dec. 23, 2000.

Following a sale to Turkish shipbreakers, Algoriver departed under tow of the tug Suhaili on Aug. 18, 2002, and arrived at Aliaga to be broken up on Sept. 12, 2002.

Skip Gillham


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.

1938 – REDFERN received minor hull damage when the steering cable broke near Dain City, on the Welland Canal and the vessel hit the west bank. It was taken to Port Colborne for repairs.

1955 – MANZZUTTI was taking water after the cargo of pulpwood shifted in heavy seas near the Straits of Mackinac. The vessel was initially in danger of sinking but reached safety.

1962 – JOHN A. FRANCE (ii) was aground in the upper St. Marys River and some of the cargo of grain was lightered before the ship could be refloated.

June 24 – The recently repaired PARKER EVANS and the ANNA KATRIN FRITZEN collided in heavy fog in Lake Huron with minor damage. The latter, a West German freighter and Seaway trader since 1961, and a return visitor as b) KATRIN in 1974, was scrapped at Bilbao, Spain, due to engine problems, in 1977.

1980 – CARTIERCLIFFE HALL, upbound with a cargo of iron ore, went aground in the Seaway near Cornwall, Ont. due to a steering problem and was released the next day with the aid of three tugs.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Best May for U.S.-flag lakers in 7 years

6/23 - Cleveland, Ohio – U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters moved 10.8 million tons of dry-bulk cargo in May, their highest total for that month since 2008. The surge is at least partially attributable to the fact that no ice delays were experienced this May.

Comparisons with May 2014 illustrate how ice slowed shipping a year ago. Iron ore cargos were up more than 17 percent, but that increase somewhat reflects that in May 2014 three 1,000-foot long lakers were collectively out of service to repair ice damage for 65 days. The nearly 14 percent increase in limestone cargos is in part because the lower horsepower lakers in the short-haul stone trade did not have to contend with ice this May.

Year-to-date, U.S.-flag cargos stand at 21.3 million tons, an increase of 28.5 percent over the glacial conditions that prevailed during much of the first five months of 2014. Compared to the 5-year average for the January-May timeframe, shipments in U.S. bottoms are actually down 3 percent, and that decrease reflects the ice-related delays experienced between January 1 and late April of this year.


Nadro tug Lac Manitoba capsizes at Cornwall, crew safe

6/23 - Cornwall, Ont. – A pair of tugboats capsized on the St. Lawrence River in Cornwall Monday afternoon, said an employee of American Bridge, fresh from the scene of the chaos. Initially it was thought only one tugboat had sunk on the river Monday, but a man who had just come from a barge currently moored in the middle of the St. Lawrence River said there is another vessel trapped below the river surface too.

"Another tug - a local tug," said the man, who only identified himself as an employee of American Bridge, the company tasked with demolishing the high-level Seaway International Bridge. "The current got a hold of that tugboat and just tossed it around."

Another man from the barge was removed from the scene by ambulance, with what is believed to be a minor injury - perhaps a sprained ankle. All of the men from the barge looked exhausted, with sweat pouring off them. When asked what caused the mishap Monday they pointed to the swiftness of the water.

"The current - definitely the current," said another man who worked for American Bridge.

One of the vessels was lying capsized in the river just west of the Lamoureux Park boat launch for about two hours, but rolled over once again before becoming stuck a second time, said witnesses.

Cornwall Community Police Service Sgt. Emidio Piunno later confirmed it appeared as though the crews from the tugs were safe.

"From what we know the crew has been accounted for," he said, adding both his service and the local RCMP are the lead agencies handling the incident at this time. Witnesses said one tug, the Lac Manitoba, appeared to roll over once after it went under and became stuck on the bottom.

The name of the other tug is not known.

"It rolled once and appeared to lodge itself again," said witness Mallory Poirier, who added a supply boat of some kind appeared to be trying to come alongside the sunken tug and secure it. "They seem to be having a tough time with the current."

The current in that part of the river, just downstream from the R.H. Saunders Generating Station, is extremely powerful.

Hilton Bissonnette, who was fishing in the area of the old Cornwall powerhouse, said it appeared as though the tug was assisting a huge barge in the river when drama took place and the tug went under.

The barge is carrying a mammoth crane that will be used to demolish the high-level Seaway International Bridge.

"Smoke started to pour out of tugboat," Bissonnette continued, describing a scene of chaos on the water. "Boats started to head out to it. Once the boats got there they began jumping off."

Bissonnette estimates about five or six crew members abandoned the Lac Manitoba. The vessel was sitting capsized, presumably hung up on the bottom of the river for a time after the sinking. A torrent of water is pushing on the stricken tugboat and RCMP patrol boats are in the area, warning other boats to stay away.

The incident took place at around 4 p.m., said witnesses.

The Lac Manitoba is owned by Nadro Marine. A company official reached Monday night said Nadro would be issuing a statement Tuesday morning concerning the incident. Lac Manitoba is listed as a 64-foot tugboat, according to the company's website and comes packed with 1,000 horsepower.

Cornwall Standard Freeholder, Ron Beaupre


Port Reports -  June 23

Marquette, Mich. – Rob Burdick
Lee A. Tregurtha arrived Monday morning at the Upper Harbor to unload limestone into the hopper. The visit was her first of the season.

St. Marys River
Fog closed the river early Monday, sending a handful of vessels to anchor, including Algoma Olympic, Joseph L. Block and Algoma Transport. Hon. James L. Oberstar was tied on the lower Poe Lock pier and the tug Radium Yellowknife was at the Purvis Dock on the Canadian side.

Stoneport, Mich. – Raymond Hill
On Monday, Calumet arrived and began loading. There were no vessels in Calcite, Cedarville or Port Inland on Monday.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Algoway arrived to unload just after 3 a.m. Monday and left at 11:15 a.m.


Ships running aground has “nothing to do with water levels”

6/23 - Cornwall, Ont. – The head of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation is “concerned’” about about the recent cases of ships running aground. But President and CEO Terence Bowles says the trend of ships getting stuck has “nothing to do with water levels.”

On Sunday, the cargo ship Tundra ran aground just east of Lancaster. Bowles said the Tundra was grounded in “soft sand” and there is no damage to the ship. He says, for some reason, the vessel travelled outside the narrow channel.

It comes days after the cruise ship Saint Laurent crashed into a bumper inside the Eisenhower Lock, injuring as many as 30 people on board. Another ship, the Algoma Spirit, ran aground off the south shore of Cornwall Island last month after experiencing an electrical problem.

Meantime, in the Welland Canal, a ship spilled fuel Thursday prompting a shutdown of the canal.

“These incidences that have happened are sort of independent (of each other) and they’re going to be investigated. So, of course I’m concerned. We have to find why this happened and do our best to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” CEO Terence Bowles said.

But the CEO is adamant it’s nothing to do with water levels.

“So far, it has nothing to do with water levels. Water levels have been acceptable and water levels have not been our problem so far this year. That doesn’t mean later in the year we may not have water level issues,” Bowles said.

He says pilots and captains have technology on board that clearly shows where the boat shouldn’t travel. “We have systems that show them the bottom of the waterway and anything that they would hit is red – it’s painted in red – on their screens so they can slow down,” he said.

The team from the Transportation Safety Board is investigating the Tundra case from Sunday.

“The biggest issue for us (the Seaway) is that it interrupts traffic, which is bad for the carriers. All these carriers are timed so when you get delays…it’s an expensive proposition,” Bowles added.

Cornwall Newswatch


Iron ore shipments on rise after icy April

6/23 - Duluth, Minn. –A second straight ice-filled spring saw the shipping industry playing catch-up in May. The month's shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway increased 53 percent compared to the ice-impacted April and 4 percent over the same month a year ago and the month's five-year average.

In numbers released last week by the Lake Carriers' Association, iron ore shipments totaled 6.6 million tons in May.

Loadings at U.S. ports on Lake Superior and Lake Michigan totaled nearly 6 million tons for the month, an increase of 2.6 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments from Canadian ports in the Seaway totaled 700,000 tons, an increase of 17.8 percent.

Through May, the year's ore trade stands at 14.9 million tons, an increase of 16.9 percent compared to a year ago. U.S. ports totaled 12.9 million tons through May, an increase of 18.3 percent over a year ago, but trailing the five-year average by 12 percent.

The Lake Carriers' Association represents 16 American companies that operate 56 U.S.-flag vessels on the Great Lakes and carrying a variety of raw materials, including iron ore and fluxstone for the steel industry, aggregate and cement for the construction industry, coal for power generation, as well as salt, sand and grain.

Collectively, the vessels can transport more than 115 million tons of cargo per year.

Duluth News Tribune


Breakwalls and Docks #15 – Charles S. Hebard part of a double dock facing at Charlevoix

The Charles S. Hebard was built at Cleveland and launched for the Wilson Transit Co. on Jan. 20, 1906. The 524 foot long bulk carrier spent its entire career in Wilson colors.

Service was mainly on the upper four Great Lakes but, on Oct. 20, 1933, the Charles S. Hebard arrived at Ogdensburg, N.Y., with 356,000 bushels of corn from Milwaukee. With the opening of the fourth Welland Canal, the ship was recorded as being the largest lake freighter to travel that far east to that date.

Charles S. Hebard was in a minor collision with the Sir William Siemens crossing Lake Superior on May 6, 1916, another, due to snow, with the James S. Dunham, in the lower St. Mary's River on Nov. 27, 1925, and a third, also on Lake Superior, with the Lavaldoc on May 8, 1928. None were considered serious.

A cylinder head blew in September 1964, injuring two members of the crew. The damage was considered not worth the cost of repairs to the 58-year-old freighter and it was laid up.

The cabins were removed at the Fraser shipyard in 1964-1965 and the hull was towed to Charlevoix, Mich., and sunk as a dock facing, along with Amasa Stone, for Medusa Cement, later in the year. They are still serving in that capacity.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #583 – Eugene J. Buffington struck Boulder Reef on June 23, 1942

The Pittsburgh Steamship Co. ore carrier Eugene J. Buffington spent 25 days on Boulder Reef after stranding on the rocks 73 years ago today. The 601'1” long vessel had its back broken in two places.

Had it not been for the demand for raw materials to help fight the enemy in Europe and across the Pacific, the Eugene J. Buffington would have been declared a total loss. But the carrying capacity was needed and the hull was removed from the rocks, strapped together and carefully towed to Chicago.

There the 33-year-old vessel, built at Lorain, Ohio, in 1909, was rebuilt in one of the largest repair jobs in Great Lakes history. It returned to service for United States Steel and continued to operate under their Pittsburgh Steamship Co. until tying up at Duluth on Nov. 24, 1974.

Following a sale for scrap, the ship departed Duluth, under tow, on July 13, 1980. It stopped at Milwaukee to load scrap and again at Port Huron. The tugs Paul E. No., Stormont and Barbara Ann ushered the ship down the Welland Canal on Aug. 27, 1980, bound for Montreal and then Quebec City.

The deep-sea tug Hirtenturm took the Eugene J. Buffington, and another former Pittsburgh freighter, J.P. Morgan Jr., out of Quebec City on Oct. 4, 1980, and they arrived at Bilbao, Spain, on Oct. 22, 1980. It waited there until the tug Aznar Jos. Luis moved the hull to Gijon on Nov. 13, 1980, for scrapping.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  June 23

Thirty one 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 oncoming 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.

1942 – EUGENE J. BUFFINGTON struck Boulder Reef, Lake Michigan and the hull cracked in two places. The vessel as on the rocks for 25 days until it coould be strapped together and refloated. The ship was towed to Chicago for one of the largest repair jobs in Great Lakes history.

1948 – CRETE and J.P. MORGAN JR. were in a head-on collision, in fog, off the Apostle Islands, Lake Superior. Both ships suffered extensive damage. Two were killed, 3 more injured, aboard the latter steamer. ALTADOC and E.A.S. CLARKE also collided in fog near the Apostle Islands but the damage, while requiring repairs, was less serious.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Damaged Saint Laurent leaves Eisenhower Lock area headed east

6/22 - At about 11 a.m. Sunday the cruise Saint Laurent departed the lower approach wall below Eisenhower Lock. Escorted by tug Ocean Pierre Julien, she turned and went down the channel towards Snell Lock. She was under her own power and is reported to be headed to a Quebec shipyard for repairs. After a preliminary review, no significant damage to Eisenhower Lock infrastructure has been identified.

Ron Beaupre


Tundra remains aground in Seaway as investigation begins

6/22 - The Cyprus-flagged bulk carrier Tundra ran hard aground on the St. Lawrence Seaway early Sunday just hours after reopening to vessel traffic following Thursday night’s cruise ship mishap in the Eisenhower Lock near Massena, New York.

The 30,000 DWT Tundra ran aground at approximately 1 a.m. Sunday on the Saint Lawrence River near Summerstown, Ont., just south of Lancaster.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada says it is deploying a team to investigate the grounding. Traffic is moving past the grounded vessel.

The incident comes after the cruise ship Saint Laurent hit a bumper in the Eisenhower Lock chamber, injuring several people and suspending navigation for 42 hours. Vessel traffic on the St. Lawrence Seaway resumed at 4 p.m. Saturday after the vessel was refloated and removed from the lock. The closure delayed 15 vessels, the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation reported.

Tundra is owned by Montreal-based Canfornav, part of Canadian Forest Navigation Co.

According to Transportation Safety Board investigation records, this is not the first time the Tundra has run aground in the St. Lawrence. In November 2012, while en route to Halifax, Nova Scotia, from Montreal, Quebec, the ship was grounded due to “fatigue and ineffective communication between the pilot and bridge team.”



Port Reports -  June 22

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
The first evening of summer at the Upper Harbor found Hon. James L. Oberstar loading ore and Michipicoten arriving to load.

Port Inland, Mich. – Raymond Hill
On Sunday, Ken Boothe Sr. and Lakes Contender arrived and began loading.

Cedarville, Mich. – Raymond Hill
On Sunday, Lee A Tregurtha arrived to load. Later, Joseph L Block arrived and also began loading.

Calcite, Mich. – Raymond Hill
Sunday, the American Mariner arrived at the North Dock. Later, the Manitowoc arrived, her dock of call unknown.

Stoneport, Mich. – Raymond Hill
On Sunday, the Great Republic arrived and began loading.

Grand Haven, Mich. – Dick Fox
The tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 delivered a load to Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg early Sunday morning. Calumet delivered a load of coal to the Board of Light and Power plant on Harbor Island in Grand Haven late on Sunday morning. PM41 and Undaunted passed the Calumet as it was backing out about noon to the delight of many tourists watching. At 8 p.m. the Calumet backed, out blowing several salutes.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Pathfinder and Dorothy Ann arrived Sunday afternoon for dock 3 and left at 10:20 p.m.


Four reasons why the Frankfort-area shipwreck can't be the Griffin

6/22 - Frankfort, Mich. – The Griffin, lost on the Great Lakes since 1679, and a wooden hull recently discovered in Lake Michigan have caught the public imagination, but the two are not the same.

Last week, Michigan authorities dove to the wreck in 80 feet of water near Frankfort. They confirmed what was suspected from earlier photos: That the hull couldn't possibly be the historical ship.

Also known by the French equivalent Le Griffon, explorer Rene-Robert Sieur de La Salle built and commanded the ship on behalf of King Louis XIV. During its maiden voyage, the Griffin departed from the area near present-day Green Bay, Wis. The ship and its crew of six was never seen again.

The two Muskegon County men who discovered the wreck, Kevin Dykstra and Frederick J. Monroe, have not responded to requests for comment since the authorities' announcement. The two went public with photos of the wreck in late 2014, saying they thought it might be the Griffin.

Michigan's Maritime Archaeologist, Wayne R. Lusardi, one of two guys who actually made the dive June 9, recently spoke to MLive Muskegon Chronicle and went into more detail about reasons why the wreck could not be the Griffin.

"It was pretty evident, based on a number of things," he said.

1. The type of vessel. The hull was about 80 feet long, by Lusardi's measurement – roughly twice the estimated length of the Griffin, he said. He said the wreck is a tugboat, built in the late 19th century or early 20th century. Dykstra once said one formation on the boat looked like the beak of a Griffin's figurehead, but Lusardi said the formation was a quagga-mussel encrusted strap, called a gudgeon, attached to the sternpost to support the rudder.

2. Cause of sinking. The wooden hull near Frankfort appeared charred from burning, Lusardi said. It's possible the boat caught fire and sunk, or was set on fire while being scuttled, Lusardi said. Neither of those two scenarios seem to fit with what's known about the Griffin's disappearance, he said.

3. Lack of artifacts. "There was a definite lack of artifacts and other materials on the boat," Lusardi said.

4. Presence of steam equipment. Finally, Lusardi said, he found the hull's steam boiler turned on its side near the tug's stern – technology from a different century than the Griffin. "The wreck is a tug boat," Lusardi said. "It has a steam boiler and riveted steel plates encasing the boiler."

Lusardi said there were lines attached to the boat which suggest it had been marked with a buoy at some time -- but not necessarily by divers. Sailors could have marked the wreck as a snag or the area could have been tagged as a good fishing spot, he said. What's certain is that Dykstra and Monroe were the first to report the wreck to the state.

"We appreciate the cooperation of Dykstra and company to provide information and coordinates to the state," Lusardi said. He's started a file on the ship and will look through historical references to see if the vessel can be identified.



Breakwalls and Docks #14 – Kinsman Venture spent several years on the bottom at Nanticoke

Kinsman Venture only operated briefly in 1969. The name had been changed from c) George M. Steinbrenner (i) earlier in the year and it managed to go aground in the Niagara River, at Tonawanda, N.Y., with a cargo of coal on May 19. Three tugs pulled the vessel free without damage but the lack of demand for the 534-foot-long steamer led its retirement before the season was over.

After a sale for scrap to Marine Salvage, Kinsman Venture was resold to Canadian Dredge and Dock, loaded with stone and towed to the developing Lake Erie port of Nanticoke. It was one of three ships sunk there as a breakwall and the trio remained on the bottom until August 1973.

After a brief time of lay-up at Toronto, the ship was resold to Spanish shipbreakers and arrived at Santander, under tow of the Polish tug Jantar, for dismantling on Aug. 3, 1974.

The vessel had been built at West Bay City, Mich., as John Sherwin (i) for the Gilchrist Transportation Co. It survived the fire that swept the shipyard on Dec. 30, 1905, and was launched on March 10, 1906. Enroute out the Saginaw River, the brand new ship hit the stone foundation of the Michigan Central Railroad Bridge when the span was slow to open. So, instead of entering service, the John Sherwin returned to the shipyard for repairs to four hull plates.

Later a member of the Interlake fleet, it became b) Saturn in 1958 and c) George M. Steinbrenner (i) on joining the Kinsman Transit Co. a year later. As Saturn, the ship never sailed but remained in lay-up at Ashtabula, Ohio.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #582 – Former Jarabella in a collision off South Korea on June 22, 1985

The Norwegian bulk carrier Jarabella was completed at Tonsberg, Norway, on April 1, 1963. It maintained saltwater service the first year but came through the Seaway for the initial time in 1964.

The 553 foot long vessel had six cargo holds and could carry 19,965 tons of cargo. It worked for Anders Jahre and was an annual Seaway trader from 1964 through 1967.

On April 2, 1964, Jarabella arrived at Halifax with a six-foot gash in the hull from a battle with ice off Cape Race, Newfoundland. It unloaded 200 Volkswagen cars by slings and then departed for an American port.

Jarabella was sold to Hyundai International Inc. of South Korea in 1972 and renamed Atlas Counsellor. It was 30 years ago today, June 22, 1985, that the vessel was in a collision with Oinoussai off Inchon, South Korea. The latter had been a Great Lakes visitor as Ferndale. There was considerable damage but Atlas Counsellor was repaired at Busan, South Korea, and returned to service.

This ship was also driven aground by Typhoon Dinah Aug. 31, 1987, at Pohang, South Korea, but successfully refloated on Sept. 5.

The former Jarabella was sold to Chinese shipbreakers in 1994 and arrived at Nantong on Dec. 30 to be dismantled in 1995.

Skip Gillham


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, c.) DAVID Z in 2007 and d.) CALUMET in 2008.

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.


Tundra grounds, delaying shipping on the Seaway

6/21 - When the Seaway reopened Saturday afternoon after Saint Laurent was removed from the Eisenhower Lock, the saltwater ship Tundra was the second ship to pass down. Saturday night she left the shipping channel at buoy Delta 40, east of Cornwall and south of Lancaster, Ont., and ran aground. Several ships were delayed again. Sunday morning, at about 7 a.m., it was decided that since the Tundra is 800 yards out of the channel, it was safe for ships to proceed past her. No passing is permitted near Tundra. Cause of this mishap is unknown at this time. Note that buoy D 40 is a quick flashing turning buoy. If Tundra failed to turn there, she went into very shallow water and may be firmly stuck in the mud.

Ron Beaupre


Cruise ship removed from Eisenhower Lock; Seaway reopened

6/21 - Massena, N.Y. - About 11 a.m. Sunday the Saint Laurent departed the lower approach wall below Eisenhower Lock. Escorted by tug Ocean Pierre Julien, she turned and went down the channel towards Snell lock. She is under her own power.

Original report - The St. Lawrence Seaway has reopened to traffic after the cruise ship Saint Laurent was pulled out of Eisenhower Lock by the Groupe Ocean tug Ocean Pierre Julien shortly after 4 p.m. Saturday.

Saint Laurent, with a jagged hole torn in her stem, was tied to the lower lock wall for inspection. Divers conducted a survey of the vessel and determined that the extent of the damage was to the bow of the vessel and that the vessel can sail under its own power.

The Saint Laurent is scheduled to sail to Quebec City, Canada, on Sunday.

Traffic through the locks had been suspended since 9:15 p.m. Thursday when the vessel struck a concrete bumper that protects the west gate after the ship entered the lock. The ship’s more than 270 passengers were removed by basket from the vessel Friday afternoon,

Ship traffic through the locks is expected to be heavy over the next several hours with seven ships listed as being between the Iroquois Locks, near Waddington, and Snell Lock late Saturday afternoon.

Cause of the accident has not been determined.

Watertown Daily Times, USCG


Bramble leaves Bean Dock for sea trials in Lake Huron

6/21 - Port Huron, Mich. – With a minimum of fanfare — three blasts from its horn and an honor guard of U.S. Naval Sea Cadets — the former U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bramble left her berth Saturday at the Bean Dock under its own power for the first time in years.

"We're going to do sea trials," said Bob Klingler, who owns the vessel. "The ship was probably last out in in 2008. We've got all the systems running."

The Bramble was decommissioned in 2003. On Saturday, it cruised up the St. Clair River, past the mooring spot of its successor, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock. The two vessels exchanged horn salutes as the Bramble headed for the Blue Water Bridge and the entrance to Lake Huron.

"This is to test the boat," Klingler said. "Everybody aboard is able bodied and certified."

Klingler said the volunteer crew of 28, many of whom are former Coast Guard members who served on the Bramble, completed refurbishing the ship's systems about three weeks ago. "We want to keep the ship active and 100 percent," Klingler said.

Richard Zolinski, of Saginaw, was watching from shore as the crew cast off lines and motored into the St. Clair River. "My son, Anthony, is the one responsible for refurbishing the engines," he said. "As a dad, I'm pretty proud."

The Bramble in August 2014 was towed south to Ecorse where it was involved in filming for a blockbuster movie that will debut in March 2016. Klingler could not reveal the name of the film because of contractual obligations.

Klingler and his wife, Sara, bought the Bramble in 2013 from the Port Huron Museum, which received the ship from the Coast Guard when it was decommissioned on May 22, 2003. The ship was commissioned on April 22, 1944.

Klingler said the Bramble is now a private vessel and will be maintained as such. It could be used for activities such as ice breaking, he said, if needed. It will continue to be a museum vessel, he said.

"When we're at the dock here, we're going to be open to promote the ship," he said. "Unlike other museum ships, it's going to be 100 percent functional. I just want to keep it as a historically functional artifact," he said.

Members of the Sea Cadets, in Port Huron for training aboard the U.S. Naval Sea Cadets Grayfox, served as the dock crew for the Bramble. "This a once-in-a-lifetime event," said Lt. Andrew Ammons, of Nashville, Tennessee, commanding officer of the Sea Cadets detail.

Chuck and Alice Gordon, of Marysville, were watching from shore as the Bramble pulled away. "When it was part of the museum, we both worked on it as volunteers," Church Gordon said. "We just wanted to see the old girl off."

Port Huron Times Herald



Port Reports -  June 21

Stoneport, Mich. – Raymond Hill
On Saturday, Philip R Clarke came in and began loading. Later, Joseph H Thompson and Jr. arrived.

Calcite, Mich. – Raymond Hill
Saturday, Undaunted and Pere Marquette arrived and began loading. Due in later in the day were the Lee A Tregurtha and Joseph L Block. There were no vessels in Calcite or Cedarville Saturday.

Grand Haven, Mich. – Dick Fox
Tug Prentiss Brown and barge St. Marys Challenger came in early Saturday morning with a load for the St. Marys Cement Terminal in Ferrysburg. It was expected to be here for 24 hours. Expected early Sunday is the Undaunted and Pere Marquette 41.

Manistee, Mich. – Chris Franckowiak and Brian Ferguson
The tug John M. Selvick and barge Lake Trader arrived at 6:30 p.m. Saturday to load logs at Rieth-Riley.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
The tug Rebecca Lynn and barge A-397 finally departed Buffalo around 4:30 p.m. Saturday evening. She had been trapped at the Black Rock Lock due to an electrical problem at the Ferry Street Bridge. All the down time waiting for the bridge to be fixed gave a the crew enough time to paint the entire barge a shiny black.


Mayor wants one law governing ballast water

6/21 - St. Catharines , Ont. – The mayor of St. Catharines hopes his motion on ship ballast water rides a wave of support to a level playing field.

A resolution presented by Walter Sendzik at the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative conference in Sarnia this week calling on the United States and Canadian governments to harmonize ballast water regulations received unanimous support.

Sendzik’s engagement with the ballast water issue dates back about two years, when he was still head of the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce. He said back then the New York state government implemented a plan to treat ballast water. Problem is, the technology to render the ballast water to the quality demanded by New York does not exist, Sendzik said.

He said the legislation, which was to come into effect this past January, would exempt U.S. vessels from the new regulations for five years. He said that under pressure from chambers of commerce and the provincial and federal governments, that legislation has been pushed back to January 2017.

“The other ships would have to reach that threshold,” Sendzik said, putting Canadian shipowners at a huge disadvantage since they would not be allowed to sail American waters.

Sendzik said his resolution — with the support of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative composed of the mayors of 144 U.S. and Canadian municipalities around the Great Lakes Basin — presents a unified front of stakeholders seeking harmonized rules related to Great Lakes shipping.

“It really does show binational strength … to really push for one level of ballast water regulation,” Sendzik said.

“What we’ve seen previously is that New York state will do one, then Michigan state will do one, then Ohio will do one. And we’re saying there needs to be one regulation that’s agreed upon …. And it should be a federal-to-federal regulation on ballast water as it pertains to the Great Lakes.”

Ballast water regulations came into play in the early 1990s to keep foreigns invaders — fish and plants — from entering the Great Lakes. At that time, ocean going vessels entering the Great Lakes were forbidden from discharging into the lakes ballast water taken near shore elsewhere.

With the passing of the harmonization resolution, Sendzik said it is now Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative policy that will be pushed at all levels of government on each side of the border.

One rule for everyone sits well with at least one Canadian shipping company.

“There’s been an issue for a number of years where we’ve had differing regulations in the U.S. — between the two federal governments and the various states around the lakes,” said Mira Hube, Algoma Central Corp.’s director of environment. “So harmonization of that would be very helpful.”

St. Catharines Standard


Groups appeal DNR decision on Northshore mine expansion

6/21 - Duluth, Minn. – Three environmental groups have filed an appeal of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources' decision not to conduct a full-fledged environmental impact statement on the expansion of the Peter Mitchell taconite iron ore mine near Babbitt.

The groups are asking the Minnesota Court of Appeals to reconsider the DNR's decision on the mine that provides taconite iron ore for Cliffs Natural Resources Northshore Mining processing plant in Silver Bay.

The groups — the Save Lake Superior Association, Wetlands Action Group and Save Our Sky Blue Waters — are concerned that the mine expansion will involve digging into rock with a high sulfur content, leading to the possibility of acidic mine runoff.

That possibility, the groups say, should have spurred a more detailed environmental review. That problem is usually associated with copper mining, not iron ore mining, and is the primary issue in opposition to proposed PolyMet copper mine just a few miles away.

The DNR in April ruled that expansion of the Cliffs Natural Resources operation can proceed now that a cheaper and less time-consuming Environmental Assessment Worksheet has been completed.

The project includes mining an additional 108 acres and constructing an engineered stockpile to manage sulfur-bearing waste rock. That's the kind of rock that, when exposed to air and water, can spur acidic runoff that can leach heavy metals out of the landscape. High sulfur levels also can damage wild rice. The expansion will extend Northshore operations up to 10 years.

Taconite iron ore that is mined in the Peter Mitchell pit is moved by train to Silver Bay, where it's concentrated and processed into pellets at the Northshore facility, formerly Reserve Mining Co., before being moved by boat to steel mills on the Great Lakes.

Northshore Mining has nearly 600 employees and produced 3.8 million tons of taconite in 2013, the most recent year for which state-verified numbers are available.

Duluth News Tribune


New buoy project to collect wave and weather data on Lake Superior

6/21 - Marquette, Mich. – When you're out on Lake Superior, wave and weather data can sometimes be hard to receive when you need it.

A new project involving data-collecting buoys is aiming to change that. A solar-powered wave buoy will float indefinitely out on Lake Superior to directly collect wave and weather data across the lake's south shore. Well, half of it anyway.

Before it was water-ready, some intensive assembly was required at the Presque Isle Marina. This buoy is the last of three is part of the Coastal Storms Program sponsored by the Great Lakes Observing System. The project lead, an Earth, Environmental and Geographical Sciences Assistant Professor at Northern Michigan University hopes these buoys will lead to increased boater and ship safety on Lake Superior.

"Currently, across the south shore of Lake Superior, there's no insight weather and wave data," said Norma Froelich, project lead. "It's all done off weather forecasts, so we're getting actual data from that that'll be supplied to the National Weather Service to help improve their forecasts."

Froelich says the National Weather Service and soon boaters will be able to access more helpful data in real time than ever before. "They'll be able to check wave direction, wave height and wave period," said Froelich. "Then, also weather conditions, temperature, humidity, wind speed and wind direction."

LimnoTech, an environmental consultant company based out of Ann Arbor, played no small part in the building and deploying of the buoys.

"LimnoTech's role is largely the technical portion; we've helped to coordinate the purchase and assembly of the buoys and helping to bring them up and deploy them," said LimnoTech Senior Scientist John Lenters. "We've got two out on the lake right now. One's at Granite Island, just north of Marquette and one's out at Grand Marais about 4 to 5 miles off shore."

After it was put together, the buoy was ready to be taken by boat to Granite Island for a month of testing. After that, it'll be moved to its permanent home at Grand Island near Munising.


Breakwalls and Docks #13 – Former steamer Queenston became the Bob-Lodoc

The retired bulk canaller Queenston was towed up the Welland Canal by Salvage Monarch and Salvage Prince on Sept. 30, 1961. The ship had been laid up at Cardinal until sold for use as a dock facing at Bob-Lo Island. The hull was stripped to the deck and the hull filled to become Bob-Lodoc.

This ship had been built at Sunderland, England, for a reported $175,000. It was launched on April 5, 1927, and came to the Great Lakes in May as Lachinedoc (i). The vessel was part of the Paterson Steamship Co. and operated in the canal bulk trades.

Lachinedoc ran aground off Ile aux Coudres on July 20, 1940, but was refloated the same day after 600 tons of coal was jettisoned. A year later, the vessel was requisitioned by the Canadian Government and departed for the South American bauxite trade. It was sold to the United States Maritime Commission in 1942 and refitted at Mobile, AL to transport airplanes.

After being idle in the James River Reserve Fleet after the war, Lachinedoc was purchased by Capt. Misener for his Colonial Steamship Co. Following a refit at Port Weller Dry Docks, the vessel resumed trading as b) Queenston. It continued in this service until the opening of the Seaway made it redundant.

The hull remains off Bob-Lo Island and now hosts a good crop of vegetation in any recent photos I have seen.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #581 – Former Thorscarrier ran aground and became total loss on June 21, 1979

The Norwegian salty Thorscarrier was built at Uddevalla, Sweden, and launched on April 28, 1959. The 467 foot, 2 inch long vessel came to the Great Lakes for a single trip in 1966 and was back for two more visits in 1967.

On July 13, 1967, Thorscarrier dropped anchor while downbound near Cornwall and proceeded to run over it, punching a hole in the hull. The leaking freighter was inspected, declared seaworthy and cleared to proceed to Montreal.

The ship was sold and renamed b) Vindafjord in 1968 and became c) Nordave in 1978. The latter transaction brought the ship under the flag of Greece.

Nordave ran aground 36-years ago today. It stranded not far from Karachi, Pakistan, en route from there to Kandla, India, in ballast. It was the monsoon season and the 20-year-old freighter was blown ashore and became a total loss.

Following a subsequent sale to Pakistani shipbreakers, the hull was broken up for scrap.

Skip Gillham


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 a.m. and picked up the survivors - only 44 of them. In September, MORNING STAR was raised, towed to Lorain and re-sunk in 55 feet of water, for possible future rebuilding. Attempts were made to raise her again several times, but in the summer of 1872, she was abandoned because it was determined that the previous attempts had reduced her to rubble.

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

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

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

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

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

June 21, 1916 - The ANN ARBOR NO 5, after departing the shipyards in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on June 21, 1916, where 3 buckets (blades) were replaced on her starboard propeller, arrived in 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.

1910 – The tug C.W. ELPHICKE sank at Michigan City, Indiana, after a bizarre accident. The steamer UNITED STATES had struck the Franklin Street Bridge, which then collapsed on the tug. The tug was salvaged on July 12.

1941 – BOMMESTAD, a small Norwegian freighter, came to the Great Lakes in the 1920s and 1930s. It was sold and renamed HILDA in 1934 and registered in Finland when it was torpedoed and sunk by U-52 in the Bay of Biscay while enroute from Dunkirk, France, to the U.K. with a cargo of wheat.

1964 – The Norwegian freighter STELLA NOVA ran aground off Alexandria Bay, N.Y., while enroute from Duluth to Bombay, India. It was refloated June 24 with major bottom damage but was repaired. It had been a Seaway trader as a) VITO in 1959 and was scrapped as f) CORALBA after arriving at Split, Yugoslavia, on September 19, 1978.

On 21 June 1900, the wooden bulk freighter R C BRITTAIN was raised at Toledo, Ohio. She was 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, Skip Gillham, David Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Seaway reopens

6/20 - Massena, N.Y. 10 p.m. update - The Saint Laurent  was freed from the lock wall with the assistance of the tug Ocean Pierre Julien and was moved to a lower wall of the seaway. Divers conducted a survey of the vessel and determined that the extent of the damage was to the bow of the vessel and that the vessel can sail under its own power. The Saint Laurent is scheduled to sail to Quebec City, Canada Sunday. Navigation is open at the Eisenhower Lock. At least 17 vessels have been delayed due to the closure.

5 p.m. update– At 3:50 p.m. the damaged passenger ship Saint Laurent was towed off the concrete wall she was perched upon by the Groupe Ocean tug Ocean Pierre Julien. The tow proceeded out of the lock and was secured at the lower end of the approach wall below the lock. Once inspections of the lock are completed, traffic will resume.

The tug Ocean Pierre Julien was approaching the Snell Lock Saturday morning, and she will try to pull the Saint Laurent off her perch in the Eisenhower lock. There are now 22 ships waiting for that lock.

Original Report - Nearly half a million dollars in commerce has been lost since the shutdown of the Eisenhower Lock Thursday night after the cruise ship Saint Laurent struck a concrete knee wall on the west gate of the Eisenhower Lock on the St. Lawrence River.

As a result of the accident, about 12 vessels had been delayed as of 5 p.m. Friday while a salvage plan was being organized for the damaged cruise ship. The cost: $25,000 in commerce per hour, according to St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation officials.

“There are about a dozen vessels delayed or preparing to stop, there is hope that we can limit that impact to the trade,” St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation Director of Lock Operations and Marine Services Lori K. Curran said during a news conference Friday.

“It is a critical transportation route and we want to do all that we can to make sure that we provide a safe and efficient reliable waterway,” Mrs. Curran said. “Unfortunately, this has transpired so safety has to be dealt with first, but we will do all that we can to move the ship along so that commerce can resume.”

The Saint Laurent was carrying 274 people, including passengers and crew, when it hit the lock Thursday night. More than a dozen ambulances took 30 French passengers to Massena Memorial Hospital after the cruise ship struck the wall, which acts as a fender to protect the gate.

“I understand that it was loud, it was obvious that something was amiss, the lock crew and supervisor on duty immediately went out to assess the situation and realized there was trouble,” Mrs. Curran said. “It wasn’t a case of being able to help the vessel secure any differently than what would normally happen. It was stopped and then it was just a case of communicating with the vessel, with the master, with the pilot to determine what needed to happen next.”

Meanwhile, the passengers — all French nationals — spent the night on the ship due to immigration law, St. Lawrence County Emergency Services Director Michael J. LeCuyer said early Friday morning.

During the news conference Friday afternoon, SLSDC Administrator Betty S. Sutton said all the passengers had been evacuated from the ship during the course of the day and were being taken by bus back to Montreal, from where the ship departed. The Saint Laurent had been headed to Toronto.

“As a result of the incident, no pollution has been found, no significant damage to Eisenhower Lock infrastructure has been identified at this time, though our safety investigators remain active,” Ms. Sutton said. “A salvage plan is being developed and a dive inspection has been conducted to assess the damage to the vessel. After the plan and the assessment are analyzed, the vessel will be safely refloated.”

An investigation into what cause the crash is ongoing, according to Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Massena Supervisor Lt. Cmdr. Carl M. Kepper.

“I have staff on board the vessel at this moment working with the salvage operator to work on a salvage plan,” Mr. Kepper said.

Damage to the vessel included a 10-foot indentation of the hull of the vessel in the bow which allowed for the compartment to take on 20 feet of water before it was halted, Mr. Kepper said.

“There was no additional flooding beyond that compartment, no pollution, no other damage structurally, that we are aware of, to the inside of that vessel,” Mr. Kepper said. “The ship will remain in the lock with both doors closed until it can be moved to a different location. The captain is still aboard the vessel and will continue to navigate the vessel once it departs that lock.”

But it is still too early to determine how long it will be before the ship will be able to moved, Mrs. Curran said.

“The dive survey has just been completed. They are still reviewing survey results … and then we can make a determination going forward from there,” Mrs. Curran said. “Our goal is safety of personnel and the safety of the vessel, stability of the vessel now that the passengers are off. That major concern has been successfully completed.”

The SLSDC is currently involved in the facilitation and assistance in the salvage operations for refloating this vessel, Mrs. Curran said.

“As soon as that can happen — the experts are looking into all the details of how that is going to happen — we can get this vessel out of the lock chamber and once that transpires we will be able to move the other vessels that are currently delayed.”

With the ship trapped in the lock, responders from Massena CERT Ambulance and Rescue had to use a cherry picker to access the vessel and take out patients. CNN affiliate WWNY said the injured, accompanied by relatives, were taken off the ship to be checked out at a local hospital.

Massena Memorial Hospital officials said more than 50 additional staff members were at the facility within 20 minutes after receiving word that there had been several injuries Thursday night when a cruise ship crashed into a concrete barrier in Eisenhower Lock.

The Saint Laurent is the former Cape May Light. Both the Cape May Light and the her sistership, Cape Cod Light, were designed to cruise the U.S. East Coast, Maritime Canada and into the St. Lawrence River and Seaway.

The ship is owned by Adventurer Owner Ltd., and operated by FleetPro Ocean of Miami, Fla. Flagged in the Bahamas, it is being marked by the U.S.-based Haimark Line, which invested more than $3.5 million to refurbish the ship for this summer’s cruising season.

Watertown Daily Times and  Ron Beaupre


Port Reports -  June 20

Port Inland, Mich. – Raymond Hill
Friday, the Wilfred Sykes arrived and began loading.

Cedarville, Mich. – Raymond Hill
Victory and James L. Kuber arrived and began loading on Friday.

Stoneport, Mich. – Raymond Hill
On Friday, the John G. Munson arrived and began loading. Later, the Olive L. Moore and Lewis J. Kuber dropped anchor to wait for the Munson to depart.

Calcite, Mich. – Raymond Hill
Friday, H Lee White arrived at the North Dock and began loading. Later in the day, the Cason J. Callaway arrived at the South Dock.

Toledo, Ohio
Cuyahoga was at Anderson’s K elevator loading Thursday night. As of Friday morning she was still at the K dock and her boom was stowed.

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
After the bulker Tundra departed from Redpath late this past Wednesday, the demolition crew returned early Thursday morning and continued dismantling the Colby unloader. The machinery platform was hoisted off in one piece and lowered onto the dock. With the platform out of the way the crane next hoisted the Mack four line clamshell bucket out of its cradle. Today workers spent the day cutting up the machinery platform. It is slow slogging for the Ports Toronto Keating Channel dredging operation. After a week of dredging the Derrick 50 is still working at the east end of the channel at the mouth of the Don River. Waterfront scuttlebutt has it that Ports Toronto has contracted Heddle Marine in Hamilton to build a replacement spud barge for the old Derrick 50


Coast Guard saves four after vessel sinks on Lake Michigan

6/20 - Milwaukee, Wis. - The Coast Guard rescued four men from a sinking 31-foot charter vessel about five miles off of Manitowoc, Wis., Friday. At about 1:45 p.m., watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan in Milwaukee received a Mayday call over VHF-FM channel 16 from the crew aboard the vessel Databytes stating they were rapidly taking on water.

The watchstander issued an Urgent Marine Information Broadcast and immediately diverted a rescue crew from Coast Guard Station Two Rivers that was conducting training in the area. The rescue crew responded and arrived on scene within five minutes.

Once on scene, the rescue crew transferred the four men, who were all wearing life jackets, onto the Coast Guard 45-foot response boat. Two Coast Guard members went aboard the vessel to commence dewatering with a pump. The pump was unable to keep up with rising water inside the vessel and both crew members quickly returned to the Coast Guard rescue boat. The 31-foot vessel capsized and sank in 90 feet of water within minutes after everyone was safely aboard the Coast Guard boat.

"From the distress call we heard over the radio, the Coast Guard watchstanders were able to utilize the Rescue 21 system to determine the exact location of the sinking vessel and divert one of our crews that was nearby to provide immediate assistance," said Capt. Amy Cocanour, commander of Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan.

“This case is also a great example of how having the proper safety equipment on board, specifically life jackets and a marine radio, and knowing how to use the gear in times of distress can greatly enhance survivability."

The four persons were brought to Manitowoc Marina. There were no injuries. Coast Guard marine inspectors from Marine Safety Detachment Sturgeon Bay were sent to the scene to investigate and found no signs of pollution.

The master of the vessel is working on plans to locate and salvage the vessel.



New book celebrates early shipbuilding family of Lorain

6/20 - Lorain, Ohio – A new book celebrates one family of early Great Lakes shipbuilders who became figurative mooring lines tying hundreds of vessels to Lorain.

“The Great Lakes Vessels of Augustus Jones and his Shipbuilding Sons William, Benjamin Buel, George Washington, Frederick Nelson and James Monroe from 1818 to 1881,” is the latest tome adding to the nautical heritage of Lorain, dating from when the settlement known as Mouth of the Black River. “They were here so early,” said co-author Matthew Weisman of Elyria. “They had a lot of influence on the Great Lakes.”

The 360-page book is a “complete listing of vessels of the most famous shipbuilding family of the early Great Lakes.” It is a collaboration of Weisman, Lorain historian Paula Shorf of San Francisco and James H. Jones, the great-great-great-grandson of Augustus, through the family line of his son Frederick Nelson Jones.

The three will be together noon to 4 p.m. June 21 at the Jackalope Lakeside restaurant, 301 Lakeside Ave., Lorain. The trio will unveil their new book and have an inaugural book-signing.

In 1818, patriarch Augustus Jones came to Ohio from Essex, Connecticut. After the War of 1812, Lake Erie was secured for transportation and commerce. The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to the middle of the United States before there were networks of railroads or highways. “He came up here because the lakes were just opening,” Weisman said. “They were a great highway for immigrants to come in and farm products coming out.”

Jones arrived in Ohio with a good reputation, Weisman said, and he began building boats that were better than others. “He came in and he changed a lot of the vessel design,” Weisman said.

The vessels ran about 90 to 200 feet long and Jones built them wider but not so deep to accommodate the shallow ports of the Great Lakes. Jones’ boats also were faster than others. He would maximize the canvas sail on schooners that could tack into the wind and required fewer men to crew than ocean-going square-riggers that run before the wind, Weisman said. Augustus had five sons who all became shipbuilders, but they didn’t stay in Lorain. George Washington moved to Cleveland for opportunity, Frederick moved to Buffalo through his wife.

An island off Milwaukee still is named Jones Island for the family, after James Monroe Jones, the only son born in Lorain. James Monroe Jones made his fortune with a shipyard, lost it, repaid his debts, then moved to Detroit to build ships there.

In the 1800s the Midwest still was filled with trees that would become beams and masts, Weisman said.

“You have to remember, when they came here this area was total forest,” he said. “There was a lot of good ship-building wood.”

The oak trees made solid planks that would seem to last forever — except for the rough life of the Great Lakes.

The ships were true working haulers, not pleasure craft, and their captains and crews at times risked their lives on the job. Many vessels listed in “The Great Lakes Vessels of Augustus Jones” have numerous historic references for shipping cargo — and for getting pummeled by collisions, explosions, fires, sandbars, rocks and storms.

The book’s back cover features an illustration of “the graceful barkentine Zack Chandler,” built by James Monroe Jones in Detroit in 1867. The 194-foot vessel looks like the picture of nautical grace floating over waves.

The “Zack Chandler” plied the lakes for 25 years until Oct. 29, 1892, when a northerly gale separated the vessel from a steamer that was towing it.

“She (the “Zack Chandler”) was overwhelmed and broke up on shore in about 15 minutes,” the report said. “Five crew made it to shore in boat, loss of life one.”

Morning Journal


“Know Your Ships” editor to speak Monday at Cheboygan library

6/20 - Roger LeLievre, editor of the freighter-watching field guide “Know your Ships,” will talk about the annual publication at the Cheboygan Area Public Library, 100 S. Bailey St., Monday at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free. Books will be for sale and will be signed on request.


Breakwalls and Docks #12 – Adrian Iselin serves Luedtke Engineering as a dock at Frankfort

The Adrian Iselin is still intact as a dock for Luedtke Engineering at Frankfort, Mich. The 101-year-old hull also spent time as a breakwall at Two Creeks, Wis., during the construction of a power plant.

The ship was built at Wyandotte, Mich., and launched on March 11, 1914, for the George Hall Coal Co. It saw deep-sea service for the U.S. Shipping Board during World War 1 but returned to the lakes and was often involved in the coal trade.

Adrian Iselin was converted to a crane equipped bulk freighter at River Rouge, Mich., in 1940 but rebuilt there for work under the U.S. Maritime Commission two years later. It was returned to the Nicholson Transit Co. after the war and served them for many more years.

The 257 foot long vessel was sold for scrap to Hyman-Michaels in 1961. But the hull was resold, stripped to the deck at Ashtabula in 1961-1962 and saw additional service as a Detroit River refuse barge.

Following a sale to Luedtke Engineering in 1967, the tug John Purves towed Adrian Iselin to Kewaunee, Wis., in the spring prior to it becoming a temporary breakwall.

After being refloated, the ship was idle at Manistee, Mich., and later sunk by Luedtke Engineering as a dock at the east end of the bay at Frankfort, Mich.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #580 – Former Inverewe sank following a collision on June 20, 1973

Inverewe made 18 trips to the Great Lakes from 1962 to 1967. The ship had been built at Oslo, Norway, as Atlantic Trader in 1961 and came through the Seaway on one occasion that year.

The deep-sea ship was owned, for a time, by a subsidiary of Maple Leaf Mills and, as such, was under the banner of the Upper Lakes Shipping group. A self-unloading system was designed and installed but it was not a success and thus removed and scrapped.

On Nov. 16, 1964, while upbound and light, Inverewe was in a collision in heavy fog off Pipe Island, lower St. Marys River with Thomas F. Cole. The latter received heavy damage to her port bow.

Inverewe also spent some time on charter for Federal Commerce & Navigation (Fednav) and was sold for $1,500,000 in 1968 becoming Nausicaa and then Theokeetor in 1972. Both were Liberian flag freighters and the latter made an appearance in the Seaway in 1972.

On June 20, 1973, this ship was in a collision in dense fog with Marina L. and sank off Baja, Mexico. The vessel was on a voyage from Tocopilla, Chile, to Shanghai, China, with nitrates. All on board were saved.

Skip Gillham


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.

1953 – The Paterson steamer SCOTIADOC sank in Lake Superior near Trowbridge Island after a collision in wind and fog with the BURLINGTON of Canada Steamship Lines. One man was lost when the starboard lifeboat was swamped after being launched.

1954 – The bulk carrier PATRIA, built in Canada during World War Two as the tanker MOOSE MOUNTAIN PARK, was declared a total loss after coming ashore 1 mile northwest of East Point, Santa Rosa Island, California. The ship was salvaged, repaired and made one trip through the Seaway in 1961 as PATAPSCO RIVER before being scrapped at Hirao, Japan, in 1963.

1973 – The bulk carrier ATLANTIC TRADER first traded through the Seaway in 1961 and returned on a regular basis as INVEREWE beginning in 1962. It was back again as d) THEOKEETOR in 1972 but sank June 20, 1973, after a collision with MARINA L. in dense fog off the Baja Peninsula of Mexico. All on board were saved.

1978 – A fire broke out in the cargo of coal aboard WILLIS B. BOYER and the ship docked at River Rouge where part of the cargo was unloaded to get at the fire. The vessel was enroute from Toledo to Silver Bay.

1995 – SAULT AU COCHON, built by Port Weller Dry Docks as a pulpwood barge in 1969, buckled and sank at Forestville, QC. The hull was refloated and taken to Hamilton for repairs later in the year.

2007 – KAPITAN RADIONOV first came to the Great Lakes in May 1992 with coal tar for Cleveland. It sank in severe weather on this date in 2007 as i) ALEXANDRA C. after flooding began in the engine room the previous day. The vessel went down 95 miles off Socotra Island, Yemen, while enroute to Australia with ammonium nitrate. All 19 crew on board were rescued.

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 that 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 21 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, Skip Gillham, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Injuries reported after passenger ship Saint-Laurent hits Eisenhower Lock bumper

6/19 - 3 p.m. update -The Coast Guard is continuing to respond Friday to a cruise ship that hit a concrete wall in the Eisenhower Lock in the St. Lawrence Seaway in Massena, New York.

Thursday night, 30 people were removed from the ship due to injuries. Of those, 28 were released from the hospital and returned to the ship.

Passengers and luggage are being taken off the vessel in baskets attached to cranes. They will be loaded onto buses, and driven to Montreal, Canada. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation personnel are in the baskets to assist passengers. U. S. Customs and Border Protection are on the vessel clearing all passengers before departure off the vessel. It may take up to six hours to remove all the people from the ship. There were 274 people, including passengers and crew, aboard at the time of the collision.

The vessel remains in the lock.

An initial damage assessment indicated that 10 feet of the bow was pushed inward during the impact, causing water intrusion in the bow area. There have been no reports of additional water intrusion since the lock was partially drained. Navigation is currently suspended in this section of the seaway until the Saint Laurent can be moved. At least nine vessels have been delayed due to the closure.

The ship will remain in the lock with both doors closed until it is safely refloated and can be moved to different location.

There continue to be no indications of any pollution.

The Eisenhower Lock is one of two U.S. locks on the 10-mile-long Wiley-Dondero Canal, which provides access to Lake St. Lawrence and is operated by the SLSDC, a modal administration of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Original report - The Saint Laurent - a 300 foot cruise ship - struck a part of the Eisenhower Lock late Thursday night and began taking on water, according to St. Lawrence County Emergency Manager Mike LeCuyer. He said the ship hit one of the gates to the lock.

As a precaution, the lock was drained of water, he said. The boat is sitting on concrete. He said three or four people were hurt - and one of the injuries may be serious.

Rescue squads and fire departments from around the Massena area and into Franklin County were called to the scene. LeCuyer said there were 124 people on board, and they would be brought out by crews using ladders. He said they were in no danger.

At 9:25 p.m. Thursday, Seaway Eisenhower called ships in its sector to ask them to proceed to anchorages or go to tie-up walls below the Eisenhower Lock and Snell locks.

Shortly thereafter, Eisenhower Lock radio reported that a crane had been called in to lift injured passengers from the vessel. They cannot raise the ship in the lock as she hit the bumper at the upper end of the lock so hard she has a large hole in her. Therefore the injured passengers had to be craned off the ship. The extent of the injuries were unknown.

The Seaway will be shut down until further notice.

Saint-Laurent is in her first season of Great Lakes/Seaway cruising. The vessel is being booked by the U.S.-based Haimark Line. Based in Denver with sales, marketing and, operations offices in Chicago, Haimark Line offers small-ship coastal expedition cruises in North, Central, and South America.

Ron Beaupre, Fox 7


Welland Canal reopens after Thursday fuel spill

6/19 - Traffic was halted on the Welland Canal Thursday for clean-up of a fuel spill, which occurred while a ship was refueling at Port Weller.

The incident occurred shortly after 1:30 a.m., when Canada Steamship Lines (CSL) vessel, the Atlantic Huron, was fueling with the vessel Sterling Energy at Wharf 2, located on the west side of the harbor at the inner end of the breakwaters in Port Weller.

According to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, CSL estimates that between 100 and 150 litres of fuel oil were released. As soon as the spill was discovered, fueling operations were stopped, and authorities, including the Canadian Coast Guard, were notified.

Andrew Bogora, spokesperson for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, said navigation on the canal was halted almost immediately after the spill, with six being anchored either within the canal or just outside the mouths of the canal.

"The key is to be extremely careful to ensure no current or wake action disturbs the fuel contained in the booms so that remediation efforts can take place," he said.

The canal reopened to traffic shortly before 5 p.m. Thursday, but it was only after, Bogora said, everyone was confident the fuel had been completely cleaned up.

"There's no substitute for getting the job done right, and that's what we'll do before letting navigation resume," he said.

Niagara This Week


Steel production rebounds by 28,000 tons

6/19 - Chicago, Ill. – Raw steel production in the Great Lakes region surged to 621,000 tons last week, up from 593,000 tons a week earlier.

Steel output has been much lower than normal all this year amid a torrent of imports that now account for a historic 32 percent of the total market share. Overall U.S. production trails 2014 by 7.3 percent.

Great Lakes steel production rose by 28,000 tons, or 4.7 percent, in the week that ended last Saturday, according to an American Iron and Steel Institute estimate. Overall U.S. steel output rose by 1.4 percent over the same period.

Most of the raw steel production in the Great Lakes region takes place in the Chicago area, mainly Lake and Porter counties in Northwest Indiana. Indiana has led the nation in steel production for more than 30 years

Production in the Southern District, which encompasses mini-mills across the American South, dipped to 599,000 tons last week, down from 602,000 tons the week before.

Total domestic raw steel production last week was about 1.747 million tons, up from 1.722 million tons a week earlier.

Nationally, domestic steel mills had a capacity utilization rate of 73.9 percent last week, up from 72.8 percent a week earlier. The capacity utilization rate had been 78.5 percent at the same time a year earlier.

Year-to-date output has been 40.1 million net tons, at a capacity utilization rate of 72.4 percent, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

NW Indiana Times


Port Reports -  June 19

Muskegon, Mich.
Mesabi Miner arrived in port Thursday evening to unload coal, after taking a delay due to fog.

Calcite, Mich. – Raymond Hill
On Thursday, Sam Laud arrived at the North Dock and began loading. No vessels were in Stoneport, Cedarville or Port Inland on Thursday.

Rochester, N.Y. – Tom Brewer
Stephen B. Roman departed from Essroc's dock about 8 a.m. Thursday, in ballast, bound for Picton, Ont.

Oshawa, Ont. – Lorraine Morrill
The tanker Harbour Pioneer was in port Thursday.


Historic replicas of Nina and Pinta retreat from Black Rock Canal

6/19 - Buffalo, N.Y. – Seven-year-old Noah Stolzenfels and his family thought they’d get the chance to see replicas of Christopher Columbus-era ships the Nina and the Pinta in their home town of North Tonawanda.

“I like how there are two stories,” Noah said, looking up at the ships bobbing in the marina. “I like how there are doors back there.”

Instead, they had to travel to the Erie Basin Marina — where the vessels were forced to dock after yet another problem with the Ferry Street bridge.

The bridge was stuck in the down position last month, preventing local sailboats from coming and going from Rich Marina. The problem was fixed until this week’s heavy rain shorted out a circuit board that controlled the bridge’s operation, according to Buffalo Public Works Commissioner Steve Stepniak.

This time, it was the Nina and the Pinta — and their crew of 14 — that fell victim.

“We left from Rochester, traveled through the Welland Canal smoothly, crossed Erie here, and tried to head up to Tonawanda, and the Ferry Street bridge had some issues,” said Nina captain Stephen Sanger. “And obviously with our high rigging, we had to pull over and wait and then got confirmation and then got confirmation that the bridge was not going to be fixed anytime soon. So we came back down to the Erie basin Marina.”

Spending 11 months of out of each year on the water, Sanger and crew change course easily.

“Sometimes you got to expect it, you know,” he said. “We travel you’re around and this is one of the first got a hiccups that we’ve ever had so it’s not so bad. But it is a little frustrating, but hopefully it won’t be an issue and will be able to open up here.”

City officials have ordered the replacement part. But the wait will continue. As will the wait for the next malfunction during bridge construction that’s expected to last through the summer.

The repair can be made as soon as the part arrives, Stepniak said. Crews will also be talking with the construction contractor to see if the bridge can remain in the up position, and only be lowered when necessary.

The Erie Basin Marina will be the home of the historic ships until they depart to their next destinations next Wednesday. Any tourist can view or tour the ships at the marina from 9 a.m. through 6 p.m.



Kewaunee shipwrecks hold archaeological treasures

6/19 - Kewaunee, Wis. – If you spy pieces of coal among the beach stones along Kewaunee's harbor, you may be looking at a piece of history, says Richard L. Dorner, center director for the Kewaunee County Historical Society's History Center.

The coal is probably from the Emerald, a barge that capsized in Kewaunee Harbor in 1888 in the middle of a November gale. The barge smashed on the rocks and the crew tried to get to the pier in a rowboat, but the boat capsized and only one sailor survived.

"More than a hundred years after it sunk, coal continues to wash up on the beach," Dorner said.

While coal is all that remains of the Emerald tragedy (because the barge was later salvaged), there are two historically significant shipwrecks off Kewaunee's shores. The remains of these wrecks – the Daniel Lyons and America – both were recently listed on the Wisconsin Register of Historic Places and the National Register of Historic Places and are enticing divers to the county.

The Daniel Lyons and America were both canallers, unique box-shaped vessels designed to fit through the Welland Canal locks that allowed them to bypass Niagara Falls.

"They brought grain from Milwaukee and Chicago to the Eastern ports," said Tamara Thomsen, maritime archaeologist with the Wisconsin Historical Society. "They were only used for a short time on the Great Lakes."

With only inches to spare while passing through the locks, canallers carried the grain from ports on Western Lake Michigan and Superior to eastern ports on Lake Ontario. When they returned from the east, they were often loaded with coal used to power and heat Midwest cities.

"There are a lot of local divers that visit these wrecks," said Connie Skarvan, who with her husband Keith owns a dive shop, Aqua Center of Green Bay. "They are excellent wrecks and the divers have excellent results.

By excellent results, Skarven means that the underwater remains of the ships are clearly visible on the lake bottom and tell the story of the ship and its demise.

The schooner America lies in 120 feet of water four miles offshore of the town of Carlton. It is marked by a white buoy from May through October and is only for advanced divers, Thomsen said.

"I grew up in Kewaunee and was 46 the first time I got to see it," said Ray Nimmer, a scuba diver who now lives in Green Bay. "It was like a time capsule."

Nimmer, who has dived to both the America and Daniel Lyons sites, said that the "America is a cooler site to dive." He said that it is directly out east from the Kewaunee nuclear power station and that it "is more intact with the bow stills standing and a cargo hatch."

The site of the Daniel Lyons is located 4 miles off Stoney Creek's outlet into Lake Michigan and nine miles northeast of Algoma in 110 feet of water and is marked by both a buoy and an historic plaque.

"Much of the standing and running rigging is present, including masts, topmasts, gaffs, booms and wire-rope – all strewn about the wreck site," Thomsen said.

Skarvan, who grew up in Kewaunee and graduated from Kewaunee High School said that she developed her passions for scuba diving while living here and now leads scuba diving trips to the Caribbean, the Fiji Islands and other locations around the world.

"People in the county don't realize what a draw shipwrecks can be to the area," she said. "They bring people who launch from the harbors, eat in the restaurants, stay in the hotels."

She said that in the early 2000s, she was part of a group that sought to intentionally sink a ship off Kewaunee County to draw divers to the area. The local governments were not interested at the time, and the ship was later sunk in Lake Michigan off a tourist town in Michigan.

Interest in scuba diving shipwrecks continues to grow, she said. The Neptune's Diving Club in Green Bay draws divers from both Kewaunee and Door counties, she said. It meets at 7 p.m. the second Tuesday of the month at Wally's Supper Club in Green Bay. For more information, call (920) 468-8080.

Kewaunee County Star-News


Breakwalls and Docks #11 – Chembarge No. 2 sunk as a dock and later broken up

Chembarge No. 2 was built at Hull, England, for the Lakes and St. Lawrence Transportation Co. It was launched as Casco on May 17, 1927, and came to Canada, likely with a cargo of coal, in June.

The 261 foot long bulk carrier was a great fit for the old canal system and it carried both grain and coal. It was operated on behalf of the Canada Starch Co. and frequently brought corn to the company storage elevator at Cardinal, Ont.

The ship joined N.M. Paterson & Sons Ltd. as b) Thordoc (ii) in February 1955. It saw some service moving iron ore from Contrecoeur, Q.C., to Great Lakes ports before returning east with grain.

Thordoc operated through the 1959 season and then tied up at Kingston before being towed to Lachine. It was sold for scrap to Marine Salvage and arrived at Port Colborne, under tow of the tugs G.W. Rogers and Port Weller, on May 23, 1962.

After being resold to Tank Truck Transports, the vessel was brought to Sarnia in June 1964 and converted to a chemical barge. The ship saw some limited service under tow but was sunk as a sand dock for Holmes Foundry at the foot of Exmouth Street. It not only served the company's needs but also as a customs dock for a marina.

Gradually the area was filled in and, when the foundry closed for property redevelopment, the remains of the old canaller were removed and broken up for scrap.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #579 – City of Collingwood destroyed by a fire on June 19, 1905

The wooden passenger and freight steamer City of Collingwood was built at Owen Sound and launched there on May 24, 1893. The ship measured 226 feet long by 34 feet at the beam and soon entered service for the North Shore Navigation Co.

The famous Chicago World's Fair was underway that year and was a huge attraction. City of Collingwood spent a considerable part of its first year carrying patrons from Collingwood to Chicago to view the exhibition.

Changes around the lakes resulted in the oak-hulled City of Collingwood joining Northern Navigation in 1899. This continued until the ship was destroyed in 1905.

It was 110 years ago today that a fire erupted in the steamer while docked at Collingwood and spread throughout the ship. The vessel was destroyed and four lives were lost in the tragedy.

Skip Gillham


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 by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd. for Algoma Central Railway. Renamed b.) ATLANTIC TRADER in 1994, and renamed c.) ALGOBAY in 1996 and d.) RADCLIFFE R. LATIMER in 2012.

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.

1905 – The wooden passenger and freight steamer CITY OF COLLINGWOOD of 1893 vintage was destroyed by a fire at Collingwood and four lives were lost.

1917 – The Canadian bulk carrier NATIRONCO was beached in the Detroit River after a collision with the ASTERN STATES and was deemed a total loss. It was raised and repaired at Toledo and survived until scrapping at Civitavecchia, Italy, as d) SAN CARLO in 1929.

1925 – The wooden freighter MAPLEGLEN (i), is scuttled in Lake Ontario, west of Kingston, near Amherst Island. It had been idle since 1921 and was originally the WYOMING of 1881.

1929 –JOHN HANLAN was torched as a spectacle off the Sunnyside area of Toronto after having failed an inspection to continue service as a Toronto Island ferry. 1933 – MEADCLIFFE HALL sustained rudder damage after being struck by the CALGADOC (i) at Thorold. The grain-laden canaller was towed back to Port Colborne, unloaded, and repaired at Port Dalhousie.

1962 – Hatch cover planks give way at Cleveland aboard FLOWERGATE and a forklift and two men fell into the cargo hold, striking a third man. All were badly injured. The British freighter later returned through the Seaway under Panamanian registry as b) AMENITY and was scrapped at Troon, Scotland, in 1977.

Data from: Jody Aho, Joe Barr, David Swayze, Skip Gillham, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Fuel spill shuts down Welland Canal

6/18 - Navigation has resumed as of 4:30 p.m. Vessels are asked to proceed at a slow and safe speed past the Atlantic Huron and Sterling Energy at Wharf 2. Clean up on going. Please call Seaway for further vessel info

Original Report: The Canadian Coast Guard is on the scene of a fuel spill in Port Weller that has shut down the Welland Canal. Shipping traffic has been suspended.

Andrew Bogora, Communications Officer with St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation tells 610 CKTB at 1:30am a Canada Steamship Lines vessel was being re-fuelled near Port Weller when the fuel spill occurred.

He says the canal is closed until crews can clean up the fuel. Right now boons are containing the spill.

JJ Brickett, the Superintendent of the Canadian Coast Guard Environmental Response program joined Lee Sterry saying the current estimate is that between 100 and 150 litres of fuel oil may have been released.

Brickett says there was a rapid response to the spill and says it is "very contained".

There are six vessels now anchored and waiting until the spill is cleaned up and are given the green light to travel again. Brickett expects shipping traffic to resume at some point later this afternoon.


Trouble-plagued Phoenix banned

6/18 - After three Port State Control detentions within just 24 months, the Paris MoU has denied access for the St. Kitts and Nevis-flagged bulk carrier MV Phoenix.

The Paris MoU consists of 27 participating maritime Administrations and covers the waters of the European coastal States and the North Atlantic basin from North America to Europe.

The Paris MoU, or Port State Control, reports that on May 29th, the MV Phoenix, with IMO number 8506529, was detained in Quebec, Canada. Under the ban, the ship will be refused further access to any port and anchorages in the Paris MoU region, except for a port within the ship’s flag state.

The Paris MoU reports that the ISM company is Master’s Ship Management Pvt of India.



Port Reports -  June 18

Port Inland, Mich. – Raymond Hill
On Wednesday, Wilfred Sykes came in and began loading. After the Sykes departed, the Joseph H Thompson and Jr. arrived and began loading.

Cedarville, Mich. – Raymond Hill
On Wednesday, the Philip R Clarke arrived and began loading.

Calcite, Mich. – Raymond Hill
Less busyon Wednesday, the Philip R Clarke was due in, calling on the South Dock. Later, the Ken Boothe Sr. and Lakes Contender arrived at the South Dock.

Stoneport, Mich. – Raymond Hill
On Wednesday, the Olive L Moore and Lewis J Kuber arrived and began loading. Due in sometime Wednesday were the Defiance and Ashtabula.

Oshawa, Ont. – Lorraine Morrill
Federal Rhine arrived at Oshawa on June 16 to discharge import steel.

Rochester, N.Y. – Tom Brewer
Stephen B. Roman arrived on Wednesday morning with a load of bulk cement for Essroc.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
The passenger ship Grande Caribe is headed for Buffalo and should arrive Thursday. The replica sailing ships Nina and Pinta were headed east out of the Welland Canal for Buffalo.


Emergency responders take part in exercise

6/18 - Cleveland, Ohio – Emergency responders from across Ohio gathered in Cleveland this week to participate in a preparedness response exercise.

Exercises such as this one are designed to improve communication, planning and emergency response proficiency across local, state and federal agencies in the event of an oil spill in any navigable waterway, like the Cuyahoga River.

"Today's exercise was a big success and an excellent opportunity for numerous agencies and organizations to gather and practice working together in a unified command setting," said Cmdr. Jerrel Russell, the commanding officer of the Coast Guard’s Marine Safety Unit Cleveland.

The exercise was based on a scenario in which a large vessel hit a submerged object in the Cuyahoga River, resulting in a discharge of around 40,000 gallons of diesel fuel into the river.

"We appreciate the support from everyone involved, and especially Great Lakes Towing for allowing the use of their facility, and Interlake Steamship for providing the Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder,” Russell said. “Everyone involved benefited greatly.”



Lego boat builders at National Museum

6/18 - Toledo, Ohio – On Saturday, the National Museum of the Great Lakes will offer its first Lego Challenge for kids. Participants will compete to build boats, lighthouses or bridges under the watchful eye and guidance of Duane Collicot, Master Lego Builder.

The competition is open to all ages under 18. The cost to participate is included in the price of admission to the National Museum of the Great Lakes. Completed projects will be photographed and placed on the museum’s Facebook page for people to vote over the next week. Winners in each age group and in each category will receive a free museum membership.

The Lego Challenge will be held between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. The National Museum of the Great Lakes is located at 1701 Front St., Toledo, Ohio.

National Museum of the Great Lakes


Breakwalls and Docks #10 – Second Grovedale sunk off Stelco in Hamilton

The Steel Company of Canada was the industrial giant that was the key to the economics of the city of Hamilton. The corporate leader had a sprawling waterfront location and, when it came time to expand again in the 1970s, three retired lakers were sunk in a row as a dock facing.

One was Grovedale, which had operated through the 1970 season and then tied up at Toronto. It was sold to United Metals for scrap in 1971 and arrived at Hamilton, under tow of the tugs Lac Manitoba and Argue Martin, on June 30, 1971.

The forward and after cabins from the 545 foot long bulk carrier were removed at the United Metals dock at the foot of Strathearne Avenue and the hull was filled with stone, taken to the Stelco location in November and sunk as a dock facing. It is still there.

Grovedale was built at Lorain, and entered service in November 1905 as Joseph G. Butler Jr. It was renamed Donald B. Gillies in 1935 and sailed for the Pioneer Steamship Co.

The vessel was sold for scrap to Marine Salvage in 1961 but resold to Reoch's Redwood Enterprises and resumed trading as c) Grovedale in 1963. It remained with the “Dale” fleet until tying up for good and being sold for scrap.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #578 – Former Thomas Maytham sunk by a submarine on June 18, 1942

The 301 foot long bulk carrier Thomas Maytham was launched at Chicago on Oct. 8, 1892. It was powered by an 1100 horsepower triple expansion and could carry 3,600 tons of cargo.

The ship had several owners and was laid up by 1929 due to existing economic conditions. It was sold several times but remained idle with partial dismantling at Fairport, Ohio, in 1937.

The hull was towed to Rochester, NY and rebuilt for service through the New York State Barge Canal as a liquid cargo carrier. It was powered by twin diesel engines developing 1200 bhp and began a new career in 1938 as b) Dolomite 2.

It was assigned to the British Ministry of Transport in 1942 and operated along North American coastal routes south to Venezuela as c) Motorex 2 but did not last the year.

On June 18, 1942, the Nazi submarine U-172 attacked the tanker with gunfire northwest of Colon, Panama, and the former bulk carrier sank. All on board got off safely 73 years ago today, and were eventually rescued.

Skip Gillham


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. She returned to the lakes in in 2008 as J.W. SHELLEY. Sold and renamed PHOENIX STAR in 2012.

On 18 June 1869, a little less than a week after being launched, the schooner DAVID A. WELLS sailed 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. 1905 –ETRURIA sank after a collision with the AMASA STONE off Passage Island Light, Lake Superior.

1942 – The steamer THOMAS MAYTHAM of 1892 vintage was rebuilt as the New York State Barge Canal tanker DOLOMITE 2 in 1938 and renamed MOTOREX in 1942. It was sunk by gunfire from U-172 near the Colon entrance to the Panama Canal and all on board were rescued.

1944 – ALBERT C. FIELD, a former Great Lakes bulk canaller, was hit by an aerial torpedo from German aircraft and broke in two and sank in minutes. There were 4 lives lost when the ship was hit in the English Channel while carrying munitions and 130 bags of mail in support of the Normandy invasion.

1959 – SPRINGDALE, a Great Lakes trader in the early 1950s and later operated on charter to Reoch Transports, capsized and sank in the Gulf of Bothnia after the cargo of timber shifted in heavy weather.

1960 – GEERTJE BUISMAN came to the Great Lakes in 1960 and ran aground on Vienne Shoal in northern Lake Michigan while outbound from Chicago with a cargo that included new Nash Rambler automobiles for Europe. The Dutch vessel was stuck for 4 days, and had to be lightered. It returned to the Seaway again in later years and was finally scrapped as f) MOUNT at Varna, Bulgaria, in 2003-2004.

1991 – The saltwater trader AKTI was driven aground 14 miles north of Necochea, Argentina, in a storm and sold “as lies” before being refloated as d) AKTO on July 27. Examination determined that the ship was a total loss but it was rebuilt by Chilean interests as e) RIO CIERVOS. The vessel had been through the Seaway as a) ASIA PROSPERITY beginning in 1974, as b) HAN PACIFIC in 1983, and c) AKTI in 1988. It was scrapped at g) AL GIORGIS after arriving at Chittagong, Bangladesh, on November 17, 2005.

1997 – CANADIAN MARINER ran aground in the St. Lawrence near Crossover Shoal after losing power. The vessel had to be lightered to be released and was repaired by Port Weller Dry Docks. The ship was scrapped at Aliaga, Turkey, in 2007.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Gerry O., Joe Barr, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Lakes ore trade up 4 percent in May

6/17 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway totaled 6.6 million tons in May, an increase of 53 percent compared to ice-impacted April, and 4 percent better than a year ago and the month’s 5-year average.

Loadings at U.S. ports on Lake Superior and Lake Michigan totaled nearly 6 million tons, an increase of 2.6 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments from Canadian ports in the Seaway totaled 700,000 tons, an increase of 17.8 percent.

Through May, the Lakes/Seaway ore trade stands at 14.9 million tons, an increase of 16.9 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings from U.S. ports total 12.9 million tons, an increase of 18.3 percent, but still trail their 5-year average by 12 percent. Shipments from Canadian ports total 2 million tons, an increase of 8 percent compared to a year ago, and 15.8 percent ahead of their 5-year average.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Port Reports -  June 17

Port Inland, Mich. – Raymond Hill
On Tuesday, Joseph L. Block arrived and began loading.

Cedarville, Mich. – Raymond Hill
Tuesday, Wilfred Sykes arrived and began loading.

Calcite, Mich. – Raymond Hill
A busy day Tuesday, Cason J. Callaway arrived and began loading. Later in the morning, H. Lee White arrived at the North Dock. Next, John G. Munson arrived and went to anchor to wait for the White to depart the North Dock. Finally, American Mariner arrived at the South Dock.

Stoneport, Mich. – Raymond Hill
On Tuesday, Manitowoc arrived and began loading.

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
Great Republic unloaded coal at Lafarge on Saturday morning. Alpena arrived in port Monday evening for another load of cement. Vessel activity on Tuesday included the Manitowoc unloading cargo at Lafarge and Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation loading under the silos. G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity are expected in port on Wednesday.


Search continues for man who fell off Toronto cruise ship

6/17 - Toronto, Ont. – Police resumed the search Tuesday morning in the Humber Bay area for Keith White, who has been identified as the man who went overboard on Northern Spirit, one of the cruise ships operated by Mariposa Cruises.

White, 34, was leaning over the railing when he slipped and fell into the water, according to Jet Black, a friend of White's. Passengers then ran frantically to the back of the boat and tried to toss White flotation devices, but the ship had already passed White, Black said. They soon lost sight of White.

Another passenger aboard the ship told CBC News that the crews were slow to respond to the incident. Neetha Godara said staff didn't throw life-saving equipment early enough to White, and the boat kept moving away from him instead of stopping.

Jim Nicholson, present and CEO of Mariposa Cruises, said it took time for the ship to turn around, and police arrived before security staff were able to get into a rescue boat that had been lowered.

The ship was carrying 19 staff members, 10 security personnel and more 400 guests at the time.

Meanwhile, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada has launched an investigation on Monday. In a statement released on Monday, White's family said they are confused about how White, who they say is a certified lifeguard, ended up in the water.

The search for White was complicated by fog and strong currents near the Humber River on Monday. The large amount of rain that fell in the last week and the debris floating in the water also made search more difficult, Gerry Klunder, a sergeant with Toronto police's marine unit, told CBC News earlier.

CBC News


Lookback #576 – Ralph S. Misener in Welland Canal collision on June 16, 1964

(Due to an editing error, the Lookback for June 16 did not run. It is printed below.)
Two bulk carriers, Ralph S. Misener (ii) and Benjamin F. Fairless, were in a collision in the Welland Canal on June 16, 1964. The accident of 51 years ago occurred between Bridge 10 and Bridge 11.

As the two ships approached each other, the stern of the U.S. Steel ore carrier Fairless was sucked into the bank, sending the bow across the channel and into the bow of the Misener freighter. Due to the slow speed and the nature of the collision, the Ralph S. Misener sustained about $30,000 in bow damage.

The Canadian freighter had been built at Port Arthur, now part of Thunder Bay, in 1922 and joined the Mathews Steamship Co. as Mathewston. It entered service loading 226,000 bushels of barley and 207,000 bushels of wheat at the Canadian Lakehead in October 1922 for its first delivery down the lakes.

Mathewston joined the Colonial Steamship Co. of Capt. R. Scott Misener in 1933 and retained the same name until becoming b) Ralph S. Misener (ii) in 1954. The latter name honored the son the of the company founder.

When the new Ralph Misener was being built, the Ralph S. Misener returned to its original name in 1967 and sailed as c) Mathewston through the end of the 1969 season. It was sold to Italian shipbreakers and arrived at Vado, Italy, under tow of the Polish tug Jantar, on July 18, 1970, and was dismantled.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #577 – Tanker Mountain Blossom hit a wall at the Eisenhower Lock on June 17, 1998

Mountain Blossom was a brand-new tanker when it first traveled through the Seaway in 1986. The 527 foot, 7 inch long vessel had just been built at Usuki, Japan, and it was registered in Panama.

This was one of the most common deep-sea traders on the lakes and it returned annually through 2000 and, on a less frequent basis, until its final trip inland in 2007.

It was 17 years ago today that the vessel, flying the flag of Bahamas, was downbound through the Seaway when it struck the approach wall to the Eisenhower Lock. The hull was cracked and 50 gallons of the chemical xylene escaped, resulting in the authorities imposing a local evacuation of the area. The spill was quickly cleaned up and the ship was able to resume its journey.

Mountain Blossom visited Cornwall, Clarkson, Sarnia, Hamilton, Bronte and Corunna during its voyages inland and handled various cargoes including urea and caustic soda.

Following a sale to Chinese shipbreakers, Mountain Blossom arrived at Xinhui on Jan. 5, 2010, and was dismantled up by Jiangmen Xinhui Yuzhou Shipbreaking.

Skip Gillham


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.

1909 – The iron hulled passenger and freight steamer CAMPANA had been cut in two to leave the Great Lakes in 1895, but the hull broke in 1909 where the sections had been rejoined and sank in the St. Lawrence at Point St. Michael a few miles below Quebec City.

1918 – JAY GOULD was loaded with coal and towing the barge COMMODORE when it began leaking and then sank eight miles southeast of Southeast Shoal, Lake Erie. The hull was later dynamited as a hazard to navigation. The barge was overwhelmed by the seas and rolled in the trough for about two hours before it also sank. All on board both ships were saved.

1941 – The Lake Ontario passenger steamer KINGSTON ran aground on a shoal in the St. Lawrence 15 miles SW of Ogdensburg, NY after losing her way in thick fog. The passengers were transferred to RAPIDS PRINCE and the ship was released with the aid of pontoons and repaired at Kingston.

1998 – MOUNTAIN BLOSSOM was downbound in the Seaway when it struck the approach wall at the Eisenhower Lock, opening a crack in the hull that allowed about 50 gallons of xylene to escape. The immediate area was evacuated but the problem was quickly cleaned up. The ship was a regular Great Lakes trader from 1986 to 2007 and was scrapped at Xinhui, China, after arriving on January 10, 2010.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Fencing at Welland Canal will be getting taller

6/16 - St. Catharines, Ont. - Post-911 security fencing is destroying residents’ enjoyment of the Welland Canal, and St. Catharines doesn’t want any more of it, city council plans to tell the federal government.

The fence issue comes as Seaway officials prepare to remove a four-feet-high decorative fence at Lock 1’s Charles Ansell Park and replace it with one twice as high this year, as mandated by Transport Canada.

“What’s it going to prove?” asked Coun. Bruce Williamson in an interview. “Any real terrorist is going to just drive right through it or get a $20 pair of wire cutters and be through it in five minutes flat.”

The city is sending letters to federal officials and local MPs to state its opposition to canal fences, at the request of Williamson. The letters will also ask that all non-essential fences be removed and that any plans to put up more fencing that blocks views and access to the canal be terminated.

Williamson told St. Catharines council last Monday that “repellent” chain-link obstacles have been steadily ruining the experience of the waterway for residents and visitors.

“Public access to a collectively owned property is a privilege we have enjoyed nearly as a birthright, and it is being stolen from us,” he told council, “and now they have simply gone too far and do not appear interested in the local point of view.”

The issue goes back to July 1, 2004 when post-9/11 Marine Transportation Security Regulations came into effect.

The controversial new requirements meant fence heights between four and five feet at the canal’s eight locks from Port Weller to Port Colborne needed to be higher. Tourism officials were up in arms. Since then, the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. has been putting up the fencing gradually, with an increase in intensity over the last year.

Bruce Hodgson, director of market development for St. Lawrence Seaway, said the issue at St. Catharines Lock 1 is a tie-up wall by Charles Ansell Park that Transport Canada considers an interchange point a place where a vessel could dock. Interchange points require eight-foot fences across the country.

Hodgson said the Seaway has a license to operate from Transport Canada, and in order to maintain that it needs to meet their requirements. He added St. Catharines is not being singled out and there are other locations the Seaway will have to comply with from a security standpoint.

At Charles Ansell Park, the current four-foot black steel fence with anchor details was paid for by the St. Catharines Rotary Club Lakeshore and built by welders from the Port Weller Drydocks before security measures came into effect.

Hodgson said the Seaway will replace the decorative fence with an eight-foot decorative fence, rather than chain link. The current shorter fence will be returned to the Rotary Club so it can use it elsewhere.

“We’re trying to work with not only the city but the various stakeholders as we move forward with this security initiative wherever we can,” Hodgson said.

St. Catharines Rotary Club Lakeshore president Jon Asplin said they’d like to put some of the current fence back in the park in locations where it’s not a security issue. They’ll determine what to do with the rest of it.

Mayor Walter Sendzik and Grantham Coun. Bill Phillips met with Seaway officials recently about the issue to express the city’s concerns. “The bottom line is, it’s still an eight-foot fence that you cannot look over and take pictures over, you have to take pictures through,” Phillips said.

“The park is used a great deal as a starting point for people who are using the Welland Canal path, whether biking, walking, Rollerblading or just watching the ships.”

Sendzik said the city has had 100 years of goods flowing through the community and council wants to voice its concerns.

Seaway officials said fencing is not just there for potential terrorists, but for community safety. As well, a lot of the dumping and trespassing that occurred on Seaway land prior to the fencing has been reduced.

“Sometimes it may not resonate with people that the business we’re in, we’re a navigational channel and we have to protect our critical infrastructure,” said Alvina Ghirardi, manager of operational services for St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation. “And these are the regulations marine security have placed upon us.”

St. Catharines Standard


Port Reports -  June 16

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
James L. Kuber, Herbert C. Jackson and Michipicoten loaded ore at the Upper Harbor on Monday.

Oswego, N.Y. - Ned Goebricher
On Monday, the cruise ship Grande Caribe transited the Oswego Canal for Lake Ontario.


Fall protection railings at Eisenhower and Snell locks

Montreal - Lake Ontario Notice to Shipping #11 has been issued. Click here to read:


Breakwalls and Docks #8 Bayton sunk at Burrns Harbor and eventually hull snapped in two

Bayton laid up at Port Colborne on June 6, 1966, with a combination of engine problems, shaft damage and bow dents. The ship was moored in the outer harbor until a tow to Ramey's Bend, by the tugs Atomic and Amherstburg, on July 2. The vessel was not there long.

It departed for Burns Harbor, Ind., on Sept. 9, 1966, and new work as a temporary breakwall during the harbor construction project at that Lake Michigan port. The hull was sunk, perhaps more than once, and it later broke in two. It appears that the remains of this and the other vessels were ultimately broken up for scrap after their work was over, but this cannot be absolutely verified.

Bayton had been built at Cleveland and launched as Francis Widlar on April 7, 1904. The 426 foot long bulk carrier joined the Columbia Steamship Co. and later traded for the Valley Steamship Co. before going aground on Pancake Shoal after missing a turn in heavy weather on Nov. 12, 1920. Initially reported as lost, the vessel was salvaged but became a write off.

Refitted and repaired at Collingwood, the ship joined the Mathews Steamship as Bayton in 1922, and remained in their colors until the company went into receivership. Bayton joined the Colonial Steamship Co. of R. Scott Misener in 1933 and remained under their banner until delivering the final cargo, a load of coal from Ashtabula to Hamilton, prior to being retired.

Bayton had been reboilered in 1946 and the machinery was still in good condition, so it was removed for installation in the Shelter Bay (ii).

Skip Gillham


Breakwalls and Docks #9 Consort barge Johnn A. Roebling sunk off Lakeview power station

The F.W. Wheeler shipyard built a very durable ship in 1898. Now in its third century of work, the consort barge John A. Roebling has served as an ore and coal carrier, grain vessel, grain storage hull and, since 1968, has been semi-submerged as a breakwall west of Toronto.

Always powerless except for an original set of sails, the 450 foot long barge went to work for the Bessemer Steamship Co. soon after being launched on Aug. 13, 1898. ¦nbsp; It became part of the original Pittsburgh Steamship Division of United States Steel in 1901.

In 1945, the ship moved to the Canadian side of the Great Lakes for the Upper Lakes & St. Lawrence Transportation Co. and was often towed by the steamer Douglass Houghton. Service was primarily to Lake Huron and Georgian Bay ports but it also unloaded at Buffalo or Toronto before turning back for more grain.

With the end of the consort barge era, John A. Roebling joined the grain storage fleet assembled at Goderich to augment the storage capacity of the local elevator. It served there from about 1962 until 1968, when this was one of three hulls sold by Upper Lakes to Ontario Hydro for use as a breakwall off their Lakeview Generating Station.

John A. Roebling was towed down the Welland Canal by the tugs G.W. Rogers and Traveller on Aug. 27, 1968, and, after the cabins were removed at Hamilton, the hull was sunk, in line with long time running mate Brynbarge, during the fall. Canadian registry was not closed until Sept. 30, 1983.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  June 16

On 16 June 1891, Alexander McDougall himself took his brand-new whaleback steamer JOSEPH L. COLBY (steel propeller whaleback freighter, 265 foot, 1,245 gross tons, built in 1890 at West 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 McDougall 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 smokestack 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 as b.) CANADIAN LEADER and scrapped in 2012.

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

Toledo, Ohio – Jim Hoffman
The tug Jane Ann IV (the barge Sarah Spencer's tug) is now in drydock at Ironhead Shipyard.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
Rebecca Lynn - A-397 came in about 6:30 p.m. Sunday for Noco in Tonawanda.


Breakwalls and Docks #7 – Roosevelt was sunk off a Brockville marina about 1974

The small ship Roosevelt was built at Milford, Delaware, in 1906. Initially the J.G. Ritchie, the vessel operated in a general cargo service on the Delaware River and Delaware Bay. It was sold and renamed Bayville in 1923 and brought to Lake Champlain for service out of Burlington, Vermont. The name had been changed to Roosevelt before the end of that year.

Roosevelt was owned initially by Bert Hutchison and worked on the St. Lawrence as a ferry between Alexandria Bay, NY and Rockport, Ont. It suffered fire damage at the former location in either 1936 or 1938 (sources vary) and the hull was abandoned.

It became part of the Simpson Sand & Gravel Co. of Ogdensburg, N.Y., about 1939 and spent its last years working as a barge. The hull was used as a breakwall off a marina at Brockville about 1974 and may now be either buried as landfill or broken up for scrap.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #575 – Grecian foundered in heavy seas June 15, 1906, while under tow on Lake Huron

Grecian was built at Cleveland in 1891 and joined the Menominee Transit Co. It moved to U.S. Steel and the Pittsburgh Steamship Co. in 1901 and remained in their service until it was lost 109 years ago today.

The 296 foot long steamer suffered bottom damage in a grounding near Detour, Mich., on June 7, 1906, but was refloated and received temporary repairs. The ship set out for Detroit, under tow of fleetmate Sir Henry Bessemer, but went down in heavy seas crossing Lake Huron on June 15, 1906.

Wreck hunters have found the ship on the bottom and it rests at 105 feet of water with the deck at a depth of about 70 feet. The bow has collapsed and the hull is broken amidships but the stern is intact.

Apparently, divers removed a toilet from the site. It was briefly displayed at a Chicago Marina but carefully returned to the wreck on Sept. 15, 1998.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  June 15

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  June 15

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

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 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) 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.

1933 – BRENTWOOD ran aground in the St. Marys River and was released on June 19 with about $60,000 in damage. The CSL vessel soon tied up at Midland and was scrapped there in 1937.

1943 – WILLIAM BREWSTER was on her maiden voyage when she collided with the W.D. CALVERLEY JR. and sank on her side in the St. Clair River off Algonac. The ship was not refloated until November and, after repairs, finally left the lakes in June 1944. It operated on saltwater routes until scrapping at Calcutta, India, as e) RAY MAYABUNDAR in 1967.

1962 – NYON, a Seaway visitor in 1961 and 1962, sank in the English Channel, 5 miles south of Beachy Head, after a collision in heavy fog with the Indian freighter JALAZAD. The latter came to the Great Lakes in 1969 and was eventually scuttled off Tema, Ghana, as b) JYOTI VINOD in September 1983.

1965 – BREIM, a Great Lakes visitor from Norway, got stuck in the mud below the Snell Lock at Massena, NY was released the next day after some cargo was lightered. The ship arrived at Visakhapatnam, India, for scrapping as c) CHRISTINA C. on October 24, 1983.

1988 – ALGOWEST and COUDRES D'ILE collided in fog on the St. Lawrence and the small coastal freighter sank with the loss of one life. The former now sails for Algoma as PETER R. CRESSWELL.

2001 – Fire broke out in the engine room of the Cypriot freighter FELIX 60 miles off Las Palmas, Canary Islands and the 21-member crew was removed. The ship first came to the Great Lakes as a) BEGONIA in 1978 and returned as b) TIMUR SWALLOW in 1983 and c) JENNIFER JANE in 1985. The burning vessel was anchored and the fire extinguished June 16. A total loss, the ship arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, under tow as f) ELI on December 1, 2001, and was broken up.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The Rebecca Lynn and barge A-397 will be arriving around 7 p.m. on Sunday with a load of asphalt from Detroit.


Only 6 days left to book your Engineer’s Day Soo Cruise

The annual freighter-chasing cruise on the St. Marys River will take place on Friday, June 26, as part of the annual Engineer’s Day Gathering in Sault Ste. Marie. The cruise will be three hours and we will travel thru both the U.S. and Canadian Locks, and do our best to find photo opportunities for any vessel traffic in the river. Reservations are a must as we are limiting the group to 100 persons. Do not wait until you get to the Soo to join us on this trip. Only 6 days left to have your reservation received by mail.

Reservations must be received by Friday, June 19 to save $5. See the Gathering Page for details.


Breakwalls and Docks #6 – Saskatoon was a temporary breakwall before being scrapped

The second Saskatoon was a package freight carrier in the Canada Steamship Lines fleet. It was built at Midland and was part of a unique triple launching there, with Weyburn and the tug Northshore Supply, on June 14, 1927.

Designed for the old canal trades, Saskatoon operated throughout the Great Lakes and down the St. Lawrence. A heavy build up of ice forced the ship to spend the winter of 1958-1959 at Cascades west of Montreal.

When spring came, this was actually the first freighter to pass through many of the Seaway locks when the new waterway opened for business on April 25, 1959. Fleetmate Simcoe participated in the official opening ceremony at the St. Lambert Lock and is credited with being the first ship to use the Seaway.

Saskatoon tied up at Windsor/Ojibway and was idle from 1961 into 1967. It was sold on several occasions including to Luedtke Engineering Corp., to Romeo Machine Shop and to Bultema Dock & Dredge in 1967.

The cabins were removed and the hull was towed by the tug Amherstburg past Detroit on May 26, 1967. Their destination was Two Creeks, Wis., on Lake Michigan where the hull was sunk as a temporary breakwall during a construction project. The Saskatoon was later pumped out, refloated and moored at Manitowoc, Wis., until being towed to Kewaunee in 1973.

Scrapping of the hull got underway at the latter location later that year and was completed in 1974.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #574 – W.F. White crushed the tug Ohio at Buffalo on June 14, 1954

A routine tow went terribly wrong at Buffalo 61 years ago today. The W.F. White of the Bradley Limestone Division of U.S. Steel was being assisted by the tug Ohio (i) when the latter was crushed against a pier on June 14, 1954.

The tug's 44-year-old hull was badly sprung and had to be declared a total loss. The small vessel was taken to Cleveland and scrapped in 1955 after the engine had been salvaged for installation in running mate Nebraska.

W.F. White did not receive any serious damage and remained in service for many more years until being scrapped at Port Colborne as b) Erindale in 1985.

Hailed as the largest self-unloader on the Great Lakes when it was launched at Lorain, Ohio, it entered service Sept. 1, 1915, loading coal at Erie, Pa., for Menominee, Mich. During its first season, the ship spent considerable time hauling loads of stone to Buffalo.

From 1962 to 1965, the W.F. White operated on Chesapeake Bay carrying coal to steel plants on the Delaware River before returning to the Great Lakes early in 1965. It resumed Great Lakes service for U.S. Steel before tying up at Duluth on Dec. 17, 1974.

Sold to Westdale Shipping in 1976, the ship underwent a refit before putting in another nine years of trading as b) Erindale.

Skip Gillham


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.

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.

1954 – W.F. WHITE crushed the tug OHIO against a pier in Buffalo and the latter was a total loss. The tug was refloated and scrapped at Cleveland in 1955.

1977 – ALMAR came to the Great Lakes under Greek registry in 1964. It caught fire in the engine room as c) IJESHA LION at Abidjan, Ivory Coast, and sustained major damage. The hull was abandoned by the owners, towed out to sea and scuttled in 1978

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Ship builder angry after $40-million ferry contract awarded to Chilean company

6/13 - Wheatley, Ont. – The president of a Wheatley ship building company is irate his company didn't get a chance to bid on a new $40-million ferry to serve Pelee Island.

“The whole blasted process absolutely stinks,” Andy Stanton of Hike Metal Products said Thursday, shortly after the Ontario Ministry of Transportation announced a Chilean ship-building company, ASENAV, has been awarded the contract to build the new ferry.

The vessel will replace the 55-year-old Pelee Islander, which has a capacity for 196 passengers and 10 vehicles. The new ferry will carry a maximum of 399 passengers and either 34 cars or 16 cars and four tractor-trailers.

With 51 years’ experience building ships, including vessels for the Canadian Coast Guard as well as for port authorities and police and fire services, Stanton said: “In our opinion, we more than qualify to be able to bid on the project whether we would have got it or not.”

He added his company has built vessels “a lot more elaborate than this ferry,” describing it as a “big box car with motors that carries people and cars.”

There's no doubt there is a delivery cost included, because the vessel will have to be sailed up to Ontario, whereas Hike Metal Products is located just kilometres away from Leamington, Stanton said.

The shipbuilder is also upset that no reason has been given why his company didn't qualify to building this project.

“For what it's worth, I'm demanding that this thing be repealed by the premier,” Stanton said. “Here's $40 million of our provincial tax money not just going out of the province, but out of the country,” Stanton said.

He said the two-year project would have provided 300-person years of employment, creating 75 direct jobs and more than 50 indirect jobs. Stanton said Hike Metal Products joined forces with a Quebec ship-building company that did pre-qualify to bid.

“We were going to do some work-share with them in building that ferry if they had got the contract,” he said. Not only did the work not come to Ontario, nobody else in Canada got the work, he added.

The Chatham Daily News received a response from the MTO late Thursday afternoon regarding the contract going to Chile when a local company is apparently qualified.

“Ontario follows non-discriminatory and geographically neutral procurement practices,” stated the MTO in an e-mail. “Ontario is bound by trade agreements such as the Agreement on Internal Trade that may not allow favourable treatment of local proponents, regardless of subsidy that may be offered in another jurisdiction.”

The statement added: “Although Ontario shipyards are not favoured or advantaged with additional points at either stage of the procurement process there may be advantages within certain areas of the build for local shipyards (including delivery, local parts supply, etc.).”

The MTO stated mandatory requirements for the Request for Qualifications were financial capability, shipyard resources and shipyard commitments.

Additional key criteria considered were: past ship building experience, similar ship building experience, and commitment to schedule.

“An independent fairness monitor participated in the procurement, including the evaluations, to ensure a fair, open and transparent process,” the MTO stated. “Now that the procurement process is complete, the ministry would be pleased to meet with Mr. Stanton and any shipyard that requests a debrief about their submission.”

Stanton said he doesn't believe the province “did a thorough evaluation as to what the socio-economic benefits would have been if that ferry was built here, even if it was more expensive.”

Chatham-Kent Essex MPP Rick Nicholls said the provincial government's tendering process needs to be revisited and revamped.

He said the government needs to take a “good, hard look at who in fact is qualified (to bid), especially Canadian, and more specifically, Ontario companies that are in the ship building business.”

Nicholls also questions what kind of after-service will be available if something goes wrong with this new ferry.

“I'm not happy about it, one bit,” the MPP said Thursday. “Chatham-Kent has been hard-hit with layoffs and plant closures.”

Sarnia Observer


Port Reports -  June 13

Superior, Wis. – Richard N.
Walter J. McCarthy was reported to enter short term lay-up due to soft demand and a broken loop drive gearbox causing extended unload times. They were expected to load at SMET for a split load to St. Clair and Essexville.

Grand Haven, Mich. – Dick Fox
Michipicoten crossed the pier heads about 4:30 Friday afternoon with a load for Meekhoff's D & M dock on Harbor Island just upriver from the power plant.

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
At Redpath the old crippled Colby unloader has been reduced to the four support legs and the main machinery platform. Early Friday the crane lowered the complete steel frame structure of the engine room house onto the dock where workers armed with cutting torches and sledge hammers proceeded to knock it down to dumpster-size pieces. The next big item to come down was a unit assembly made up of shaft brake and a big reversible electric coupled to a big gearbox driving a large hoisting cable drum. There doesn't appear to be any rush to get the job done as operation shuts down between two and three every afternoon. That seems a bit unusual with the bulker Rodopi carrying a load of sugar swinging at anchor over in Port Weller.


Old steamer’s wheelhouse headed to Port Burwell

6/13 - The wheelhouse from the former Judith M. Pierson (1917 built, ex Silver Bay and Fernglen) is on the move. It is being moved on Wednesday, June 17 from Port Maitland to Port Burwell. There it will be restored as an artifact and tourist attraction as a project of Port Burwell’s Historical Society in honor of the 175th anniversary of the Port Burwell’s Lighthouse, 1840-2015.

E-mail for information on how to donate and to volunteer with the restoration efforts. 


St. Clair Marine Mart today from 9-3

6/13 - The 34th Annual Marine Memorabilia Market will be held this Saturday, June 13, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Riverview Plaza Mall in downtown St. Clair, Mich. Nearly 30 vendors will be offering items that are related exclusively to Great Lakes shipping. The market will have available for sale historical artifacts, artwork, books, photographs, advertising, memorabilia and more. It is one of only a few such annual events in the region. Admission is free.


Breakwalls and Docks #5 – Amasa Stone serves as part of a cement dock at Charlevoix, MI

During the steel strike of 1959, the bulk carrier Amasa Stone tied up at Toledo and never sailed again. The ship remained idle until 1965 when it was sold to Medusa Portland Cement for use as a dock at Charlevoix, Michigan.

The 545 foot long by 55 foot wide vessel was stripped to the main deck and towed up the Detroit River by the tug John Purves on Aug. 11, 1965. It was later sunk, along with the Charles S. Hebard, and remains in that capacity.

Amasa Stone joined the Masaba Steamship Co. following completion at Wyandotte, MI in May 1905. The vessel had five guest cabins and a deckhouse by the second hatch, housed a private dining room.

From time to time Amasa Stone tangled with another ship. It sank the Etruria in Lake Huron on June 18, 1905, bumped Barge 137 near Sault Ste. Marie on Sept. 16, 1906, and struck the Merton E. Farr in fog off Parisienne Island on June 24, 1924.

Amasa Stone became part of the Interlake Steamship Co. in 1913. Later, on July 29, 1930, it was present to help rescue six sailors from the George J. Whalen lost on Lake Erie off Dunkirk, NY.

Repowered in 1952, Amasa Stone did not sail much longer but the 110-year old hull is still very useful.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #573 – Former Seaway tanker Satu Mar lost seven crew members on June 13, 1978

A saltwater tanker that came through the Seaway under three different names had a tragedy on the Pacific 37-years ago today. The vessel, known at the time as b) Anco Duke, was about 200 miles northwest of Hawaii when seven members of the crew died.

The sailors had gone into the cargo hold to clean up after having delivered a load of tallow and it is suspected that they were overcome by fumes and perished.

The vessel had been built at Uddevalla, Sweden and completed as Athelduke in 1968. The 525 foot, 4 inch long British flag tanker joined the Athel Line and carried molasses as well as petroleum products.

It was renamed b) Anco Duke in 1970 and c) Lake Anette a decade later.

The latter, now under the flag of Norway, first came through the Seaway in 1980 and returned after becoming d) Satu Mar in 1983. This ship, now registered in Singapore, ran aground near Montreal on April 10, 1984, but was released the same day.

The final name of e) Tove Cob was applied after another sale in 1986 and it was back inland again the following year.

The end came with a sale to Bangladesh shipbreakers. The veteran tanker arrived at Chittagong Roads on Feb. 8 1983, was beached and then dismantled by Moon Steel.

Skip Gillham


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 gallstones.

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.

1905 – The wooden steamer YAKIMA had stranded in Lake St. Clair on June 10, 1905, but caught fire and burned on this date while waiting to be salvaged. The remains were later towed into Lake Huron and scuttled.

1906 – The newly-built J. PIERPONT MORGAN carried a record 13, 294 tons of iron ore out of Escanaba for Chicago.

1944 – CANADIAN OTTER was built at Welland in 1920 but, in 1944, was sailing as f) FUKOKU MARU as a Japanese army cargo ship. It was sunk by aircraft from U.S.S. ESSEX while in a convoy from Philippines to Japan in the overnight hours of June 13-14, 1944.

1959 – A fire in the crew quarters of the FEDERAL PIONEER, docked at Section 51 in Montreal, was quickly controlled with only minor damage and sailing was delayed by three hours. The ship was a frequent Seaway trader for Federal Commerce and Navigation, now known as FedNav, and arrived at Hsinkiang, China, for scrapping on January 21, 1971.

1978 – Seven men were lost aboard the ANCO DUKE while cleaning tanks out in the Pacific. They were likely overcome by fumes. The ship later came to the Great Lakes as c) LAKE ANETTE in 1980, as d) SATU MAR in 1984 and as e) TOVE COB in 1987. It was scrapped in Bangladesh in 1993.

1978 – The bulk carrier ARCTIC hit the Cherry Street Bridge at Toledo on its first trip and had to return to Port Weller Dry Docks for repairs.

1980 – TROYAN first came through the Seaway in 1972. The ship began leaking in heavy weather as c) SUNRISE and foundered June 13, 1980, in the outer anchorage at Bombay, India, while enroute from Japan to Damman, Saudi Arabia, with bagged cement.

2004 – The SINGAPORE STAR first came to the Great Lakes in 1982. It caught fire in the accommodation area while on the Black Sea as c) BARBADOS OKTAY on June 13, 2004. The ship was carrying scrap steel from Novorossiysk, Russia, to Eregli, Turkey. The blaze was put out with tug assistance but the ship was sold for scrap and arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, to be broken up on July 19, 2004.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Troubled Phoenix finally leaves St. Lawrence River

6/12 - Quebec City, Que. – After two years of being stranded on the shores of Quebec, the ship known as the Phoenix has finally sailed away.

The freighter was stranded in Sorel-Tracy, which is between Montreal and Trois-Rivières, for more than two years. It first docked there in November 2012.

In the spring of 2013, Ontario-based company Menpas Shipping flew a crew to Sorel-Tracy in order to repair the ship and sail it to Dubai for dismantling. But the ship was never able to leave because crewmembers, many of whom were from India, had not been paid for three months and refused to continue working.

The mayor of Sorel-Tracy, Serge Péloquin, got involved, launching a fundraising campaign in September 2014 to raise enough money to pay the sailors and send them back home.

The ship left Sorel-Tracy on May 22, 2015, but only made it as far as Quebec City before the engine broke down. From there, the Phoenix's departure was delayed again after workers complained they had not been paid.

The International Transport Workers' Federation intervened and was able to recover the back-wages for 15 of the sailors. The Phoenix has now finally departed and is on its way to Dubai.



Not the long-lost Griffin, rules state

6/12 - Frankfort, Mich. – Michigan state archeologists have completely ruled out the possibility a Lake Michigan shipwreck is the long-lost Griffin.

State Archeologist Dean Anderson and underwater archeologist Wayne Lusardi participated in the dive Tuesday, June 11 of the wreck near Frankfort, along with Michigan State Police divers.

The two Muskegon men who discovered the wreck, Kevin Dykstra and Frederick J. Monroe, in late 2014 came forward with photos of the wreck, saying they thought it could be the Griffin – the earliest known shipwreck on the Great Lakes, missing since September 1679.

Other divers and historians were skeptical.

Tuesday's dive confirmed to state archeologists that it wasn't the Griffin, even though they had already thought so from viewing Dykstra and Monroe's evidence.

"They went out Tuesday because the state values and is interested in learning about the many wrecks on the bottomlands, even if they aren't the Griffin," said State Historic Preservation Office spokeswoman Laura Ashlee. "It was fortunate that Wayne was able to coordinate with the State Police divers who were doing a training dive and was able investigate the vessel Fred and Kevin found."

The group of divers found an 80-foot wooden hull, one too long to have been the Griffin, Ashlee said.

Lusardi "thought it was a tug boat and that there was some steam machinery on it as well," she said. He placed the date of the boat at sometime in the late 19th century or early 20th century.

Also known by the French equivalent Le Griffon, explorer Rene-Robert Sieur de La Salle built and commanded the ship on behalf of King Louis XIV. During its maiden voyage in September 1679, the Griffin departed from the area near present-day Green Bay, Wis. Carrying a crew of six and cargo of furs, the ship was never seen again.

The State of Michigan owns about 1,500 shipwrecks on lake bottoms, Ashlee said. The state gathers information on the wrecks from amateur divers.

"We're interested in what's down there," she said. "We encourage people to report when they find a shipwreck."


Chicago woman sentenced for making hoax distress call in 2013

6/12 - Chicago, Ill. – A Chicago woman was sentenced in federal court Thursday for making a false distress call nearly two years ago that led to several agencies launching a dangerous search and rescue operation in Lake Michigan off of Rogers Park Beach.

Leona Chewning, 24, was sentenced to 180 days of community confinement, three years of probation and $13,613 in restitution for knowingly and willfully causing the Coast Guard to attempt to save lives and property when no help was needed, in violation of Title 14, U.S. Code, section 88(c).

Chewning pled guilty at her arraignment before U.S. District Judge Charles Norgle in federal court in Chicago in January.

Shortly after 9 p.m. Feb. 4, 2013, Chewning called Chicago 911 from Rogers Park Beach stating a person was in distress in the icy water just off a seawall. An ice rescue team from Coast Guard Station Wilmette Harbor responded by land.

A Coast Guard aircrew also launched aboard a Dolphin helicopter from Air Station Traverse City, Michigan. Members of the Chicago Police and Fire departments also responded with personnel and assets.

Chicago Fire Department divers entered the water near the location where Chewning claimed a person fell in, but did not locate anyone. Chewning later admitted that at the time she made the call she knew her report was false. The case was subsequently turned over to the Coast Guard Investigative Services and the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Hoax calls unnecessarily endanger first responders' lives and could divert limited resources away from people who are actually in distress.

Intentionally deceiving the Coast Guard is a felony with a maximum penalty of six years in prison, a $250,000 fine and reimbursement to the Coast Guard for the cost of performing the search.

Although hoax calls are a felony, the Coast Guard reminds those who believe they are in distress that they should not hesitate to call the Coast Guard for fear of prosecution if their situation changes and they are no longer in distress. In that instance, boaters should always notify the Coast Guard they are no longer in need of assistance.



Port Reports -  June 12

Grand Haven, Mich. – Dick Fox
Manitowoc delivered its second load of coal for the season Thursday morning to the Grand Haven Board of Light and Power.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
American Mariner backed out from General Mills at 4 Thursday afternoon.


Breakwalls and Docks #4 – Lighter T.F. Newman became a dock facing at Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

T.F. Newman was a steel barge built at Cleveland in 1923. The 180 foot long by 40 foot wide ship was equipped with a deck crane and used as a lighter by the Great Lakes Towing Co. at a variety of locations.

The vessel joined A.B. McLean & Sons Ltd. in 1949 and was resold to McQueen Marine in 1951. This latter owner stationed the barge at their dock in Amherstburg, Ont., and continued to use it for salvage and lightering purposes.

T.F. Newman became part of McAllister Towing & Salvage 1979, and then headed west for service again on behalf of A.B. McLean in 1984. It was diverted to Collingwood for drydocking in May 1984 as part of the delivery voyage.

In 1985, the barge was sunk to form a sand dock on reclaimed land at the new McLean facility west of the Algoma Steel plant. Ownership moved to Purvis Marine in 1994 when they acquired the McLean assets. Canadian registry was closed on Feb. 21, 1996, and the hull remains as a dock at Sault Ste. Marie.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #572 – The second I.W. Nicholas ran aground on June 12, 1897

I.W. Nicholas was built for Minch & Nicholas, a firm that eventually developed into the Kinsman Lines. It was a product of the Cleveland Shipbuilding Co. and completed at Cleveland in 1894.

The 328 foot long bulk carrier ran aground off Pointe Aux Pins 118 years ago today. The vessel was heading downbound with a cargo of grain when it lost its way in fog and got stuck on the bottom.

The, large for its day, steamer was found to be leaking but was patched enough to be refloated on June 14 and then headed to drydock for repairs.

I.W. Nicholas came under the banner of the Kinsman Transit Co. in 1905 and sailed on their behalf until stranding in Lake Huron on Nov. 26, 1913, off Thunder Bay. The flax laden freighter was declared a total loss.

The ship was ultimately salvaged and shortened to 260 feet overall and re-registered in Canada as b) Inland. This allowed trading through the Third Welland Canal and St. Lawrence Canals and enabled the vessel to leave the Great Lakes for saltwater service during World War One.

Inland had several owners over the years and was scrapped at Buffalo in 1937.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  June 12

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the BBC Thames, Chemical Aquarius, Cinnamon, Eemsborg, Eider, Elevit, Fuldaborg, Gadwall, Houston, Onego Rotterdam, Regalica, Rodopi and Saint Laurent.


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.

1897 – I.W. NICHOLAS (ii) stranded at Point Aux Pins in fog and was released two days later. The ship needed drydocking for repairs.

1904 – The sidewheel passenger ship CANADA sank on her side off Sorel after a collision with the CAPE BRETON. Five of the 110 on board perished. The ship was refloated and rebuilt at Sorel in 1905 as ST. IRENEE which later became part of the C.S.L. Fleet.

1919 – GERMAN was cut in two to leave the Great Lakes in 1918 and renamed b) YANKEE. It sank after a collision with the Italian steamer ARGENTIA off Fire Island, NY, while enroute from Norfolk, VA to Boston MA with coal. The hull has been found and is in two pieces on the ocean floor.

1977 – The VERA CRUZ first came to the Great Lakes in 1964 as a 10-year old Liberian flag freighter. It foundered in the Arabian Sea as c) BUKOM ISLAND on June 12, 1974, during a cyclone. The ship was enroute from Umm Said, Qatar, to Singapore with a cargo of bagged fertilizer and seven lives were lost.

1978 – YELLOWSTONE had been built as the C-4 troop carrier MARINE PERCH in 1944. After being laid up in the Reserve Fleet, it was rebuilt as a bulk carrier and renamed at Tampa in 1965. The ship was downbound in the Seaway with grain from Duluth to North Africa in May 1978 and sank after a collision in fog with the IBN BATOUTA on June 12, 1978. YELLOWSTONE was taken in tow but went down June 13 about 14 miles south of Gibraltar. Five lives were lost.

1993 – The deep-sea tug VORTICE was abandoned after fire broke out near the Canary Islands, while on a voyage from Bari, Italy, to Veracruz, Mexico. The vessel was laid up, unrepaired, and then towed to Canada for McKeil Marine. It received partial repairs but was sold and left the lakes for additional work. It returned inland as e) NORFOLK in 2005 and now serves Lafarge North America Inc. as f) SAMUEL DE CHAMPLAIN.

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


Former Algoma Montrealais scrap tow leaves Montreal

6/11 - Two tugs towed the scrapyard-bound Mont (Algoma Montrealais) from Montreal harbor around 8 a.m. Wednesday. Diavlos Pride was the lead tug, while Ecosse was on the stern.


Lakes limestone trade ramps up in May

6/11 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 3.8 million tons in May, an increase of 16.6 percent compared to a year ago, and the highest monthly total recorded since June 2012. In terms of tons, shipments from U.S. quarries registered the largest gain: 326,000 tons.

Unlike a year ago, the limestone trade was not hampered by the aftereffects of a brutal winter. The Lakes were basically ice-free, whereas in 2014, ice formations lingered well into May and a number of vessels were idled for a period to repair ice damage suffered in March and April.

Year-to-date shipments of limestone total 5.9 million tons, an increase of 37.7 percent compared to the same point in 2014. However, as impressive as that increase is, it could have been greater. A number of vessels that primarily serve the short-haul stone trade delayed their sailings this April rather than become beset in ice. The Coast Guard Authorization Act passed by the House of Representatives includes a provision that authorizes the Commandant to design and build a new icebreaker for its Great Lakes fleet. The Senate has yet to take up its Coast Guard bill.

Lake Carriers Association


Port Reports -  June 11

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Jim Conlon
The Lafarge tug Integirty and barge G.L. Ostrander have been at Bayship since Tuesday with the stern ballasted down as work is done inside the bow thruster tunnel.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder were in port unloading on Wednesday.

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
Late Wednesday morning the Toronto Drydock tug M.R. Kane and Ports Toronto's old workhorse Derrick 50 commenced dredging operations in the Keating Channel. And apparently the big push is on to deepen the whole channel before the end of the month. The Keating is the outflow for the Don River and a silted up channel causes the river to back up and flood during heavy rains. Last week a late afternoon downpour caused partial flooding of the Don Valley Parkway, snarling rush hour traffic. And it seems the spoilsport gods of rain have a habit of releasing their wicked wetness during the mid to late afternoon. Two years ago on July 8, Toronto's day of infamy, a late afternoon terrific tropical deluge caused the Don River to breach its banks, flooding the Parkway to the east and the railway tracks to the west. Several feet of floodwater marooned dozens of cars and a loaded commuter GoTrain.

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
On Wednesday, Stephen B. Roman unloaded cement.


Investors make last-ditch effort to save Captain John’s from scrapping

6/11 - Toronto, Ont. – As she sits tied up at a Port Colborne scrapping yard, Captain John’s floating restaurant is yet again drawing a crowd.

A Boston-Miami investor group has offered about $100,000 to save the former Toronto tourist attraction from being cut up into recyclable pieces. And they aren’t alone.

One person has even inquired over what it would take to get the 90-metre ship, the Jadran, a new engine and put it back in business — a $10 million to $15 million proposition.

“I’ve probably talked four or five people out of being interested, just to do them a favour, really,” says veteran ship scrapper Wayne Elliott, who oversaw the towing of the ship from Toronto’s waterfront last month after years of legal battles over its fate.

“We’ve heard from a number of people and with some, it seems to be just emotion and not really well thought-out. Many don’t even have a final plan or a final destination for the ship.”

But some, like Boston-based John Scales, do. And there’s nothing in the contract that Elliott’s Marine Recycling Corporation has with Ports Toronto, Waterfront Toronto and condo developer Cityzen — worth an estimated $500,0000 — that says the ship has to be scrapped.

Marine Recycling was simply contracted to remove the Jadran from Toronto’s waterfront, where it was a fixture for 40 years.

Scales is part of a three-person group of marine enthusiasts that has been trying to buy the Jadran for more than a year now. It had offered Ports Toronto $3,000 for the rusting ship, largely because of the high costs of moving it to drydock, before adding on the millions needed in restorations.

But now that Elliott’s Marine Recycling Corporation has done the heavy lifting — towing Captain John’s on May 28 to its Port Colborne scrapyard — Scales’ group has upped its price and is more determined than ever to give the ship yet another life, this time as a restaurant or entertainment venue.

The group already had three Ontario waterfront communities and about a dozen in the U.S. express interest in making a home for the ship once it’s restored, says Scales.

The investor group envisions a two-stage restoration — the first to get the three upper decks back in shape as an entertainment venue, the second to find some sort of use for the lower decks, which used to contain sleeping cabins in the days when the Yugoslavian ship was part of a luxury cruise line.

“We already have two good restaurant firms interested in leasing it for five years,” Scales added in a telephone interview after recently driving to Port Colborne from Boston to take yet another look at the ship.

“Captain” John Letnik has already offered to help out, in a bid to save his life’s work from destruction.

“I got as close as I could,” said Scales, of the ship, where crews have had a more challenging time than expected removing all the asbestos. “It’s sitting lower in the water (because of ballast Marine Recycling added to boost its towing stability) and looks longer and leaner.”

Elliott said his office has also had lots of calls from folks looking to buy mementos or artifacts from the ship now that it’s in “the funeral parlour of the shipping industry.” “Obviously, if something still has good value, it does seem a bit of a shame to scrap it,” said Elliott, who’s been overwhelmed by the unusual outpouring of affection for a ship days away from the end of its life.

“I’m not saying this is a top candidate (for saving from the scrap heap.) My personal belief is likely none of these ideas could work out in time. So we’re carrying on with the next steps in the absence of something that sounds viable.”

Toronto Star


Thunderstorms create seiche on Lake Michigan

6/11 - Thunderstorms rumbled across Northern Michigan overnight with some damage in the Central U.P. and led to an interesting weather event on Grand Traverse Bay.

While no severe weather was reported locally in our viewing area, thunderstorms that crossed parts of Northern Lower Michigan did dump a quick round of heavy rain, and even produced a 47 mph wind gust west of Bayshore in Charlevoix County and led to what may have been a mini-seiche, a somewhat rare event on Grand Traverse Bay. On Wednesday morning, several people reported a large wave approaching the shoreline. Once it reached the shore, it sloshed over the docks and well up onto the beach flooding parts of some properties up and down that area.

A seiche can by caused and in this case is being called the likely culprit, by strong thunderstorm winds. As the storms crossed into Lake Michigan from Upper Michigan/Wisconsin, the winds along/ahead of the storms pushed the water towards the Michigan shoreline. Once the storms moved off Lake Michigan and moved inland, the water that had pushed up then sloshed back across the lake. It's the same effect as sloshing waves in a bathtub. This oftentimes leads to rapid fluctuations along the shoreline with the water quickly rising and then receding.

According to Jeff Lutz at the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Gaylord, the water levels measured at Port Inland located between Naubinway and Manistique in the U.P. had some large fluctuations Wednesday morning. At 9:06 a.m., the water went from a level of 580.18-ft. to 579.23-ft. at 9:24 a.m. That is almost a drop of a foot in only 18 minutes. Odds are that as the water level dropped there, the water was sloshing back towards Northwest Lower Michigan and with the record high water levels right now, along with funneling effect of Grand Traverse Bay, some flooding occurred as that wave splashed ashore.


Cleveland-Europe connection a winner

6/11 - Cleveland, Ohio – It was a novel concept when the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority came up with the idea last year. Local businesses could have their products loaded on a ship in the Port of Cleveland and send them directly to Europe.

No more having to rely on a circuitous route: first by rail or over road to East Coast ports, and then on to Europe – a journey that usually takes several weeks. Direct service would only take two weeks.

But with any novel concept – even the best of them – comes this question: Once tested, would it float or sink? It has been smooth sailing for the Cleveland-Europe Express.

Because of demand, the CEE is doubling the frequency of its service between Port of Cleveland and the Port of Antwerp this year. (The ship makes one stop, near Montreal.) That means there will be two calls per month in Cleveland. Or should that be at least two calls. In May, there were four. So far, the amount of cargo has tripled since last year. The CEE handles an assortment of containerized cargo. Scrap metal. Foodstuffs. Retail goods. Even machinery.

David Gutheil, the Port's vice president for maritime and logistics, said vessels traveling Lake Erie and the other Great Lakes have traditionally carried non-containerized cargo. For example, they would bring in industrial items, such as steel coils from Europe and returned with grain.

He said port officials knew the potential demand for containerized shipping was there. It just had to be cultivated.

"We knew we needed to make more frequent vessel calls to really gain additional traction in the container market," Gutheil said. "If you want to handle more containers, and more of that type of business, you need more frequent vessels at the Port to enable the containers to move. So far, we have seen our container volume increase dramatically because of the increase in the frequency of the calls."

The increase in trips and cargo isn't the only new thing about the CEE this year. The Port has a new relationship with Amsterdam-based Spliethoff Group, its vessel partner.

"Last year, we were chartering the vessel, which is equivalent to renting a car," Gutheil said. "This year, we're basically an investor in the service."

"We're contributing $2.5 million, but we are also guaranteeing that we have at least two calls per month all season," he said.

Bart Peters, Spliethoff's director of the Atlantic Department, based in Amsterdam, said his company welcomes the partnership.

"The potential is huge; but someone had to get it started," he said of developing Cleveland as a formidable international port. "The port of Cleveland had the vision to make a commitment. They have the same vision we see.

"Cleveland is the only city in the whole Midwest with a direct international connection, which is really something special," Peters said.

But it will be difficult to realize the vision that Spliethoff and Port officials share without more local businesses seeing how a direct route to Europe will make it easier for them to create and grow markets abroad.

Peters says this is the common scenario: Usually a ship full of imports docks in the Port of Cleveland. Often when it leaves for the Port of Antwerp, it is usually only half-full with goods from Cleveland area businesses.

Spliethoff is often does a lot of one-on-one with local businesses to help them see the advantages of direct shipping.

"Most people don't understand the logic of sea-going vessels," Peters said. Cleveland is really doing a brave thing to get things started and create Cleveland as a seaport – an international port in the midst of the USA, That is a revolution."

Abbey Greenfield of River Recycling in Cleveland said more area businesses probably have not considered exporting because it is not the easiest endeavor, especially for smaller companies. She should know. Greenfield is the fourth generation of a family-owned business, started in 1919, that processes brass and bronze scrap metal. The company, which has been exporting for 25 years, started going to Europe about a decade ago.

"We are a small company, and the process of exporting can be very cumbersome when you don't have a designated logistics department," she said. "There is a lot that goes into it: coordinating bookings and customs and shipping paper work. It is a lot to handle, when you have containers going everywhere all the time."

The journey to Europe could also be cumbersome. River Recycling would ship its exports by rail to an East Coast port, where they would sit for a week or two before getting clearance for the journey to Europe.

This is how things have worked since the CEE:

"One phone call, and they take care of everything," she said. "They make everything so easy. It has been wonderful."

This lack of hassle has been good for business in other ways.

"Originally, we only thought about going from Cleveland to Antwerp," she said. It opened our eyes that they could take something elsewhere in Europe. We are not only shipping to Antwerp, but other cities."

Jennifer Fay was living in San Francisco when she helped start retap, which makes and sells reusable water bottles, with her Danish business partners. The bottles are made of borosilicate glass, which is durable and lightweight. They are manufactured in Europe, including the Czech Republic and Germany.

Fay believed the Midwest would be an ideal location from which to distribute the bottles throughout the United States.

"Staying in San Francisco would have meant more days on the water," she said. "It would have been more expensive and not as ecologically sound to ship the bottles from there all around the United States.

However, there was a problem: no direct shipping service from Europe.

"We decided to move to Cleveland for many reasons," she said. "One of the primary reasons was the Cleveland-Europe Express."

The company opened locally early this year. The bottles arrive on the CEE. They are then taken to the company's warehouse in Solon, where they are distributed to retailers and customers throughout the country.

Shipping successes like those of River Recycling and retap help keep the vision of Cleveland developing into a thriving international port alive for Peters. He sees Cleveland as the focal point for an entire Midwest operation.

"We are also reaching out in other Great Lakes destinations," he said. "This is the Cleveland-Europe Express, so the goal is to develop Cleveland as a hub for the Midwest -- as the logistical hub, where all trade is coming together."

Cleveland Plain Dealer


Lakes Pilots Association seeking new pilots

6/11 - Lakes Pilots Association, based in Port Huron, Mich., is seeking applications from those interested in employment as a U.S. Registered Pilot on foreign vessels in District 2 of the Great Lakes. Lakes Pilots provides pilotage service in all the waters and ports from Port Huron, MI to Buffalo, N.Y., excluding the Welland Canal. Applicants must hold a U.S. Master, Mate or Pilot license with at least 24 months licensed service or comparable experience on vessels or integrated tugs and tows, of 4,000 gross tons, or over, operating on the Great Lakes or Oceans. Those applicants qualifying with ocean service must have obtained at least six months of licensed service or comparable experience on the Great Lakes. A complete list of requirements may be found in CFR Title 46, Shipping, Part 401, Subpart B. Anyone interested must first apply to the Director of Great Lakes Pilotage in Washington, D.C. to determine eligibility. Please contact Lakes Pilots for more information at (810) 941-5152

Lakes Pilots Association
P.O. Box 610902
Port Huron, MI 48061
(810) 941-5152

Director of Great Lakes Pilotage
US Coast Guard
2100 2nd St SW
Washington, D.C. 20593-7580
(202) 372-1537


Breakwalls and Docks #3 – Howard L. Shaw sunk off Ontario Place Pavilion in Toronto

The Ontario Government began a waterfront renewal program off the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition, west central Toronto, in the late 1960s. This led to the creation of the popular Ontario Place Pavilion and related attractions. The property was to be filled and three retired lakers were sunk as a breakwall. They are still there.

The Howard L. Shaw was the newest of the trio and dated from 1900. It was built at Wyandotte, MI and was valued at $350,000 when it was launched on Sept. 15, 1900. The 451 foot, 6 inch long bulk carrier joined the Eddy-Shaw Transit Co. before the end of the year.

It was sold to U.S. Steel in 1902 and operated under Donora Iron Mines before becoming part of the Pittsburgh SS Co. fleet in 1906. It often towed a consort barge and managed to pass between the towline of the Coralia and Barge 113 on May 25, 1906, resulting in heavy damage as the cable raked the deck.

Howard L. Shaw joined the Upper Lakes & St. Lawrence Transportation Co. in 1940 and was mainly used in the grain trade between the Lakehead and storage elevators to the east.

This vessel will be best remembered for efforts to try and load a cargo of grain at Chicago during the summer of 1963 in the middle of a dispute between unions. The Howard L. Shaw was boycotted for five months and, on Sept. 6, 1963, it was dynamited resulting in $25,000 in damage. This forced the vessel to withdraw but fleetmate John Ericsson arrived as a replacement to show that the company would not be intimidated

Howard L. Saw operated to the end of 1967 and tied up at Toronto. After being sold to the Government of Ontario in 1969, the cabins were removed and the hull was loaded with sand. The ship was allowed to settle on the bottom on July 4, 1969, and has worked admirably in its capacity as a breakwall.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #571 – Aycliffe Hall lost in Lake Erie after collision on June 11, 1936

Heavy dense fog prevailed on Lake Erie 79 years ago today and it was blamed for a collision between the small Canadian canaller Aycliffe Hall and the much larger American ore carrier Edward J. Berwind.

The accident occurred off Long Point at about 0500 hours as the Aycliffe Hall was headed up bound from Port Colborne to Collingwood and in ballast. The plates along the port side of the aft hold were ripped open and all 19 sailors on board made it to the safety of the Edward J. Berwind before their ship went down.

Aycliffe Hall was considered a good candidate for salvage and, later in 1936, efforts to refloat the ship proceeded. The bow was brought to the surface but heavy fall weather dislodged a pontoon holding the ship and the small steamer settled back on the bottom.

This time the hull was located in much deeper water and the decision was made to use explosives to blow the rigging clear and eliminate Aycliffe Hall as a hazard to navigation. This work was done in July 1939.

Aycliffe Hall had been built at South Bank, England, and completed for the Hall Corporation in April. 1928. It sailed for Canada with a cargo of fluorspar for Sault Ste. Marie as well as having the 65 foot long tug Vigilant on deck. The latter was discharged at Sorel.

This was the first member of the Hall fleet to have a “cliffe Hall” name.

Skip Gillham


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.

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.

1872 – Fire broke out aboard the passenger steamer KINGSTON about 18 miles upstream after the ship had left Brockville for Toronto. The ship was beached and the superstructure was destroyed but there were only two casualties. The hull was rebuilt at Montreal and later sailed as BAVARIAN, ALGERIAN and CORNWALL before being scuttled in Lake Ontario about 1929.

1936 – AYCLIFFE HALL sank in fog shrouded off Long Point, Lake Erie after a collision with the EDWARD J. BERWIND. All 19 on board were rescued. After salvage efforts failed, the rigging was blown clear by explosives. The EDWARD J. BERWIND was repaired and last sailed as LAC STE. ANNE in 1982.

1942 – HAVTOR, a Norwegian freighter, first came to the Great Lakes in 1932 and returned as late as 1939. It was sunk by a German submarine enroute from Reykjavik, Iceland, to Pictou, Nova Scotia, and 6 of the crew were lost.

1950 – The Italian freighter MARIA PAOLINA G. had been built in Canada as FORT ISLAND in 1944. It was downbound from the Saguenay River when it struck the Canada Steamship Lines passenger steamer ST. LAWRENCE, which had turned to dock at Tadoussac. Injuries were reported by 25 people and 30 cabins were damaged aboard the CSL ship.

1978 – The hull of the former passenger steamer RAPIDS QUEEN arrived at Toronto under tow from Kingston to be sunk as a breakwall off for the Queen City Yacht Club. It is still there.

1993 – PITRIA SKY first visited the Great Lakes in 1978. It departed Singapore for Shantou in southeast China, as h) HAI HONG 3 on June 11, 1993, but went back out to sea on arrival to ride out a pending typhoon. The ship was never seen again and it disappeared with all hands.

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


Herbert C. Jackson to be converted to diesel this winter

6/10 - Middleburg Heights, Ohio – The Interlake Steamship Company will repower its last steamship – the Herbert C. Jackson – with a highly-automated diesel propulsion system in the final phase of a 10-year, $100 million modernization effort to create the most efficient, reliable and environmentally-friendly fleet on the Great Lakes.

The six-month diesel conversion, which is slated to begin in mid-December, is the fifth major overhaul to Interlake’s fleet and its fourth steam-to-diesel conversion since 2006.

Built in 1959, the Jackson’s vintage steam turbines and automation would require costly upgrades for the ship to remain a reliable workhorse in the fleet.

“This repowering illustrates Interlake’s continuing commitment to shrink its environmental footprint by reducing emissions throughout our fleet,” says Interlake President Mark W. Barker. “We have a long-term vision for our industry and we are investing in our equipment and our ships to offer the most reliable, efficient delivery within an industry that is the greenest form of transportation available.”

The company is in discussions with potential shipyards to do the repowering work. The 6,250-BHP propulsion package will include a pair of MaK – six-cylinder M32E engines which will give the ship enhanced propulsion capabilities and reliability. In addition, the repowered Jackson will receive a twin-input, single-output Lufkin gear box with twin pto shaft generators, a Schottel controllable-pitch propeller system and Gesab exhaust gas economizers along with an auxiliary boiler. The Economizers allow the ship to harness the waste heat and energy from the main engine exhaust and produce “free steam” to heat the accommodations and for heating various auxiliary systems and fuel oil services. These installations will net the Company even greater emission reductions.

“It’s a sad day leaving the era of steamships behind but it’s a good day as we move forward,” says Barker about the last steamship being repowered. “We only have nine months a year to carry close to 20 million tons of cargo for our customers. It’s critical for us to be able to do that without any delays. To meet that goal, we have to invest and keep our ships outfitted with the best equipment in the industry.”

“The engineering team at Interlake is excited to be working with the professionals at Toromont Cat, a division of Toromont Industries Ltd., on another project,” says Phil Moore, Fleet Superintendent at Interlake. “The Toromont group provided engineering services, the MaK equipment and auxiliary propulsion systems on the successful diesel engine replacement of the Paul R. Tregurtha. Toromont made it an easy choice to work with them again on the Herbert C. Jackson repowering.”

Since 2007, Interlake has reduced its emissions dramatically. For example, through 2014, the Company estimates it has lowered its particulate matter by 30%, sulfur oxides by 54% and carbon dioxide by 47%. In April 2015, Interlake debuted the installation of exhaust gas scrubbers on the bulk carrier M/V Hon. James L. Oberstar, becoming the first U.S.-flag fleet to test the emission reduction technology on the Great Lakes.

The steamer Lee A. Tregurtha was the first ship to be repowered with a highly-automated Bergen diesel engine power plant in 2006. Similar engines were installed in the Hon. James L. Oberstar (then the steamer Charles M. Beeghly) in 2009. In 2010, the motor vesse; Paul R. Tregurtha, Interlake’s largest freighter at 1,013-feet long, underwent a diesel engine replacement using MAK engines. The steamer Kaye E. Barker was the last steamer to be repowered with Bergen diesels in 2012. The design and engineering of the power plants have been led by Ian Sharp, Director of Engineering for Fleet Projects. Sharp is currently completing the design of the Herbert C. Jackson’s new propulsion plant.

Interlake Steamship Co.


Algoma Montrealais scrap tow expected to leave Montreal Wednesday

6/10 - According to the Canadian Coast Guard, Mont (ex Algoma Montrealais), is to leave Montreal for Turkey on Wednesday under tow of the tug Diavlos Pride. Her Canadian registry was closed on May 27 and she now has the St. Kitts & Nevis flag on the stern but no port of registry painted on. The assisting tug is reported to be Ecosse, owned by Nadro Marine Services. As of Tuesday, Ecosse was at Sorel-Tracy.

René Beauchamp, Ron Beaupre


U.S. manufacturing keeps St. Lawrence Seaway bustling

6/10 - U.S. manufacturing is expected to keep ship traffic on the St. Lawrence Seaway bustling this season after a strong start for general cargo shipments through the navigation system.

According to the St. Lawrence Seaway, shipments of steel, aluminum, wind turbines and other heavy machinery were up by 5 percent to 629,000 metric tons from April 2 to May 31. Steel and Canadian aluminum headed to U.S. Great Lakes ports such as Oswego, Detroit and Toledo to be used in the thriving automotive industry. Local manufacturers also exported mining equipment via the Port of Milwaukee to Europe.

Looking ahead, U.S. energy projects are expected to boost wind turbine shipments in the Great Lakes this season. The Port of Duluth-Superior has already booked 20 ships for its general cargo dock this year, including multiple loads of wind turbine components. The Port Authority recently broke ground on its $17.7 million Port of Duluth Intermodal Project – a dock redevelopment project that will further enhance its heavy-lift and project cargo capacity.

While it was another late start to the season due to icebreaking constraints, grain from Canada and the U.S. continued to flow out of the St. Lawrence Seaway to export markets, totaling 1.9 million metric tons so far this season, up 7 percent over 2014. And dry bulk shipments, including road salt, coke for steel production, and construction materials totaled 1.7 million metric tons, up four percent.

Despite these star performers, year-to-date total cargo shipments via the St. Lawrence Seaway were 6.4 million metric tons, down by 7 percent compared to 2014 due to low global prices for North American iron ore and coal exports. Iron ore shipments via the Seaway were down 30 percent, while coal shipments dipped 27.5 percent compared to the same period the year before.

Chamber of Marine Commerce


Phoenix resumes voyage overseas

6/10 - Tuesday at about 7 a.m. the Phoenix (the problem-plagued former Phoenix Sun) departed the anchorage below Quebec City and headed down the St. Lawrence with the tug Ocean Charlie following as escort. This is possibly her exit from Canadian waters as her destination is Dubai.

Ron Beaupre


Port Reports -  June 10

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Leonard M., pushing the barge Huron Spirit, called on the Bay Aggregates dock on Sunday to unload.¦nbsp; This was their second visit to Bay Aggregate this season. The next day saw Algorail make a rare visit to the Bay Aggregates dock to unload.¦nbsp; She was outbound late Monday night. Early Tuesday morning saw the arrival of the tug Zeus and tank barge Robert F. Deegan.¦nbsp; The pair called on the Port Fisher Dock to unload for Dow/Oxy. Zeus-Deegan were outbound Tuesday night.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
American Mariner will be arriving off Buffalo around 10 p.m. Tuesday for the General Mills Frontier Elevator.


Tons of opportunity at U.S. Great Lakes ports in May

6/10 - Washington, D.C. – May was a busy month at U.S. ports along the Great Lakes Seaway System.

“Our Canadian and European trading partners kept U.S. Great Lakes ports extremely busy during the month of May,” said Betty Sutton, administrator of the U.S. Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. “Over 100 vessels arrived in the Great Lakes Seaway System carrying cargoes of windmill components, aluminum, clay, steel and iron ore. Our ports are certainly ramping up for what looks to be another robust navigation season.”

While it may take awhile for shipments of iron ore and other bulk commodities to rebound, the 2015 shipping season is shaping up to be a strong year for project cargo at the Port of Duluth-Superior with upwards of 20 vessels booked so far.

“Our Port Terminal has several heavy-lift shipments on the books for the oil and gas sector as well as multiple shiploads of wind turbine components slated to move through Duluth this year,” said Vanta Coda, Duluth Seaway Port Authority Executive Director. Two ships carrying a total of nearly 140 wind turbine blades arrived in May, along with a load of machinery bound for Minnesota’s Iron Range.

“We also see opportunity for smaller-lot customers to consolidate freight and fill ships now operating in the system with a mix of project cargo, machinery, specialty ag products and containers moving to/from Europe,” Coda added.

Cleveland is also looking up.

“Within the first two months of the 2015 season, international tonnage is up more than 20 percent compared to 2014,” said David Gutheil, Vice President for Maritime and Logistics at the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority.

“We have handled numerous new cargo movements during April and May, including steel pipe from Europe that will be installed as a connector to a natural gas pipeline in Ohio. In addition, the Cleveland-Europe Express (CEE) continues to gain traction in the market. CEE tonnage has tripled compared to April and May 2014 due to a significant increase in container movements. We continue to attract business from companies that have tired of continual congestion issues they face when moving their cargo through coastal ports. Spliethoff has also added a full time sales representative to their staff in Cleveland who is solely focused on targeting and securing cargo for the CEE.”

In Milwaukee, cargo volumes are keeping pace with last year’s strong performance,” said Paul Vornholt, Port Director. Among the items shipped from Milwaukee in May was a locally manufactured mining shovel that was efficiently delivered through the Seaway System to Scandinavia.

While grain imports are fairly uncommon at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor, there was an exception during May. The port received 20,000 tons of organic corn and soybeans from Europe for distribution to users in the U.S. “May shipments were strong,” said Port Director Rick Heimann. “Our overall year-to-date seaway shipments are right on target with our 2014 record year.”

The Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority shipped 15 General Electric locomotives through the St. Lawrence Seaway in May. The locomotives were constructed at the G.E. facility in Erie with a final destination in Indonesia. “The Port of Erie continues to see increased exports from GE Transportation Systems and is optimistic that the trend will continue,” said Brenda Sandberg, Executive Director of the Port.

The St. Lawrence Seaway reported that year-to-date total cargo shipments for the period April 2 to May 31 were 6.4 million metric tons, down 7 percent over the same period in 2014. General cargo was up 5.11 percent overall with steel and project cargo shipments posting increases of 5.6 and 75 percent over 2014. U.S. grain shipments were up by 40 percent in May over last year. The dry bulk category was up by 4 percent over 2014 with stone and cement in the positive column, at 11 and 10 percent respectively. Iron ore and coal – usually solid performers – were both down by 31 and 28 percent respectively. The liquid bulk category posted a downturn of 10 percent to 583 metric tons.

The Great Lakes Seaway Partnership


New bi-national public affairs program announced

6/10 - Washington, D.C. – The American Great Lakes Ports Association – in partnership with the Lake Carriers’ Association, Fednav Limited, and the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation – have jointly sponsored a new bi-national public affairs program called The Great Lakes Seaway Partnership. The program officially launched Tuesday with the unveiling of a new website,

The Great Lakes Seaway Partnership brings together leading U.S. and Canadian maritime organizations working to enhance public understanding of the benefits of commercial shipping in the Great Lakes Seaway region of North America. The organization will manage an education-focused communications program, sponsor research, and work closely with media, policy makers, community groups, allied industries, environmental stakeholders, and the general public to highlight the positive attributes of marine transportation.

The website features include sections dedicated to the program’s three key messages – Economy, Environment, and Safety – as well as facts and figures about the eight Great Lakes states and two Canadian provinces. There is also a section that serves as a primer about Great Lakes Seaway shipping. Latest news about ports, shipping companies, industry associations and programs are omnipresent on each page.

American Great Lakes Ports Association


Help wanted: Great Lakes Pilotage Authority

6/10 - The Great Lakes Pilotage Authority (the authority) operates in the interest of safety a marine pilotage service in all Canadian waters in the provinces of Ontario, Manitoba and in Quebec south of the northern entrance to the St. Lambert Lock. The authority is currently recruiting eligible candidates for the following pilotage districts in order to train them to become licensed marine pilots:

• Competition number D2-201501 – International District no. 2 (waters of the Welland Canal between Port Weller and Port Colborne, Ontario, Lake Erie and the waters of the connecting channels between Lake Erie and Lake Huron).

• Competition number LO-201501 – Lake Ontario District (Lake Ontario and the navigable waters within the limits of the Port of Churchill, Manitoba).

Apprentices must successfully complete the training program in order to be recommended by the training committee for evaluation by an examination board. An apprentice becomes a licensed pilot following successful evaluation by the board. For details regarding the above positions and to submit your application, please consult the Authority’s website under the Employment Opportunities tab at

Great Lakes Pilotage Authority


Reminder: Annual St. Clair Marine Mart coming up this Saturday, June 13

The 34th Annual Marine Memorabilia Market will be held this Saturday, June 13, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Riverview Plaza Mall in downtown St. Clair, Mich. Nearly 30 vendors will be offering items that are related exclusively to Great Lakes shipping. The market will have available for sale historical artifacts, artwork, books, photographs, advertising, memorabilia and more. It is one of only a few such annual events in the region. Admission is free.


High water levels on Lake St. Lawrence

6/10 - Montreal - Lake Ontario Notice to Shipping #10 has been issued. Read the notice here


Breakwalls and Docks #2 – Sewell Avery sunk as dock facing at Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

The Sewell Avery was one of the 16 Maritime-class bulk carriers built on the Great Lakes during World War II. It was launched at Lorain, Ohio, as Lancashire on Nov. 8. 1942, and entered service on May 26, 1943, as Sewell Avery.

The 620 foot long by 60 foot wide steamer served U.S. Steel and was active throughout the upper four Great Lakes mainly in the iron ore and coal trades. It had a few adventures including a collision with the 10th Street Bridge at Manitowoc, Wis. on April 13, 1956, and another with the J.L. Reiss in the foggy St. Clair River on Sept. 24, 1962.

Sewell Avery was laid up at Superior, Wis., on Sept. 3, 1981. It was sold to A.B. McLean in 1986 and arrived at Sault Ste. Marie under tow of the tug Avenger IV, on May 4, 1987. The hull was filled with slag and steel slabs were placed across the deck. The ship was then sunk as a dock facing at the A.B. McLean property on June 26, 1987.

The first customer proved to be the Nanticoke of Canada Steamship Lines as the Seaway-sized freighter arrived to load coke on Sept. 15, 1987.

The Sewell Avery pilothouse was removed prior to the ship being placed on the bottom. It was apparently opened in 1992 as the ticket office for the Norgoma Marine Museum but a subsequent report indicates that the structure was cut up for scrap in 1995.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #570 – Former Ruthie Michaels reported engine trouble on June 10, 1977, and was never seen again.

The Ruthie Michaels came through the Seaway for the first time in 1970. The vessel had been built at Kobe, Japan, and completed as a) Asumaya Maru in April 1963. The 447 foot, 9 inch long vessel was listed as a general cargo carrier. It first sailed under the Japanese flag until the ship was sold and re-registered in Liberia as b) Minoan King in 1970.

The same owners changed the name to c) Ruthie Michaels that same year and sent the freighter to the Great Lakes for the first time before the navigation season was over.

Another sale in 1974 brought the final name of d) Eurobulker and the ship now flew the flag of Cyprus. In June 1977, the vessel was on a voyage from Alcanar, Spain, to Bandar Shahpour, Iran. It made a stop at Djibouti, Somalia, and departed there on June 7. Three days later the Captain reported engine trouble in a position recorded as 16.17 N / 54.50 E.

Eurobulker was not heard from again. It disappeared, likely on June 12, in a hurricane and all 29 sailors on board were lost.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  June 10

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  June 10

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

On 10 June 1891, 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.

1940 – PAIPOONGE was cut in two and left the Great Lakes for saltwater service in 1919. It was registered in Latvia as d) KAUPO when it was sunk as a blockship at Dieppe, France, on this date in 1940. The hull was reported as refloated and scrapped in 1946-1947.

1942 – CONTINENT came to the Great Lakes in 1939-1940. The Newfoundland owned freighter was on a bareboat charter to the U.S. Army when it sank, following a collision with the American tanker BYRON D. BENSON, while enroute from New York to Bermuda.

1967 – The former Norwegian Seaway salty FRO was abandoned in sinking condition as c) WINSOME after a fire broke out in the cargo holds and spread throughout the ship on June 10, 1967. The vessel was enroute to Bangkok, Thailand, when it sank in the South China Sea.

1968 – JOHN T. HUTCHINSON suffered damage above the waterline when it was in a collision with the SUSANNE REITH at the head of Lake St. Clair. The latter, a West German salty, was on her first trip to the Great Lakes. This ship was eventually scrapped after arriving at Alang, India, as m) ALFA I on October 18, 2000.

1977 – RUTHIE MICHAELS came inland in 1970 and last reported in as d) EUROBULKER on June 10, 1977. The ship was enroute from Djibouti, to Bandar Shahpoir, Iran when it disappeared with the entire crew of 29. The ship is believed to have sunk off the coast of Oman perhaps as late as June 12.

1998 – The Greek flag bulk carrier OLYNTHIA first traveled the Seaway in 1978. It ran aground off Veraval, India, as d) OCEAN CRUISER in a tropical cyclone while bound for the United Arab Emirates. While released, it appears that the 26-year-old ship never sailed again and was broken up at Bharnvar, India, due to the damage.

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


Minnesota approves Bakken oil pipeline to Lake Superior

6/9 - St. Paul, Minn. – The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission has approved a certificate of need for the proposed Sandpiper pipeline route through northern Minnesota as it goes from North Dakota's Bakken oil fields to Superior, Wisconsin.

The proposed route goes from the oil field near Tioga, N.D., near Williston, to Superior, Wis., where ocean-going vessels can dock just below Duluth on Lake Superior.

While the PUC agreed 5-0 Friday that the $2.6 billion, 610-mile pipeline - about 300 miles across Minnesota – is necessary, they didn't foreclose the possibility of more changes on its proposed path, the Associated Press reported.

The PUC said it still might reroute Enbridge's proposed route away from environmentally sensitive lakes, streams and wetlands in northern Minnesota. Enbridge Energy will still have to go through a lengthy review of its proposed route and a proposed alternative. Enbridge says it would like to have it operating in 2017.

At a capacity of 375,000 barrels a day across Minnesota, the Sandpiper would carry the equivalent of about 525 rail tanker cars, each holding 714 barrels, or about five trains of crude oil, every day.

Enbridge says Sandpiper is needed to move the growing supply of North Dakota crude safely and efficiently to market. But environmentalists and tribal groups say the risk of leaks is too high.

North Dakota regulators have already approved Sandpiper. North Dakota produces about 1.2 million barrels of oil per day, about 13 percent of U.S. production; roughly two-thirds of it leaves the state by train.

Recent explosive derailments of oil trains have informed the debate over building new pipelines.

South Dakota Capital Journal


Port Reports -  June 9

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Hon. James L. Oberstar arrived to load ore at LS&I on a foggy Monday morning.

Manistee, Mich.
On Sunday, Sam Laud arrived of the Manistee piers at 11:15 and went to anchor due to visibility. She was underway around noon and inbound with coal from Ashtabula.

Grand Haven, Mich. – Dick Fox and Brian Ferguson
Algomarine crossed the pier heads inbound at 4 p.m. Monday with a load for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg. Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Defiance and Ashtabula departed around midnight Monday morning for Sandusky.

Seaway – Mac Mackay
Petro-Nova Inc. has applied to the Canadian Transportation Agency for a coasting license to use the Hong Kong-flagged tanker Chemical Aquarius to make multiple trips carrying 10,000 cubic meters of clean petroleum products from Levis, Quebec to Oakville and/or Sarnia and from Montreal to Oakville and/or Sarnia between June 11 and June 30.


Lake Superior lighthouse to receive heritage designation

6/9 - The Lamb Island lighthouse, built in 1876, is among 74 lighthouses recently granted heritage site designation, according to the chair of the Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior.

The lighthouse site, at the south end of the Nipigon Straights in Lake Superior, will be designated under the Heritage Lighthouse Protection Act, Paul Capon said.

The official list of protected lighthouses isn't expected to be made public until the end of the summer, but Capon said he's been told by Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq that Lamb Island is on the list.

The Lamb Island lighthouse was replaced by a light tower in 1961, but two dwellings, two outbuildings and a boathouse remain on the site.

Two other Lake Superior lighthouse sites, Porphyry Point and Shaganash, are receiving $20,000 in funding from Trans Canada Trail as part of the Lake Superior Water Trail. The national trail system overlaps the Lighthouse Trail from the island archipelago to Rossport.

The money will be spent on signs "to orientate and direct tourists guests and visitors on an interpretive journey through Lake Superior," a news release from the Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior said.



39 potential bidders for U.S. Steel in Hamilton, Nanticoke

6/9 - Hamilton, Ont. – A small glimmer of hope for workers at the former Stelco plants in Hamilton and Nanticoke has been ignited with news 39 potential bidders have expressed interest in buying the mills.

The court-appointed monitor overseeing USSC's restructuring under creditor protection revealed in a report Friday that of 102 companies offered the chance to buy the distressed mills, 39 took the step of submitting expressions of interest in the factories, the land they sit on and, most exciting for workers, in buying the company so that it will continue operating as a productive business.

"The interest now is in who they are and what they want to do here," said Bill Ferguson, president of the United Steel Workers local in Nanticoke.

"We've known all along there are people willing to buy this plant, now we want to sit down with them and find out what they intend."

U.S. Steel Canada, a unit of Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel Corp., filed for creditor protection in September and almost immediately started a process to find a buyer for the former Hilton Works in Hamilton, later accelerating a similar process for the Lake Erie Works in Nanticoke.

The multi-stage process called for expressions of interest to be filed in May followed by clarification questions about those bids until June 3.

In his most recent report, monitor Alex Morrison described the potential bidders as "global and North American steel producers, coke producers, steel and metal industry participants, land redevelopers, and private equity and financial investors."

The potential offers are now being evaluated by the company and its advisers to produce a short list deemed to have the financial strength and intent to carry out their proposals. No deadline for that process has been publicly revealed.

A case conference to plan the next steps in the complicated legal process is planned for Tuesday.

The monitor's report clearly demonstrates the first stage of the sale and restructuring process (SARP) has generated substantial interest, company spokesperson Trevor Harris said.

"This is certainly a positive development and speaks to the quality of our assets and the employees that support the day-to-day business of our company," he wrote. "As we progress through the second phase of the SARP, additional information will be made available at the appropriate time."

Union leaders, however, say they intend to stage a demonstration outside the courthouse to remind lawyers they are dealing with workers lives, not just balance sheets.

"We'll be out front with a few signs before it starts trying to make the point again," said Gary Howe, president of the USW local in Hamilton.

Howe said he isn't personally surprised there is interest in buying the Hamilton plant.

"Everyone would like to see someone making steel in Hamilton again because that's the best way to protect the pension and (retirement benefits) and employment in Hamilton," he said.

Even if a potential buyer were to restart some level of steelmaking in Hamilton, he added, there would still be the opportunity to sell some of the company's excess land along the bayfront for economic development.

USSC sits on 813 acres of land, much of which could be redeveloped for industrial uses, solving a critical problem that has hampered Hamilton's economic development efforts.

It is known that the Hamilton Port Authority submitted an early stage proposal for some of that land. The HPA has a long history of reviving former factory sites into new productive uses.

One question workers will be asking of any potential new owner of the mills is what contract concessions, if any, will be demanded as part of a purchase.

That question, Howe said, will not be warmly received by workers. "We paid the price to earn our pensions and benefits," he said. "A lot of people died early because of working there. We knew the risks when we started working there, but in return there were things we were promised like a pension and benefits."

Hamilton Spectator


Only 10 days left to book your Engineer’s Day Soo Cruise

The annual freighter-chasing cruise on the St. Marys River will take place on Friday, June 26, as part of the annual Engineer’s Day Gathering in Sault Ste. Marie. The cruise will be three hours and we will travel thru both the U.S. and Canadian Locks, and do our best to find photo opportunities for any vessel traffic in the river. Reservations are a must as we are limiting the group to 100 persons. Do not wait until you get to the Soo to join us on this trip. Only 10 days left to have your reservation received by mail.

Reservations must be received by Friday, June 19 to save $5. See the Gathering Page for details.


Breakwalls and Docks #1 – James J. Hill one of two hulls off Gordon Park at Cleveland

Introduction: An interesting thread on the Boatnerd Information Search page asked about the different ships that have been, and still are being used, as breakwalls or dock facings. This new series will attempt to provide some history of these different vessels.

The bulk carrier James J. Hill spent most of its career operating for the “Steel Trust” fleet. The ship was built at Lorain, Ohio, and completed in 1900 for the American Steamship Co. It moved under the U.S. Steel banner when the giant merger was completed in 1901.

The James J. Hill measured 497 feet long by 52 feet wide and was powered by a quadruple expansion engine. A collision with the Panther off Parisienne Island on June 27, 1916, smashed the wooden freighter and it sank as a total loss.

James J. Hill operated through the 1957 season and was laid up. It was sold to the city of Cleveland in 1961 and sunk the next year as a breakwall off Gordon Park. The site was later covered with landfill to create a lakeside recreation area and fishing pier.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #569 – Former French freighter Melusine sank a fishing ship June 9, 1979

Melusine was a regular Great Lakes trader for a number of years. It began coming through the Seaway in 1962, the year after it had been built at Port du Bouc, France, and by the end of 1967 had made 20 trips to our shores.

The 452 foot, 10 inch long by 61 foot, 4 inch wide bulk carrier could carry 10,759 tons deadweight and operated under the French flag. It was lengthened to 518 feet, 8 inches in 1969 enabling a revised payload of 14,488 tons.

The ship was sold to Greek interests in 1978 and was back through the Seaway that year as b) Lena. On June 9, 1979, Lena collided with the French fishing vessel Antioche III on the English Channel sinking the smaller boat 36 years ago today. Four members of the crew of the trawler were lost.

Lena developed engine trouble on a voyage from Bilbao, Spain, to Detroit on May 15, 1982, and arrived at Ferrol, Spain, ten days later. Repair costs could not be justified. The hull was sold for scrap and towed to the local breakers on July 9, 1982, for dismantling.

Skip Gillham


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.

1909 ASSINIBOIA and CRESCENT CITY were washed through the Canadian Lock at Sault Ste. Marie when the upbound PERRY WALKER struck the lower gate. All three ships were damaged but were repaired and returned to service.

1963 The newly built SILVER ISLE of Mohawk Navigation and the PRINS ALEXANDER of the Oranje Line, collided in fog and rain on the St. Lawrence near Kingston. Both ships required repairs. The former was scrapped at Aliaga, Turkey, in 2010 as ALGOISLE while the latter struck a reef and sank in the Red Sea as f) POLIAIGOS on December 28, 1980.

1979 The French freighter MELUSINE first came to the Great Lakes in 1962 and returned as b) LENA in 1978. It sank the French fishing vessel ANTIOCHE III in the English Channel with the loss of 4 lives on this day in 1979. LENA was scrapped at Ferrol, Spain, in 1982, after suffering engine damage on a voyage from Bilbao, Spain, to Detroit.

1998 COMMON VENTURE began Great Lakes trading in 1980. It broke loose of its moorings in a cyclone as f) PEARL OF DAMMAN and grounded at Kandla, India, on this date in 1998. The ship was loaded with sulphur and sustained considerable damage. Following a sale for scrap, the 27 year old carrier arrived at Alang, India, September 12, 1998, for dismantling.

1998 TOKAI MARU was a first time Seaway caller in 1977 and a return visitor as b) EASTERN HERO in 1993. This ship was also blown aground off Kandla, India, by the same cyclone. It was now d) SURPRISE and became a total loss. This ship arrived at Alang October 8, 1998, and was broken up.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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


Lookback #568 – Baie Comeau II christened at Port Colborne on June 8, 1977

The Quebec and Ontario Transportation Co. purchased the Spanish freighter Monte Almanzor in 1977 and it arrived at Port Colborne on May 20. The ship was refitted for Canadian service and was rechristened b) Baie Comeau II in a ceremony 38 years ago today.

The vessel sailed on June 19 and was used primarily as a newsprint carrier along the Atlantic seaboard but also carried general cargo. It returned to the Great Lakes on occasion and delivered steel out of Sault Ste. Marie for Algoma.

Baie Comeau II tied up at Sorel on Jan. 9, 1983, and, following a sale to the Progress Shipping Co., was renamed c) Agia Trias prior to sailing for the south on Oct. 11, 1983. In later years, this vessel operated as d) Oceanview, e) Sea Diamond, f) Golden Crest, g) Atlantic Wood, h) London Fury and i) Dong Sheng.

The last I have seen of this 1973 vintage freighter was an undated photo of her at Shanghai as Dong Sheng. It would appear that the vessel has likely been broken up in the Far East and most probably at a Mainland China scrapyard.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  June 8

News Photo Gallery
New Video on our YouTube Channel


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 second 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.

1933: WILHELMINE, dated from 1888 and was one of the world's earliest tankers, ran aground off Morgan Point, west of Port Colborne, while enroute from Chicago to Liverpool with 2,700,000 lbs of lard. The crew were removed and the ship abandoned. The hull was refloated June 3 but was not repaired and may have been dismantled at Ashtabula.

1954: The tug EDWARD C. WHALEN sank in Lake Superior near Corbeil Point. It was salvaged in 1955 and rebuilt a decade later as b) JOHN McLEAN. It survives in the Purvis Marine fleet as c) ADANAC.

1977: CYDONIA first came through the Seaway in 1962 and returned as b) VERMONT I in 1969. It was under tow due to rudder damage as e) JOY when a fire broke out in the engineroom near the mouth of the Mississippi River. The vessel was rocked by three explosions and sank in the Gulf of Mexico.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
Saturday afternoon the airport ferry Marilyn Bell went back into service after spending two weeks in dry dock at Heddle Marine in Hamilton. One of the major upgrades was the replacement of a troublesome rubber rubrail with a steel one. The Whitefish Bay departed from Redpath shortly after noon.


Lookback #567 – Seekonk caught fire at Charlottetown, PEI on June 7, 1963

While the tanker Seekonk spent most of its career on saltwater routes, it did come to the Great Lakes, beginning in 1951, for several years while on charter to the British-American Oil Co. Seekonk was a former U.S. Navy tanker that was built at Bayonne, NJ in 1944. It carried fuel supplies for naval ships in the Pacific theater of World War Two and saw service in the Philippines and off New Guinea. After the peace had been won, the vessel was decommissioned and laid up at Suisun Bay as Summit Springs before being sold to Newfoundland Tankers Ltd. on Jan. 28, 1949. Renamed Seekonk, the ship operated around eastern Canada, often carrying products for Irving Oil. It went south at the end of the 1958 season and became disabled and drifting about 80 miles southwest of Magdalena Bay, Mexico, on Feb. 9, 1959. H.M.C.S. Antigonish, a Canadian naval ship in the area, towed the troubled tanker to safety. It was 51 years ago today that a fire broke out in the galley as the ship was loading at Charlottetown, PEI. The blaze spread quickly. The burning vessel was towed from the dock by the Canadian Coast Guard ship Tupper and beached at nearby Governor's Island. All 18 sailors got off safely although one suffered burns. The fire burned itself out and, in time, Seekonk was towed to Buctouche, New Brunswick, and broken up for scrap there in 1964. Skip Gillham


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.

In 1977, tugs refused to tow the new MESABI MINER out of the harbor due to high winds. Captain William McSweeney 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, 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, which 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.

1894: The wooden steamer OCEAN received a massive hole in the bow after a collision with the barge KENT at Alexandria Bay on the St. Lawrence.

1902: The whaleback steamer THOMAS WILSON sank after a collision with the GEORGE G. HADLEY a mile off the Duluth piers while outbound with iron ore and nine lives were lost.

1915: JAMES B. EADS and the CHICAGO collided in the St. Clair River.

1941: The fish tug FINGLO caught fire and burned at Toronto. It was rebuilt for harbor duty as the steam tug H.J.D. NO. 1. In 1956-1957, the ship was unofficially renamed Salamander to star in the Canadian television series Tugboat Annie.

1971: SILVER CREST visited the Seaway in 1971 after previous calls as a) VIGRID in 1959 and 1963. It also returned as b) ROSTO in 1963 before becoming d) SILVER CREST in 1968. The ship stranded on Sisal Reef, in the Gulf of Mexico while enroute from Veracruz to Progresso, Mexico, but was refloated on June 12. The vessel arrived at Whampoa, China, for scrapping in July 1973.

1991: HERMES SCAN, a first time Seaway trader in 1977, sank in the Bay of Bengal as d) BRAUT TEAM after developing leaks the previous day. The heavy-lift vessel was reportedly carrying a Chinese steam locomotive for delivery to New York for the New York, Susquehanna and Western Railroad. All on board were saved.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – WDOR
The cargo vessel Arthur M. Anderson will probably make its home in Sturgeon Bay for the remainder of 2015, the direct result of softness in the steel industry.

Grand Haven, Mich. – Dick Fox
Pere Marquette 41 and tug Undaunted brought in a load for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg Friday morning. They were done unloading about 7:30 p.m. Late in the afternoon the Wilfred Sykes brought in a load for the same dock.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Thursday night the tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity returned for another load of cement. The tug Rochelle Kaye remains in port to help the Integrity dock at Lafarge.

The Cuyahoga arrived at the Alpena Oil Dock around 11:30 a.m. on a cloudy Friday. It unloaded salt from Goderich, Ontario.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber called on the Saginaw River, Thursday, carrying a split cargo. The pair dropped a partial cargo at the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City, before continuing upriver to finish unloading at the Wirt Stone dock in Saginaw. The Moore-Kuber were outbound for the lake Friday morning. Friday evening saw Algoway inbound on the Saginaw River, traveling up to the Buena Vista dock to unload. She was expected to be back outbound sometime on Saturday.

Seaway – René Beauchamp The tug Diavlos Pride is expected to arrive to pick up the scrap-bound Mont (Algoma Montrealais). The tow has a prospect to leave Montreal for Turkey on June 9. Another tug is heading for Muskegon, Mich. Recently acquired by Andrie Inc., the Sarah Andrie (formerly Caribe Service built in 1970) will be in the Seaway on Sunday, according to the pilot office.


Time is running out: Reserve now for Engineer’s Day Soo Cruise

The annual freighter-chasing cruise on the St. Marys River will take place on Friday, June 26, as part of the annual Engineer’s Day Gathering in Sault Ste. Marie. The cruise will be three hours and we will travel thru both the U.S. and Canadian Locks, and do our best to find photo opportunities for any vessel traffic in the river. Reservations are a must as we are limiting the group to 100 persons. Do not wait until you get to the Soo to join us on this trip. Reservations must be received by Friday, June 19 to save $5. See the Gathering Page for details.


Antique and classic outboard motors on display Aug. 1 at Dossin Museum

6/6 - C - A historic gathering of antique and classic outboard motors will be held Aug. 1 on the grounds of the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle State Park, in Detroit. This will be the first time that an event of this nature has been held at the museum. The event will be a dry meet with motor display and swap and sell area. This is a non-judged event, however special commemorative participant recognition ribbons will be awarded to display motors.

The theme will be “Made in Michigan” outboards with particular focus on Waterman and Caille brands. Aside from the better-known brands such as Waterman, Caille, Chris Craft, Lockwood and Clarke, there were no less than 33 other made-in-Michigan motors. Belle Isle is now a Michigan State Park, so Michigan registered vehicles require a MI Recreation Passport tag to enter the park. Non-Michigan vehicles must purchase a daily pass costing $9. Both types of passes are available at the park headquarters. Attendees at the meet will have free access to the Dossin Museum, Belle Isle Conservatory, Aquarium and Nature Zoo. Food will be available on site from a concession vendor.


Lookback #566 – Newbrundoc ran aground off Wellesley Island on June 6, 1956

The second Newbrundoc served the Paterson fleet from 1928 until 1963. The small bulk-carrying canaller was launched at Wallsend, England, on April 2, 1928, and completed before the end of the month.

Grain, coal, pulpwood and newsprint were popular cargoes for this 260-foot-long steamer. It operated throughout the Great Lakes and down the St. Lawrence and was deepened at Montreal in 1949 increasing capacity to 3100 tons deadweight or 115,000 bushels of grain.

As the ore mines of Labrador and Eastern Quebec started producing the highly desired raw material for the steel industry, ships like Newbrundoc were pressed into service before the Seaway was ready to enable the larger ships to deliver the ore.

Newbrundoc had loaded ore at Contrecoeur, Q.C, and was bound for Buffalo when it wandered out of the navigation channel due to fog and went aground in Densmore Bay, on the southeast side of Wellesley Island, on June 6, 1956. The ship hit bow first on the rocks but was released the next day.

This vessel lasted into the Seaway era and was upbound for the last time on Sept. 1, 1963. The destination was Toronto and Newbrundoc was broken up for scrap early in 1964.

Skip Gillham


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.

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

In 1953, 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, 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.

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.

1956: NEWBRUNDOC ran aground at Densmore Bay on the southeast side of Wellesley Island in the St. Lawrence after straying out of the channel in fog. The ore-laden vessel, enroute from Contrecoeur to Buffalo, was released the next day.

1964: The Norwegian freighter FRO made 10 trips through the Seaway from 1961 to 1965. It ran aground at Milwaukee after loading 7500 tons of scrap for France on June 6, 1964, and was lightered to the YANKCANUCK before being refloated June 9.

1967: FRANKCLIFFE HALL ran aground off Hare Island, Lake Superior in dense fog and received heavy damage to bottom plates. The ship was lightered and released June 9 and went to the Davie shipyard for repairs. This vessel was scrapped at Aliaga, Turkey, as HALIFAX in 2011.

1967: AUGUSTUS B. WOLVIN struck the bank of the Welland Canal and grounded. A subsequent survey of the damage at Port Weller Dry Docks revealed it was not worth the cost of repairs and the ship was laid up and sold for scrap.

1982: ALGOSEA (i) rammed the west pier at Port Weller entering the Welland Canal in fog turning the bulbous bow by 90 degrees. The damaged ship was allowed to go to Thunder Bay for repairs. It became c) SAUNIERE later in 1982 and was scrapped at Aliaga, Turkey, in 2011.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Great Lakes shipwreck researchers extend reach

6/5 - Alpena, Mich. – Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Michigan is rolling out the buoys and starting another season of work on Lake Huron — the highlight of which is searching for and studying shipwrecks.

This year, there's far more real estate to investigate: The sanctuary in northern Michigan secured federal approval to expand its size by nearly tenfold, from 450 square miles to 4,300 square miles.

"We're building large data sets — eventually, we hope, of the entire area," sanctuary superintendent Jeff Gray said. "That data is great as we find these wrecks, which are some of the best preserved wrecks in the entire world."

Sanctuary officials estimate the expanded territory, which incorporates waters off Alcona, Alpena and Presque Isle in the northeastern Lower Peninsula to the maritime border with Canada, doubles the number of shipwrecks it can explore to roughly 200.

Even more Great Lakes shipwreck protection and exploration could launch in the years ahead as other regions seek to join Thunder Bay, the only freshwater national sanctuary. Wisconsin officials, for instance, have applied for their own sanctuary on Lake Michigan with Thunder Bay's support.

Once known as "Shipwreck Alley," Thunder Bay is accessible to divers, swimmers, boaters and paddle-boarders, who can view some of the wrecks in shallow, clear water.

Among the better-known wrecks is the Isaac M. Scott, a coal carrier that sunk in the Great Storm of 1913, which scuttled 11 vessels in 16 hours and killed 150 mariners. Another is the New Orleans, a wooden side-wheeler that hit a reef on a foggy night in 1849; all 300 aboard were rescued.

For the undiscovered or unexamined wrecks, Gray said teams perform "high-definition mapping" using side-scan sonar. Before advances in technology, the workers were "interpreting blobs," he said, but now "you're practically looking at photos."

The mapping "also tells us what the bottom is like, where fish could be living, where they could be coming back to lay their eggs. And also about the geology, the hydrology of the lake as well," he said.

The expansion approved last year was a long-sought coup for the sanctuary, which was created in 2000 and is managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the state of Michigan. Now, officials in and around the Lake Michigan shoreline community of Sheboygan, Wisconsin, seek to establish their own.

Backers of the Wisconsin National Marine Sanctuary, which is undergoing an environmental impact study, say they have gotten support and inspiration from Thunder Bay. They see a similar opportunity to preserve and explore scores of shipwrecks in an 875-square-mile area while boosting education, economic development and tourism.

Leslie Kohler, chairman of the Sailing Education Association of Sheboygan, said she and other members of Wisconsin's sanctuary steering committee have visited Thunder Bay and Gray was recently in Wisconsin for a community presentation about sanctuaries.

"They've got a great facility," Kohler said of Thunder Bay. "If we could do a job like that, we think it would be marvelous."

Detroit Free Press


Canadian Coast Guard moves communications from Thunder Bay

6/5 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – Mariners on Lake Superior in the Thunder Bay area can no longer radio a city-based operator for help if they run into trouble. Since May 29, vessel operators have been talking to a communications base in Sarnia as part of a national project to modernize marine communications and traffic services.

The change does not affect coverage for mariners, said Greg Lick, the Canadian Coast Guard's director general of operations.

"The radio towers that connect mariners to the center, the radar towers which give us a radar picture of certain areas, those towers will remain exactly the same," he said. "They're just being connected with the modern technology to different centres."

He said that modernization makes the centers more efficient and allowed the coast guard to consolidate a number of centers. The emergency response for mariners in trouble remains the same — with no changes to the vessels or staffing at Thunder Bay's Coast Guard search and rescue base, Lick said.

Communications staff working in Thunder Bay were offered other positions or options, he added. The change is part of a national project to modernize the marine communications and traffic services at centers across the country.

"We've actually updated the technology, which was ‘80s and ‘90s technology. We've updated that to very modern communications systems," Lick continued.

"So we've always talked about it as sort of moving from the rotary or maybe the push-button phone up to a smart-phone technology. That's a good example or comparison."



Port Reports -  June 5

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
Whitefish Bay is currently alongside at Redpath unloading a transshipment of sugar from Montreal. Meanwhile, another waterfront derelict is being removed. The crippled Colby unloader at Redpath is being dismantled. A large mobile crane has removed the swing out bucket boom and all of its hoisting gear. The operation is presently suspended while the Whitefish Bay is unloading. The Evans Mckeil and the cement barge Metis are alongside at Terminal 52. With the Stephen B. Roman delivering cement to various ports on the lakes, the tug/barge combo has been on a steady run delivering cement to the Essroc Leslie Street distribution and storage yard.


Cruise boat Huronic launches in Collingwood

6/5 - Collingwood, Ont. – A new service to tourists and residents will be available in the Collingwood area this summer. A 65-foot cruise boat, named Huronic, will provide sightseeing, dinner and wine tours as well as private charters.

The 70-capacity vessel is fully Transport Canada safety-certified and service began on June 1. The ship is being operated by the father-daughter team of Dave and Lauren Mathews. The latter is well known in the Port Dover area for his steel boat building company called Mathews Marine.

Meals with dinner cruises will be catered and the ship plans to give travelers a panoramic view of the escarpment area and travel as far as the Nottawasaga Lighthouse.

Visit Collingwood Charters online for more information.

Skip Gillham


Lookback #565 – Former Olympic Power caught fire on June 5 1991

The Greek-owned, but Liberian flagged bulk carrier Olympic Power first came through the Seaway in 1969. The 576 foot, 2 inch long vessel had been built at Shimizu, Japan, the previous year and was part of the Onassis family fleet. Olympic Power could carry over 27,000 tons of cargo at saltwater draft and was equipped with a 12,000 bhp Sulzer diesel engine.

The ship was a frequent inland trader but was sold to the Orantus Shipping Co. and renamed b) Croesus in 1984 with registry in Lebanon. It became c) Free Power in 1993 and last served the Danco Shipping Co. under the flag of Malta.

Free Power caught fire in the engine room off Oman on June 5, 1991, and the blaze extended into the next day. The ship, on a voyage from Jubail, Saudi Arabia, to Nigeria, was abandoned by the crew and all but one of the sailors on board survived.

The former Seaway trader was towed to the area of Dubai on June 7 and declared a total loss. Following a sale to shipbreakers in India, Free Power arrived at Alang for scrapping by the Malvi Shipbreaking Co. on Feb. 8, 1993.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  June 5

Over the winter of 1960 - 1961, 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 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, ROGER BLOUGH (Hull#900) was christened at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. for U.S. Steel Corp.

Also in 1972, 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 20 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.

1943: FRANK ARMSTRONG, upbound on her maiden voyage, collided with the C.S.L. bulk carrier GODERICH in the St. Mary's River. Both sustained significant damage.

1991: OLYMPIC POWER was a year old when it first came through the Seaway in 1969. The vessel was sailing as c) FREE POWER when a fire broke out in the engine room off Oman on this date in 1991 and the ship had to be abandoned by the crew. One sailor was lost. The hull was a CTL and it reached Alang, India, for scrapping on February 8, 1993.

1998: The small Danish flag freighter, SEA STAR came to the Great Lakes with steel for Cleveland in April 1998. The vessel returned to the sea and sank in the Caribbean two months later on this date after a collision with the tuna boat MASA YOSHI MARU. SEA STAR was traveling from Colombia to Haiti with 2000 tonnes of bagged cement. Two members of the crew were lost.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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 4

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
On Monday the tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity were anchored off Alpena. They waited for the arrival of the Ryba Marine tug Rochelle Kaye for assistance into port. The Integrity tied up at Lafarge after dark and departed Tuesday morning. The Alpena was also in port on Tuesday loading cement. The tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 unloaded cargo at Lafarge on Wednesday. The Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation also called at Lafarge on Wednesday.

Seaway – René Beauchamp
Two tugs, both U.S. registry, are heading for Great Lakes ports for the first time under their present name. The first one is Genesis Victory, having as destination a port in Indiana. She is pushing the barge GM 6506 and was in the Seaway trade before as Huron Service. The second, Candace Elise, had several names before and never transited the Seaway. She is heading to Muskegon from New York to join Ashton Marine LLC. Until recently, she was sailing as Stephen Dann. It is unknown yet if she is on her own or towing a barge. Ashton Marine will be servicing bulk liquid/dry cargo, project cargo, ship assists, ice breaking and miscellaneous projects on the Great Lakes and East Coast.


High water levels shrink beaches, but help shippers, boaters, ecology

6/4 - Muskegon, Mich. – For years, "lower, ever lower" was the big water-level story in West Michigan.

News stories focused on the problems created for boaters and shippers. Great Lakes freighters had to lighten their loads to navigate areas with less water depth. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredged Lake Michigan harbors including Muskegon and Grand Haven. Sailboats had problems getting onto interior bodies of water like Muskegon Lake.

On the bright side, lakefront parks and property owners got lots more beach.

Now the situation has flipped. After a couple snowy winters coupled with decent rainfall amounts in warmer months, Muskegon-area river, stream and lake levels are the highest they've been in many years.

That's meant a variety of things for the area – the good, the bad and the ugly, depending on your point of view.

"There's always going to be these competing challenges from societal demands," said Alan Steinman, executive director of Grand Valley State University's Robert B. Annis Water Resources Institute. "What do you value more?"

For the area's ecology, rising water levels are mostly a plus after years of low water.

"We have a need for fluctuating water levels so we can have that functional wetland edge that provides filtering for pollutants," said Kathy Evans, environmental planner for the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission and staff support for the Muskegon Lake Watershed Partnership. "It's a dynamic system. Changes are good."

Wetter wetlands might also help drown out invasive plant species like phragmites, the dense reeds that have been clogging shoreline areas in recent years, Evans suggested.

Stationary water levels over many years are bad for the native ecology of coastal wetlands. "It's a good opportunity for the invasives to come in," Steinman said. "It's not good habitat for the fish, not good for the bugs. As much as the homeowners might want that, it's really poor for the ecosystem."

So changing water levels, with a cycle of ups and downs, helps the environment. But there are a couple caveats.

While rising water is mostly good for the environment, it does depend on the source -- if heavy storms cause fertilizer-rich or contaminated soil and pavement runoff to flow into lakes and streams, that's not a good thing, Steinman points out.

Rising water levels are a big boon to shipping interests and recreational boating.

"So far it's hurt our service business because people are not wrecking their boats," joked Jeff Covey, general manager of Great Lakes Marina on Muskegon Lake. But seriously, "the water levels are awesome," Covey said. "It makes boating so much easier, so much nicer."

It's easier to get boats in and out of the water. Inland lakes like Muskegon and White Lake have fewer shallow areas that can damage boats, canoes and kayaks. No one has to descend ladders to board their craft.

"There's plenty of water in the marina," Covey said. "We're back up to where the average depth should be. That's a big change, considering we couldn't even get a lot of sailboats into the marina three years ago. Now we can."

With higher lake levels, marinas don't have to dredge as often. Neither does the federal government, responsible for keeping shipping lanes open.

"Obviously from a shipping capacity, it's great for navigation," Steinman said. Great Lakes freighters no longer have to lighten their loads, and dredging costs go down.

On the other hand, higher water levels do cause more sediment movement. That could build up sand bars in some spots that need to be dredged. "But in general you're going to have more draft so ships can move without dredging," Steinman said.

And that leads to the most noticeable negative about higher lake levels: beach erosion. For those with long memories, the bane of the 1980s has returned to West Michigan after a long absence.

"Our beach has been reduced in size by probably about a third to a half," said Pat Whalen, unit manager for P.J. Hoffmaster State Park along Lake Michigan in southern Norton Shores. On parts of the Hoffmaster shoreline, there's virtually no beach left at all.

The situation is similar at Muskegon County's Pioneer Park along Lake Michigan north of Muskegon Lake.

At Pioneer, the park's beach depth has dropped from 20 feet down to 3 to 5 feet, according to senior park ranger Jeff Winters. And there, as at Hoffmaster and other beaches, a lot of driftwood and dead grass have been washing up on the beach.

But, like Whalen, Winters isn't too concerned.

"We have years where it's up, years where it's down. It's kind of a bell curve," Whalen said. "Mother Nature always does this to us."

Tanya Cabala, a member of the newly formed White Lake Environmental Network and longtime White Lake-area environmental activist, makes a similar point.

"People have short memories," Cabala said. "You would think that most people who live on the shoreline or were thinking about living on the shoreline would understand that lake levels fluctuate. In times of low lake levels, people build too close to the water."

"We fail as humans to take the long view," Steinman said. "We always focus on the short term. If you look at the last 150 years, eventually water levels are going to come back. What's unprecedented is how long it stayed low.

"We caution people, when you look at these water levels over history, they fluctuate. Sometimes they fluctuate wildly. It doesn't surprise me. People's memories surprise me."



Coast Guard holds change of command ceremony

6/4 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Coast Guard held a change-of-command ceremony for its 9th District, which spans the five Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence Seaway and parts of the surrounding states, at the Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center Wednesday afternoon.

Vice Adm. William "Dean" Lee, Coast Guard Atlantic Area commander, presided over the ceremony to transfer command of the 9th District from Rear Adm. Fred Midgette to Rear Adm. June Ryan.

Midgette assumed command of the 9th District in June 2013 and is now reporting to Coast Guard Headquarters to fill the position of special flag assistant to the vice commandant.

Ryan reports to the 9th District from her position as the military advisor to the secretary of Homeland Security.

During her speech, Ryan made several references to the three tenets she said will guide her leadership of the 9th District. Her tenets are to honor the member, honor the mariner and honor the memory.

Headquartered in Cleveland, 9th District units are responsible for all Coast Guard operations throughout the five Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence Seaway and parts of the surrounding states including 6,700 miles of shoreline and 1,500 miles of the international border with Canada. The 6,000 active-duty, Reserve, civilian and Auxiliary men and women deliver multi-mission services in search and rescue, maritime safety and security, environmental protection, maritime law enforcement, aids to navigation, and icebreaking.



Toledo museum to mark 40th anniversary of Fitzgerald sinking with several events

6/4 - Toledo, Ohio – This year marks the 40th anniversary of the sinking of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald. In its honor, the National Museum of the Great Lakes has announced its plans to remember this important event and the 29 crewmembers who perished in the disaster.

Nicknamed the “Toledo Express” because of its frequent arrivals in the port, most of the crew on the fateful journey in 1975 called the Toledo area their home – more than any other community. The boat’s Captain, Ernest McSorely, resided in Ottawa Hills at the time of the disaster.

The museum will provide a series of Fitzgerald-related programs between June and November to help educate the general public as to the historic nature of the loss and to remember the souls of those lost to the frigid waters of Lake Superior.

This Saturday, June 6, 57 years after the Edmund Fitzgerald was launched, the museum will begin offering a specialty tour aboard the Col. James M. Schoonmaker. On the tour, museum staff will take visitors to specific areas of the Schoonmaker to explore technical and historical topics related to the Fitzgerald’s sinking.

“A lot of people have heard about leaky hatches, downed fence rails and broken radar, but until you actually see this equipment first hand, the terms are just words” said Christopher Gillcrist, the museum’s executive director. “Our tour introduces the visitor to the mystery of the Fitzgerald with concrete visual examples.” All major theories of her sinking will be explored. Additionally, the tour will feature newly-uncovered information concerning individuals related to the disaster. For example, the museum will identify individuals who were scheduled to be on the ill-fated journey but didn’t make it aboard, and the identity of the first person Columbia Steamship Company, the operators of the Fitzgerald, contacted when it became obvious the ship had sunk.

The National Museum of the Great Lakes has also announced a new initiative to help broaden an appreciation and understanding of the historic role of the Fitzgerald in maritime history. Over the next year the staff and volunteers of the museum will conduct 29 educational programs at no charge to service groups, museums, historical organizations and other community organizations. Each program will be offered in honor of one of the 29 crewmembers that perished. Three different programs related to the Fitzgerald, and a new program on the Fitzgerald’s life prior to the accident, will be available to local organizations on a first come, first served basis.

In addition, the National Museum of the Great Lakes has entered into a cooperative agreement with other maritime museums to promote the history of the Fitzgerald. The agreement creates the “Edmund Fitzgerald Historic Trail,” which features four other museums with significant Fitzgerald artifacts and displays, including the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, the Museum Ship Valley Camp, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, and the Lakes Superior Maritime Visitor Center. “Each of the participating museums has something to tell about America’s most famous shipwreck. The historic trail lets people know where they can find the museums that tell this story,” said Gillcrist.

Finally, the museum is planning a major event on November 10, in Toledo. Plans for the commemorative event will be announced in August.

National Museum of the Great Lakes


Lookback #564 – Emperor stranded on the Canoe Rocks, sank on June 4, 1947

The big bulk carrier Emperor of the Canada Steamship Lines fleet was lost 68 years ago today. The ship landed on the Canoe Rocks, Lake Superior, in calm but foggy weather in the pre-dawn hours of June 4, 1947.

The hull of the ore laden freighter cracked and it slid back into deeper water. Both lifeboats were launched but one got sucked under and 12 lives were lost as the Emperor went down.

Today the bow of the ship rests in about 35 feet of water and slopes back to a depth of 150 feet. The pilothouse has been washed away and the hatches blew off when the ship sank. The hull is broken at #7 hatch but the stern cabin, in much deeper water, remains intact.

Emperor served in the ore, coal and grain trades. It had been built at Collingwood as Hull 28, launched for Inland Lines on Dec. 17, 1910, and began trading the following spring. It moved to Canada Steamship Lines on their formation in 1913.

CSL purchased two ships as replacement tonnage and they served the company into the late 1960s as Burlington and Martian.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  June 4

In 1955, 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, 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 Lines 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.

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 waterlogged. 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 60 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 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.

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, 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, 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.

1961: C.A. BENNETT went aground in the Wiley-Dondero Channel of the Seaway while trying to avoid the REDFERN and was released with her own power.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Wondering about that ship anchored in Lake Michigan? Here's the answer

6/3 - Milwaukee, Wis. – Lakefront strollers have been eying a large, seemingly out-of-place cargo vessel with curiosity as it remains anchored on open water — now for more than a week.

"We're in the same boat as everybody else in not knowing why they've been hunkered out there this whole time," said Paul Fladten, public relations manager for nearby Discovery World, whose captains and crew members have learned little about the ship despite sailing by it and exchanging waves and honks with its passengers.

The Lugano, a bulk carrier ship, could stay glued to its spot about a mile from the McKinley Marina indefinitely, according to Wayne Johnson, a Port of Milwaukee harbor master.

Johnson said the ship has been anchored and awaiting its next load of cargo since May 25, after a 10-day stint unloading barley at the Nidera grain elevator.

"Right now he doesn't have anywhere to go," Johnson said. "He's an orphan."

It's not unheard of for vessels to remain within un-docked port jurisdiction, which extends halfway across Lake Michigan, but it is unusual for that stay to extend beyond a few days, he said.

Employees of Harbor House, a seafood restaurant, were immediately struck by the ship, whose stern they've observed changing directions overnight while the boat remains fixed in its location, according to Patrick Erdman, assistant general manager.

"Typically they would be there, unload, load and be gone within the matter of a day," he said.

But Johnson said the Lugano is welcome to linger so as long as it stays out of the shipping channel and doesn't present a hazard to other boats.

"It's not something that happens all the time; they just wind up there," Johnson said, "and they can stay out there as long as they want."

He said he expects that soon, though, the Lugano's crew will have to order a grocery delivery since they can't leave the ship without docking.

The Swiss-owned "salty" — a term for oceangoing vessels — can carry about 20,000 tons and is based out of a port in Basel, Switzerland.

Journal Sentinel


On Lake Michigan, a cleaner coal-powered ship ferries on

6/3 - Ludington, Mich. – A slice of history sails across Lake Michigan, carrying cars between Ludington, Mich., and Manitowoc, Wis. It's the SS Badger: the largest coal-fired passenger ship still operating in the United States.

For years, the ship was the focus of environmental scrutiny because of its practice of dumping waste coal ash directly into the lake. The pollution nearly stopped the Badger from steaming again — but now, the ash-dumping has ended.

And this summer, after a half-century on the waters, the Badger is still ferrying on.

With the blast of a horn, Captain Jeffery Curtis informs the city of Ludington that the Badger is leaving the port. Then he talks to the helmsman at the wheel and gives orders to the boiler room crew — with a bell.

The bell is connected to a communication device called a Chadburn. Curtis says the Badger, which has been sailing since 1953, is one of the only ships on the Great Lakes that still uses one.

"We are still working as if we were in mid-century here, so we have engine-order telegraphs to communicate our needs to the engineers down in the engine room," he says.

The pilothouse has a lot more brass and fewer computers than you'll see in newer ships, hearkening back to when seven ferries operated out of Ludington. Now it's the only one.

Bryce Goddard of Cleveland, Tenn., braved a chilly but sunny morning to sit out on the deck watching Michigan fade away.

"I keep waiting for this shoreline to disappear, but it just lasts forever," she says. "Which I'm glad of. That's my last view of Michigan for a long time, probably."

Inside, passengers play bingo, watch a movie or TV, take a nap, read a book or use the Wi-Fi — because, yes, there is Wi-Fi on a coal-powered ferry.

This trip almost wasn't possible. After decades of letting the Badger pollute the lake, the Environmental Protection Agency issued an ultimatum: Stop dumping or be grounded.

Finally, this off-season, the boat's owner installed a $2 million solution: a set of blue pipes that collect ash each trip, about 500 tons per year.

Once a week, that ash gets trucked to Charlevoix, Mich., for use in making cement products. Badger engineer Chuck Cart says it wasn't easy to install this new system.

"We don't have a lot of space here, so we needed to design a bin that would fit in the space that we weren't using to haul cars and trucks," he says.

The boat trip is only three to five hours shorter than driving around the lake, and there are certainly faster ferries at other Lake Michigan ports. But Mary Lou Deutsch of Traverse City, Mich., says that's not the point.

"Life isn't for going fast. Life is for enjoying the ride. And this has been delightful," she says.

And now that the Badger runs a bit greener, a leisurely ride across Lake Michigan is no longer a guilty pleasure.



Port Reports -  June 3

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Mississagi came into port at 7:20 p.m. on Tuesday.


Lookback #563 – Former Ivinghoe Beacon arrived Vancouver under tow on June 3, 1974

Ivinghoe Beacon was a British ship that first came to the Great Lakes in 1964. It had been built at Alblasserdam, Netherlands, and completed in October 1954.

The vessel was originally 459 feet, 10 inches in length by 60 feet, 2 inches at the beam. It was lengthened in 1962, so by the time it traded inland it was 519 feet, 5 inches overall.

Ivinghoe Beacon returned through the Seaway in 1966 and became b) Georgios T., Cyprus flag, in 1970. On May 19, 1974, the ship's crankshaft broke while on a voyage from Cuba to Vancouver. It arrived at its destination, under tow, 41 years ago today and was found beyond economical repair.

After only 20 years of sailing, it was sold to Japanese shipbreakers, and was towed across the Pacific arriving at Tadotsu on Dec. 24, 1974. Work on breaking up the hull was begun by Miyachi Salvage K.K. on Jan. 6, 1975.

Skip Gillham


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 feet x 30 feet x 11 feet, and she cost $20,000.

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

After successfully completing her sea trials on June 3, 1951, 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.

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 at Dundas, Ont. 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.

1911: The passenger steamer NORTH WEST was gutted by a fire while fitting out at Buffalo. The hull remained idle until it was cut in two in 1918 for a tow to saltwater, but the bow section sank in Lake Ontario. The stern was rebuilt on the St. Lawrence as MAPLECOURT and returned to the lakes, again in two sections, in 1922.

1923: WILLIAM B. SCHILLER and HORACE S. WILKINSON collided in Whitefish Bay. The former was anchored when hit on the port side at #5 hatch. The SCHILLER’s captain pulled up the hook and raced for shore so as to sink in shallow water. It went down in about 40 feet and was salvaged on July 2.

1940: JOHN J. RAMMACHER and WILLIAM A. REISS (ii) collided just after midnight beneath the Blue Water Bridge at Sarnia-Port Huron and both ships were damaged.

1999: HOPE I lost power in the Seaway while downbound with wheat and stranded above Morrisburg. The hull was holed and the ship was released with the aid of tugs on June 5. The ship first came inland as a) NOSIRA MADELEINE in 1983 and returned as c) HOPE I for the first time in 1993, and then as d) HOPE in 2004. It was last reported as f) H. PIONEER in 2011.

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


Port Reports -  June 2

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
On a rare visit, St. Clair unloaded coal at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock on Monday.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. called on the Saginaw River Monday morning, stopping at the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville to unload coal. The McCarthy, Jr. did not call on the Saginaw River during the 2014 season as coal to Consumers was delivered primarily by rail last year. For the month of May, the Saginaw River saw 17 commercial vessel deliveries. This number is up from 9 during the same time period in 2014. For the year to date, there have been 25 commercial vessel passages. That is more than twice as many as in 2014, when there were only 11 by June 1st. If you look at the five-year averages, May 2015 is above the average of 15, and for the year to date, 2015 is also above the five year average of 22 vessel passages. While the extended ice season in 2014 is partly to blame for the low early season numbers last year, hopefully the demand for materials is on the rise, in turn accounting for a greater number of vessel passages in 2015.

Trenton, Mich.
Monday afternoon, American Courage was unloading coal at the DTE Trenton Channel Plant.


U.S. Coast Guard to hold change-of-command ceremony on Wednesday

6/2 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Coast Guard is scheduled to hold a change-of-command ceremony for its 9th District, which spans the five Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence Seaway and parts of the surrounding states, at the Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center Wednesday afternoon.

Vice Adm. William "Dean" Lee, Coast Guard Atlantic Area commander, will preside over the ceremony to transfer command of the 9th District from Rear Adm. Fred Midgette to Rear Adm. June Ryan.

Midgette assumed command of the 9th District in June 2013. Following the change-of-command ceremony, Midgette will report to Coast Guard Headquarters to fill the position of special flag assistant to the vice commandant.

Ryan reports to the 9th District from her position as the military advisor to the secretary of Homeland Security.

Headquartered in Cleveland, 9th District units are responsible for all Coast Guard operations throughout the five Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence Seaway and parts of the surrounding states including 6,700 miles of shoreline and 1,500 miles of the international border with Canada. The 6,000 active-duty, Reserve, civilian and Auxiliary men and women deliver multi-mission services in search and rescue, maritime safety and security, environmental protection, maritime law enforcement, aids to navigation, and icebreaking.

U.S. Coast Guard


Lookback #562 – Harry Wm. Hosford aground due to collision on June 2, 1943

Fog was to blame for the collision between the Harry Wm. Hosford of the Buckeye Steamship Co. and the W.W. Holloway of Columbia Transportation that resulted in the former ship being aground 72 years ago today.

The accident occurred in lower Whitefish Bay and the Harry Wm. Hosford had to be beached at Point Iroquois to avoid sinking. While the damage was significant, that was wartime and the 434 foot long bulk carrier was essential in carrying the raw materials needed to maintain the war effort ,so it was refloated and repaired.

This ship had been built as a) F.B. Squire and was launched at Port Huron on Oct. 17, 1903. The bulk carrier cost $275,000 and lengthened to 530 feet at Toledo in 1921. It first served the Mack Steamship Co. and then the Jenkins Steamship Co. before becoming part of the Buckeye fleet as b) Harry Wm. Hosford in 1935. It then stayed with them until a sale for scrap in 1961.

The vessel loaded scrap at Cleveland and was towed through the Welland Canal by the tugs J.C. Stewart and Matton on June 19, 1961, en route to the St. Lawrence and a rendezvous with overseas shipbreakers. It arrived at Hamburg, West Germany, for dismantling on Oct. 22, 1961.

Skip Gillham


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 truckloads 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.

1943: The W.W. HOLLOWAY and HARRY WM. HOSFORD collided in foggy lower Whitefish Bay and the latter steamer had to be beached at Point Iroquois to avoid sinking.

1958: WAR RACCOON was built at Welland in 1919. It was sailing under Liberian registry as l) MOUNT DELPHI when it hit a rock and was beached at Grand Island, near Mormugao, India, on a voyage from Mouimein, Burma, to Karachi, Pakistan. The ship was a total loss.

1968: CASTALIA, a Greek flag freighter, struck the north pier of the Mackinac Bridge, in dense fog and made a small gouge in the structure. The ship was holed and leaking but cleared to proceed to Chicago. It was on its first trip through the Seaway and was later scrapped as c) NEW ENGLANDER after arriving at Bilbao, Spain, on July 4, 1973.

1978: The bulk carrier ARCTIC was christened in a ceremony at Port Weller Dry Docks in St. Catharines.

1981: The sidewheel Toronto Island ferry TRILLIUM was unable to stop in time at the mainland dock. It struck the restaurant ship NORMAC and the latter sank two weeks later.

2000: ALGOWOOD buckled amidships while loading stone at Bruce Mines. The hull was patched, strengthened, refloated and towed to Port Weller Dry Docks to be lengthened and repaired.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Interlake fleet mates Hon. James L. Oberstar and Herbert C. Jackson loaded ore at the Upper Harbor on Sunday.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Jim Stiefvater
St. Marys Conquest with tug Bradshaw McKee departed Bay Shipbuilding at noon Sunday and headed to Lake Michigan.


Lookback #561 – Canadian Ranger spun around by a gust of wind on June 1, 2011

The sailing days of Canadian Ranger had come to an end and the ship was under tow for eventual scrapping at Aliaga, Turkey, when it got caught by a heavy gust of wind above the Iroquois Lock on June 1, 2011.

The ship had been laid up at Toronto since Dec. 24, 2008, and had departed under tow on May 30, 2011, with the tugs Tony Mackay and Vigilant I given the responsibility of taking the retired bulk carrier to Montreal.

Canadian Ranger was spun 180 degrees four years ago today and had to be towed through the Iroquois Lock stern first. The 730 foot long laker was then realigned below the lock and continued the voyage through the Seaway. The tug Pantodynamos departed Montreal with the ship in tow on June 10, 2011, and the pair arrived at Aliaga on July 13, 2011, where the hull was beached and dismantled.

Canadian Ranger was a blend of the forebody of Hilda Marjanne and the after end, accommodation and power plant of the Chimo. The vessel, as constructed, had been part of the Upper Lakes Shipping fleet since 1984.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  June 1

News Photo Gallery (about 200 pictures sent in over the last week ,sorry for the delay)
Captain John's scrap tow Photo Gallery
Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Clipper Makiri, Federal Mattawa, Iryda, Larsholmen, Olza, Sunrose E, Umgeni, and Vikingbank


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 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.

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, 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.

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

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

June 1, 1938 - 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.

1923: The barge BROOKDALE of Canada Steamship Lines was sunk near Montreal after a collision with MAPLEDAWN. The wooden hulled vessel, originally the schooner MORAVIA, was refloated and scrapped.

1943: A collision on foggy Lake Superior between BATTLEFORD and PRINDOC sank the latter off Passage Island. All on board were saved from the downbound, wheat-laden bulk carrier of the Paterson fleet.

1944: The first NEWBRUNDOC had been built at Toronto in 1921 and had previously sailed as CANADIAN ENGINEER and b) DONALD E.McKAY. The ship became f) SAVLATORE in 1934 and, with the outbreak of war, was now the enemy. It was bombed and sunk by British aircraft as part of a German convoy in the Aegean Sea and all hands were lost.

1966: RIO ALTO, a Liberty ship, came to the Great Lakes under Liberian registry in 1963. It developed leaks on the Pacific while enroute from Manati, Puerto Rico, to China as d) AKTOR and sank on this date 860 miles SSW of San Diego, CA in 1966.

1967: RENVOYLE struck the docked SYLVANIA while turning at Port Huron and the latter sank against the dock. The former, a C.S.L. package freighter, received bow damage and was laid up and then sold for scrap. SYLVANIA was refloated, repaired and returned to service.

1979: GEORGES HERBERT, a wooden goelette that occasionally came to the Great Lakes, sank in the Gulf of Mexico while carrying a cargo of corn.

2011: CANADIAN RANGER, under tow on the St. Lawrence, got spun around 180 degrees by a wind gust above the Iroquois Lock and had to be towed through the lock stern first before being realigned below the lock. It reached the scrap yard at Aliaga, Turkey, on July 13, 2011.

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


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