Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

Copyright All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

* Report News

Edward L. Ryerson Still in Indiana Harbor

7/30 - The Edward L. Ryerson was expected to complete unloading at Indiana Harbor early Monday morning. She arrived in port Friday morning, but had to wait for the Pineglen to finish discharging. A severe wind and rainstorm Sunday afternoon further slowed unloading. After leaving Indiana Harbor the Ryerson is expected to arrive at Sturgeon Bay late afternoon or early evening Monday. After a stop at BayShip to replace a winch motor, the Ryerson will then head for Superior to load taconite. Traffic at Indiana Harbor this past weekend, besides the Pineglen, has included the Mesabi Miner, Atlantic Huron and Walter J. McCarthy Jr.


Port Reports - July 31

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The American Fortitude was still docked at General Mills Sunday morning. The boom is back aboard and she looked ready to go but there was no activity at 11:00 am.
The dredger is now located just East of the old Republic Steel Turning Basin, above CP Draw.
Rumors of a possible sale and reuse of the Con Agra complex on the Buffalo River appear to be true. Reports in the local media indicate that the property has been sold and a group of local investors called RiverWright Energy who plan to build an ethanol plant there with construction starting as early as this September. The project is said to cost nearly $80 million and to involve not only the recently idled Lake & Rail Elevator, but also the American, Perot, and even the long abandoned Marine "A". Conversion of the flour mill to an ethanol plant will involve the construction of a fermenting and distilling plant along with tankage of up to 500,000 gallons for new product. Rail and marine facilities would need to be upgraded as well. The elevators will require hoppers and conveyors to take corn from self-unloading lake ships while the Burrows Lot yards will need to be improved for new rail service to the plant.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
On Sunday the tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder loaded ore early in the morning and fleetmate Herbert C. Jackson arrived for a load of ore in the afternoon during Marquette's popular Art on the Rocks festival.

Green Bay - Wendell Wilke
The Port of Green Bay was fairly congested over the weekend as The Tall Ship Festival is on-going from this past Thursday through this coming Monday. Saturday the Kaye E. Barker was off-loading coal at Fox River Dock and on Sunday the Maumee was off-loading salt at Fox River Dock. The saltie Menominee was at the Leicht's North Dock in the midst of the downtown activities of the Festival. To say the least the Menominee was certainly an attention getter. The Tall Ships are due to depart the Port earlier Tuesday and transit the Sturgeon Bay Ship Channel later in the afternoon on their way to Chicago.

Saginaw River - Gordy Garris
The Calumet departed from the Wirt Stone dock in Saginaw at 11:00pm Saturday night and headed upriver to the Sixth Street turning basin to turn around. The Calumet waited a short time behind the LaFarge dock for the tug Duluth to clear outbound from the Sixth Street turning basin with two barges so the Calumet could continue upriver. With assistance from the tug Robin Lynn, the Calumet made the turn around in the Sixth Street turning basin and was outbound for the lake by 1:00am Sunday morning. Radio traffic indicated that the Calumet will be back in Saginaw on Monday.
The Manistee continued to undergo repairs at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee on Sunday. The Manistee told the tug Robin Lynn that repairs should be completed on Tuesday or Wednesday, and that the Manistee will be headed back up to Stoneport to get another load for the Saginaw River.
The tug G. L. Ostrander and the cement barge Integrity were inbound the Saginaw River Sunday afternoon headed upriver to the LaFarge Cement Terminal in Carrollton to unload. The pair should be outbound for the lake Monday evening.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algorail came into port very early Monday morning to load at Sifto Salt. She was followed three hours later by the Montrealais who went to the elevator dock to load wheat.


Updates - July 31

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Ryerson Photo Gallery updated

New Gallery showing the conversion of the Buckeye and re-powering of Joe Thompson Jr.

Calendar of Events updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - July 31

On this day in 1948, in a total elapsed time of 19 hours, the JAMES DAVIDSON of the Tomlinson fleet unloaded 13,545 tons of coal at the Berwind Dock in Duluth and loaded 14,826 tons of ore at the Allouez Dock in Superior.

On this day in 1955, Al A. Wolf, the first Chief Engineer of a Great Lakes freighter powered by a 7000 hp engine, retired as Chief Engineer of the WILFRED SYKES. Chief Wolf started as an oiler on the POLYNESIA in 1911, became Chief Engineer in 1921, and brought out the SYKES in 1948.

Sea trials took place for the JAMES R BARKER this day in 1976. She was to become Interlake's first 1000 footer and the flag ship of the fleet for Moore Mc Cormack Leasing, Inc. (Interlake Steamship Co., Cleveland, Ohio, mgr.). She was built at a cost of more than $43 million under Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1970. She was the third thousand footer to sail on the Lakes and the first built entirely on the Lakes.

On July 31, 1974, as the Liberian vessel ARTADI approached the dock at Trois RiviŹres, Que. where she damaged the docked GORDON C LEITCH's stern.

The CEDARBRANCH was damaged and sunk by an explosion on July 31, 1965, several miles below Montreal, Quebec resulting in a loss of one life.
Repaired and lengthened in 1965, she was renamed b.) SECOLA in 1978, and c.) KITO MARU in 1979, and scrapped at Brownsville, Texas in 1985.

On 31 July 1849, ACORN (wooden schooner, 84 foot, 125 tons, built in 1842, at Black River, Ohio) was struck amidships by the propeller TROY near West Sister Island in Lake Erie. She sank quickly, but no lives were lost since all hands made it to the TROY.

On 31 July 1850, AMERICA (wooden side-wheeler, 240 foot, 1,083 tons, built in 1847, at Port Huron, Michigan) suffered a boiler or steam pipe explosion while sailing on Lake Erie. The explosion immediately killed nine persons and scalded others who died later. The vessel was repaired and sailed for three more seasons.

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


Boatnerd News Page 10th Anniversary

The News Page on BoatNerd was launched in 1996, reporting the coal fire aboard the Griffith (see This Day in History)

Thanks to all the reporters who submit information of interest to us all.

Thanks to the volunteers who have spent a great deal of time editing and posting the News over the years.


Port Reports - July 30

Marquette - Rod Burdick & Lee Rowe
On Saturday, H. Lee White unloaded limestone at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
A small freighter, the Panos G, from Panama, was loading at the Nidera elevator early Saturday afternoon. It was the only ship in the harbor at the time.

Superior -
Saltie Federal Yukon (2000), flying the flag of Hong Kong, arrived through the Superior entry at 2 a.m. on Saturday heading directly to the BNSF ore dock in Superior where she will begin to load taconite pellets for delivery in Algeria. This is the second direct overseas shipment of taconite loaded at the BNSF ore dock in Superior this season with about five more scheduled to come. The first was on July 11 aboard the Goviken (OMISAL J - 1986) which departed on the 12th with the first-ever such cargo from BNSF. It is not clear yet if the 629-foot Federal Yukon will complete her load today or tomorrow. Her previous trips to the Twin Ports have been for grain.

Saginaw River - Gordy Garris
The Manistee was undergoing repairs at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee with a crane over her. Once repairs are completed the Manistee will head back upriver to the Saginaw Wirt dock to finish unloading her cargo and will be outbound for the lake.
The Calumet was inbound the Saginaw River Saturday afternoon headed upriver to unload at the Saginaw Wirt dock. The Calumet docked at the Saginaw Wirt dock and began unloading by 3:30pm Saturday afternoon. The Calumet is expected to be outbound for the lake early Sunday morning. The Calumet talked with the Dredge sue which was dredging the Sixth Street turning basin in Saginaw. The Dredge sue told the Calumet that they would be finished with their work for today around 7 p.m. and will move out of the turning basin for the night and that the Calumet will have enough room to make her turn around in the turning basin around midnight.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Luedtke dredge operations are currently located just East of what remains of the the old DL&W Buffalo River Draw Bridge. On Saturday, the #16 dredge sitting in the crick between the old Republic Steel Plant and Buffalo Color. The tug Kurt Luedtke brought in an empty scow, came up the crick, slowly maneuvered through the DL&W bridge piers, and then angled over to drop off the barge downstream from the dredge rig. The #16 dredge used his bucket to slide the empty scow alongside so the crewmen could moor her up with ropes so they could start dredging as soon as the tug and the loaded barge were clear. Then the tug detached from the empty scow, backed away downriver, and then came alongside the scow to just barely squeeze between the bridge piers and head upriver past the dredge. The tug turned, came downriver, and then picked up a loaded scow. They headed straight for the lakefront and made it through both CP Draw and River Bridge within a half hour.

South Chicago/Indiana Harbor
Saturday morning found the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arriving at LaFarge at 130th St around 9 a.m.
Over at Indiana Harbor, radio conversations were heard between the William Warner, the Atlantic Huron and the Edward L. Ryerson. The Mesabi Miner was also in the Harbor, making for what sounded like crowded conditions. The Mesabi Miner departed outbound for the lake at 10 a.m.


Updates - July 30

News Photo Gallery updated and more News Photo Gallery updates

Special Ryerson Photo Gallery updated

New Gallery showing the conversion of the Buckeye and re-powering of Joe Thompson Jr.

Calendar of Events updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - July 30

July 30, 1996, a portion of a coal cargo aboard the H M GRIFFITH caught fire while the vessel was approaching Whitefish Point. The burning cargo was dumped into Lake Superior after the vessel's unloading boom was swung overboard. She sails today as the b.) RT HON PAUL J MARTIN.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Perry Memorial May Reopen Next Month

7/29 - PUT-IN-BAY, Ohio - The closed Perry's Victory & International Peace Memorial has been given the green light to reopen once a series of safety measures are implemented, the monument's superintendent said yesterday. The announcement follows an assessment Wednesday by Vertical Access, an engineering firm, and Quinn Evans, an architectural firm, of the monument's fascia stones.

The column, completed in 1915 and dedicated to Comm. Oliver Hazard Perry's 1813 victory over the British in the Battle of Lake Erie, was closed June 22 after a 500-pound piece of granite fascia fell from the 317-foot level, crashing onto the plaza.

Superintendent Andy Ferguson said the precautions could be in place next month. "I am guardedly hopeful that within two weeks we may be able to reopen the monument column. I feel very confident of being open for our Historic Weekend [Sept. 9-10]." Mr. Ferguson said the consensus of the inspection team was that limited public access to the column's north door presented no hazard to visitors.

The safety conditions include a chain-link fence around the upper plaza and a confined walkway leading directly to the north door, protected by wooden side panels. Mr. Ferguson said the panels are to protect visitors "from the unlikely event of ricocheting debris resulting for the failure of other fascia stone fragments." In the meantime, the visitors' center is open and other park events and demonstrations are continuing as scheduled. The monument and grounds are operated by the National Park Service.

The assessment of the parapet also discovered that other fascia stones are loose and will need stabilization. The most hazardous stones are on the southwest side and the farthest from the planned public access. Engineers determined there was no risk to the public, once inside the column or on the observation deck, Mr. Ferguson said. "We hope to have our visitors back up on the observation deck of Perry's Monument just as soon as we can," Mr. Ferguson said in his statement. "The view is just outstanding. But, we have to put the necessary safety precautions in place first."

Once the fascia stones are stabilized, a comprehensive assessment of the entire monument is planned to prepare for necessary mortar replacement and other repairs. Mr. Ferguson cited a sense of urgency to see all of this accomplished in time for the bicentennial events surrounding the War of 1812 and the Battle of Lake Erie.

From the Toledo Blade


Tall Ships Sail into Green Bay
Festival's stars bring out maritime enthusiasts — and their cameras

7/29 - Green Bay - They're pieces of a maritime legacy stirring the imaginations of people around Green Bay this weekend. The graceful lines, eye-catching sails and intricate rigging of 16 tall ships in port this weekend are something many people attending the Baylake Bank Tall Ship Festival want to capture, and they are with cameras.

From simple point-and-shoots to professional setups, many spectators say the unusual sight in Green Bay makes for great images. In about three hours, Jack and Ruth Discher of Fargo, N.D., shot about 500 images of the tall ships. A last-minute trip out on the Windy II in the afternoon offered up a host of photographic images for the couple.

"I've been fascinated with tall ships most of my life and to be able to photograph them is an opportunity I didn't want to miss," Jack Discher said. "The beauty of the tall-masted ships is unmatched and there are so many photo opportunities." Both he and Ruth have embarked on other trips in the Great Lakes, including a photographic journey of lighthouses. "Photographically, for me, the interest in the rigging … the sails," she said. "The charm of it all is this is how they transported so much years and years ago."

While Fargo is a healthy jaunt from the Great Lakes, New London isn't. But the majesty of the sail-powered vessels wasn't lost on Susan Sullivan, a member of the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra. "You don't really see too many tall masts," she said. "It was so cool when we were driving up that was the thing you could see on the horizon, all the masts."

The festival served as a testing ground of sorts for Sullivan, who was still getting used to her new digital camera. "I'm not a photographer. I'm not even an amateur photographer," she said, laughing.

Aside from ships and cameras, the festival brought something else to downtown Green Bay — people. Thursday night's kickoff event drew an estimated 3,500 paying people to Leicht Park. Others lined the Ray Nitschke Memorial Bridge, looking over the sides at the ships moored along the Fox River. "You don't see these boats out there all the time and it's something unique that downtown has to offer," said Ryan Zimmermann, 18, of Howard.

From the Green Bay Press Gazette


State Denounces City Actions on Rochester Ferry

7/29 - Rochester, NY - Sorting out the demise of Rochester's high-speed ferry got messier Thursday, and moving on more difficult, with a damning state audit that criticized former city officials for poor oversight and failure to recognize "clear warnings" of the project's inherent flaws. The ferry's financial woes have been well documented over the years, and the city is currently selling the ship because it was losing millions of dollars. But the 42-page state comptroller's audit — focused on the ferry startup and 2004 season — goes further than ever before in alleging that city officials were to blame for many of the ferry's financial struggles. City officials counter that the state, which had invested far more public money in the startup, had at least an equal responsibility for exercising due diligence.

Among the state's findings:
· The city ignored red flags and plowed ahead even as startup operator and original ferry owner Canadian American Transportation Systems (CATS) cut $5 million from its budget without significant project changes, and outside consultants cited serious deficiencies in the plan.
· Auditors found the city spent nearly $1 million on the project that appears to have been hidden from the public, and some expenditures were not approved by City Council. CATS, meanwhile, quietly secured a credit line with shipbuilder Austal Ships. When CATS wired a payment for the ship, using state grant money, Austal often wired back the same amount charged to the credit line.

· After the project was under way, city officials did not adequately monitor CATS' fiscal condition. The city, the audit claims, was unaware that CATS was experiencing financial problems. Company officials, having received a $1.3 million city loan without documenting their own investment, funneled money through personal accounts to pay pre-launch expenses, failed to document those advances and quickly exceeded their budget.

"Because they were so determined to make the fast ferry work, city officials did not demand a solid plan and ignored warnings," state Comptroller Alan Hevesi said in a statement. He could not be reached for comment. "... This lack of oversight allowed CATS to spend $2.8 million more than was budgeted and obtain a short-term loan for $7.4 million to cover pre-launch costs — both actions the city was unaware of but were red flags of CATS' growing financial problems."

The audit, which spans Sept. 19, 2001, through April 15, 2005, stops short of alleging any criminal wrongdoing, and Hevesi has determined the findings do not warrant further investigation. Hevesi cites, however, a number of missteps by the city administration under former Mayor William A. Johnson Jr., who left office at the end of 2005. In fact, few principal players remain at City Hall, having been replaced, taken other jobs or died.

"I'm disappointed with the comptroller's report," said Linda Kingsley, the city's corporation counsel under Johnson. "But they kind of made it clear to us when they met with us the first time, which was only in November (2005), that they had made up their minds before they started the investigation, so I'm not surprised."

Johnson, the ferry's biggest backer, declined comment Thursday, saying that he was on vacation and had not read the report. Johnson served as mayor for 12 years, from 1994 until the end of 2005. He made the ferry a top priority of his last years in office, often coming to the project's defense as its viability continued to sink. Johnson said he had his first and only meeting with the comptroller's office on Nov. 30, 2005. "It will all be news to me," he said of the report.

'Much greater failure'
The city backed a $40 million loan to buy the vessel in February 2005, after CATS shut down ferry service to Toronto in September 2004. The state had also invested about $14 million in loans and grants to help the private owners. After a delayed start in June 2005, city officials struggled to build ridership and the ferry's reserves were depleted. "I think everybody who was involved in it has some responsibility," said former City Councilman Brian Curran, who also served from 1994 until last year. "The mayor clearly was the principal driver in this project and the chief executive. But certainly the City Council had a role it was supposed to play."

City Council President Lois Giess said that she was reviewing the report and would address the media today. A few days after taking office in January, Mayor Robert Duffy announced that the city was getting out of the ferry business because of mounting debt. The ship is being sold for $29.8 million to British buyer Euroferries Ltd., which plans to launch service on the English Channel. Duffy said Thursday that his decision to shut down the service was based on financial problems, not potential malfeasance.

"I can't speak for what happened before. I can't speak for the veracity of that," said Duffy, adding that he planned to read the full report. City officials estimate taxpayer debt resulting from the ferry venture at $28 million, including interest, to be repaid over the next 15 years.

"This report focused almost entirely on the lack of due diligence and mistakes that were made in the original deal with CATS," Curran said. "It really doesn't deal at all with the incredibly bad follow-up decision for the city to then spend another $40 million and buy the failed operation from CATS. ... That is the much greater failure."

Unanswered questions
Skeptics argue the audit solidifies long-held beliefs that the ferry was troubled from the start. "The comptroller's report validates the concerns we had when looking at CATS' financing," said Bill Nojay, former chairman of the Rochester-Genesee Regional Transportation Authority, which was cut out of the ferry's management in 2002 when it balked at CATS' proposal. "In many respects the report raises additional questions, however. The biggest unanswered question is: How did this happen and who was responsible in City Hall?"

The audit speculated that some oversight concerns might have been resolved had the city hired outside legal counsel, as required by its agreement with CATS. The goal was to ensure that the city's lien on the ferry was enforceable, and the agreement stipulated that CATS was to pay for the counsel. But when CATS refused to pay, the city dropped the issue and never hired an outside lawyer.
In addition to critiquing city actions, the report also scrutinizes CATS' performance.

Hevesi wrote that while CATS "provided us with documentation of approximately $5 million in expenses, we could not confirm if all the charges were related to the Project. Many invoices did not clearly show the reason for the invoice or show CATS as the company that received the service." Other records had portions redacted. Additionally, the $9.4 million in purported private equity counted a $2.1 million discount on the ship price and a projected $3.5 million in profits that never materialized and was earmarked for reserves to protect the senior lender anyway, and therefore was unavailable.

CATS' legal counsel and chief investors could not be reached for comment. Some officials said the audit shouldn't end investigations into how the ferry failed. "Unfortunately (the audit) doesn't resolve the question to the taxpayers of the community, that 'OK, so we're had ... so what's going to happen next?'" said Assemblyman Joseph Errigo, R-Conesus, Livingston County, who called for the audit with Assemblyman Brian Kolb, R-Canandaigua.

City Council already has adopted some changes to its contract oversight, and the city is establishing a new Office of Public Integrity to further scrutinize city business. But City Council, according to the audit, now must prepare a plan of action to address eight recommendations, all of which call for greater city oversight. In a five-page response, city Corporation Counsel Thomas Richards states that the new administration supports the recommendations and has taken corrective action.

"It should be noted, however, that even after diligently complying with all of these recommendations, there will be economic development projects that fail," Richards wrote. "The essence of public economic development activity is the ability to take some risks that private capital will not take. "We should not so constrain the ability to invest public funds with conservative analysis or after-the-fact review that those necessary risks are not taken."

What's next
· The city is expected to finalize sale of the ferry any day now to Euroferries Ltd., a British company that plans to buy it for $29.8 million and run it across the English Channel.
· The audit states that City Council should prepare a plan for action that addresses the recommendations and forward it to the Comptroller's Office within 90 days.
· The state Attorney General's Office and the FBI have been investigating the ferry's dealings but have yet to announce any findings. The Monroe County District Attorney's Office said it is reviewing the report but is not currently investigating.
· Some former city leaders, including former Mayor William A. Johnson Jr., refused comment Thursday because they hadn't reviewed the audit, but are expected to soon make public statements.
State audit findings
· Some taxpayer money quietly funded part of the private company's overhead.
· Company's fiscal condition was not adequately monitored by city officials.
· Despite red flags, city officials did not thoroughly review the business plan.

City Council Chief Defends Actions on Ferry

7/29 - City Council and the city administration exercised due diligence in the start-up of a high-speed ferry project, despite claims by a critical state audit, City Council President Lois Giess said today.

State Comptroller Alan Hevesi blasted the city in a report Thursday that criticized the city for not doing its homework and then failing to keep track of the ferry project during startup and the 2004 season. The audit alleged city officials ignored outside consultants and other "clear warnings" of trouble ahead. "I think the consultants, they didn't say red flags, they said risks," Giess said, pointing to 10 consultant reports including those cited by the comptroller as being critical of the Rochester-to-Toronto plan. "We knew there were risks."

However, she said, "aggressive economic development and community development policy" is required by struggling upstate cities - something auditors did not, or chose not to, take into account. Instead, Giess and other council officials characterized the report as inflammatory, lacking perspective and forgetting some city actions - such as taking a third or fourth position on liens - were dictated by state policy.

Former owner and operator Canadian American Transportation Systems went bankrupt and shut down in September 2004 after roughly three months of service. The city then bought the ship and restarted service but lost more than $10 million in a single season. Mayor Robert Duffy pulled the plug shortly after taking office this year and is selling the ship.

Giess said the city, just like the state, found CATS difficult to track, and its financial accounting sketchy after the fact. She said she does have questions about why former Mayor William A. Johnson Jr. went against City Council wishes and allowed CATS to pay less than half the expense of a fuel station in 2004. That was done without City Council knowledge, she said, adding that the audit otherwise gave her no reason to fault the administration's performance. As for City Council: "I do think we asked the right questions. We were provided periodic reviews. … Did the stars align to make this project fail? Yes."

From the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle


August 12 - Boatnerd Detroit River Cruise
Mail Your Reservations Today

A 3-hour freighter chasing cruise on the lower Detroit River aboard the luxurious Friendship, driven by Capt. Sam Buchanan. Cruise leaves the Portofino's On The River restaurant, in Wyandotte, MI at 10:00 am.

All this for only $25.00. Limited to the first 100 reservations. Mail your check today to: Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, Inc., 1110 South Main Street, Findlay, OH 45840-2239.

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


Port Reports - July 29

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey & Stephen Hause
The Manistee was inbound the Saginaw River early Friday morning with a split load. She stopped to lighter at the Wirt dock in Bay City, then around 6:45 am continued upriver to finish at the Wirt dock in Saginaw.
She was followed upriver by the James Norris, who checked back just before the Independence Bridge to allow the Manistee to depart the Bay City Wirt dock on the other side and go upriver first, as the Norris was headed to the Buena Vista dock which is located just before the Saginaw Wirt dock. This is the third straight trip for the James Norris.
The Manistee was unable to complete unloading in Saginaw due to a problem with the unloading equipment. The vessel backed down to the Burroughs dock early in the evening where attempts will be made overnight to make repairs.
The Norris completed unloading late in the afternoon and continued up to the Sixth Street turning basin, accompanied by the tug Robin Lynn. On its outbound transit later, the Norris waited near the Sargent dock, just downriver from the I-75 bridge at Zilwaukee, for the tug Duluth to pass up bound with two barges.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Rebecca Lynn and the A-410 are unloading asphalt at the Marathon Dock in Tonawanda. Her captain told the Black Rock Lockmaster that they will be heading out around 7:00 pm Friday night.
CSL Laurentian was taking on coal at the Gateway Terminal in Lackawanna at 9:00 am Friday morning and departed for Hamilton in the afternoon.
The English River was unloading at the LaFarge Terminal at 9:00 am.
The Leudtke dredge operations are back in action and located just below the South Park Ave. Lift Bridge on the Buffalo River. The tug Kurt Leudtke was shuffling her dump scows between the dredge area and the Stony Point Disposal Pond this morning.
At 9:00 pm, American Fortitude is outside the breakwall and circling out on the lake while waiting for the English River to make her way out of the crick from the LaFarge Terminal. The Fortitude is heading for the General Mills Elevator. The Kurt Leudtke currently is on her way up to the dredge rig near South Park Ave. with an empty scow, and the Rebecca Lynn is on her way tot he Black Rock Lock pushing from the notch of the barge A-410. The site seeing Miss Buffalo II has also been cruising around town in between the other ships.

Alpena/Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Tuesday evening the G.L Ostrander/barge Integrity arrived in port to load at Lafarge. Wednesday morning the Steamer Alpena returned and loaded cargo under rainy conditions.
Thursday morning the Ryba Marine tug Kathy Lynn and a barge were tied up in the Thunder Bay River. The barge had a crane onboard with lots of scrap metal also. The Samuel de Champlain/barge Innovation made its way into Lafarge Thursday around 11:00 am. The Innovation slowly turned into the loading slip, because the American Courage was backed into the other dock unloading coal. Also waiting out in the bay for a berth was the J.A.W Iglehart. The Iglehart came in after 4:00pm, once the Innovation cleared the channel.
On Friday the Earl W. Oglebay brought a load of coal to Lafarge.
The Calumet was loading at Stoneport Friday evening and the Great Lakes Trader is expected for Saturday.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
With the Bluesfest and refreshment tent taking up much of the space around the Marine museum on Saturday morning, Algosteel at the Sifto Salt dock and Nanticoke at the elevator dock seemed to be joining in on the festivities.


Updates - July 29

News Photo Gallery updated and more News Photo Gallery updates

Calendar of Events updated

New Freighter Trip Raffle posted

Special Ryerson Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - July 29

The OTTERCLIFFE HALL cleared Lauzon, Quebec July 29, 1969, on her maiden voyage as the last "straight deck" Great Lakes bulk freighter built with a pilot house forward.

While at the Manitowoc Ship Building Co. for general repairs and engine overhaul, the CITY OF SAGINAW 31 caught fire on July 29, 1971, destroying her cabin deck and rendering her useless for further use. The blaze was caused by an acetylene torch, and caused over $1 million in damage.. She was not repaired. The CITY OF SAGINAW 31 was sold to Marine Salvage Ltd., Port Colborne, Ontario for scrapping.

On July 29, 1974, the W W HOLLOWAY grounded in Lake St. Clair off the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club running down bound with stone. Lightering into the J F SCHOELKOPF JR was necessary before she was freed by four tugs on July 31st.

ENDERS M VOORHEES departed Great Lakes Engineering Works, River Rouge, Michigan on her maiden voyage July 29, 1942, bound for Duluth, Minnesota to load iron ore. She was the second of five "Supers" for the Pittsburgh fleet to enter service.

July 29, 1974 - The PERE MARQUETTE 21 was towed to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to be reduced to a barge.

The steam barge MARY ROBERTSON burned near Mackinac on 29 July 1872. Her crew escaped to a schooner-barge they were towing.

The MATERIAL SERVICE foundered in a heavy summer gale in 1936, off the South Chicago lighthouse. She was a canal motor barge not designed for open-lake use.

The side-wheel river steamer DOMINION burned to the water's edge at her dock in the Thames River near Chatham, Ontario on 29 July 1875. She was built in 1867, at Wallaceburg, Ontario.

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


Flooding on the Grand River

7/28 - 4:00 pm - Updates from the Cleveland Free Press

Decades-old Ram Island in the Grand River is Devastated by Storm
One casualty of the flooding appears to be Ram Island off Fairport Harbor, in the Grand River. Structures on the island, used as a boat and fishing club, were destroyed. The island was under six feet of water, officials said. All 24 boats and their docks were washed away. By Friday afternoon most of the boats, several which had sunk, had been recovered by other boaters who helped out.

Rescue teams retrieve boats in Lake County
Boats that broke from moorings during flooding of the Grand River are being towed into Fairport Harbor this afternoon by crews from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

The commander of the Coast Guard station cleared the way for the recovery by declaring that the boats posed a "hazard to navigation." ODNR had four swift-water rescue teams in Lake County this morning and rescued about 150 people, five cats and a dog.

Grand River hits a record
The Grand River set a record today in Painesville, rising to 17.36 feet at 5:30 a.m., topping the previous record by more than four feet. The previous record was 13.1 feet on Christmas Day 1979, caused by ice.

Where did all that rain come from?
Weather conditions conspired Thursday to create tropical storm-like conditions, which then caused the fast floods in Lake County, the National Weather Service said. Air from the ground to the atmosphere was very moist because of a stationary front that has stayed put just north of the Cleveland area, ushering in warm moist air from the south, said Kirk Lombardy, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

An upper-level disturbance — a low pressure system — moved through the area Thursday and wrung the rain out of the sky, Lombardy said. Winds aloft are fairly light, so storms don’t move away quickly. One storm forms, moves slowly over an area. Then another one forms. “It’s like an escalator or a train” and just keeps dumping rain all over the area, Lombardy said.

Pictures and Video available at WEWS TV-5 website.

Original Article - 7/28 - Fairport, OH - Heavy rains over the past day and a half have caused the Grand River at Fairport and Grand River OH to rise substantially. Rate of river flow at 4:00 am is estimated at 10 to 12 miles per hour.

Heavy rolling turbulence was noted with wave heights in the river estimated at 3 to 4 feet in the vicinity of the old Diamond Alkali Dock.

Extensive debris and flotsam was washing down the river from well above the head of navigation piling up against docks and one by one slowly overloading their anchors; as anchors failed; docks with pleasure boats still attached were piling up against others farther downstream and slowly like dominos more docks were failing.

Numerous boats with varying damage were observed (or last seen) heading out into the lake carried by the raging currents. I was not able to count how many boats were headed out, but I can account for well over 50 that are missing from their marinas. The most unusual sight was the "Carousel" bar; a floating offshore portion of the popular Pickle Bills Restaurant slowing revolving as it was washed towards Lake Erie.

Reported by Tom Meakin


Port Weller Dry Docks Seeks Bankruptcy Protection

7/28 - Port Weller, ON - The operator of Port Weller Dry Docks in St. Catharines has filed for bankruptcy protection. The trustee for Canadian Shipbuilding and Engineering Ltd. said Wednesday in a release the company is in the process of putting together a restructuring proposal to its creditors.

Robert Kofman, a partner with Toronto bankruptcy trustee RSM Richter Inc., said CSE has about $8 million in debt to its suppliers, plus "other obligations which have not yet been quantified." It has a "number of creditors," he said, adding it is not yet known when the proposal to its creditors will be completed. "I think the company is very optimistic it's going to be able to restructure and it's working diligently to do that," Kofman said. St. Catharines-based CSE has also negotiated an "arrangement with a party that is going to fund the business during these proceedings," he said.

While shipbuilding operations are suspended, the dry docks are still open for business. Ship repair and maintenance work will continue. The shipyard is temporarily closed until early August for a seasonal shutdown. In June, more than a third of the operation's hourly employees - 100 of the 200 to 250 workers - were given short-term layoff notices. For the time being, all hourly workers are on short-term layoff, said CSE spokesman John Armstrong. Its 36 salaried staff continue to be employed. Future employment will depend on "what happens during the restructuring exercise," he said.

Last fall, it was announced that a deal with Peters Kampen Shipyards of the Netherlands would result in two ships and two hulls being built at Port Weller. In March, three more ships were added to that order, making the total value of the contracts $100 million. Work on those ships and hulls has stopped, but one completed hull was delivered recently to Peters Kampen, Armstrong said. "There were some significant changes in process and training that was required to build these vessels," he explained. "That put them (CSE) into some cash flow problems."

David Oakes, economic development director for the City of St. Catharines, said it is "unfortunate the shipbuilding portion of the operation is seeing some difficulties." In the past, the economic development office has worked with the dry docks to try to secure specialized provincial government funding, but those efforts haven't yet borne fruit, he said. "The maintenance and ship repair operations are still in operation," Oakes said. "This isn't a closure. This is a short-term restructuring and we hope they'll be able to work through that so they can secure current and future contracts."

Armstrong said the CSE management team continues to be employed, including its president Alan Thoms, who was unavailable for comment Wednesday. "This isn't a yard that's in trouble, it's a yard that has $80 million worth of work on the books to be done," Armstrong said. "The goal is for it to create a sustainable business model and restructure itself so it can get back to work."

CSE also operates Canal Marine, a marine electrical division on Cushman Road in St. Catharines that has 13 full-time staff and other contract workers. It will continue to operate, Armstrong said. CSE also owns Pascol Engineering in Thunder Bay.

A spokesperson for the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 680, which represents many of the workers at the St. Catharines shipyards, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Reported by Bill Bird from the St. Catharines Standard


Marquette Ore Dock Milestone

7/28 - Marquette - The ore dock in Marquette’s Upper Harbor marked a milestone Saturday when the 400 millionth ton of iron ore was loaded from the 94-year-old dock. “This is quite an accomplishment for the dock, and its 94 years of operation and for all the employees who have worked to load ore onto Great Lakes freighters there,” Clifford Smith, general manager of Cleveland-Cliffs Michigan operations, stated in a press release. Cliffs Transportation Division operates the dock.

An ore dock was originally constructed in the Presque Isle Harbor in 1896, but by 1910, storms had made it obsolete and expensive to repair. Construction on the current dock began in 1911 and was completed in 1912. In the dock’s first year of operation, more than 2.22 million tons of lump ore was loaded compared to about 7.86 million tons of pellets loaded in 2005.

This year, the dock received a significant upgrade when pocket doors were converted from manual operation to an automatic air-operated system. The new door system allows for remote opening and closing of the doors and eliminates the original system that was in place since the dock was constructed.
Conversion of the 100 doors on the south side of the dock was completed this year and the 100 doors on the north side of the dock will be completed in 2007. Total cost of the project is about $4 million.

“To have the dock remaining in operation 94 years after construction speaks well of how management and employees have adapted over the years to changes that have taken place in mining, processing and shipping iron ore,” Smith said. “It’s particularly remarkable when you consider that the size and capacity of freighters loaded today are much different than those in use when the dock was constructed.”

As an example, the pride of the Cleveland-Cliffs’ shipping fleet at the time the ore dock was constructed was the Steamer William G. Mather with a capacity of 10,200 tons. Today, the Michipicoten, which was loaded Saturday, is able to take on a total of 17,567 tons and the dock can accommodate the larger 1,000-foot vessels that have a capacity in excess of 50,000 tons.

Other recent improvements to the dock include security updates as recommended by the U.S. Coast Guard to bring the dock and adjacent facilities into compliance with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security requirements. Updates include new fencing, a new security building and a monitoring system, all of which were necessary to limit access to the dock and ore carriers.

The 400-million-ton total includes both the direct shipping lump ores that were mined on the Marquette Iron Range in the earlier years of mining and iron ore pellets, which have been produced in Michigan since 1956.

Reported by Frank Frisk from the Marquette Mining Journal


High Inventories Slow Lakes Coal Trade In June

7/28 - Cleveland - High inventories of coal at power plants trimmed the coal trade on the Great Lakes in June. Shipments totaled 4.3 million net tons, a decrease of nearly 14 percent compared to a year ago. The trade was also off 4.3 percent compared to the month’s 5-year average.

While light loading was not the dominant factor in the June decrease, the issue remains important.
Coal users will need to rebuild stockpiles for the winter months. The locks at Sault Ste, Marie, Michigan, close on January 15, so after that date, there will be no coal shipments from Superior, Wisconsin, and Thunder Bay, Ontario, to customers below the Soo Locks until March 25.

The coal trade from Lake Erie ports generally is silent from late January until early or mid-March. Therefore, as the season nears its end, it will be important that vessels be able to carry full loads, but decades of inadequate funding for dredging on the Lakes mean full loads are the exception rather than the rule.

For the year, the Lakes coal trade totals 16.6 million net tons, a slight increase over the same point in 2005. Coal shipments are 8.6 percent ahead of the 5-year average for the first half of the year.

Lake Carriers’ Association represents 18 American corporations that operate 62 U.S.-Flag vessels on the Great Lakes. These vessels carry the raw materials that drive the nation’s economy: Iron ore and fluxstone for the steel industry, limestone and cement for the construction industry, coal for power generation.... Collectively, these vessels can transport as much as 125 million tons of cargo a year when high water levels offset the lack of adequate dredging of Great Lakes ports and waterways. More information is available at

Lake Carriers’ Association News Release


Port Reports - July 28

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Rebecca Lynn and her barge A-410 were in town Thursday along with the English River.

Escanaba - Rod Burdick
Edward L. Ryerson loaded ore on Thursday morning and departed around 1 p.m. EDT for Indiana Harbor.

Halifax - Mac Mackay
The Marshall Island flag Songa Maya sailed from Halifax on Thursday bound for Sarnia. Algoma Tankers have been granted a waiver to use the ship for one or two trips to carry clean petroleum products between Canadian ports.


Updates - July 28

News Photo Gallery updated and more News Photo Gallery updates

Special Ryerson Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History : July 28

ALGOWEST passed Detroit down bound on July 28, 1982, she had departed on her maiden voyage July 26, from Thunder Bay, Ontario to Quebec City with a 27,308 ton load of barley.

On July 28, 1973, the ROGER M KYES (Hull#200) was christened at Toledo, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. by Mrs. Roger Kyes for the American Steamship Co. Renamed b.) ADAM E CORNELIUS in 1989.

B A PEERLESS (Hull#148) was launched July 28, 1952, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd. for British American Transportation Co. Ltd. Renamed b.) GULF CANADA in 1969, and c.) COASTAL CANADA in 1984.

The JOHN T HUTCHINSON was delivered on July 28th to the Buckeye Steamship Co. (Hutchinson & Co., mgr.), Cleveland. The JOHN T HUTCHINSON was part of a government program designed to upgrade and increase the capacity of the U.S. Great Lakes fleet during World War II. In order to help finance the building of new ships, the U.S.M.C. authorized a program that would allow existing fleets to obtain new boats by trading in their older boats to the Government for credit. The JOHN T HUTCHINSON was the ninth Maritimer and fourth of the six L6-S-Al types delivered. "L6" meant the vessel was built for the Great Lakes and was 600 to 699 feet in length. The "S" stood for steam power and "Al" identified specific design features.

On 28 July 1854, BOSTON (wooden propeller, 134 foot, 259 tons, built in 1847, at Ohio City, Ohio) was bound from Chicago for Ogdensburg, New York with pork, corn, whiskey and produce. On Lake Ontario, about 20 miles off Oak Orchard, New York, she collided with the bark PLYMOUTH and sank in about 20 minutes. No lives were lost. The crew and passengers made it to shore in three lifeboats. The boat that the captain was in sailed 50 miles to Charlotte, New York.

In 1900, the freighter PRINCETON (Hull#302) was launched at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co.

On 28 July 1862, CONVOY (2-mast wooden schooner, 130 foot, 367 tons, built in 1855, at Buffalo, New York) was sailing down bound on a dark night on Lake Erie with 18,000 bushels of wheat when she collided with the empty bark SAM WARD and sank quickly in 12 fathoms of water. Her wreck drifted along the bottom and during the shipping season several vessels collided with her. 

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


Iron Ore Trade on Lakes/Seaway System Up 3 Percent in June
Gain Would Have Been Greater But For Light Loading

7/27 - Cleveland---Shipments of iron ore from U.S. and Canadian ports on the Lakes/Seaway system destined for the region’s steelmakers rose to 6 million net tons in July, an increase of 3 percent compared to a year ago. However, the June iron ore float still fell 4.6 percent compared to the month’s 5-year average.

There was a slight improvement in utilization of vessel carrying capacity in June. With Lakes water levels undergoing their seasonal rise, the largest iron ore cargos loaded in June topped 65,000 net tons for the first time this year. Nonetheless, even these cargos were less than full loads.

If Great Lakes ports and waterways were dredged to adequately meet the needs of commerce, the top iron load would be more than 71,000 net tons. However, funding for dredging has been insufficient for decades. As a result, U.S.-Flag Great Lakes operators estimate that three of every four cargos they’ve carried in the past 5 years have been less than full loads.

For the year, the iron ore trade totals 23.6 million net tons, an increase of 5 percent compared to both the same point in 2005 and the 5-year average for the first half of the year.

Lake Carriers’ Association represents 18 American corporations that operate 62 U.S.-Flag vessels on the Great Lakes. These vessels carry the raw materials that drive the nation’s economy: Iron ore and fluxstone for the steel industry, limestone and cement for the construction industry, coal for power generation....

Collectively, these vessels can transport as much as 125 million tons of cargo a year when high water levels offset the lack of adequate dredging of Great Lakes ports and waterways. More information is available at

Lake Carriers’ Association News Release


Steel Imports Remain at Record Level

7/27 - Duluth, MN - Steel imports in June declined compared to May, but year-to-date imports remain on a record level, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. Total imports in June were 3.3 million net tons, including 2.8 million net tons of finished steel. The imports were a 14.4 percent and 9.2 percent decline compared to May.

On a year-to-date basis, total imports are up 33 percent and finished steel imports 32 percent compared to 2005. On an annualized basis, total imports would reach 44.6 million net tons and finished steel imports 35.2 million net tons, both all-time records.

A massive expansion of steelmaking capacity in China and other parts of Asia, coupled with state support for those steelmakers, concerns American steelmakers, said Louis L. Schorsch, AISI chairman. American steel industry officials are asking the U.S. government to enforcement trade laws and closely monitor imports.

From the Duluth News-Tribune


Northeast Ohio Steelmaker Calls Back Laid-Off Workers
Dozen Workers Recalled, More May Be Coming

7/27 - Lorain, Ohio -- Republic Engineered Products Inc. has called back about a dozen steelworkers who have been laid off for more than four years. More workers may be recalled, but Republic spokesman John Willoughby said he didn't have details and didn't want to raise too many expectations.

Future decisions depend on production levels and number of orders, he said. "It's just like any other business," Willoughby said. "Anytime you add people, there are costs associated with doing that."

United Steelworkers of America Local 1104 president Don Golden said the union is happy to see workers added to the busy steel bar making mill, the city's third-largest employer with 1,100 workers. "It's a plus for those who have been working a tremendous amount of overtime for quite a while," Golden said.

Those recalled are workers laid off from Republic Technologies International in 2002 when part of the bankrupt company was bought and Republic Engineered was formed. In 2003, Fairlawn-based Republic Engineered filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Last July, the company was bought by Industrias CH, S.A. de C.V. and its subsidiary, Grupo Simec of Guadalajara, Mexico.

Republic Engineered employs about 2,500 people and operates steel plants in Canton and Lorain and rolling and finishing facilities in Canton, Lorain, Massillon in Ohio; Lackawanna, N.Y.; and Gary, Ind.



United States Steel Income Up

7/27 - Duluth, MN - United States Steel Corp. reported a second quarter net income of $404 million, up sharply from $256 million net income in the first quarter.

Strong steel shipments, firm prices, and good operating performance helped boost earnings, said John Surma, U.S. Steel chairman and chief executive officer.

Steel consumption levels are projected to remain healthy into the third quarter, which would result in strong third quarter earnings, said Surma. Increases in flat-rolled steel prices in the U.S. and Europe are also expected to bolster financials.

In the second quarter of 2005, U.S. Steel reported $249 million net income.

U.S. Steel's two iron ore mines in Minnesota produced 5.4 million net tons in the second quarter, up slightly from the first quarter. U.S. Steel owns and operates Minntac Mine in Mountain Iron and Keewatin Taconite.

From the Duluth News-Tribune


Purchase of Steelmaker Moving Ahead

7/27 - Duluth, MN - Mittal Steel Co. N.V. has moved closer to acquiring European steelmaker Arcelor. Ninety-two percent of Arcelor shares have been tendered in Mittal Steel's attempt to buy the giant steelmaker, according to a Mittal Steel news release. Another offering period runs from July 27 to August 17. At the end of the offering period, Arcelor's remaining shareholders would be able to sell their shares to Mittal Steel before Nov. 17.

Lakshmi N. Mittal, chairman and chief executive officer of Mittal Steel, said he is delighted at the result of the offering, which he called an endorsement of the merger of Mittal Steel and Arcelor. "We are very excited about our future as one company and believe this strong vote of confidence from shareholders paves the way for a speedy integration process, allowing us to realize the full benefits of working together as the undisputed world steel leader."

Mittal Steel is based in Rotterdam. Mittal Steel USA owns and operates Mittal Steel USA Minorca Mine near Virginia.

From the Duluth News-Tribune


EUP'S Newest Lighthouse Awaits Beacon Permit

7/27 - ST. IGNACE - The Eastern Upper Peninsula's newest lighthouse tower already serves as a navigation aid even though its 13.5 mile beacon light will not be switched on for some time yet. Illuminated by ground lighting connected a few days ago, the 52-foot tower marking the entrance to the City Marina can be seen well out into the Straits of Mackinac as it is, reported Marina Director Gene Elmer.

Salvaged from a state rest area near Monroe, the steel tower will become a genuine navigation aid later this summer, when its powerful beacon is finally approved by the U.S. Coast Guard in Cleveland. When finally lit, the re-used tower's beacon will be visible from 13.5 miles out onto the dark waters of the Straits of Mackinac.

Though only 52 feet tall from its concrete pedestal, the new tower stands 62 feet over the water. Even at its limited height, the new white tower is already a downtown landmark and likely qualifies as a day mark for navigation during daylight hours.

Elmer spearheaded a local fund-raising effort to assemble $25,000 in donations to offset a $25,000 state Waterways Commission grant to permanently assemble the lighhouse at the east end of the old Chief Wawatam Dock. While the one-time replica tower was free of charge from the Michigan Transportation Department, the city initially paid to take it apart at Monroe and truck the round sections to St. Ignace.

Though electric power was recently run to the lighthouse and its pad several hundred feet out into the Straits from the "Chief Dock", Coast Guard regulations preclude lighting the beacon light until approval is arranged with the Ninth District in Cleveland. The Coast Guard must also alert shipping interests by posting a Notice to Mariners before the light is switched on.

Elmer expects that approval to come through in the next month or so, after which the light goes on. Special shielding on the land side of the tower's
lantern room will prevent the new light from keeping 'hill area' city residents awake at night with its powerful beacon. Ironically, one other hurdle remains before the new lighthouse goes on navigation charts in the next year or so. "We've got to find a name for it," Elmer said.

The city official said a likely candidate is łChief Wawatam Light,˛ a name more distinctive than the more plebian łSt. Ignace Light˛ that may otherwise be applied.

Now a working barge, the carferries Chief Wawatam and her sister Sainte Marie dominated the local waterfront for the better part of 70 years, outlasting the fleet of State Ferries that once carried vehicles between Michigan's two peninsulas. The old carferry's deteriorated St. Ignace slip and pier off McCann Street found a new life in the site for the lighthouse and city officials have a general plan for something else on the abandoned rail ferry landing.

Elmer assembled donations from a wide variety of local sources to match the state grant funds, allowing him to proclaim that the city government itself was not asked to chip in from tax funds. Downtown Development Director Deb Evashevski said a planned waterfront boardwalk connection with the new lighthouse and the łChief Dock˛ property awaits final approval from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

In the works for about a year, the boardwalk extension will add 1,155 feet to the popular downtown walkway at a cost of $227,500, of which about 40 percent will be paid from a DNR Land Trust grant and another $40,000 from the state Coastal Zone Management grant fund. The respective grants, matched by several local entities, were approved some time ago, but final approvals must be obtained from Lansing before construction contracts are let.

From the Soo Evening News


2nd Piece of Granite Dislodged
Perry monument is inspected

7/27 - PUT-IN-BAY, Ohio - Engineers examined the granite observation deck of Perry's Victory & International Peace Memorial yesterday to check the condition of the 52 fascia stones on the observation deck, and in the process dislodged another, smaller chunk that fell 317 feet to the plaza.

The National Park Service ordered the inspection because a 500-pound piece of granite broke off about 9 p.m. on June 22, punching a hole in the plaza below. The impact created a 2 1/2-foot-wide crater. A woman seated on a bench nearby wasn't hurt. The monument has been closed since then, pending an examination to determine whether it is safe to reopen.

Vertical Access of Ithaca, N.Y., was hired to go over the side of the monument's observation deck to examine each of the stones. "I think we had the perfect team," Superintendent Andy Ferguson said. "They were very meticulous. They systematically looked at each piece and hammered on the fascia."

A chunk of stone about a pound and a half was dislodged from the same area where the first piece broke off, Mr. Ferguson said. The examination, which began at 8 a.m. and lasted until 4:30 p.m., was videotaped to study in depth and will be used to decide when the memorial can reopen, he said. "I think they've done everything they can on site," he said.

Vertical Access, founded in 1992, specializes in industrial roped access techniques derived from rock climbing and caving activities. Four of its engineers anchored ropes from the 11-ton urn on top of the monument and lowered themselves over the observation deck. The inspection included the soffits on the underside of the deck, he said.

The Peace Memorial was opened in 1915 to commemorate Comm. Oliver Hazard Perry's victory over the British in the Battle of Lake Erie. It also celebrates the peace between the United States and Canada. Each of the stones that line the four exterior sides of the observation deck is about 7 feet by 3 feet by 8 inches and is attached to the monument with metal rods, Mr. Ferguson said. The section that fell was roughly 3 feet by 3 1/2 feet and 8 inches thick.

According to the Put-in-Bay Chamber of Commerce, about 200,000 people visit the memorial each year. Although the monument is closed, other activities at the site's visitors' center continue as scheduled.

From the Toledo Blade


Sugar Island Residents take Sewage Fight to Court

7/27 - SAULT STE. MARIE - Efforts to stem the flow of Canadian sewage into the St. Marys River have continued in two different forms with the Chippewa County Courthouse and Sault Ste. Marie City Commission Chambers becoming focal points in recent days.

On Friday, residents of Sugar Island, led by Wayne Welch, filed a 10-count complaint requesting injunctive relief and damages against PUC Services, Inc., operator of Sault Ontario's East End Water Treatment Plant, according to a press release issued by the Law Firm of Anthony Garczynski.

The plaintiffs allege separate counts of nuisance including the violation of Michigan Statutes, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality rules and the Ontario Clean Water Protection Act. Garczynski also appears willing to pursue legal theories of trespass, battery and negligence to bring an end to the steady stream of human waste entering U.S. waters along Sugar Island's north shore.

A spokesperson for the 50th Circuit Court confirmed early this morning that a lawsuit had been filed in this matter. The case has not officially been scheduled on the docket since the defendants have not yet been notified of this action.

City Commissioner Marilyn Burton penned a lengthy resolution for consideration prior to Monday's meeting and received unanimous approval - with minor tweaking - for her proposal. Burton expressed the belief that once the new treatment facility is open in the next couple of months, the flow of raw sewage should come to a halt. The problem, as she saw it, was decades of polluted accumulation still resting at the bottom of the river posing a threat to the health and safety of people living on both sides of the river.

The approved resolution identifies the governments of Canada and Ontario as having primary responsibility under the “Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement” to create a remediation plan to address contaminated sediments in the International Waters of the St. Marys River. Burton also demanded the removal of all contaminated sediment from the river bottom.

Mayor Anthony Bosbous said it was important for the Sault Ste. Marie City Commission to get out front on this matter, even though the city does not appear to be directly affected by the contaminants in lending his support to this measure. The remaining commissioners evidently shared a similar view.

Copies of the Burton resolution will be forwarded to Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, along with Rep. Bart Stupak.

From the Soo Evening News


August 12 - Boatnerd Detroit River Cruise
Mail Your Reservations Today

A 3-hour freighter chasing cruise on the lower Detroit River aboard the luxurious Friendship, driven by Capt. Sam Buchanan. Cruise leaves the Portofino's On The River restaurant, in Wyandotte, MI at 10:00 am.

All this for only $25.00. Limited to the first 100 reservations. Mail your check today to: Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, Inc., 1110 South Main Street, Findlay, OH 45840-2239.

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


Port Reports - July 27

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey and Gordy Garris
The Manistee was in bound the Saginaw River early Wednesday morning with a split load for the GM Dock in Saginaw and the Valley Asphalt dock in Carrollton. The Manistee finished unloading at the Valley Asphalt dock by 4:15 pm and turned around off the dock in the Sixth Street turning basin, without tug assistance, and was outbound for the lake by 4:30 pm Wednesday afternoon.
The Great Lakes Dock & Materials Company tug Duluth was moving barges between the Essroc dock in Essexville and the Confined Disposal Island at the mouth of the Saginaw River. Meanwhile, dredging of the Sixth Street turning basin in Saginaw continues.
The USCG Cutter Hollyhock was working buoy markers in the Saginaw Bay on Wednesday and docked at the Consumers Power Plant in Essexville Wednesday evening. The Hollyhock arrived in the Saginaw Bay Tuesday evening.


Updates - July 27

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Ryerson Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - July 27

On 27 July 1884, ALBERTA (steel propeller passenger/package freight vessel, 264 foot, 2,282 gross tons, built in 1883, at Whiteinch, Scotland by C. Connell & Co.) collided in fog 6 miles North North West of Whitefish Point on Lake Superior with the JOHN M OSBORNE (wooden propeller "steam barge", 178 foot, 891 tons , built in 1882, at Marine City, Michigan. The OSBORNE had two barges in tow at the time. ALBERTA stayed in the gash until most of OSBORNE's crew scrambled aboard, then pulled out and the OSBORNE sank. ALBERTA sank in shallow water, 3 1/2 miles from shore. 3 or 4 lives were lost from the OSBORNE, one from ALBERTA in brave rescue attempt while trying to get the crewmen off the OSBORNE.

This was ALBERTA's first year of service. She was recovered and repaired soon afterward. She was the sister of the ill fated ALGOMA which was lost in her first year of service. The wreck of the OSBORNE was located in 1984, 100 years after this incident.

On 27 July 1900, the steel freighter RENSSELAER (Hull#402) was launched in Cleveland, Ohio by the American Ship building Co. for the Pittsburgh Steamship Company.

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


'Gut feeling' helped Windquest Finish 1st in Chicago-Mackinaw Race

7/26 - Chicago - While not a record-breaker, the 2006 Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac drew toward its end with memory-making flourishes for most boats. At 1:23 a.m. Monday, Windquest was the first to cross the finish line between the lighthouse on Round Island and the race committee trailer on Mackinac Island, Mich.

The 300 boats in the 98th Mac set sail Saturday afternoon off Monroe Harbor. "Overall, the sailing was wonderful -- much lighter air than we wanted, but we had some beautiful sailing,'' said Windquest skipper Tom Giesler, 46, of Holland, Mich., and a veteran of 17 Macs.

Windquest, the largest boat in the race at 86 feet, finished in 34 hours, 43 minutes, 23 seconds -- well past the monohull record of 23:30:34 set by Roy Disney's Pyewacket in 2002 -- to earn the Royono Trophy as first to finish. Racing in the Turbo class, Windquest had set the record of 24:17:38 in the 2006 Bacardi Bayview Race to Mackinac the previous weekend.

With light winds at the start, most of the fleet sailed a rhumb line or cut across to Michigan. Saturday night, the crew of Windquest made a dramatic move back into the middle of Lake Michigan. "We thought we would find the most wind in the middle of the lake, and it seemed to help us out,'' Giesler said. "It was a gut feeling and from the weather forecast we received before the start of the race.''

Nitemare was the second boat to finish and the first of the Great Lakes 70s, which were all in by 9 a.m. All of the Turbo section was in by 10 a.m. Adiago was the first multihull at 8:35 a.m. Sea Note was the first from Section 1.

"We were always moving and tried to follow the rhumb line,'' said Randy Adolphs, skipper of Guaranteed.Period., the second boat to finish in Section 2. "That seemed to work out pretty good for us. "It was rains, wind, thunder and lightning -- it was crazy out there [Monday].'' The storms around dawn heightened building tail winds.

"We hit some 16s [knots], which is really flying on that boat,'' Adolphs said. "We had sustained 12s and 14s. Going downhill we call it. We put the nose under a couple times. Those 16s always come when you are on the edge of disaster.''

From the Chicago Sun-Times


Enforcing the Law on Lake St. Clair:
High-tech vessel makes crime-fighting easier
Equipment to aid in border patrols

7/26 - Detroit - With swans floating nearby, a 31-foot-long boat sailed in the still waters of Lake St. Clair on Monday with the sun gleaming off its shiny white coat. The calm scene is fitting because the boat's presence is meant to instill peace of mind for citizens cruising the waters.

With a Global Positioning System, an 800 megahertz radio, flashing blue lights with a siren and the ability to hit speeds up to 70 m.p.h., the Macomb County Sheriff's Office's Patrol Boat One propels crime-fighting to the next level. Its inaugural voyage came Monday at the marine division's headquarters, off South River Road in Harrison Township.

The boat previously used for patrols is more than a decade old and tops out at 38 m.p.h., Sheriff's Capt. Dave Teske said. There have been times when the county's old boat fizzled out next to faster boats in chases. Sheriff Mark Hackel said the long-anticipated purchase cost about $120,000; the money came from a federal homeland security grant. "I don't know anyone else in the state that's going to have such a high-tech vessel as we do here," Hackel said. In addition to aiding boaters in distress, Patrol Boat One -- also known as PB1 -- will also be used to crack down on immigrant and drug smuggling.

The Sheriff's Office is a primary law enforcement presence on the lake, along with the U.S. Coast Guard. While they acknowledged border security risks on the lake, the law enforcement officials said there have not been any recent incidents. But "it's an open border, so anything can get through," said Eastpointe resident Paul White, a marine division volunteer. Besides patrolling the 85-square miles of Lake St. Clair, 35 miles of shoreline and 57 miles of rivers approximately 16 hours daily during boating season, the boat will help in marine training during a diving drill next month.

The Sheriff's Office has a fleet of five patrol vessels bought from 1994 to 1999. They were not built for night patrols and are incapable of accelerating to high speeds. However, during the past three years, the marine division has conducted about 450 search-and-rescue missions.

From the Detroit Free Press


Powerboat Racing Rushes into Sault

7/26 - Sault Ste. Marie - “It's a different series, but the boats are very similar,” said Executive Director Leisa Mansfield welcoming the Powerboat Superleague for the Third Annual River Rampage this weekend. “The boats look the same and they still go fast.”

Mansfield said with the new league coming to the St. Marys River Saturday and Sunday, race fans will get to see even more action. There will be five different classes this weekend - 45 SST, Formula II, Formula III, Outlaw and X - making for even more racing action than the old ChampBoat Series which visited the first two years.

The Powerboat Superleague features the fast and the furious with machines capable of going from 0 to 100 miles per hour in less than six seconds, according to a media release. These same boats will sustain speeds of 90 to 120 miles-per-hour even while making the required turns.

Mansfield said the high-speed action of powerboat racing has been a popular attraction for Sault Ste. Marie. “There have been great crowds,” she said of the previous races. Mansfield was optimistic regarding this weekend's event. “We are expecting even more,” she said figuring a crowd of about 5,000 people will gather on the river to watch this year.

The festivities begin Friday evening with a street dance. Hogan's Goat will serve as the feature band for the evening with two other acts also scheduled to appear. Mansfield added the Sault Ste. Marie City Commission approved a measure allowing downtown establishments to serve alcoholic beverages on the streets during these events.

On Saturday, drivers will get their first crack at the river at 11 a.m. with action continuing until 6 p.m. The Aune-Osborn Park will provide the best viewing opportunities for race fans attending this event as the various drivers showcase their machines on a Tour-de-force rectangle course.

On Sunday, the drivers will have an autograph session for race fans from 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. The last of the qualifying rounds begin at noon followed by the championship finals in various categories before the last trophy is awarded around 5 p.m.

Mansfield indicated there will be various food vendors at the Aune-Osborn Park providing ample opportunity to purchase food and souvenirs. The Kiwanis Club will also be making this a “kid-friendly” event with inflatables, train rides, a petting zoo and pony rides.

From the Soo Evening News


Port Reports - July 26

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The former Detroit railcar float Lansdowne is at the BIDCO yard. The Milwaukee Road Hiawatha observation cars seem to be pretty well stripped out. All the glass that was broken on them the last time they were in Buffalo a few years ago has been removed. The old restaurant structure that was built up over the railcar deck is gutted down to the steel beams & columns and there seemed to be a small amount of activity on the dock. There are cranes on the dock next to her and the coverings over the paddle wheels are gone and you can actually see part of the remaining structure of her side wheels dangling off the hull of the barge.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Tuesday saw the return of the James Norris on the Saginaw River. After calling on the Buena Vista dock on Sunday, the Norris was back again at the same dock Tuesday afternoon to unload.
The Calumet was also inbound on Tuesday carrying a split load. She lightered at the Sargent dock in Essexville, then continued upriver to finish at the Buena Vista dock. Calumet first had to wait for the Norris to clear the BV dock by spending some time at the Burroughs dock just downriver.
The USCG Cutter Hollyhock was also inbound on the Saginaw Bay Tuesday evening.

Menominee - Dick Lund
The Keizerborg arrived at a local warehouse early Tuesday morning with a load of wood products. This is the ship's first-ever visit to the Port of Menominee, MI. She unloaded, and was gone within about 12 hours.


August 12 - Boatnerd Detroit River Cruise
Mail Your Reservations Today

A 3-hour freighter chasing cruise on the lower Detroit River aboard the luxurious Friendship, driven by Capt. Sam Buchanan. Cruise leaves the Portofino's On The River restaurant, in Wyandotte, MI at 10:00 am.

All this for only $25.00. Limited to the first 100 reservations. Mail your check today to: Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, Inc., 1110 South Main Street, Findlay, OH 45840-2239.

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


Updates - July 26

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Ryerson Photo Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History : July 26

On June 26, 2005, the salty ORLA ran aground at Kahnawake, Quebec and the passing rum tanker JO SPIRIT made contact with her. Both vessels were damaged and repaired in Montreal.

The ALGOWEST sailed on her maiden voyage in 1982 from Thunder Bay, Ontario to Quebec City with a 27,308 ton load of barley.

On July 26, 1943 the BRUCE HUDSON caught fire while loading gasoline at East Chicago, Illinois and four persons lost their lives.

The CONALLISON departed Windsor, Ontario on her first trip for Johnstone Shipping Ltd. on July 26, 1981.

WILLIAM A McGONAGLE (Hull#154) sailed light on her maiden voyage from Great Lakes Engineering Works at Ecorse, Michigan on July 26, 1916, to Duluth, Minnesota to load iron ore. Renamed b.) HENRY STEINBRENNER in 1986. She was scrapped at Port Maitland, Ontario in 1994.

On 26 July 1885, ISLE ROYALE (wooden propeller passenger/package freight vessel, 92 foot, 92 gross tons, built in 1879) sprang a leak near Susick Island near Isle Royale on Lake Superior. She sank but her passengers and crew made it to the island. She was owned by Cooley, Lavague & Company of Duluth. She was originally built as the barge AGNES.

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


23 Sailors Rescued from Listing Cargo Ship

7/25 - Alaska - Helicopters hoisted 23 crew members from a listing cargo ship to safety overnight, ending a daylong rescue effort as 10-foot waves slapped the ship's tilting deck hundreds of miles off Alaska's Aleutian Islands. The Cougar Ace had been carrying nearly 5,000 cars from Japan to Canada when it began listing to its port side late Sunday night. The crew sent out an SOS, but the nearest Coast Guard ship was nearly a day's trip away.

By the time a Coast Guard aircraft arrived and was able to drop three life rafts for the crew Monday morning, the ship was at an 80 degree angle, nearly on its side, officials said. The roiling waters shoved the rafts underneath the dipping port side of the 654-foot ship before the crew could secure them. Rescuers tossed another raft toward the higher starboard side, but it was a 150-foot drop to the water.

A merchant marine ship crew that was nearby was unable to rig a line to the cargo ship, and the Cougar Ace's crew was losing power in its hand-held radio. The helicopters appeared to the crew's best chance for survival. "We made the decision to cram in everybody," said Master Sgt. Sal Provenzano with the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center.

In a daring rescue, the crew members, who had donned survival suits aboard their troubled ship, were hoisted Monday night into two National Guard Pave Hawk helicopters and a Coast Guard helicopter, then flown 230 miles north to Adak Island. One crew member with a broken ankle was to be flown by plane to Anchorage, Provenzano said.

It wasn't clear Tuesday morning if their cargo ship was still afloat or what had caused it to list. The Singapore-flagged Cougar Ace — owned by Tokyo-based Mitsui O.S.K. Lines — was carrying vehicles from Japan to Vancouver, British Columbia, said Greg Beuerman, a spokesman for the ship owner.

"Obviously, the primary concern for all involved is the safety of the crew on board," Beuerman said Monday. "The vessel is of critical importance as well, but the first priority is the health and the safety of the crew."

The ship had been caught in rain squalls and 8- to 10-foot seas when it began to list. From Coast Guard aircraft circling overhead, officers spotted a 2-mile oil sheen in the choppy water. The ship had been carrying 430 metric tons of fuel oil or 112 metric tons of diesel fuel, and it wasn't clear how much had spilled into the northern Pacific Ocean.

Early on, the Coast Guard had alerted the clinic at the small town of Adak — a former Naval air station on the island of the same name — to gear up for treating at least one broken ankle and possible hypothermia cases.

Nurse practitioner Michael Terry said residents hustled to set up cots and blankets at the community center, prepare food and coffee, gather donations of warm clothing. The clinic rounded up emergency medics and braced for action. "We actually were preparing to have an air disaster drill at the airport (Tuesday) so we moved it up a day," Terry said.

From News


Toledo Port Works to Keep up with Dredging
Official: 1 'big storm' from shutdown

7/25 - Toledo - Wayne McCrimmon, Toledo's seaport director, fights a yearly battle against storms and water currents that swirl around the Maumee River muck so much they could threaten what has lately been a healthy bottom line. Known as Toledo Harbor, the seven-mile river shipping channel that runs to I-75 plus another 15 or so miles out into Lake Erie must be kept wide and deep enough for ships and their valuable cargo to make it to the Port of Toledo, which has enjoyed increased business this year.

Sediment builds up each year, and the navigation channel narrows. Dredging it is a continuous process; you have to keep up or risk becoming overwhelmed. "We've lived on the edge for years. You get used to it," said Mr. McCrimmon, who works for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. "We've been very lucky, because Lake Erie is up this year. It's the only Great Lake with more water this year. Whenever we have had [the largest ships come in], we have also had lots of water in the river. We've been lucky."

But the channel is just one "big storm" away from being shut down, Mr. McCrimmon said. The U.S. Coast Guard would make that decision, likely prompting emergency dredging by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and lost revenue for Toledo, as ships would be turned away, he said.

Clearing out the Maumee and Lake Erie channel is the largest dredging project each year on the Great Lakes. Other Great Lake ports have had worse problems forcing ships to "light-load," meaning captains can't fill to capacity because the ship would be too heavy to safely navigate the port channels. The corps takes care of about 300 ports across the country. The 2006 federal budget provides $921 million, including $588 million for "maintaining existing channels."

To keep up with the dredging, Mr. McCrimmon estimates $5 million to $10 million more each year is needed for Toledo. The issue is especially important because the Port of Toledo is making a financial comeback and is having a banner year.

General cargo loaded and unloaded has increased three-fold through May, compared to the same period last year. That increase is due in part to a deal in Brazil to accept bulk sugar and one struck in Quebec for the port to become a distribution center for aluminum used in automobiles.

Local officials and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) have pushed for years for more money to complete the needed dredging and clear up the backlog. At the current pace, it's a losing battle, Mr. McCrimmon said. About 1.3 million cubic yards of material are deposited each year in Toledo Harbor. The most the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers can dredge annually is 850,000 cubic yards, he said. The corps estimates it has 3 million to 4 million cubic yards to dredge out of Toledo Harbor, he said.

One problem cited by the corps is where to put the muck after it's sucked out of the channel. " 'We have to slow down,' the corps says. The response from the ports would be, 'Let's find a reuse for those dredged materials.' So the issue of where you put it is cloudy," said Steve Katich, staff director for Miss Kaptur. "The corps is recalcitrant. They are unable to move forward, and we find ourselves back in this situation."

The corps has also found itself in the middle of a long-running environmental battle involving dumping the silt. For years, the corps dumped it into an Oregon facility. But about 20 years ago, it began dumping more than half into open Lake Erie waters, prompting complaints that the silt may contain harmful contaminants or stir them up from the bottom. The Ohio EPA restricted the practice to a lesser amount, and the issue of where to dump and who will pay for a new facility or for other strategies - Ohio, Michigan, or the federal government - still looms.

Last year, a task force of the corps, Ohio EPA, and Ohio Department of Natural Resources was to study the potential of using silt to build undefined "habitat restoration units" at Little Cedar Point, Turtle Creek, or other areas. "The answer to the dredging problem is to legislatively say to the corps, 'Do it,' " Mr. Katich said. "But the reuse of those materials has to be advanced because even if you could dredge more, you don't have anywhere to put it. So you have these legislative battles."

The issue of how to use or where to dump the silt and muck must be resolved, Mr. Katich said. Ideas have involved developing fertilizer from the silt or filling abandoned strip mines with it. "At least we can credit the Bush Administration for not zeroing out ports [in the budget]. I think we will feel successful in adding to the Corps of Engineers' budget to allow additional dredging on the Maumee River," he said. "We do know it's a growing problem."

From the Toledo Blade


Theme Boats Set Sail in Port Huron Area Waters

7/25 - Port Huron - Very soon, it may not be surprising to see a school bus or Air Force Oneon local waterways. James Relken, president and chief executive officer of the National Association of Theme Boat Owners, is working to get themed boats, such as those, on the water to raise money for charities.

The association is volunteer driven and looking for help ranging from pontoon-boat owners willing to turn their watercrafts into a theme boat to craftsman and designers willing to pitch in and help make the transition, Relken said. "It's now starting to take off," he said. "We've moved it from one pontoon boat to - we expect in the next few months - several dozen."

The association became official May 1, with a design location on Griswold Street and a management office on Pine Grove Avenue, both in Port Huron. Relken said the group has recruited 80 volunteers but will need about 250 to complete all the orders coming in. The association will not charge boat owners interested in remodeling their vessels and will help them find materials and labor, Relken said.

The idea for the organization is spreading from Gerry Kramer's work with his boat Jungle Cruiser. About 20 years ago, Kramer, a Port Huron real-estate broker, outfitted his pontoon boat with a Hawaiian, Jimmy Buffett theme, complete with thatch grass, bamboo and a life-sized, stuffed gorilla named Hugo.

Kramer said he takes groups out on the boat for weddings, birthdays and other celebrations. Instead of asking for a fee, he has the group make a donation to a maritime charity. Kramer said the boat has raised more than $30,000 for charity.

"The idea works so well, we're doing other boats," Kramer said. "Our goal is to make Port Huron theme-boat capital of the world."

From the Port Huron Times-Herald


T/V Manatra on Second Training Cruise

7/25 - Chicago - The training vessel Manatra, home ported in Chicago, will be departing on Sunday at 10:00 am CST heading for St. Joseph, Mi. harbor and the USCG station. This is her second of two yearly voyages for the sole purpose of Sea Cadet training.

The cadets will assist in navigation, steering, line handling and even the preparing of meals underway. Our Sea Cadets are drawn from all over the country and every year find their way to our floating classroom to sharpen nautical skills, gain experience at sea, and have fun!

Other ports-of-call will be Grand Haven, Muskegon and Milwaukee (weather and time permitting). While underway, she is staffed by some of the finest Sea Cadet officers to be found and an all-volunteer professional crew. One of our last underway tasks will be to escort the Tall Ships into Chicago on Thursday. Manatra is a 501(c)3 Illinois non-profit corporation.

Reported by A. Jurincie


Port Reports - July 25

Toledo - Bob Vincent
The tug Donald C. Hannah was observed coming in pushing the barges H-2902 and H-2903 around 8:00 pm Sunday night.
The Agawa Canyon was unloading stone at the Midwest Stone Terminal. Left Toledo around 1:00 am Monday morning.
The Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin unloaded ore from Seven Islands at the Torco Ore dock and then came under the coal loader at 11:00 pm for a load of coal for Bowmanville, ON. The next ore boat is the CSL Niagara due Wednesday and Friday the John J. Boland and CSL Assiniboine are due.
Next coal boat will be the Herbert C. Jackson due Thursday and on Friday the John J. Boland, Wolverine and the Saginaw are due.
The Pere Marquette 10 is lay-up in the frog pond next to the stone dock.
The dredge Buxton II with tug Muskegon was dredging the shipping channel near Torco Docks.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
The saltie Margaretha Green spent Monday at Duluth’s port terminal loading an unusual export cargo – three ore-crushing lines from the former LTV Steel Mining Co. mill in Hoyt Lakes, Minn.
LTV closed its mine and taconite processing plant in 2000, putting 1,400 people out of work. While much of the plant’s equipment was labeled as outdated, that didn’t apply to the machinery that crushed the taconite ore so it could be processed into pellets. So the equipment was sold to two buyers.
The ore-crushing machinery loaded aboard the Margaretha Green was sold to Jindal Group, which operates 12 steel mills in India and two in the United States. The ship will carry the equipment to India.
The remaining 27 crushing lines at the old LTV site now belong to Polymet Mining Corp., which purchased the LTV mining operation in 2005. Polymet plans to keep the crushing lines in Hoyt Lakes to process rock bearing precious metals such as nickel, gold, silver, palladium and platinum.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Friday afternoon the Steamer Alpena arrived in port to take on cement for Superior, WI. The Alpena is expected to return on Wednesday.
The Samuel de Champlain/barge Innovation was at Lafarge on Saturday morning and was seen heading out into the bay before 1pm.
The Philip R. Clarke was loading at Stoneport on Sunday and departed the dock before 4:00pm.
The Wolverine and Cason J. Calloway loaded at Stoneport on Monday.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The self unloading barge McKee Sons with tug Invincible in the notch came into port overnight on Sunday/Monday from Chicago. It delivered its second load of coal for the Board of Light and Power Sims Plant on Harbor Island in three days and was gone by daylight.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The Michipicoten and Saginaw both arrived in Marquette on Monday for ore, with the Herbert C. Jackson expected at the lower harbor later.
The Jackson will move to the ore dock on Tuesday.

Saginaw River - Gordy Garris
The Saginaw River was busy on Sunday with multiple commercial vessel passages on the Saginaw River as the Tall Ships Festival took place in Downtown Bay City and ship rides and tours came to an end. The tanker Algosar made her first ever appearance under her current name and colors to the Saginaw River Sunday morning calling on the Ashland Marathon dock in Bay City to unload. Her cargo consisted of 2,330 MT of Gasoline. The tanker had last visited the Saginaw River in 2003 as the Gemini. The Algosar made an unusual move by turning around off the dock with assistance from the tug Manitou before unloading at the Ashland Marathon dock around 10:00am Sunday morning. At 7:00am Monday morning, the Algosar departed the Ashland Marathon dock and headed directly outbound for the lake.
Once finished assisting the Algosar, the Manitou headed upriver through the Bay City drawbridges and docked at the Old Bay Aggregates dock in Downtown Bay City.
The Steamer James Norris was in bound the Saginaw River early Sunday morning headed upriver to the Buena Vista Stone dock to unload. The Norris departed the Buena Vista Stone dock and headed upstream to the Sixth Street turning basin to turn around by late Sunday afternoon. The Norris was closely followed by the tug Robin Lynn who departed the Burroughs dock and later pushed the Norris around in the Sixth Street turning basin. This was the Norris's first visit to the Saginaw River this year.
Unloading just a few hundred yards ahead of the James Norris was the tug Undaunted and the barge Pere Marquette 41 at the Wirt Stone dock in Saginaw. The pair had arrived in Saginaw late Saturday night. The pair were out bound from the Sixth Street turning basin in Saginaw early in the afternoon on Sunday. This was the Undaunted/Pere Marquette 41's first visit to the Saginaw River this year.
The CSL Tadoussac was in bound the Saginaw River early Sunday afternoon headed for the Essroc Terminal in Essexville to unload. At 10:30pm Sunday night, the CSL Tadoussac departed the Essroc Terminal in Essexville, backed out of the river and turned around at Light 12 in the Saginaw Bay Entrance Channel and headed out bound for the lake late Sunday night, following the James Norris out of the Entrance Channel about an hour and a half behind her.
The Tall Ships Windy II, Madeline, Royaliste, Appledore V, Saint Paul, and the Fireboat Edward M. Cotter all departed their docks in Downtown Bay City Sunday evening, and headed outbound for the lake. All of the ships are bound for Green Bay, WI except for the Fireboat Edward M. Cotter, which is headed for Lake Erie. The Tall Ships Brig Niagara, Picton Castle, Pride of Baltimore II, and the Unicorn departed from their docks in Downtown Bay City around 9:00am Monday morning, and headed outbound for the lake, bound for Green Bay, WI. Upon reaching the mouth of the Saginaw Bay, the outbound Tall Ships were joined by the Tall Ships Playfair and Pathfinder on their journey to Green Bay, WI. The Appledore IV will move back to her regular mooring at Wenonah Park and resume her regular daily group trips to the bay, and the Appledore V will return to the Saginaw River after the 2006 Great Lakes Tall Ships Challenge had ended.
The Great Lakes Dock & Materials Company tug Duluth was moving barges between the LaFarge dock in Saginaw and the Essroc dock in Essexville on Monday. The tug Duluth waited at the Pump-Out Island with her barge for the outbound Algosar and the outbound parade of Tall Ships to clear before continuing inbound to Saginaw late Monday morning.
Once the tug Duluth arrived at the LaFarge dock in Saginaw, she gathered another barge and proceeded downriver to the Essorc dock in Essexville by 12:45pm Monday afternoon. By Monday evening the tug Duluth was headed back upriver to Saginaw through the Bay City drawbridges.


Updates - July 25

News Photo Gallery updated and more News Photo Gallery updated

Special Ryerson Photo Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


August 12 - Boatnerd Detroit River Cruise
Mail Your Reservations Today

A 3-hour freighter chasing cruise on the lower Detroit River aboard the luxurious Friendship, driven by Capt. Sam Buchanan. Cruise leaves the Portofino's On The River restaurant, in Wyandotte, MI at 10:00 am.

We'll go where the boats are. Maybe up the Rouge River, maybe down the Detroit River. Bring your camera. To make the trip even more interesting, a pizza buffet will be delivered by the mail boat J. W. Westcott. Cash bar on board. Plenty of free, safe parking at Portofino's. Click here for directions.

All this for only $25.00. Limited to the first 100 reservations. Mail your check today to: Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, Inc., 1110 South Main Street, Findlay, OH 45840-2239.

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


Today in Great Lakes History - July 25

Algoma Central Marine's former ALGOCEN departed Montreal on July 25, 2005, under tow of the tugs ATLANTIC OAK and ANDRE H bound for Keasby, New Jersey. She was renamed b.) VALGOCEN and was registered in Panama.

The bow section of the ROGER BLOUGH (Hull#900) was floated into the new American Ship Building Co. Lorain dry dock on July 25, 1970, and was joined with the 421 foot stern section. The launch of the completed hull was scheduled for July, 1971, but a fire broke out in the engine room on June 24, 1971, killing four yard workers and extensively damaging her Pielstick diesel engines. Extensive repairs, which included replacement of both engines, delayed the launch for nearly a year.

The CANADA MARQUIS was up bound at Detroit, Michigan on July 25, 1983, on her maiden voyage for Misener Holdings Ltd. She sails today as CSL's e.) BIRCHGLEN.

July 25, 1983 - A wedding was held aboard the BADGER during the sailing of "Love Boat II". Chris Gebhart and Pat Sroka of Ludington were married by Rev. John Christensen.

The wooden lumber tug CYGNET, which worked on the Shiawassee and Bad Rivers and Lake Huron, was destroyed when her boiler exploded in "Blow-up Bayou" on the Shiawassee River.

The wooden bulk freighter D C WHITNEY was launched at Langell's shipyard in St. Clair, Michigan on 25 July 1882. Her dimensions were 229 feet x 40 feet x15 feet, 1090 gross tons.

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


Port Reports - July 24

Escanaba - Lee Rowe & Dick Lund
An eager group of boatnerds watched the Edward Ryerson approach Escanaba Saturday at Sand Point and enjoyed a three-long, two-short salute from the ship. They gathered again at the ore dock to watch her arrive and tie up for her first load.

Burns Harbor/South Chicago - Steve B.
Several vessels in and around the South end of Lake Michigan on Saturday. The Joseph L. Block was heard making a security call inbound for Indiana Harbor at around 9 a.m.
Over at Iroquois Landing, the salties Puffin and Sir Henry were seen tied up and unloading steel. By mid afternoon, the Puffin had already made its turn out of Calumet Harbor and was headed up the lake for Thunder Bay. Shortly thereafter, the Sir Henry departed, not for the lake, but rather farther down the Calumet River enroute to Nidera Grain at 117th St. She was assisted by the G tugs South Carolina on the bow and Colorado on the stern. There was some concern by the NS bridge operator if she would clear the bridge or not.
The Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw arrived at Calumet Harbor in late afternoon.
Over at Burns Harbor, the salties Vechtborg and Federal Manitou were in port.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Friday evening saw the Canadian Transport depart at 5:30 p.m. in ballast for Conneaut. The Algosea departed the Petro Canada Pier in Bronte ( Oakville ) at 8 p.m. for the Welland Canal.
Saturday the Olympic Miracle arrived at 6 a.m. going to Pier 14. At 6:15 a.m. the Peter R. Cresswell arrived going to Pier 26. The Maritime Trader arrived at 8:30 a.m. going to Pier 25 ( JRI Elevators ). The Federal Agno then arrived at 9:30 a.m. going to Pier 23. The tug Anglian Lady and barge PML 2501 arrived at 1 p.m. The Ocean Groupe tug Omni Richelieu arrived at 3 p.m. going to Pier 8.
The Peter R. Cresswell departed Pier 26 at 3:15 p.m.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Michipicoten loaded ore late Friday evening. Fleetmates Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder and Charles M. Beeghly loaded taconite on Saturday. Michipicoten was due back Sunday morning, and Paul R. Tregurtha was due with western coal on Sunday afternoon.

Sturgeon Bay - Wendell Wilke
The Edward L. Ryerson departed Bay Shipbuilding Co. at noon northbound for Escanaba. She left the Sturgeon Bay Ship Channel passing Sherwood Point entering Green Bay waters around 12:45 p.m. Remaining at the yard presently is the Lee A. Tregurtha in final stages of repowereing. She is tentatively scheduled to depart around August 11. Also presently under construction in the large graving dock is the 1st of the off-lakes petroleum barges to be named Double Skin 141.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Late afternoon Sunday was a busy time in Duluth-Superior. Alpena was unloading at LaFarge's terminal in Superior. American Century was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal while Herbert C. Jackson rode at anchor in Duluth harbor waiting for its turn. John G. Munson was inbound to Duluth entry and due to load at Midwest Energy following the Jackson. Salties Irma and Margaretha Green were anchored out on the lake.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The self unloading barge McKee Sons with tug Invincible in the notch came into port early Saturday afternoon and docked at the Board of Light and Power Sims Plant on Harbor Island. It delivered its load of coal and was seen backing out through the pier heads at about 8 p.m.

Green Bay/Sturgeon Bay - Wendell Wilke
St. Marys Conquest was unloading in Green Bay on Sunday at 3:00 pm. At 6:30 am Monday, she was south bound in the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal.


Updates - July 24

News Photo Gallery updated and more News Photo Gallery updates

Special Ryerson Photo Gallery

Calendar of Events updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


August 12 - Boatnerd Detroit River Cruise
Mail Your Reservations Today

A 3-hour freighter chasing cruise on the lower Detroit River aboard the luxurious Friendship, driven by Capt. Sam Buchanan. Cruise leaves the Portofino's On The River restaurant, in Wyandotte, MI at 10:00 am. We'll go where the boats are. Maybe up the Rouge River, maybe down the Detroit River. Bring your camera. To make the trip even more interesting, a pizza buffet will be delivered by the mail boat J. W. Westcott. Cash bar on board. Plenty of free, safe parking at Portofino's. Click here for directions.

All this for only $25.00. Limited to the first 100 reservations. Mail your check today to: Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, Inc., 1110 South Main Street, Findlay, OH 45840-2239. Click here for Reservations Form. Checks will not be cashed until the week before the cruise. No physical tickets will be issued. You name will be on the Boarding List.


Today in Great Lakes History - July 23

On this day in 1906, the 556 foot ELBERT H GARY arrived to a 21-gun salute to deliver the first cargo of Minnesota ore at the new United States Steel mill in Gary, Indiana.

The keel for the TEXACO CHIEF (Hull#193) was laid July 23, 1968, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd., for Texaco Canada Ltd. Renamed b.) A G FARQUHARSON in 1986, and c.) ALGONOVA In 1998.

CANADOC sailed on her maiden voyage July 23, 1961.

Upper Lakes Shipping Co. Ltd.'s, RED WING was christened on July 23, 1960, as the first all-welded vessel to emerge from Port Weller Dry Docks.

On 23 July 1878, H R PRESTON (wooden quarter-deck canal boat built in 1877, at Oneida Lake, New York) was carrying 250 tons of ashes from Picton, Ontario to Oswego, New York in tow of the tug ALANSON SUMNER along with three other canal boats when they encountered a storm on Lake Ontario. About 15 miles from Oswego, the PRESTON broke her towline and was taken alongside the SUMNER with some difficulty. About a mile out of port she lost her hold tarps and began to sink quickly. She was cut loose from the tug and her two crewmen were saved by the Oswego tug WM AVERY. Though she was lying heavily on the bottom in 50 feet of water, her wreckage came ashore near 4 Mile Point in early September.


Today in Great Lakes History - July 24

On July 24, 1980, 34 ships were delayed when the BALTIC SKOU, a 595 foot Danish-flag freighter built in 1977, ran aground after losing power three miles east of the Snell Lock, near Massena, New York. The ship, loaded with sunflower seeds, was headed for Montreal and the Atlantic Ocean when the grounding occurred. No injuries or pollution resulted from the accident and the vessel did not take on any water.

The ALGOSOO (Hull#206) was launched July 24, 1974, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd. for Algoma Central Railway, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

The BURNS HARBOR sea trials were conducted on July 24, 1980, during which she performed an emergency stop in 3,160 feet loaded to a depth of 25/26 feet. She was the third thousand footer built for Bethlehem and the tenth on the Great Lakes.

ST CLAIR (Hull#714) was launched July 24, 1975, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin by Bay Shipbuilding Corp. for the American Steamship Co.

The WILLIAM G MATHER, left River Rouge, Michigan on her maiden voyage July 24, 1925, for Ashtabula, Ohio to load coal for the Canadian Lakehead at Port Arthur/Fort William, Ontario.

The wooden steamer OSCAR TOWNSEND was launched at 2:20 p.m. at E. Fitzgerald's yard in Port Huron on 24 July 1873. The launch went well with a few hundred spectators. She was built for use in the iron ore trade by the Lake Superior Transportation Co. Her dimensions were 210 feet overall, 200 foot keel, 33 foot 10 inches beam and 15 foot depth. She had three masts and was painted deep green.

On 24 July 1847, CONSTITUTION (wooden passenger/package freight side-wheeler, 141 foot, 444 tons, built in 1837, at Charleston, Ohio) struck a pier in Sandusky harbor, stove a large hole in her bow and sank. Her machinery was later recovered and installed in J D MORTON.

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


Ryerson Returns to Service

7/22 - The Edward L. Ryerson departed Sturgeon Bay via Sherwood Point on Saturday flying her christening pennant.

She left the Sturgeon Bay Ship Channel passing Sherwood Point entering Green Bay waters around 12:45 p.m.

The ETA for Escanaba is between 8 - 9 p.m. CDT, possibly sooner if the engine is brought up to a higher speed. Loading in Escanaba is expected to take 10 hours.

Special Ryerson Departure Photo Gallery

Reported by Wendell Wilke


Sunday News Delayed

Sunday's News will be posted late Sunday. Boatnerd News Staff is on assignment.

Ryerson updates and photos will be posted as soon as possible.


Mackinaw has Big Plans for Summer

7/21 - Cheboygan - The official ceremonies of commissioning and decommissioning of the two Mackinaws, the departure of the retired icebreaker from Cheboygan and its subsequent arrival in Mackinaw City are all completed. Now it's time for the new Mac to get to work.

A recent four-day sortie to Northern Lake Huron for gunnery practice and lifeboat drills behind them, the officers and crew of the new U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw are busy planning the summer schedule that will allow the ship to establish its own legacy. Part of that calendar will involve succeeding the original Mackinaw's public relations duties, beginning with the duties of shepherding the fleet in the Chicago to Mackinac sailboat race.

“We'll have our Commands and Assessment for Readiness and Training exercises first,” explained Cmdr. John Little, the ship's commanding officer. “CART training will be held July 13 and July 14. We'll be doing fire control training, lifesaving drills and other operations to demonstrate our effectiveness for a U.S. Navy training crew. Then it's race time.”

The Mackinaw departed July 17 for Chicago and be stationed at the Navy Pier in preparation for the Chicago-to-Mackinac race that begins Saturday. “This is our first time working with the race, and it will be fun to take on the task of moving with the fleet up the lake,” Little said. “We'll move from the back of the pack to the front and just keep an eye on everyone. We have a search and rescue responsibility out there, you know.”

The Mackinaw will likely return from the race for less than a week before setting out for the summer's other big event, the Coast Guard Festival in Grand Haven. “I would expect that we'll depart here early on July 30 and arrive off the Grand Haven piers the morning of July 31,” Little continued. “The festival takes up the whole week, with a parade of vessels, golf and softball tournaments and many other exciting activities. It will be fun to be seen as the ‘big ship' down there. It's quite an honor for our crew.”

The Mac will return from Grand Haven and again spend less than a week in Cheboygan, planning to load various equipment items for a two-month dry-dock in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., that begins Aug. 12. “We have several new crewmembers aboard and we still have families settling in now that housing space is opening up with the families from the retired ship departing,” Little added. “It will be good for them to spend some time at home because we'll be on the go a lot in the fall.”

Little said the Mackinaw's fall duties will include buoy decommissioning in three of the Great Lakes.

By Mike Fornes for the Cheboygan Daily Tribune


Down to the sea in ships
“People don’t have any understanding of the complexity of the operation”

7/22 - It’s 6:30 on a picture-book perfect July morning, and Iqaluit’s sealift beach resembles the early, chaotic stages of a construction site. Four giant yellow loaders rev impatiently as they wait their turn to plunge into the shallows of Frobisher Bay, retrieving loads of cement and lumber from one of three barges ferrying cargo from the Anna Desgagnés, anchored offshore in waters 27 metres deep. The tide is coming in, and the men and their machines have just two hours this morning to get as much cargo as possible off the Anna Desgagnés and onto trucks waiting up the beach.

As each barge approaches the shore, pulled by a tug, a loader heads into the water, picks up a skid of two-by-fours and a huge sack of cement, and lurches onto dry land. Later in the day, another window opens up, and the crew will have a couple of hours to finish unloading the last of the cargo from the ship’s first sailing of the season. From the beach, the Anna Desgagnés looks like a toy ship that could float in a bathtub.

Board the ship, and you enter a floating city with enough storage space to re-supply Iqaluit and several other Arctic communities, park 70 cars and sleep dozens of people, each in his or her own private quarters. The ship’s power plant generates enough electricity for a town of 500. The largest vessel in the Transport Desgagnés Inc. fleet, the Anna is massively self-sufficient. As it travels up from Montreal and throughout the Arctic, it carries its own heavy equipment — loaders, forklifts, barges and tugs. If anything breaks down, there’s a machine shop where replacement parts can be made from scratch.

Two visitors toured the Anna last week on the last day of her stop at Iqaluit. The tour guide, fittingly, was a larger-than-life guy named Waguih Rayes, general manager of Desgagnés Transarctik Inc., the sealift partnership of Transport Desgagnés and Arctic Cooperatives. Rayes, who originally hails from Egypt, wears his trademark cowboy hat festooned with a gaudy hatband. He smokes small, French cigars, and is preternaturally cheerful even early in the day when most people are still asleep. There’s not much that Rayes doesn’t know about the Anna, or, for that matter, about Arctic shipping. Beginning in 1986, he spent about 10 years working for the the Nunavik government. Much of his job involved negotiating with shippers. After a few years on his own as a consultant, he went to work for Desgagnés Transarctik.

The Anna was built in the former East Germany for the Russian navy at about the same time that Rayes went to work in Nunavik. It was purchased and refitted by Transport Desgagnés in 1998. “Do you see those two cranes?” he said. “Those were built to hold gun turrets.” There’s a special hold made of extra-thick plate steel, which the Russians used to store mortar shells and ammunitions. “It can contain an explosion,” Rayes explains. That’s handy, because the Anna is hauling dynamite for a mine site. A huge ramp that the Russians used for tanks and troop carriers in amphibious landings comes in handy when the Anna unloads cargo at communities that do not have port facilities.

Rayes’s running commentary about the Anna, its dimensions and unique features has a Ripley’s Believe It Or Not quality — the ship has a cargo capacity of 25,000 cubic metres; its operating expense when it’s under steam is about $45,000 a day; its navigation crew numbers 23 and its operating crew 15 or 16; and its daily fuel consumption is 29 tonnes.

Usually, the Anna burns only petrodiesel. But on this trip, one of the generators is burning a mixture of petrodiesel and biodiesel, or as the ship’s chief engineer explains helpfully, “stuff squeezed out of pig fat” at a processing plant in Quebec. It’s an experimental project, with Environment Canada monitoring emissions from the 80-20 diesel-pig fat mixture. But there’s a problem — researchers could only locate about 29,000 litres of pig fat for this trip, which will last for about two weeks. The Anna will run out of biodiesel long before it returns to Montreal. Meanwhile, the search is on for more animal fat for subsequent trips.

Aside from its other unique features, the Anna also boasts its own swimming pool, which, as Rayes explains, is used for an Arctic initiation ritual. On the ship’s first trip north every year, the pool is filled with water, to which large chunks of sea ice are added. Then, with everyone else jeering and cheering, new crew members are required to strip down and take a dip in the ice water.

Throughout the ship, instrument panels still have the original Russian labels and instructions alongside more recent ones in English. That’s because, come winter, the Anna is leased out for international charters with a Ukrainian crew. “People don’t have any understanding of the complexity of the operation,” Raye said. That’s especially true when it comes to the ownership and management of the fleet. The shipping line was started by the Desgagnés family in the 1950s, but by the 1980s, the company’s accountant had purchased the entire operation. Still, Desgagnés descendents are everywhere in the company. The captain, for instance, is Jerome Desgagnés. The ship’s beach master is a cousin, Jean-Noel Desgagnés.

Like the members of the founding family, Rayes cannot imagine a life that does not involve ships. “I’ve taken care of sealifts since 1986, first as a client, and now as a supplier. It’s more than a job. It’s in my blood.”

Seafaring may not be the only thing in his blood. Rayes has applied a thick layer of mosquito repellent to his face and hands to try to discourage insects that swarm and annoy even hundreds of yards offshore. The potent chemical has found its way onto his small cigar, and Rayes tosses it away in disgust. “That mosquito spray, it tastes terrible,” he said. “Do you know, it can melt plastic. Can you imagine what it does to your insides?”

Such are the hazards of the seafaring life, so far from Montreal and so close to the Arctic’s abundant supply of biting insects.

From the Nunatsiaq News


Port Reports - July 22

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The tug Kurt R Luedtke was back in the water and rafted to the # 16 derrick barge at the Cargill Elevator Pier this morning. They were taking on fuel from a Noco tanker truck and seemed to be making preparations to get underway around noon Friday. Word on the street was that she had prop damage repaired there this week.
The Army Corps tug Cheraw is at the Buffalo Port Terminal rafted to the derrick barge Mc Cauly.

The tug Karen Andrie came in with her asphalt barge for Tonawanda on Wednesday night. She headed back out on Thursday evening.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
A quiet Friday in Milwaukee compared to Thursday. As of mid-morning the tug G.L. Ostrander and barge Integrity were discharging cement at the La Farge terminal. And the BBC Shanghai remained at Municipal Pier #2.

Saginaw River - Gordy Garris
The Sam Laud was inbound the Saginaw River Friday morning headed for the Bay Aggrates dock in Essexville to unload. The Sam Laud finished unloading by 2 p.m. Friday afternoon
and backed from the Bay Aggrates slip, turned around and headed outbound for the lake Friday afternoon.
The Tall Ships Appledore IV and the Windy II were making trips from their docks in Downtown Bay City through the river on Friday. All of the Tall Ships docked were open for tours from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Friday on both sides of the river. The captain of the Tall Ship Royaliste celebrated his birthday on the ship with a party. The rest of the crew and captains of the other Tall Ships enjoyed the Concert in Wenonah Park by the Saginaw Bay Symphony Orchestra along with special guests: State Senator Debbie Stabinaw and Governor Jennifer Grandholm who spoke at the Concert.
The Tall Ships Playfair and the Pathfinder are expected to be inbound the Saginaw Bay early on Sunday. The tug Rebecca Lynn and her tank barge A-410 are expected to be inbound for the Saginaw River early Sunday morning as well.


Updates - July 22

News Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History : July 22

On this day in 1961, the barge CLEVECO, originally lost with a crew of 22 during a December 02, 1942, storm on Lake Erie, was floated by salvagers, towed outside the shipping lanes, and intentionally sunk.

PERE MARQUETTE 22 (Hull#210) was launched on July 22, 1924, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin by Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co. for the Pere Marquette Railway Co.

One hundred years ago on 22 July 1900, the tug MATT H ESSER was launched at Lorain, Ohio by H. D. Root for Captain Burke of Erie.

The M I MILLS (wooden propeller tug, 122 foot, 152 tons, built in 1867, at Marine City, Michigan), which sank in a collision with the bark UNADILLA on 9 May 1873, was found on 22 July 1873, in 90 feet of water in Lake Huron off Sand Beach, Michigan. Plans were made to raise her at the cost of $5,000. This effort was unsuccessful as was another abortive attempt in 1895.

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


St. Clair Offshore Powerboat Race Scheduled

7/21 - The Blue Water Offshore Racing Association will conduct this year’s St. Clair River Classic Offshore Powerboat Race on the waters of the St. Clair River in St. Clair, Michigan. The event will take place on Sunday, July 30, with the race beginning at 11:00 am.

Testing will take place on Friday, July 28 and Saturday, July 29, between 11:00 am and 5:00 pm. On Sunday, July 30, 2006 pleasure traffic will experience river closures in order to conduct the race; in addition, the Pine River will be closed to traffic during active racing.

Deep draft, commercial vessels are respectfully requested to schedule their transit times accordingly and appropriately. In particular it is requested that commercial vessels make all attempts to not transit the area between the Stag Island Upper Light and Recor Point between 1100 hrs and 1700 hrs EDT, on Saturday July 29th and Sunday, July 30tht; the most critical day being Sunday July 30th.

USCG Sector Detroit will issue the appropriate local regulations and notice to mariners broadcast information.

Race Control will be monitoring all events beginning approximately 1000 hrs EDT on each day that events are active. Communication will also be established with; and will monitor Sarnia VTS for vessel movement. Cell phone contact - (810) 300-2308 and VHF Marine radio contacts - Channel 78A Race Control / Race Operations and Channel 11 Sarnia VTS Center.

In the event of deep draft, commercial vessel passage during the race; the has established restrictions on race operations. For additional information, contact RiversBend Marina Ed Smith or Julie (810) 329-2908 .

Reported by Frank Frisk


Alder to get New Commanding Officer

7/21 - Duluth - The Coast Guard Cutter Alder will hold a Change of Command ceremony at 11 a.m. Friday, July 21, 2006 at the Coast Guard Station in Duluth.

The incumbent Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Steven C. Teschendorf, will be relieved by Lieutenant Commander Kevin E. Wirth, who will take command of Alder following a tour of duty at the Coast Guard Headquarters’ Intelligence Command Center in Washington, DC.

Completing a highly successful assignment as Alder’s first Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Commander Teschendorf will depart for the Coast Guard Academy in New London, Connecticut where he will serve as the Coast Guard’s Leadership and Organizational Performance Branch Chief.

Alder is the newest and final addition to the Coast Guard's fleet of 225' buoy tenders, replacing the aged 180' Sundew as Lake Superior's primary buoy tender. Its missions include servicing Aids to Navigation, Domestic Icebreaking, Search and Rescue, Marine Environmental Protection, Homeland Security and Maritime Law Enforcement.

USCG News Release.


Port Reports - July 21

Green Bay - Herman Draeger
Tug Ann Marie and Derrick Barge #10 of the Luedkte Engineering Co. has begun dredging in Green Bay, WI. They plan on completion within 4 to 6 weeks, working 24 hours a day and a 6 day week.
The Buffalo arrived Thursday morning with a load for Western Lime.

Escanaba - Rod Burdick
On Thursday afternoon, David Z. Norton unloaded eastern coal at the C. Reiss No. 1 Dock for the Escanaba Power Plant.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
What a Thursday in Milwaukee, late morning there were five ships in the harbor. First, the Wilfred Sykes (blt. 1949, Central Marine Logistics, Inc) was delivering to St. Mary's Cement.
Second, the Agawa Canyon (blt. 1970, Algmoa Central) was delivering salt.
Third, Polish Steamship's Irma (blt. 2000) was at the north side of Municipal Pier #2.
Fourth, on the south side of Muncipal Pier #2 was the BBC Shanghai, which has been in port for several days--although it has changed pier positions.
And fifth, a relatively short saltie, the Anja,was at Municipal Pier #3.

Kingsville - Erich Zuschlag
The Saginaw was in the harbour Thursday unloading stone. She came in around noon and departed into the haze of a hot, Lake Erie day at around 4 p.m.
She is the 5th ship into the small fishing town's harbour.

Toledo -
H. Lee White was off-loading sand at Kuhlman Corporation today. Seneca was also off-loading at Midwest Terminals of Toledo, International. The CSX RR Bridge was open at half its turn throughout the day.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The Groupe Ocean tugs Omni Richelieu and Omni St. Laurent came in from Hamilton Tuesday afternoon and turned the salty Pytheas at Redpath.
The charter boat Yankee Lady II has been sold to new owners who have renamed it Escape To. Yankee Lady (1) was sold earlier this season and renamed Sea Voyager.

Saginaw River - Gordy Garris
The Saginaw River was busy on Thursday with both commercial ship traffic and Tall Ship sailing traffic. The Tall Ships USS Brig Niagara and the Windy II were in bound a few hours behind the Tall Ship Royaliste who docked at the Wenonah Park docks Wednesday night. The Niagara docked at the Wenonah Park docks while the Windy II docked at the South end of the Veteran's Memorial Park docks across the river from the Niagara, the Royaliste, the Appledore IV, and the Appledore V. Thursday morning all of Tall Ships docked in Downtown Bay City except for the USS Brig Niagara departed their dock in Downtown Bay City and headed out to the bay to join the rest of the ships.

At 1 p.m., the first group of Tall Ships paraded into the river, the Pride of Baltimore II, the Royaliste, and the Unicorn. Next at 1:30 p.m., the second group of Tall Ships paraded into the river, the Nina, the Fireboat Edward M. Cotter, the Picton Castle, and the Appledore V. Finally at 2 p.m., the final group of Tall Ships paraded into the river, the Madeline, the Appledore IV, the Saint Paul, and the Windy II. The Windy II had departed her dock at Veteran's Park in Bay City around 1:30 p.m. about 2 hours after the Royaliste, the Appledore IV, and the Appledore V had left their dock in Bay City. The Windy II headed out to the bay and turned around off the Pump-out Island and headed back into the river with the last group of Tall Ships.

The last group of the Tall Ships passed through the Lake State Railroad swing bridge just before it was shut around 5 p.m. to let a 50-car train across the river, which was expected to be a 20 minute wait for boaters. All the Tall Ships docked safely at their designated mooring on either side of the river at the Veteran's Memorial Park or the Wenonah Park in Bay City The Tall Ship Saint Paul had some mechanical problems on her approach to her dock at Wenonah Park, so the Coast Guard assisted the Saint Paul up to the dock so the ship could to tie up. The following ships in order from South to North that are docked at Wenonah Park is: the 85 ft. Appledore IV, the 170 ft. Pride of Baltimore II, the 76 ft. Royaliste, the 92 ft. Nina, the 198 ft. Brig Niagara, the 176 ft. Picton Castle, the 92 ft. Madeline, and the 55 ft. Saint Paul. The following ships in order from South to North that are docked at Veteran's Park is: the 150 ft. Windy II, the 118 ft. Unicorn, the 118 ft. Edward M. Cotter, and the 65 ft. Appledore V.

All of these ships docked in Downtown Bay City will be open for tours starting at 10 a.m. Friday morning when the gates open, there will be a registering booth at the front gate of the Veteran's and Wenonah Parks to enter the parks. There will be food vendors in both of the parks. To tour the ships you will need a 2006 Bay City Tall Ships Celebration Passport. If you do not already have a Tall Ship passport you can buy one at the Registering booth at the front gate of the Veteran's Memorial and Wenonah Parks. The ship tours end on Friday at 5 p.m. The gates will reopen Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. tours will end at 5 p.m.  Around 7a.m. Monday morning you can watch the ships depart through the Bay City drawbridges and head outbound for the lake.

The tug Donald C. Hannah was expected to be inbound the Saginaw River late Thursday night with two tank barges. The Herbert C. Jackson is also expected to be inbound sometime Thursday night into Friday morning. It will be both vessel's first appearance of this season on the Saginaw River, and it will be the Jackson's first visit since 2004.

The tug Duluth returned to the Pump-out Island early Thursday morning after dropping off the empty barges 120 & 121 in Saginaw for the dredging materials from the dredger in Saginaw to be put into. The Duluth departed the Pump-Out Island early Thursday evening with two barges shortly after all the Tall Ships in Downtown Bay City had docked and cleared the shipping channel. The tug Duluth headed upriver through the Bay City drawbridges to be stopped at the Veteran's Memorial bridge at 6:00 pm waiting for a traffic accident to be cleared off of one of the bridge spans. Within 30 minutes the accident was cleared off the bridge and the tug Duluth was able to proceed upriver. The tug Duluth dropped off the two empty barges in Saginaw that she had pushed upriver for the dredger to use. By 9 p.m. Thursday evening, the tug Duluth departed Saginaw and was outbound headed back out to Bay City with the barges 120 & 121.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
Lower Lakes Towing's Calumet made its first visit of the season coming in Thursday at 4:00 pm with a load for Verplank's Dock. It was backing out by 10:00 pm.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
It has been a surprisingly slow week at the Norfolk-Southern coal dock, with only the venerable Steamer John G. Munson loading. The Munson completed the loading process late Thursday and departed for Ontonagon, Mi.


Captain Reginald Conrad Hatcher Passes

7/21 - St. Catharines, ON - Suddenly at his home on Tuesday July 18, 2006 in his 74th year. Loving husband of Rita; cherished father of Conrad, James and David all of St. Catharines; doting grandpa of Katie, Jimmy, Kimberly and Joshua; dear brother of Gordon (Addie) of Pasadena NFLD, Effie (Clarence) Riggs of St. John's NFLD, Ruth (Reuben) Hatcher of St. John's NFLD and the late Capt. James Hatcher (2002); mother-in-law Elsie Pope, sister-in-law Effie DiTiello and Bernice Bullen; many other relatives and friends.

Capt. Reg was employed with Algoma Central as a ships captain for many years, was a member of Perfection Lodge #616 A.F.and A.M., The International Shipmasters Lodge and a member of St. Georges's Anglican Church.
The family will receive friends at the Hulse and English Funeral Home and Chapel, 75 Church St. St. Catharines (905-684-6346) on Friday, July 21, 2006 from 2-4 and 7-9 pm.

Funeral Service in St. Georges's Anglican Church, 83 Church St. on Saturday, July 22, 2006 at 12pm. Cremation to follow.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Mission to Seafares, Group Box 12, 600 Ferguson St. N. Hamilton On L8L 4Z9 Attention: Father Bob Hudson, the Heart and Stroke Foundation or Canadian Diabetes Association would be appreciated by the family.

Reported by Capt. Robert Hull


USS New York

With a year to go before it even touches the water, the Navy's amphibious assault ship USS New York has already made history. It was built with 24 tons of scrap steel from the World Trade Center. USS New York is about 45 percent complete and should be ready for launch in mid-2007. Katrina disrupted construction when it pounded the Gulf Coast last summer, but the 684-foot vessel escaped serious damage, and workers were back at the yard near New Orleans two weeks after the storm.

It is the fifth in a new class of warship - designed for missions that include special operations against terrorists. It will carry a crew of 360 sailors and 700 combat-ready Marines to be delivered ashore by helicopters and assault craft. "It would be fitting if the first mission this ship would go on is to make sure that bin Laden is taken out, his terrorist organization is taken out," said Glenn Clement, a paint foreman. "He came in through the back door and knocked our towers down and (the New York ) is coming right through the front door, and we want them to know that."

Steel from the World Trade Center was melted down in a foundry in Amite, La., to cast the ship's bow section. When it was poured into the molds on Sept. 9, 2003, "those big rough steelworkers treated it with total reverence," recalled Navy Capt. Kevin Wensing, who was there. "It was a spiritual moment for everybody there."

Junior Chavers, foundry operations manager, said that when the trade center steel first arrived, he touched it with his hand and the "hair on my neck stood up." "It had a big meaning to it for all of us," he said. "They knocked us down. They can't keep us down. We're going to be back."

The ship's motto? - 'Never Forget'


Updates - July 21

News Photo Gallery updated

L. E. Block Tow Gallery updated

Calendar of Events updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - July 21

The JAMES DAVIDSON and KINSMAN INDEPENDENT arrived under tow at Santander, Spain on July 21, 1974, for scrapping.

On July 21, 1975, the GEORGE D GOBLE arrived at Lorain, Ohio with an unusual deck cargo loaded at American Ship Building Company's yard at South Chicago, Illinois. She was carrying the deckhouses for two Interlake Steamship Company thousand-foot self-unloaders being built at AmShip's Lorain yard. These vessels were completed as the JAMES R BARKER and MESABI MINER.

On 21 July 1875, the schooner ELVA, which was built in Port Huron, Michigan in 1861, for Capt. Sinclair, was sailing from Holland, Michigan for Milwaukee, Wisconsin loaded with stove bolts. She capsized 12 miles from Milwaukee. Her crew took to the boats and made a landing in Kenosha and then rowed to Milwaukee. A tug was sent for the schooner and she was recovered.

In 1900, R J GORDON (wooden propeller passenger-package freighter, 104 foot, 187 gross tons, built in 1881, at Marine City, Michigan) was placed back in service carrying freight and passengers between Chicago and Grand Haven. She had burned in September 1899 at Chicago but was rebuilt during the winter.

On 21 July 1875, the old barge HURON, which had been in use for a number of years as a car ferry for the Grand Trunk Railroad at Port Huron/Sarnia, was sold to Sandie and Archie Stewart. They planned to convert her to a dry-dock by adding three feet to her sides and removing her arches. The sale price was $1,500 in gold.

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


Huron ConAgra Elevator Closing, Purchased by ODNR

7/20 - Huron, OH - Ohio Governor Robert Taft and ODNR Director Sam Speck joined Huron, Ohio Mayor Terry Graham and local officials in a July 18th ceremony at the Huron Boat Basin announcing the purchase of the ConAgra Foods grain facility in Huron by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for $3.25 million. The ConAgra facility has about eight full-time employees and will close in 30 days, a ConAgra spokesperson said.

Funds for this purchase came from the the Division's Boater-Angler Fund, which comes from motor fuel taxes paid by boaters and fees from fishing license purchases. In June, the City of Huron also applied for a $3.14 million grant from ODNR's Division of Watercraft's Cooperative Boating Access Fund to build launch ramps and docks in the area. A portion of the purchase is also subject to reimbursement by the federal government through its Aid in Sportfish Restoration Program.

A portion of the 19.8-acre facility will be developed as a public boat launch facility, with docks and parking spaces for vehicles with trailers. The remainder of the facility will be turned over to the City of Huron for economic development. This development envisions a long-term plan to include commercial and residential development. The development may or may not include the actual mill buildings and silos.

ConAgra put the facility up for sale two years ago. Operations at the grain elevator and former flour mill faciltiy had dwindled to only 8 full time employees and the silos were only about 1/3 of capacity. This facility both loaded and accepted unloaded grain from lake vessels through the years. The proposed boat launch ramp will utilize Slip #2 of the ore dock at the Port of Huron.

See the ODNR news release for an aerial view of the ConAgra facility and the proposed public boat ramp:

Reported by Steven Myers


Ryerson Could Leave Shipyard Saturday

7/2- Update - The latest information from Sturgeon Bay has the Edward L. Ryerson departing Bay Shipbuilding sometime Saturday, after Coast Guard inspections are complete, according to Capt. Eric Treece. "Things keep popping up along the way as they bring her back to life," he said.

The vessel's first trip will be to Escanaba to load for Indiana Harbor, where it could arrive sometime Sunday or Monday. After an estimated 36 to 48-hour unload, the Ryerson is expected to sail for the BNSF ore dock in Superior, Wis.

For those planning on following the vessel's movements, remember that dates and times are tentative and subject to change.

Further updates will be posted as they become available.


Getting Below the Surface
A diver is trying to find out why steel in the Twin Ports’ harbor corrodes so quickly

7/20 - Duluth - With a syringe and spatula in tow, Chad Scott will be plunging into the Duluth-Superior Harbor a lot in the coming weeks. Scott, a diver and principal partner of AMI Consulting Engineers P.A., began collecting clues Tuesday in the hope of finding what is eating away at steel in the Twin Ports' harbor.

David Bowman, a project manager for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Detroit, is coordinating a $300,000 federal effort to figure out why steel submerged in the harbor is corroding at a rate that's up to 10 times faster than scientists would expect to see in fresh water. The state of Minnesota has chipped in another $100,000 to assist. For now, the problem seems to be confined to the Twin Ports, Bowman said. If corrosion continues, and steel in the harbor is damaged to such an extent that it requires widespread replacement, the cost could be staggering.

A previous study prepared for the Corps of Engineers estimated the cost to replace the steel pilings that gird the harbor's waterfront could be more than $100 million. Replacing the ore docks and other steel structures would add even more to the bill. So, with a brush and spatula in hand, Scott will collect and bag samples of the filmy growth that coats damaged sections of steel pilings.

He also will use a hypodermic needle to explore what's happening within the blister formations found in some corroded areas. The samples will be kept refrigerated until they can be examined by Randall Hicks, a University of Minnesota Duluth biology professor. Using DNA testing, Hicks aims to identify what types of microorganisms are present, in areas where submerged steel is corroding and where it is not.

Scott said he plans to dive the Canadian National Railway dock in Two Harbors today to collect samples of the film that forms on steel structures elsewhere in Lake Superior. Scott said he has seen no similar corrosion on the Two Harbors structure and believes it can serve as a useful control for the Twin Ports study. "We want to see if there are differences in the microbial communities we find," Hicks said. "If there are differences, we need to start focusing on those organisms that are active and that may be helping to accelerate corrosion." In particular, Hicks is curious to see if testing reveals the presence of either iron-oxidizing or sulfate-reducing bacteria -- both of which have been implicated in other types of corrosion.

Bowman said Scott also will test water quality alongside the Twin Ports' piers. He'll collect samples and document the turbidity, conductivity, temperature and acidity of the water. He'll also note the levels of dissolved oxygen, salt and other nutrients to see if anything stands out.

As part of his job, Scott will map out the damage that has already been done to steel structures in the port, methodically documenting how pervasive pitting is at different water depths and how far the metal has been penetrated. Scott first became concerned about the extent of steel corrosion in the harbor after exploring a U.S. Coast Guard pier in the late 1990s. He discovered some H-beams that had fist-sized holes in them caused by corrosion.

But Scott said he encountered skepticism when he documented other damage in the harbor and voiced concerns about what was happening to steel structures there. "Initially, there was a lot of disbelief that we could have this kind of corrosion problem in fresh water," Scott said. He credits Jim Sharrow, facilities manager for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, for helping to bring attention to the issue.

Adolph Ojard, the Port Authority's executive director, agreed. "Jim is a professional engineer, and as he analyzed this issue, he came to the conclusion that, yes, there was indeed something going on that needed to be studied," Ojard said. "I can't say enough good things about Jim and the tenacity he has shown. He has grabbed this issue and followed it through."

Scott said the study now under way could play a key role in quantifying and comprehending the issue. "We need to understand the problem before we try to fix the whole harbor," he said. Plans call for placing metal plates called coupons at different locations around the harbor to observe how quickly corrosive forces act upon them. Bowman said by weighing and examining the coupons periodically, the research team will assess the rate of corrosion. "I've seen the pitting start within one year of new steel being installed in the harbor," Scott said.

Bowman said he hopes the monitoring will continue into the future. He believes the results will become more valuable and illuminating over time. "We want this to be a living database," Bowman said. Sharrow said the U.S. House of Representatives has provided $300,000 in continued funding for the corrosion study in its 2007 budget, but the Senate has not made a similar appropriation, yet.

From the Duluth News Tribune

Editor's Note - This is the same water that the John Sherwin has been parked in for the last 25 years.


Living Beside Canada's Largest Polluter
A love-hate relationship with coal-fired plant

7/20 - Nanticoke - With his head slanted slightly upward, Ray looked at the stacks that soar 198 metres out of North America's largest coal-fuelled generating plant, which is also Canada's largest air polluter. "I see that as prosperity and employment," he said, while he sat with friends across from his home on the shore of Lake Erie just outside of Nanticoke. His wife Nadine turned and reminded him of the pollution the plant was spewing out.

"I know," he said, as he shrugged his shoulders. The residents of Nanticoke have a love-hate relationship with the plant to the southeast of them. It provides power and employment while putting out pollutants that damage the environment and harm people's health.

When the Liberal government took office, it announced it wanted to shut down the plant that employees 600. It keeps extending the plant's closure date. Now as part of a plan to build new nuclear energy sources to boost the province's energy supply, there is no closure date. It's at least 10 years away. It's a reprieve that's a mixed blessing for the town's 183 residents, all of whom have found a way to coexist with the massive power plant.

Nanticoke hasn't prospered from having the smokestacks overhead, but the wider area has. If and when the plant closes, the area would lose $3 million to $4 million in economic spinoffs. The plant began producing energy in 1972. At full power, it can produce 20 per cent of the province's power. Annually it creates enough energy to power 2.5 million households. But producing electricity with coal has drawbacks. The plant is Canada's largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions, acid-rain causing sulphur dioxide and toxic air pollution. It is often cited as contributing to high pollution levels downwind in cities like Hamilton and Toronto.

The tiny hamlet is nestled between industry. An Imperial Oil refinery is to the northeast and the Lake Erie steel mill, a Stelco plant, is to the west. A roadside sign on Rainham Road welcomes visitors to the five-street town. A distressed sign follows, warning that children are at play. None to be seen in this community with few young families. Rainham Road is the main street but is hardly a commercial hub. The town's only convenience store closed a few years ago because it couldn't compete with modern retail. A community hall built in 1910 sits next to a well-maintained baseball diamond. An old garage now houses the area's school buses. Homes built on large lots with surplus room for development that never occurred line both sides of the road.

Like most residents of Nanticoke, the Rosebushes know that the smoke high above their heads contains neurotoxins like mercury and lead, smog-causing nitrogen oxide, arsenic and four other cancer-causing substances. "We're not concerned with the pollution here but we know what they're doing," Nadine said. She was concerned when they first bought the home in 1999 until finding out that the southwesterly wind usually blows the smoke away.

Jack Gibbons also knows what's in the air. "I wouldn't live there," said the chair of the Ontario Clean Air Alliance (OCAA), a group of 90 organizations dedicated to phasing out Ontario's five coal-fired plants and promoting renewable sources. Coal-fired plants produce as much pollution as millions of cars, he said, causing asthma, cancer, lung disease, strokes and "ultimately death."

According to the Ontario Medical Association, smog and poor air quality costs Ontario over $9 billion a year in heath- care costs and loss of work time each year. It also associates air pollution with about 1,900 deaths in Ontario each year. "The air quality problem is a health crisis. We're at the red alert sign now," said Dr. Riina Bray, chair of the environmental health committee at the Ontario College of Family Physicians. "I'm mortified that it's taking such a long time to close the Nanticoke plant."

But John Earl said he'd take up residence in Nanticoke "without a second thought." The spokesperson for Ontario Power Generation said the plant is working hard towards limiting the amount of pollutants it sends into the sky. Over the years, it switched the kind of coal used, changed how boilers burn it and use improved filters to reduce pollution. Since the early 1980s, there's been a 60 per cent reduction in total sulphur dioxide emissions because it switched to low-sulphur coal. There's also been a reduction of smog producing nitrogen oxide emissions by almost 50 per cent.

"It's trying to remove or reduce the best we can from the environmental footprint that we have," he said. "Any plant is going to have some kind of environmental impact. If you continually look at ways and means of improving on that impact, that's really what we're about."

Earl and Gibbons don't live in Nanticoke. If they did, they'd know it would be hard to move there and even harder to leave.
After 56 years, Floyd Weaver is still there. He wants to leave but won't. "It's a problem and you've got to live with it," he said, his back leaning against the railing of his new deck. "You have to make the best of the situation." His most recent problem associated with living under the shadows of the stacks is beneath his feet. After spending $3,000 on building materials for his porch and priceless hours measuring, sawing and hammering, his hard work was stained. "My nice deck is ruined," he said, his forehead furled.

He called the plant to complain and they sent someone down to inspect the damage. They took a sample and sent it in for an independent analysis. The results came back and 70 per cent of the damage is coal dust and 10 per cent is coal soot. The plant is going to cover the cost of the paint stripper and stain needed to beautify his boards. He can name at least 16 friends and family from town who've died from cancer, including his wife. He thinks there's a connection between the air quality and the cancer rate because Nanticoke is a small town but the losses have been huge. If he sold his home, he would have to downsize. In a market surrounded by smoke-spewing industry, he wouldn't receive what his home is worth in another area, he said. "I'd be lucky to get $30,000 here."

The provincial government announced earlier this month plans for refurbishing old nuclear reactors and building two new ones over the next 10 years. The plan also looks at conservation and renewable energy sources, eventually eliminating the coal smoke in the sky. The 20-year plan has a $70-billion price tag. So until the new energy sources are built, coal will burn. The province, environmentalists and deck owners would like to see the fallout from the plant go up in smoke, but not everyone is excited.

"It would be a big loss for Haldimand County," said Marie Trainer, the county's mayor. But she's optimistic. There is nothing stopping the government from making the plant cleaner than it currently is, she said, because it's going to be needed for many years to come. It's better to make the plant environmentally friendly and keep it open than it is to buy energy from the United States, she said.

Leaning against a paint-peeled door frame in an old service station garage, Anne Smith, a local school bus driver, agrees. "I can't see it closing down," she said, in a Scottish accent softened by decades in Canada. She thinks the plant will become cleaner but won't stop producing energy because it keeps getting upgrades. She's seen the town adapt and change over time and so has she. She owned the only convenience store in town for 10 years. She closed because her small town charm couldn't compete with big-box stores, low prices and 24-hour shopping.

Other than coal dust in her home, she's never had any problems living down the road from the plant that's longer than five football fields. She sits on a committee that meets with the neighbouring plants every three months to express the community's concerns. She cares about her town. "I used to get mad when they say this is the No. 1 polluter. Look at all those cars in Toronto."

Dave Hoover, owner of the Hoover Marina Restaurant, said the best spot on the lake to cast for bass is just behind the plant where hot water is pumped into the lake. The warm water attracts minnows and the fish follow. The Hoover family has docked in the area for 100 years. Dave's grandfather began a commercial fishery on the site and his father opened the restaurant 43 years ago. The special that day is marked in white chalk, Lake Erie perch and chips. Fishing nets and nautical maps hang on the walls.

The fact that the plant is there doesn't bother Dave and his wife Mary, who also works in the restaurant, because the plant is their minnow to attract those who fish. Even the smokestacks aren't an eyesore. "At night they're quite pretty when you're on the lake," she said, nodding her head. "It doesn't bother me. We don't get the fallout." When there isn't a strong cool breeze coming off the lake, the Rosebushes relax in their treed back yard without being able to see the plant. They forget it's even there. "You hear that hum," said Ray Rosebush, pausing, tilting his head to concentrate on the sound. "It's white noise after a while."

From the Hamilton Spectator


Port Reports - July 20

Toledo -
Cuyahoga was on-loading at ADM Elevators.
Maumee was off-loading salt at the Consolidated Docks just below I-280.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
At 4:00 pm Wednesday, the barge St. Mary's Conquest, with tug Susan W. Hannah in the notch, crossed the pier heads inbound for the St. Mary's Cement Terminal in Ferrysburg. This vessel came in from Charlevoix with a partial load for Ferrysburg before proceeding to Manitowoc.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Tuesday the Great Lakes Trader loaded at Stoneport, followed by the H. Lee White in the evening.
On Wednesday afternoon the G.L Ostrander/barge Integrity arrived at Lafarge under breezy conditions. The J.A.W Iglehart wasn't far behind and came in and tied up at the coal dock before 4:00 pm. After 8:00 pm the Integrity was headed out into the bay and the Iglehart was backing up to take its place under the silos.

Saginaw River - Gordy Garris
The Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was inbound the Saginaw River passing the Front Range Light at 8:15am Wednesday morning, headed for the Consumers Power plant in Essexville to unload coal. The McCarthy finished unloading her cargo of coal by 2:00pm Wednesday afternoon, and backed out to Light 12 in the Saginaw Bay Entrance Channel, turned around and was outbound for the lake Wednesday afternoon.
The tug Duluth was moving barges between the Essorc dock in Essexville and the Confined Disposal Island at the mouth of the Saginaw River Wednesday morning. The tug Duluth stayed in contact with the Walter J. McCarthy Jr. who was inbound around that time The tug Duluth also stayed in contact with the Herbert C. Jackson and tug Donald C. Hannah who were expected to be inbound on Thursday morning. The tug Duluth also checked in with the 9 ships anchored off the shipping channel in the Saginaw Bay that will be participating in the Tall Ships Celebration in Bay City on Thursday. At 10:00pm Wednesday evening, the tug Duluth departed the Essorc dock in Essexville with the barges 120 & 121 and headed upriver through the Downtown Bay City drawbridges, bound for the LaFarge dock in Saginaw. The Duluth was closely followed by the inbound Tall Ship Royaliste.
The Coast Guard boats 25510, 25437, 25684 will be along the banks of the Saginaw River for security while the Tall ships enter the Saginaw River Thursday afternoon. On Wednesday the Coast Guard boat 25510 gave a brief tour of the Saginaw River to the visiting Coast Guard boats 25437 and 25684 who were not familiar with the river, so that they will know all of the docks and places in the Saginaw River for the rest of the week while the Tall Ships are in port.
The Tall Ship Appledore V was inbound the Saginaw River late Wednesday afternoon and docked in Downtown Bay City at their mooring at Wenonah Park. Inbound a few hours after the Appledore V was her sister ship Appledore IV which also headed upriver and docked at their mooring in Downtown Bay City at Wenonah Park. Both were returning from Cleveland's Tall Ship Celebration. The Tall Ship Royaliste was also inbound the Saginaw River Wednesday evening and also docked along the Wenonah Park docks just ahead of the Appledore IV & V. Thursday morning it is expected that the Tall Ships docked in Downtown Bay City for the overnight and early morning storms to pass through, will head back out to the bay to join the rest of the Tall Ship fleet in the parade to enter the river to head upriver to Downtown Bay City to dock at the Veteran's and Wenonah Park docks. Meanwhile on the Saginaw Bay, the Fireboat Edward M. Cotter and 8 Tall Ships were anchored in the Saginaw Bay as of Wednesday night, the Tall Ships include: the Windy II, the Brig Niagara, the Picton Castle, the Pride of Baltimore II, the Unicorn, the Nina, the Madeline, and the St. Paul. The other 3 Tall Ships participating (Royaliste, Appledore IV, Appledore V) are docked in Downtown Bay City for the overnight period.


August 12 - Boatnerd Detroit River Cruise
Mail Your Reservations Today

A 3-hour freighter chasing cruise on the lower Detroit River aboard the luxurious Friendship, driven by Capt. Sam Buchanan. Cruise leaves the Portofino's On The River restaurant, in Wyandotte, MI at 10:00 am. We'll go where the boats are. Maybe up the Rouge River, maybe down the Detroit River. Bring your camera. To make the trip even more interesting, a pizza buffet will be delivered by the mail boat J. W. Westcott. Cash bar on board. Plenty of free, safe parking at Portofino's. Click here for directions.

All this for only $25.00. Limited to the first 100 reservations. Mail your check today to: Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, Inc., 1110 South Main Street, Findlay, OH 45840-2239. Click here for Reservations Form. Checks will not be cashed until the week before the cruise. No physical tickets will be issued. You name will be on the Boarding List.


Updates - July 20

News Photo Gallery updated and more News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - July 20

The CANADOC suffered severe bow damage on July 20, 1963, in a collision with the Swiss-flagged freighter BARILOCHE in dense fog off Ile de Orleans, near Quebec City.

The LEON FALK JR was christened at Cleveland, July 20, 1961, after one trip to Duluth, Minnesota for ore.

HORACE JOHNSON (Hull#805) was launched July 20, 1929, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co.

The JAY C MORSE (Hull#438) was launched on July 20, 1907, at Cleveland, Ohio by American Ship building Co. for the Mesaba Steamship Co. (Pickands & Mather & Co., mgr.) Sold Canadian in 1965, renamed b.) SHELTER BAY, used as a storage barge at Goderich, renamed c.) D B WELDON in 1979. In 1982, her pilothouse was removed and is used as a museum in Goderich Harbor. The WELDON was scrapped at Thunder Bay in 1984.

At the end of June, 1877, the ferry MYRTLE began running between Port Huron and Sarnia. However, on 20 July 1877, The Port Huron Times reported that "The ferry MYRTLE has been taken off the route on account of the extreme dullness of the times."

The scow DIXIE burned during the night of 20 July 1875, while lying at Kenyon's dock in East China Township on the St. Clair River.

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


New Boss Aims to Beef Up Border Patrol
Commander of Coast Guard Air Station strives to build relations with local, federal agencies.

7/19 - Harrison Township, MI -- The five helicopters at the U.S. Coast Guard's Air Station at Selfridge Air National Guard base take off nearly every day on missions ranging from rescuing stranded boaters to checking out suspected terrorist activity. Now, the unit -- which covers Lake St. Clair and the eastern Great Lakes -- is under the watch of a new commander who hopes to improve relations with other agencies that patrol the border between the United States and Canada. "We can't be tied in enough with them," said Cmdr. Glenn Gebele, adding that with terrorism, "you don't have to look for it, it finds you. With homeland security, you have to be proactive."

The 336 missions the unit responded to in 2005 was a record, and crews are on track to match last year's total with nearly 200 calls so far this year. "This place has a little bit of everything going on," said Gebele, a 19-year Coast Guard veteran who is a native of Ohio. "People underestimate how busy the Great Lakes can be. It doesn't stop in the wintertime, it changes flavor."

Gebele is taking over the station at a time when the Coast Guard has upgraded its equipment. All five HH-65 Dolphin helicopters assigned to the base have been stripped down and rebuilt with new, more powerful and reliable engines and improved electronics. The improvements are necessary for the more than 100 members of the Coast Guard stationed at the Air Station who are on standby for search and rescue and law enforcement along the 1,100 miles of shoreline they patrol from Saginaw Bay to the St. Lawrence Seaway. During the summer, one of the helicopters is stationed in Muskegon and patrols the eastern portion of Lake Michigan.

The station's location is also important because of its proximity to the busy international border crossings in Port Huron and Detroit.

While Gebele doesn't plan on any large-scale changes in the unit, he expects to continue to build relationships with local, state and federal agencies to protect the borders. He also plans to continue using the helicopters for intercept missions when unfamiliar aircraft fly into restricted airspace. If efforts to contact the aircraft by radio are unsuccessful, Coast Guard helicopters would be among the first to respond and intercept it by using a specially equipped helicopter with an electric message board to inform the aircraft to leave the area.

The intercept program was first used in Detroit during the Major League Baseball All-Star Game last July and the Super Bowl in February. Gebele's plan to continue to build relationships with local departments is good news to Harrison Township Fire Chief Carl Seitz. Seitz's department has worked closely with the Air Station by training through mutual drills throughout the year.

The two departments have worked together to rescue ice fishermen in the winter, airlift sick or injured boaters and fly firefighters over brush fires at Metro Beach in past years. "Because of the dynamic types of responses we face here in Harrison, the relationship with the Detroit Air Station and Coast Guard Station St. Clair Shores is crucial," Seitz said.

From the Detroit News


A Proposal That Could Hold Water
$3 million Toledo passenger-ship terminal on the Maumee

7/19 - Toledo -  If we build it, will they come? That question applies not only to sports facilities but also to Toledo's planned $3 million passenger-ship terminal on the Maumee River. Will the cruise-line and excursion-boat operators put Toledo on their itineraries? Will there be enough customers to revitalize what was once a thriving industry in these parts?

Whatever happens there's little chance of regaining the glory days, when numerous steamships, or "steamers," carried thousands of passengers daily from downtown Toledo to nearby places like Perrysburg and Maumee Bay and also to such distant locations as Put-in-Bay, Cedar Point, Detroit, Windsor, Cleveland, and Buffalo.

Those grand vessels, some capable of carrying more than 3,000 passengers, also carried Toledoans a century ago to casinos, night clubs, resorts, and amusement parks. But they gradually disappeared after World War I because of automobiles, electric trains that thrived for several decades, and, of course, Prohibition, which took much of the fun out of excursions on Lake Erie and the Maumee River.

But some folks think cruises and excursions could make a comeback. "The cruise industry [on the Great Lakes] is growing, and having a facility here gives us a leg up," said Jim Hartung, president of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. "We have some marketable attractions." Kelly Rivera, special projects manager for the port authority, said plans for the terminal are being completed by Poggemeyer Design Group, of Bowling Green, and the structure could be finished in two years.

It would be funded by a federal ferry grant of nearly $2.5 million and $611,000 from the port authority. She envisions ferry service to the Lake Erie islands, Detroit, Windsor, and Maumee Bay by 2008 and cruise-ship operation by early 2009.

Attempts to revive the cruise-ship industry here - in the late 1960s, the mid-1970s, and as recently as the mid and late-1990s - were hampered because "we always operated out of makeshift terminals," she said. But, she added, the business is there for the taking.

Bob McCarthy, longtime owner of a local excursion boat - the 48-passenger Arawanna II - said, "This is a natural, and untapped market. But it's like anything else: It all depends on the marketing." He suggested that itineraries could be imaginative, such as a weekend cruise from Toledo to Detroit, through the Soo Locks, Lake Superior, and Lake Michigan, ending in Chicago, followed by an airplane flight back to Toledo. "The trip to Detroit and Lake Huron is stunningly beautiful," he said.

Excursions in the 1950s were on the Canadiana, the last steamship that regularly took passengers in Toledo, he said. The ship, which could hold as many as 2,270 passengers and a crew of 38, made daytime runs to Bob-Lo Island in Detroit and nightly moonlight trips to Toledo Harbor Light and back. But in the late 19th century and the early part of the 20th century, the river, bay, and lake were alive with vessels.

For example, there were the Greyhound, a 387-foot-long steamer that carried as many as 3,366 passengers; the Put-in-Bay, which was designed for 3,500 passenger but licensed for 2,800 (it had an 8,000-square-foot maple dance floor); and the City of Toledo, which gained some national fame when it was pressed into duty to ferry thousands of passengers from downtown Chicago to the Chicago World's Fair of 1893.

In recent decades, the biggest boat that regularly cruised in this area was the Arawanna Queen, which could handle 375 customers for dinner cruises in the 1980s.

In the late 1990s, several cruise ships visited Toledo but did not put the city on regular schedules. Among them were the 420-passenger MV Columbus and the 100-passenger Nantucket Clipper. Both of those are likely candidates for Toledo cruises in the future. Even if the glory days of cruises are gone forever, it would be fun, and potentially financially rewarding, for Toledo to experience a revival of this once-great industry.

From the Toledo Blade


Dozens Injured When Cruise Ship Tips

7/19 - A cruise ship listed sharply off Port Canaveral, Florida, Tuesday, injuring at least 37 passengers, one critically, according to the Cape Canaveral Fire Department. Two victims were airlifted to local hospitals, according to paramedics that the Coast Guard transported to the ship as it returned to port. Ten ambulances, three helicopters, four buses and mass-casualty trailers were awaiting its return from the Atlantic Ocean. Paramedics at the port said they were prepared to care for up to 100 passengers.

The critically injured passenger was a child. The child and one parent will be taken by helicopter to either Orlando or Melbourne, said Brevard County emergency management spokesman Bob Lay. At least six passengers were seriously injured, the Cape Canaveral Fire Department said. Rosalyn Postel, spokeswoman for port, said some passengers suffered broken bones, but she did not know the extent of other injuries. Princess Cruise Lines, which operates the Crown Princess, said in a statement that there were "numerous reports" of cuts, bruises and fractures.

The New York-bound ship developed a problem with its rudder, causing it to take a "heavy roll," listing hard to one side about two hours after its departure from Port Canaveral, the Coast Guard said. Passenger Carol O'Connell told a Miami, Florida, television station that she saw flooding, overturned tables and broken glass everywhere, according to The Associated Press.
"There were people running for life jackets, and then afterward a lot of people hugging and crying, people looking for children," O'Connell told WTVJ-TV by phone. "The captain sounded so terrified, which led to my feeling of more panic."

Princess Cruise Lines said in a statement that the incident occurred at about 3:40 p.m. ET "The ship is safe and seaworthy, and we are currently investigating the cause of the list," the statement said. "We are currently assessing the full extent of passenger injuries and have returned the ship to Port Canaveral to transfer the more seriously affected passengers to a medical facility ashore." The statement also said that while the cause of the problem was unknown, "the watertight integrity of the ship has not been compromised, and it is safe for passengers to remain onboard while the ship is alongside in Port Canaveral."

The Crown Princess was on a nine-day Western Caribbean excursion out of New York, having made stops at Grand Turk, Ocho Rios, on Jamaica, and Grand Cayman Island. Port Canaveral was its last port of call before returning to New York.

Reported by J. Alpers From CNN


Port Reports - July 19

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Lansdowne is back in Buffalo for the second time and tied up to the fit out wall at the BIDCO shipyard. BIDCO did work to a few other ships and barges in this area of their property in the past since it's right near their steel fabrication shop and open dock apron for access by large crawler cranes.
The Luedtke dredge rig # 16 was back at the Cargil Pier and they had the tug Kurt Luedtke's stern hauled out of the water and sitting on her deck at 12 noon. They seemed to be working on the tug's rudder or prop at that time. They had a hook rigged to the boom instead of the dredge bucket and must have used some sort of sling or something to pull the tug out and place it on deck. The tug may not be back in action for a few days, possibly as late as Friday.
Saginaw was in bound at 4:30 pm and docked at ADM Standard Elevator on South Street. They have a roughly 15 hour unload time until departure on Wednesday morning, probably around 9:00.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
English River was in at Lafarge and out Monday around 8:30 p.m. Nantucket Clipper returned to port from the Welland Canal and tied up at Pier 51 for the night.
CCG Limnos was in port for about an hour last night working off the Queen Elizabeth Terminal (Pier 28).
The salty Pytheas continues unloading at Redpath Sugar.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Samuel de Champlain and Innovation, LaFarge's tug/barge duo, arrived in Milwaukee's inner harbor at about 8:00 AM Tuesday, unloading cement through the day.
Also Tuesday, tug Barbara Andrie and fuel barge A-390 delivered to the Jacobus liquid terminal in the outer harbor.
BBC Shanghai and Federal Manitou remained at the municipal general cargo piers in the outer harbor (where Manitou offloaded large conical castings or housings onto the dock), while Marinus Green actively loaded yellow corn at Nidera, its deck obscured by dust.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Manistee was inbound the Saginaw River Tuesday afternoon calling on the Wirt Stone dock in Essexville. She completed her unload and was outbound for the lake later in the evening.
On Monday, the Shepard Marine Construction tug, Robin Lynn, gave a security call that she was inbound. She passed through the Bay City bridges headed for Saginaw just before the storms hit around 6:30pm.

Saginaw River - Gordy Garris
The Manistee was inbound the Saginaw River passing the Front Range around 3:00pm Tuesday afternoon, headed for the Wirt's Essexville Sand & Stone dock to unload. The Manistee finished unloading by 9:00pm Tuesday evening and turned around in the Essexville turning basin off the Wirt's Essexville Sand & Stone dock and was outbound for the lake late Tuesday evening.
The Great Lakes Dock & Materials Company tug Duluth was moving barges between the Essorc dock in Essexville and the Confined Disposal Island at the mouth of the Saginaw River between 1:30pm and 3:30pm Tuesday afternoon. The tug Duluth departed the Essorc dock with a barge at 3:00pm headed back to the Confined Disposal Island and briefly pulled outside of the channel just past the Front Range light to allow the inbound Manistee to pass before continuing. The tug Duluth has been at work moving barges between the Essorc dock and the Confined Disposal Island since her arrival from Saginaw with a barge yesterday.
The tug Robin Lynn was docked at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee on Tuesday. The tug is helping the tug Duluth and the tug Beaver State in the dredging project in the upper Saginaw River, as dredging material is being moved in the river to the Confined Disposal Island to be pumped-out and help out with the dredging project that is currently taking place at the Sixth Street turning basin in Saginaw.
The Walter J. McCarthy Jr. is expected be inbound the Saginaw Bay Entrance Channel Wednesday morning headed for the Consumers Power plant in Essexville to unload coal.
The ships participating in the Tall Ships Celebration 2006 in Bay City, MI should arrive in the Saginaw Bay from Wednesday evening to Thursday morning and will head into the Saginaw River around 1:00 pm Thursday afternoon and dock in Downtown Bay City at the Veteran's and Wenonah Parks. Despite the rain showers expected for the arrival of the ships on Thursday, many people are still expected to be attending, because the Tall Ships Celebration will not be back in the Great Lakes again until 2010. The ships will be open for tours from Thursday to Sunday - Friday, Saturday and Monday looking like the weather will cooperate, except on Sunday, it is expected to rain. On Monday morning the ships will depart together from Bay City and head outbound for the lake in fair weather.

Detroit River - Ken Borg
Canadian Olympic was up bound passing the Rouge River at 2:22 pm.
St Marys Cement II/Sea Eagle II were backing into the Rouge River at 3:00 pm. going to St, Marys Cement in Detroit.
John Spence/McAsphalt 401 came down the Detroit River, turned around at the Ojibway anchorage and kind of hovered, around 3:00 pm. They went into Sterling Fuel at 6:00 pm.
Indiana Harbor was up bound at 3:07 pm and went to Sterling Fuel in Windsor.
Edward M Cotter, former Buffalo fireboat, was up bound at 4:20 pm, headed to Bay City for the Tall Ships Festival.
James Norris was docking in Windsor at 6:00 pm.


August 12 - Boatnerd Detroit River Cruise
Mail Your Reservations Today

A 3-hour freighter chasing cruise on the lower Detroit River aboard the luxurious Friendship, driven by Capt. Sam Buchanan. Cruise leaves the Portofino's On The River restaurant, in Wyandotte, MI at 10:00 am. We'll go where the boats are. Maybe up the Rouge River, maybe down the Detroit River. Bring your camera. To make the trip even more interesting, a pizza buffet will be delivered by the mail boat J. W. Westcott. Cash bar on board. Plenty of free, safe parking at Portofino's. Click here for directions.

All this for only $25.00. Limited to the first 100 reservations. Mail your check today to: Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, Inc., 1110 South Main Street, Findlay, OH 45840-2239. Click here for Reservations Form. Checks will not be cashed until the week before the cruise. No physical tickets will be issued. You name will be on the Boarding List.


Updates - July 19

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - July 19

On this day in 1970, the ARTHUR B HOMER established a new Great Lakes loading record when she loaded 27,530 tons of ore at Escanaba. This eclipsed the previous record of 27,402 tons set by the EDMUND FITZGERALD.

EDWIN H GOTT (Hull#718) was float launched July 19, 1978, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin by Bay Shipbuilding Co. for U.S Steel Corp.

CLARENCE B RANDALL sailed on her maiden voyage July 19, 1943, from Ashtabula, Ohio, light bound for Two Harbors, Minnesota. She was renamed b.) ASHLAND in 1962. The ASHLAND was scrapped at Mamonel, Columbia in 1988.

N. M. Paterson & Sons, CANADOC (Hull#627) was christened on July 19, 1961.

The registry of the GORDON C LEITCH, of 1954, was closed on July 19, 1985, as Ňsold foreign.Ó She was scrapped at Setubal, Portugal in 1985.

JOHN P REISS in tandem tow with the carferry CITY OF SAGINAW 31 arrived at Castellon, Spain prior to July 19, 1973, for scrapping.

JOSEPH S YOUNG, a.) ARCHERS HOPE, was christened at Buffalo, New York on July 19, 1957. The JOSEPH S YOUNG was the first of seven T2 tanker conversions for Great Lakes service.

On 19 July 1831, the wooden schooner HENRY CLAY was carrying 800 barrels of salt and passengers from Oswego, New York to the Welland Canal on her maiden voyage when she capsized in a squall and sank about 10 miles off Port Dalhousie, Ontario on Lake Ontario. About 11 persons were aboard and at least 6 of them lost their lives. Three were saved by the steamer CANADA.

On 19 July 1900, the name of the Toledo tug A ANDREWS JR was changed to PALLISTER.

On 19 July 1871, J BARBER (wooden propeller steamer, 125 foot, 306 tons, built in 1856, at Cleveland, Ohio) was carrying fruit from St. Joseph, Michigan to Chicago when she caught fire and sank 14 miles off Michigan City, Indiana. Five lives were lost.

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


Marine Corp. Awarded Contract to Replace USCG's Aging Response Boats
New Boats will Improve USCG Response

7/17 - Cleveland, OH - The U.S. Coast Guard announced the award of the Response Boat-Medium production contract, valued at approximately $600 million, to Marinette Marine Corporation of Marinette, Wis. The first boat is scheduled for delivery to the Coast Guard in late 2007.

The response boat-medium will replace the aging fleet of 41-foot utility boats and assorted non-standard boats that have been the Coast Guard workhorses throughout the United States for more than 25 years. The response boat-medium will improve the Coast Guard's readiness and responsiveness throughout the Ninth District Coast Guard, which is responsible for more than 1,500 miles of international border and 6,700 miles of U.S. shoreline spanning eight states and all five Great Lakes.

The response boat-medium will have increased maneuverability and will be capable of speeds in excess of 40 knots (46 m.p.h.) with twin high-output inboard diesel engines that will comply with stringent EPA and International Maritime Organization emissions standards.

"These new boats will allow our Coast Guard men and women to provide a better service to the regional maritime community and work better with all of the federal, state, local and Canadian response agencies that service the Great Lakes," said Rear Adm. John E. Crowley, Jr., Commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District."


Explorer, State Square off over Shipwreck

7/18 - Charlevoix, MI - A dispute over what could be the Great Lakes' most historic shipwreck has taken an ugly turn, with both sides filing briefs for yet another round in court, and the state trying to shut off fund-raising for the exploration company that claims to have found the wreck.

Meanwhile, at a news conference today, a team of marine archaeologists will release a report that gives the first scientific evidence that the wreck could be of the long-lost ship. At the least, the report does not rule out the idea that the Griffon has been found.

Great Lakes Exploration and owner Steve Libert -- who hired the archaeologists -- think they have found the Griffon, the grand prize for shipwreck hunters and marine history buffs, and the oldest of Great Lakes shipwrecks. The vessel sank in 1679 on its maiden voyage, loaded with furs that were supposed to help fund a French explorer's expedition. Libert, an amateur underwater explorer who has been fascinated by the Griffon most of his life, believes he found the wreck somewhere in Lake Michigan in 2001 -- but he won't say exactly where. The archaeologists surveyed the wreck in May.

The Free Press obtained an advance copy of their report, which claims that carbon dating of wood samples from the wreck point to the "range of time" of the Griffon; magnetic and acoustic tests of the mostly buried wreck are consistent with a wooden boat, and the exposed part of the wreck, which Libert believes is the bow, does not have any metal nails or fasteners. But the report concludes that more extensive research is necessary to determine whether the wreck is, indeed the legendary Griffon.

Both the state and Libert agree that the Griffon would be a major find with tremendous historical significance. And they agree that additional research should be done to determine whether it is in fact La Salle's famous ship, the first sailing vessel on the Great Lakes. But that's about all they agree about. The State of Michigan claims all wrecks within its portion of the Great Lakes. The two sides are locked in a stubborn and likely costly fight to see who gets to do the research.

"At this point, we're rather skeptical that this shipwreck is the Griffon," said Sarah Lapshan, chief information officer for the Department of History, Arts and Libraries. "We have yet to actually see it. Thus far we have not had the opportunity to have our underwater archaeologists even review it to assess it." The state hasn't seen the wreck because Libert won't tell it where it is.
The Griffon sailed under the French flag; Libert and his attorney, Rick Robel, say that makes it a matter of international law, which would give the nod to France and their designated explorer, Libert. He's even willing to put off further research and wrangle with the court battle rather than fill out permits the state is demanding that require him to give the wreck's location. "We can dive on it, that doesn't require permits," Libert said. "But I'm not going to let the state know where the location is."

Libert said the wreck belongs in a museum, but he wants to retain the rights to use his research and experience for such things as TV documentaries or books. He fears that the state will push him aside. Until the state gives him legal assurance that he will continue to be part of the research, he says he will not disclose the location. Lapshan said the state wants to do the exploration. Libert and his backers, including David Parker of Rolling Hills, Calif., and the city of Charlevoix, doubt the state has the money to explore and raise the Griffon.

"It does belong to everybody, and I'd like to see it brought out," said Parker. "It's private funding that actually gets to the bottom of things." The state, however, says Libert never had any rights to the wreck in the first place. Bringing up samples from the wreck, a step necessary for further exploration, could be considered a criminal act, and punishable by a wide range of penalties, from a minor misdemeanor up to a 10-year felony.

Both sides say they are solely interested in either salvaging the wreck or, if that's not feasible, preserving it as a historical artifact. "If it's found on our soil, it does belong to the people of Michigan," Lapshan said.

Libert, also said his interests are primarily historical and that his research will be done by qualified experts in underwater archaeology. He's even lined up Charlevoix in his corner. The city is giving him space for such things as his news conference today, and it is allowing him to use city docks for his dive boats. Also today, the Charlevoix City Council will meet and discuss whether there should be further, non-monetary support, Mayor Norman Carlson Jr. said.

"We're very much marine oriented; there's the French connection to Charlevoix," Carlson said. "The council is 100% behind this group. Frankly, it's good advertising."

From the Detroit Free Press


Reserve Mining site is Full of Barrels of Poisonous Goo

7/17 - Silver Bay, MN - The big excavators keep digging, and the broken barrels keep coming up. Thousands of 55-gallon drums of contaminated lubricating grease and other toxic materials are being unearthed on the grounds of the former Reserve Mining Co. taconite plant in Silver Bay this summer. In what may be one of the most scenic hazardous waste Superfund sites in the state -- high on the hill overlooking Lake Superior -- crews are unearthing black and yellow grease, old tires, conveyor belts, metal and other industrial waste left behind by Reserve.

So far, more than 2,400 barrels, all of them rusted and crushed, have been unearthed along with tons of grease that they leaked. About 322 tons of contaminated soil have been removed. There may be another 2,000 barrels and tons more grease to go. "We're hoping to be done by October," said Susan Johnson, project manager for the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The cleanup bill for the state Superfund site has passed $3 million and is expected to hit $5 million by the time the old dump is cleaned up later this year, Johnson said.

Only 60 barrels were found where PCA officials expected to find hundreds, in a so-called barrel pit. But hundreds more have been found nearby in an adjacent landfill where Reserve workers apparently dumped everything from old hard hats to scrap metal, shop rags and truck parts. "We think we've reached the end of it (the dump site) that way," said Heidi Kroening, solid waste field staff for the PCA, while giving a tour of the site, pointing east. "But we haven't found the end of it that way."

Tests indicated the gear lubricant in the barrels contains lead levels far exceeding federal hazardous-waste standards -- 270 milligrams per liter compared with the standard of 5 milligrams per liter to be considered hazardous waste. Lithium grease, diesel fuel, solvents and heavy metals also have been found, Johnson said. The waste has seeped into and contaminated the groundwater immediately below the dump but has not yet reached nearby streams or Lake Superior, about one-third of a mile downhill, PCA tests show.

Crews working in haz-mat suits in the old dump painstakingly sift through the barrels, grease, soil and junk, testing each load on the site. If it is heavily contaminated, the waste is stored on a concrete pad and shipped away. If it's benign, it's piled to the side to eventually be put back in the hole. The barrels, leaded grease and polluted soil deemed most hazardous are being trucked to Illinois and Texas to be incinerated at a cost of $12,000 per truckload, Johnson said. Slightly less-polluted soil is trucked away, mixed with concrete and buried in licensed landfills closer to home.

All the barrels so far have been ruptured, buried under sand-like material from taconite tailings. When the excavators hit natural dirt or clay, they are usually near the bottom of the contaminated material, which is 25 feet deep in some places. Reserve employees for decades simply backed trucks to the side of a hill and chucked the barrels over. There was no liner to the dump or any formal cap. "It's a big pit of greasy goo on the bottom," Johnson said. "And rags. Thousands of rags. I guess in the days before paper shop towels they used a lot of cloth rags to wipe off the grease."

The dump is part of the legacy of pollution left by Reserve operations, the most famous of which were tons of taconite tailings that carried asbestos-like fibers and were pumped into lake Superior. It also includes an ongoing project near Reserve's Babbitt taconite mine where 3,500 huge tires, each weighing about a ton, were abandoned. The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources is handling that cleanup. The tire cleanup was expected to start in earnest this week. A contractor has agreed to haul away the tires -- some of them 8 feet across -- to sell as cattle watering troughs in the Dakotas, said Steve Dewar, mine land reclamation field supervisor for the DNR. "They're going to do it at no cost to the state, so it's a pretty good deal," Dewar said.

Other Reserve cleanups have occurred at a test plant in Babbitt and a coal ash pile in Silver Bay. "We think we've got the worst now of what Reserve left behind on land," Johnson said. About $2 million for the latest Reserve cleanup projects came from the remnants of an environmental fund established when Reserve, the state's first taconite operation, shuttered under bankruptcy in the mid-1980s. "That's been exhausted now and our money is coming from the state Superfund fund," Johnson said.

While the taconite plant continues to operate as Northshore Mining, the current company holds no liability for Reserve operations under an arrangement state officials crafted to help encourage the plant's reopening in 1989. Northshore Mining is cooperating and assisting with the cleanup, PCA officials said.

Reserve opened in 1955. It was the subject of Minnesota's most heralded pollution battle, from 1969 into the 1980s, over the plant's dumping of taconite tailings into Lake Superior that carried tiny, asbestoslike fibers suspected of causing health problems in humans. Thirty-three years ago, a federal judge found that the tailings were indeed an environmental and human health problem.

Reserve eventually complied with court orders and began dumping the waste tailings on land starting in 1980. But Reserve's parent companies faltered and died during the economic crash of the mid-1980s when the U.S. taconite and steel industries were battered by a global recession and foreign competition.

From the Duluth News Tribune


August 12 - Boatnerd Detroit River Cruise
Mail Your Reservations Today

A 3-hour freighter chasing cruise on the lower Detroit River aboard the luxurious Friendship, driven by Capt. Sam Buchanan. Cruise leaves the Portofino's On The River restaurant, in Wyandotte, MI at 10:00 am. We'll go where the boats are. Maybe up the Rouge River, maybe down the Detroit River. Bring your camera. To make the trip even more interesting, a pizza buffet will be delivered by the mail boat J. W. Westcott. Cash bar on board. Plenty of free, safe parking at Portofino's. Click here for directions.

All this for only $25.00. Limited to the first 100 reservations. Mail your check today to: Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, Inc., 1110 South Main Street, Findlay, OH 45840-2239. Click here for Reservations Form. Checks will not be cashed until the week before the cruise. No physical tickets will be issued. You name will be on the Boarding List.


Port Reports - July 18

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The salty Pytheas arrived at Redpath Sugar docks on Sunday, assisted in by the Groupe Ocean tugs. Stephen B. Roman came in for Essroc Sunday afternoon and departed early today. The Nantucket Clipper was in on Friday and departed Saturday for the Welland Canal.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
The Herbert C. Jackson loaded Sunday at the NS coal docks. On Saturday the H. Lee White loaded.
Both vessels were believed to be bound for Canadian ports.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Algorail made its third trip to Alpena this year early Monday morning. It arrived in the river around 2 a.m. and unloaded another cargo of salt. Before 6 a.m. the Algorail departed and was backing out of the river into the bay. Also outbound on a humid Monday morning was the Wolverine and Alpena which were at Lafarge overnight.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Monday saw the James Norris arrive at 6 a.m. going to Pier 26 to load slag.
The John D. Leitch arrived at 6:30 p.m. with coal for Dofasco and then will be moving to Dock 1 to load Bauxite for Indiana Harbor.
Catharine Desgagnes arrived at 6:45 p.m. The James Norris departed at 7:45 p.m. for Serpent Harbor followed by the Algolake at 8 p.m. from Dofasco. The Maritime Trader departed JRI Elevators at 9:30 p.m.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
On Monday evening, Federal Manitou (reg. St. John's, Antigua) was backed into the slip at Terminal 2 in Milwaukee's outer harbor, a dock usually used for steel deliveries.
Also Monday, American Mariner from ASC backed into the inner harbor at 11:00 am to bring coal to the WE Energies dock at Greenfield Avenue. Mariner left at 8:30 pm.
BBC Shanghai remained at Terminal 3 Monday night, and Marinus Green remained overnight at Nidera (docked unusually bow-in) awaiting a cargo, as previously reported.
Sunday, St. Mary's Challenger brought powdered cement to its Kinnickinnic River silo at 10:30 am. Challenger backed downriver to leave at 4:30 pm.


Updates - July 18

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - July 18

On this day in 1974, Interlake Steamship decommissioned the COLONEL JAMES PICKANDS after 48 years of service due to continuing problems with her boilers and engines.

The AGAWA CANYON struck an abutment at Welland Canal's Bridge 11, at Allanburg, Ontario on July 18, 1977, while downbound with salt for Kingston, Ontario and sustained a thirty-foot gash just above the waterline at the port bow.

The canal tanker COMET (Hull#705) of the American Ship Building Co., at Lorain, Ohio, entered service on July 18, 1913, for ocean service. Sold Mexican and renamed b.) COMETA in 1928. She returned to the lakes in 1936, renamed c.) COMET for Cleveland Tankers. She was lengthened in 1940. She was scrapped at Ashtabula, Ohio in 1973.

The WILLIAM J FILBERT was in collision with the KINSMAN INDEPENDENT, of 1907, at the Burlington Northern Dock on July 18, 1970, when the Steel Trust steamer lost control in the current entering the slip.

The entire forward superstructure of the b.) JOHN DYKSTRA, a.) BENSON FORD of 1924, including the forecastle deck, was delivered to South Bass Island in Lake Erie on July 18, 1986, on the barge THOR 101 towed by the tug GREGORY J BUSCH. The superstructure was moved for use as a summer home where it remains. The hull of the DYKSTRA was sold to Marine Salvage, Port Colborne, Ontario and was towed from Cleveland, Ohio July 10th by the tugs ARGUE MARTIN and GLENBROOK to Ramey's Bend arriving there on July 12, 1986, where she was scrapped.

WILLIAM A REISS was launched July 18, 1925, as a.) JOHN A TOPPING (Hull#251) at River Rouge, Michigan by Great Lakes Engineering Works for the Columbia Steamship Co..

WILLIAM G MATHER completed her sea trials on July 18, 1925.

On 18 July 1858, ANDROMEDA (2-mast wooden schooner, 112 foot, 568 tons, built in 1848, at Madison Dock, Ohio) was carrying 800 barrels of salt from Oswego to Chicago. She sprang a leak suddenly and foundered 20 miles from Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The crew escaped in her boat, many just in their underwear. They arrived at Manitowoc the next day.

On 18 July 1872, the schooner D L COUCH of Detroit (formerly AVCORN) sank about 10 miles from Long Point on Lake Erie. Two lives were lost.

The wooden propeller freighter N K FAIRBANK (205 foot, 980 gross tons) was launched in Marine City, Michigan by W. B. Morley on 18 July 1874. She was then towed to Detroit where her engines were in stalled by William Cowie. She had two direct acting condensing engines 34 foot x 32 inches on one shaft and her boiler was installed on her main deck. She only lasted until 1895, when she stranded and burned near Port Colborne, Ontario. The remains of the hull were sold to Carter Brothers of Port Colborne and it was rebuilt and enrolled as a new vessel with the name ELIZA H STRONG. The STRONG lasted until she burned in 1904.

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


Lansdowne Towed from Erie to Buffalo

7/17 - Erie, PA - Many Erieites considered the Lansdowne barge a blemish on the bayfront, but on Sunday residents were breathing a sigh of relief as the barge was finally tugged away to its new home in Buffalo, New York.

"I think it's a wonderful day," said long-time Erie resident, Donna Geiger. "It's been an eyesore. It has been probably the topic of conversation for a lot of people coming to Erie, who don't know what it is out there."

There were high hopes for the barge when it first docked in Erie in 1999. "I kind of wish they would have made it into the floating restaurant, to have a nice restaurant here, to go and have a nice supper, other than the ones that have been here for years and years," said Nancy Hart.

But those dreams of transforming the barge were put on hold, along with more recent attempts at its departure from Erie waters. The Lansdowne was first set to leave months ago. Then another attempt was made Saturday afternoon, but high winds made the bayfront waters too choppy.

After one unsuccessful attempt, and hours later, spectators watched as the Lansdowne finally headed out to open water.
"It has been doing absolutely nothing except sitting out there, so we're all glad to see it go," said Geiger.

And off it went through the harbor, leaving behind the city and crowds of relieved onlookers in it's wake.

From WSEE TV-35 in Erie


Naval Reserve to Conduct Drills off Buffalo

7/17 - Buffalo - The US Naval Reserve will be conducting training drills in Buffalo's Outer Harbor on the following dates: July 22nd and 23rd, August 13-18th, and Sept. 20th-24th.

Over 80 reservists from all over the North Eastern US will take part in port security, ship tracking and surveillance operations on those dates. Buffalo's Mobile Inshore Undersea Warfare Unit is a defense oriented section of the Navy that specializes in tracking surface to air missiles, subs, and marine traffic.

They were recently forward deployed, overseas to Italy in 2003 for operations Noble Eagle and Iraqi Freedom.

Reported by Brian Wroblewski


Port Reports - July 17

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The past few days at Lafarge have been busy with vessels loading & unloading. The tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons arrived on Friday evening. Its self unloader was extended out into the storage hopper where it proceeded to discharge cargo. Also on Friday the David Z. Norton remained anchored out in the bay.

Saturday morning, after the departure of the McKee Sons, the Norton was able to come in and unload coal. The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation was in port on Saturday and is headed to South Chicago.

Sunday morning the tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity returned from its Lake Superior trip to take on cargo under the silos. It was outbound before 3 p.m.

Later in the evening, the J.A.W Iglehart and the Wolverine appeared on the horizon. The Iglehart made its way in first, while the Wolverine followed behind. The Iglehart tied up around 9:30 p.m. and the Wolverine made the coal dock at 10 p.m.
The Steamer Alpena was expected in port on Monday.

Toledo -
Federal Shimanto was loading at the Andersons Kuhlman Facilty. St. Mary's Cement barge and tug Petite Forte were off-loading at their silos by the shipyard on Front St.

Moored at the Geo. Gradel docks were tugs: Pioneerland, Josephine, Mighty Jake, Mighty John, and Susan Hoey. The "Mighty" tugs are named after their grandchildren.

A McKeil tug and tanker barge unloaded at Midwest Terminals of Toledo. It is difficult to discern their vessels without port/starboard name boards. Atlantic Erie departed TORCO Docks at 4 p.m.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The cruise ship Nantucket Clipper was taking on provisions from a Cisco Foods truck at the Erie Basin Visiting Ship's Dock Sunday morning around 10 a.m. When the vessel is in port they have the Eastbound Lane of Erie Street blocked off to vehicle traffic and the Westbound Lane is used for two way traffic, one lane in each direction. It is unclear if this is some sort of security measure, or just a convenience offered to the cruise lines for bus and truck arrivals to the boat.

The Leudtke dredge rig #16 was working just above the Ferry St. Lift Bridge on the Black Rock Canal on Saturday evening. There seemed to be a large amount of on onlookers that stopped to watch the dredge operations since this type of work is not seen on this canal very often.

The tug Kurt R Leudtke was on hand on Sunday morning to shuffle the dredge rig and her scows down below the bridge around 10:30 a.m. She took a scow through the bridge first, docked it along the West side of the canal by the Buffalo Sewer Authority, and then came back up to get the #16 dredger. After bringing the #16 to a spot in the canal off the New York State Thruway Toll Plaza on the I-190, the dredge rig dropped her spuds and used her bucket as an anchor to position the barge in the proper location for dredging. The tug left her there and went to the wall to pick up her dump scow but got bogged down in shallow water while attempting to back away from the Sewer Authority Dock. Leudtke's small tender/survey vessel, with only an outboard motor, was nearby and gave the Kurt the nudge she needed to break free from the bank suction and back her barge out into the canal. They dropped the scow alongside the dredge rig and then headed for the Outer Harbor to pick up an empty. The Kurt was on her way back in the early afternoon when arrangements had to be made with the cruise boat Miss Buffalo for safe passage of both vessels outside the confines of the restricted waters of the Black Rock Canal.

High heat the day before had caused problems for the Ferry St. Bridge operators this weekend. Swelling of the steel structure was causing the bridge to bind against some freshly laid concrete on the West side of the draw. The bridge tender was using a large garden hose to cool the metal near the bridge abutment and a city work crew was expected to arrive on Monday morning to shave down the new concrete face along the bridge's sidewalks and alleviate the problem.

The Army Corps of Engineer's derrick barge McCauly tied up at the Buffalo Port Terminal "B" dock that afternoon. There was an Army Corps tug rafted to the barge's Port side. It could have been either the Kozoil or the Cheraw. There were two small deck barges moored to the South side of Municipal Pier #1 with what looked like various sizes of limestone block on board. This may have something to do with repair work scheduled to take place over the next two weeks on the Bird Island Pier. Sections of the Pier's walkway will be temporarily closed while work is underway.

Saginaw River - Gordy Garris
The tug Barbara Andrie and her tank barge A-390 were inbound the Saginaw River Friday morning headed for the Bit-Mat dock in Essexville to unload. The Barbara Andrie finished unloading by 9 a.m. Saturday morning, backed from the Bit-Mat slip and headed over to the Essorc dock to rig the lines to the tank barge A-390 before towing outbound. By 10 a.m. Saturday morning the tug Barbara Andrie, towing the tank barge A-390 were underway, headed outbound for the lake.

The tug Barbara Andrie was closely followed by the tug Cleveland who was also outbound for the lake. The outbound Barbara Andrie and Cleveland passed the inbound the tug Rebecca Lynn and tank barge A-410 outside of the Entrance Channel in the Saginaw Bay.

The tug Cleveland and the barge Cleveland Rocks were inbound the Saginaw River late Friday night headed upriver to unload at an undisclosed Zilwaukee dock. The pair departed the dock and turned around off the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee and were outbound for the lake, passing through the Downtown Bay City drawbridges around 10 a.m. Saturday morning. The Cleveland thanked the Bay City bridge tenders for their help so far this year and stated that the tug and barge are headed down to Lake Erie and will not be headed to Stoneport to load for the Saginaw River any time soon. This was the Cleveland's seventh straight trip to the Saginaw River this year.

The tug Rebecca Lynn and the tank barge A-410 were inbound the Saginaw River early Saturday evening headed upriver to unload at the Bit-Mat dock in Essexville. The pair are expected to be outbound Sunday evening.

The Great Lakes Dock & Material Company tug Duluth pushing several loaded and empty barges is making shuttles from the Sixth Street turning basin and the LaFarge dock in Saginaw with dredging spoils down the river to the Confined Disposal Island at the mouth of the Saginaw River to pump-out the toxic dredge material.

The tug Duluth has already made over two trips to the Island since Thursday. Saturday morning the tug Duluth was headed back up to Saginaw. The tug Duluth gathered two barges and departed the Lafarge dock in Saginaw, Saturday afternoon and headed back out to the Disposal Island for her third trip. The dredging of the Sixth Street turning basin in Saginaw continues as the contaminated material is shuttled out to the Confined Disposal Island at the mouth of the Saginaw River. The project is expected to be finished in late August or early September.

The 1000-foot Walter J. McCarthy Jr. is scheduled unload coal at the Consumers Power Plant in Essexville on Wednesday.

The Fireboat Edward M. Cotter along with 9 magnificent Tall Ships will arrive in the Saginaw Bay early Thursday morning and gather in a parade format to enter the channel and head up the river to dock in Downtown Bay City at the Veteran's Memorial and Wenonah Parks There will be 11 docked ships that will be open for tours from Thursday afternoon to Sunday evening, and early Monday morning each ship will depart Downtown Bay City and head outbound for the lake.

Among the 11 Ships are: the 198 ft. Brig Niagara, which is the largest ship in the Tall Ships festival this year, the 176 ft. Picton Castle, the 170 ft. Pride of Baltimore II, the 118 ft. Unicorn - many have known this ship as the True North of Toronto, which had last sailed the Great Lakes in 2003, the 92 ft. Nina, the 92 ft. Madeline, the 76 ft. Royaliste, the 55 ft. Saint Paul, and Bay City's own 65 ft. Appledore V returning from her tour around the Great Lakes. Bay City's own 85 ft. Appledore IV will also be participating in the festival when the rest of the ships come into port. Also an attraction in the festival this year is the historic Buffalo, New York Fireboat Edward M. Cotter who is on their farewell tour around the Great Lakes before retirement in Buffalo.


Updates - July 17

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - July 17

On this day in 1902, the JAMES H HOYT, the first boat with hatches constructed at 12 foot centers, loaded 5,250 tons of iron ore in 30.5 minutes on her maiden voyage. Several days later, the cargo was unloaded at Conneaut in three hours and 52 minutes.

On this day in 1961, the C&P dock in Cleveland set a new unloading record when they removed more than 15,000 tons of ore from the holds of the E G GRACE in 3 hours and 20 minutes.

The ASHCROFT was towed out of Quebec City on July 17, 1969, in tandem with the steamer SIR THOMAS SHAUGHNESSY by the Polish tug JANTAR for scrapping at Castellon, Spain.

The BROOKDALE, of 1909, lost her self-unloading boom overboard in the Detroit River during a wind and rain storm on July 17, 1980, while loading salt at the Canadian Rock Salt Dock at Ojibway, Ontario.

The Cleveland Tanker's COMET was towed from Toledo to Ashtabula, Ohio on July 17, 1973, where she was broken up during the summer and fall of 1973.

WILLIAM J FILBERT was launched in 1907, as a.) WILLIAM M MILLS (Hull#348) at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. for the Weston Transit Co. (William M. Mills, mgr.) .

On her last trip the COLONEL JAMES PICKANDS arrived at Cleveland, Ohio on July 17, 1974, with a load of iron ore.

Mohawk Navigation's GOLDEN HIND loaded her first dry bulk cargo on July 17, 1954. She had been rebuilt from the Imperial Oil Ltd.'s tanker a.) IMPERIAL WOODBEND.

On 17 July 1856, TINTO (wooden propeller, 135 foot, built in 1855-56, at Sorel, Quebec) caught fire and burned to a total loss only 2 miles from shore. She was between Snake Island and Nine Mile Point on Lake Ontario. 18 lives were lost. The survivors jumped into the water and were picked up by a boat from shore. A newspaper article stated that she had no lifeboat aboard. Her machinery was later recovered and installed in the AVON.

On 17 July 1883, B PARSONS (2-mast wooden schooner, 218 tons, built in 1856, at Vermilion, Ohio) struck the north pier while entering the harbor at Charlevoix, Michigan during a gale. She sank crosswise in the channel and blocked passage into the harbor for two weeks until she broke up enough to allow vessels to pass. In December, the steam tug S S COE towed the hulk a half mile down the beach and abandoned it.

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


Port Reports - July 16

Goderich - Dale Baechler
With the Medemborg finished loading at the elevator dock Saturday at noon, Algosteel, although not finished taking on her cargo at Sifto Salt, shifted over to the new harbour. This opened up the main channel for Mendemborg to depart and Federal Katsura to come in and take on a position at the elevator dock. Algosteel then returned to finish loading. Cooperation between shipping companies in these cases made for some interesting boat watching for the huge crowd gathered on the beaches and piers.

Owen Sound - Ed. Saliwonchyk
Saginaw, after unloading grain from Thunder Bay is now taking on a load of grain in Owen Sound.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
The MV Algolake loaded early Friday at the NS coal dock. She was sailing eastbound on Lake Erie, presumably bound for Hamilton, Ont.

Toledo -
Federal Mackinac was loading at ADM Elevators. She has been there more than two days.
Ziemia Lodzka departed the Anderson's Kuhlman Facility and left Toledo at 4:00 pm.
Algoway came in to Kuhlman Corp. dock at 2:30 pm.
The Great Lakes tugs Nebraska and Idaho assisted both ships.
Donald C. Hannah and tanker barge were loading high sulfur diesel at Sunoco Riverfront Terminal below I-280.
American Courage departed after loading coal at the CSX RR Docks around 3:30 pm.

Burns Harbor/South Chicago - Steve B.
The Stewart J. Cort arrived at Burns Harbor for Mittal at 2:00 pm on Saturday.
Over at South Chicago, the Manistee was heading out of the Calumet River for the lake at 5:00 pm (not sure of where she came from, possibly Beemsterboer since Marblehead and KCBX docks were full).
The Calumet was loading at the KCBX south dock, with barges at the north dock.
Out in the lake, just off the harbor entrance, the American Mariner was stationary, possibly waiting for room at KCBX. The harbor was full of pleasure boat traffic and jet skis, hence the decision to wait in the lake? And once again, shortly after the Manistee went under it, the 92nd St. bridge became stuck in the down position due to heat expansion.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
At sunrise on Saturday, Kaye E. Barker was finishing up her taconite load, and Michipicoten was on the horizon heading for the Upper Harbor and another load of taconite.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
I noted on Thursday that the Magdalena Green remained at the Muncipal Pier #2. Previously I had reported that the Magdalena Green had sailed from the Heavy Lift dock. I was wrong on Thursday. It was the Marinus Green that remained at Pier #2. And today, 16 July, about noon, the Marinus Green had moved over to the Nidera Elevator. The only other ship in the harbor ws the BBC Shanghai, which remained at the Municipal Pier #3.


Master and Chief Engineers on the L. E. Block

7/16 - With all the attention being paid to the tow of the L. E. Block, here is a little information to go with all the photos:

Masters of the L. E. Block:
1927 - 1939 Joseph Matthews
1939 - 1941 Alexander A. Clarke
1941 - 1945 Howard H. Keyser
1946 - 1947 George W. Fisher
1948 - 1952 Alfred F. Hoel
1953 - 1962 William Sherman Welsh
1963           David J. Kinnear
1964- 1968  Clyde H. Johnson
1969           C. F. Miller
1969 - 1971 Dudley J. Paquette
1972 - 1976 P. J. MacMahon Jr.
1977 - 1979 Clyde H. Johnson
1979 - 1980 Larry E. Wallace
1980           R. Lundquist
1981 - 1983 Larry E. Wallace

Chief Engineers of the L. E. Block
1927 - 1928 Fred N. Lang
1929 - 1941 Wilbert R. Rowe
1942 - 1945 Alan Seeyle
1946 - 1960 Alexander Donald
1961           N. O. Bowe
1962 - 1964 Ben L. Wentworth
1965 - 1968 N. Norbeck
1968           Axel E. Nordbeck
1969 - 1980 J. P. "Pat" Mee
1981 - 1983 R. Livingston

Provided by Russ Plumb


Updates - July 16

News Photo Gallery updated and more News Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

Lighthouses of the Great Lakes updated.


Ryerson Departure Date Delayed Until Early Next Week

7/15 - Sturgeon Bay - The Edward L. Ryerson's first trip after eight years of inactivity has been postponed from this weekend until Monday or Tuesday, according to the vessel's captain, Eric Treece.

"Eight years of sitting idle has been driving the aft end (engineers) crazy," he reports. "The Coast Guard inspection is set for Monday and Tuesday as of this writing."

The steamer's port of call will be Escanaba, to load ore for Indiana Harbor. She then is expected to sail to Superior, Wis., to load at the BNSF ore dock.


Frisina Spring Tow Disabled

7/15 - A breakdown occurred Friday with the Frisian Spring delivery tow. This caused the shutdown of the Seaway at the Snell Lock near Massena N.Y.
The Canadian Navigator was held up above the lock and the Cedarglen was held up down the river below Cornwall Ontario.

From radio passages it appears the tug Robinson Bay went to help secure the tow to the lower approach wall below the Snell Lock. I have heard the Eisenhower radio asking Cedarglen if she wants to attempt passing the tow and have not yet heard her answer. As of 10 pm Frontenac is passing through Iroquois lock and she was told to not expect delays.

Fairplay XIV was told pilots would be 3.5 hours delayed upon request of their services.

Reported by Ron Beaupre


Health Official Pledges Stepped-up St. Marys River Water Testing

7/15 - Sault Ste. Marie, MI - A Chippewa County official confirmed that regular water sampling of the North Channel off Sugar Island will be continued on a stepped up basis for the indefinite future. Dave Martin, of the Chippewa County Health Department, also said any citizen complaints of human or other sewage from the island will be promptly investigated under a protocol developed in skeleton form at a meeting last week.

Martin did not say how often the North Channel will be sampled for E. coli, cryptosporidium and other toxic contents of municipal sewage. However, he said, the water sampling will continue more frequently than once per week. The latest figures from laboratory tests from the notorious East End Sewage Treatment Plant outfall that empties into the North Channel showed an E. coli count eight times the allowable limit for human contact. Those figures are averaged from three distinct samples taken at or downstream of the Sault, Ont. sewage plant.

Martin said the stepped-up water sampling comes in addition to normal E. coli counts taken from a half-dozen swimming beaches around the Eastern Upper Peninsula, including the Sugar Island Township Park.

He said the stepped-up sampling and other work associated with the periodic release of apparently raw sewage into the North Channel is proving a strain on the small Environmental Health division of the Health Department. “We're a little overwhelmed,” Martin said of the mounting cost of monitoring the severely polluted North Channel. To date, he said, no source of extra funding to support the sampling, laboratory testing and analysis has appeared. “We're scraping for some funding,” Martin said on Tuesday. He said the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE) have issued orders calling for prompt investigation of public complaints. Neither has apparently offered grant or supplemental funds to support the increased level of activity by local health departments.

The two state and provincial agencies have also ordered frequent downstream water quality sampling by local agencies.

Laboratory testing for E. coli, an organism present in large quantities in human waste that causes a variety of enteric diseases, revealed levels in the North Channel that exceeded the upper limit of the testing regime used. That upper limit is more than eight times the 300 count considered safe for human contact. Also found in sampling done recently on the North Channel stretch of the St. Marys River were elevated levels of cryptosporidium, the sewage-related organism that caused a disease outbreak in Milwaukee that ultimately sickened 403,000 people in 1993.

Martin said a Michigan State University expert in wastewater streams has been very helpful in analyzing findings from her resources. In addition, he said Lake Superior State University is equipped to do the sophisticated laboratory testing necessary to count toxins like E. coli and cryptosporidium. Relatively sophisticated and expensive laboratory procedures can isolate characteristics in water samples that will identify a source.

The health department official said that while the sewage pollution of the North Channel is the immediate problem at hand, another difficult and expensive threat lurks in contaminated sediments. Martin explained that toxins like E. coli in bottom sediment are far more resistant to cold water like that in the St. Marys River and live much longer that he thought possible. “We believe the sediments are nasty,” Martin said.

The implications of sediment contamination were briefly addressed at an emergency meeting held last week in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. Martin said the remedy, principally dredging of historic dumping grounds that pre-date effective sewage treatment comes with a very high price tag. U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak (D-Menominee) last week said a determination about who pays the high cost of dredging and removal of contaminated sediment must be left for a later time.

Martin, meanwhile, said a thorough testing program would at least include bottom sediment sampling for potential E. coli and other toxins. He described the sediment problem as a “long term” proposition compared to the here-and-now contamination by sewage releases on the North Channel.

He said extensive testing done at the Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. sewage outfall and at a number of locations downstream of the E. Portage Avenue plant effectively eliminates the local plant from suspicion as the source of the North Channel sewage. Sault, Michigan's sewage plant has operated at one full treatment level higher than the East End plant for nearly 20 years. However, the nature of the materials found floating downstream from the East End plant and on Sugar Island beaches suggests even the most rudimentary sewage treatment at that aged plant periodically fails.

By Jack Storey for the Soo Evening News


Change of Command at USCG Sector Lake Michigan

7/15 - Milwaukee, WI. - A change of command ceremony for Coast Guard Captain Scott LaRochelle, Commander of Sector Lake Michigan, formerly Group Milwaukee, will be held at the Coast Guard Base in Milwaukee at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, July 14. During the ceremony Captain Bruce Jones, Commander of Air Station New Orleans will assume command.

The change of command ceremony is steeped in the rich heritage of naval tradition and recognizes the legal transfer of authority and responsibility from one commander to another while preserving the continuity of command vital to any military organization.

Since Captain LaRochelle began his tour at Sector Lake Michigan in August 2003, he has been responsible for all Coast Guard units on Lake Michigan from north Indiana to Northern Wisconsin including 18 small boats stations, 3 aids to navigation team and one cutter. Under his command, Sector Lake Michigan crews conducted over 3,000 search and rescue cases, saved 320 lives and more than $12 million in property. They also completed 13,851 law enforcement boardings and issued 443 Boating Under the Influence citations.

Captain LaRochelle has become the first Commanding Officer for Sector Lake Michigan, marking the completion of the absorption of Group Milwaukee, Marine Safety Offices Chicago and Milwaukee, and Group Grand Haven at Sector Lake Michigan, as Sector Lake Michigan formally assumes full operational and administrative control of almost the entire Lake Michigan region. Captain LaRochelle was integral in the transfer, which is a part of the Coast Guard's national sector realignment plan, which places all operational units within a given locality under a single command. The attacks of September 11th brought sweeping changes to the operational environment, which reinforced the importance of a unified command that increases interaction and close coordination between operational commands, develops a common operating picture, and shares information and intelligence more rapidly than before.

Upon his relief, Captain LaRochelle and his wife Marilyn of Houston, Texas., and son, Eric will relocate to Washington D.C., where Captain LaRochelle will assume the duties of Chief, of the Coast Guard's Search and Rescue office.

USCG News Release


Port Reports - July 15

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
Some time Friday morning, the US Army Corps of Engineers tug Kenosha came into port with the spud barge Manitowoc and the scow barge BC6561. They will be here for a while performing general maintenance on the South Pier and Government Basin. They will also be removing some obstructions in the river.

At 4:00 pm the Mississagi came thru the pier heads blowing a traditional salute to the crowd on the pier. It proceeded up river and was unloading at Meekhof's Dock by the railroad swing bridge.

Holland - Jim Lindholm
The Manistee was unloading coal at the Holland Municipal Power Plant on Friday.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
The cement barge Integrity was unloading at the LaFarge Cement terminal in Duluth early Friday. It was a rare visit for the tug-barge unit; LaFarge’s Duluth and Superior terminals usually are served by the Alpena or, on occasion, the J.A.W. Iglehart.

Edwin H. Gott was outbound with taconite pellets from CN/DMIR early Friday. The vessel had arrived early Thursday evening. As the Gott departed, it motored past Canadian Transport, loading at Midwest Energy Terminal.
Outside the harbor, the saltie Bluewing was riding at anchor, waiting to load at HSC.


Updates - July 15

News Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

Lighthouses of the Great Lakes updated.


Today in Great Lakes History - July 15

On July 15, 1961, the d.) WALTER A STERLING, now f.) LEE A TREGURTHA), entered service on the Great Lakes for Cleveland Cliffs Steamship Co., after conversion from a T-3 tanker. The next day, on July 16, 1961, the d.) PIONEER CHALLENGER, now f.) AMERICAN VICTORY, entered service for the Pioneer Steamship Co (Hutchinson & Co., mgr.).

The CHICAGO TRADER was launched as a.) THE HARVESTER (Hull#391) at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. in 1911, for the Wisconsin Steel Co.

In 1946, the NORISLE (Hull#136) was launched at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd. for the Dominion & Owen Sound Transportation Co. Ltd.

In 1934, the ANN ARBOR NO 4 collided with the steamer N F LEOPOLD in a heavy fog.

On Saturday, 15 July 1871, an argument between Captain James Bradley and Mate John Reed started while the schooner ROBERT EMMETT was docked at Erie, Pennsylvania unloading iron ore. They were still shouting at each other as the ship sailed out of the harbor. In short order, the ship turned around and anchored in the harbor. At 3:00 a.m. the following morning, Reed rowed ashore, went directly to the police station and charged that Capt. Bradley had assaulted him with a knife. At dawn, as the police were on their way to question Capt. Bradley, they found him stepping ashore from the deck of a tug, fuming that Reed had stolen the ship's only small boat. Bradley and Reed were at each other again and the police arrested both men. Bradley then filed charges against Reed for mutiny, assault and theft of the ship's boat. The case went to court the very next day. Justice of the Peace Foster saw his courtroom packed with curious sailors and skippers. Reed and Bradley were both still fuming and after listening to just a little testimony, Foster found both men guilty, fined them both and ordered both to pay court costs. The matter didn't end there since Reed later had to get a court order to get his personal belongings off the EMMETT. There is no record of what the disagreement was that started this whole mess.

The iron side-wheel steamer DARIUS COLE (201 foot, 538 gross tons) was launched at the Globe Iron Works (Hull #10) in Cleveland, Ohio on 15 July 1885. During her career, she had two other names b.) HURON 1906 - 1921, and c.) COLONIAL 1921 - 1925. She burned off Barcelona, New York on Lake Erie on 1 September 1925, while on an excursion. The hull was beached and later towed to Dunkirk, New York for scrapping.

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


Voyageur Marine Transport Purchases Third Ship

7/14 - Voyageur Marine Transport Ltd, Ridgeville Ont., announced the intended purchase of their third ship today, the Lady Hamilton.

The Lady Hamilton was originally built for Misener Shipping in 1983 and was renamed the Lady Hamilton in 1995.


Opening the Saginaw River

7/14 - Saginaw - Commercial shipping has slowed to a trickle along the Saginaw River, but five new barges could signal hope for dock operators such as John Glynn, who continues to watch inventories erode.

The Muskegon-based dredging company Great Lakes Dock & Materials has five barges in the water this week to scoop silt from the Saginaw River. Within two months, the company will excavate more than 100,000 cubic yards of silt to unclog a shipping channel that has grown so shallow that it trapped several ships this spring. Project Manager Jan Sickterman said his crews will plunge into the operation this week, working around the clock until the job is finished. "We will go full-bore on Thursday," he said.

That's good news for Glynn, vice president of Wirt Stone Dock in Buena Vista Township. His dock is down to 20 percent of its normal inventory. Instead of getting two to three shipments a week, Glynn said the river traffic has slowed to several vessels a month. The ships are smaller and require a tug boat to pull them downstream to a turning basin near James Clements Airport. "We would like dredging to progress as quickly and smoothly as possible so we can get our inventories built back up," he said. "Right now we are living hand to mouth. Whatever we get goes out."

Dock owners have said silt build-up threatens to sink their businesses, jeopardizing 280 jobs and a shipping channel that supplies 4 million to 6 million tons of stone, fertilizer, cement and coal to the Saginaw Valley each year. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers officials declared the shallow shipping conditions in the upper Saginaw River an "emergency" this spring when two boats ran aground in the turning basin north of the Interstate 675 Henry G. Marsh Bridge in Saginaw.

The agency diverted about $2 million from other projects to dredge the turning basin and a mile of river downstream. "There is a great need to have this accomplished," said Kevin McNally, chief of the Corps of Engineers' Detroit project office. "The whole reason for this project is to reopen (the river) to commercial shipping."

Great Lakes Dock & Materials, which received the dredging contract, has until early September to deepen the channel to 21 feet. Some parts of the turning basin now are just 13 feet deep. Sickterman said he probably can have the project done by late August. Using a clamshell-shaped scoop attached to a crane, his company can hoist up to seven cubic yards of silt from the river bottom.

Crews will load that sediment onto barges, which will travel 22 miles downstream to a disposal island at the mouth of the Saginaw River. He said the trek will take the barges between three and four hours each way. Corps officials say the island has ample space for the dredge spoils associated with the project and likely will accommodate future dredging in the lower Saginaw River. While the barges can carry about 1,100 cubic yards apiece -- a load that still would require almost 100 trips to complete the project -- Sickterman said his boats will have to run a little light to navigate the Saginaw River shallows.

Sickterman said his team will start scooping Thursday morning with a crew of 24 people per day. "We just want to get the dredging done," Glynn said. "Without it, we are out of business." Ultimately, the corps wants to create a 22-foot-deep shipping channel that will accommodate the freighters of years past. But that will have to wait until the agency completes a 281-acre dump site for dredge spoils in Zilwaukee and Frankenlust townships. The site, now under construction, will hold up to 3.1 million cubic yards of dredged silt.

The storage basin remains a lightning rod of litigation because of dioxin contamination in the Saginaw River. Frankenlust Township officials and the environmental group Lone Tree Council filed separate lawsuits this spring to keep the corps from breaking ground. Both attempts failed. Lone Tree Council continues to pursue litigation in U.S. District Court in Bay City to force the corps to conduct a rigorous environmental impact statement on the disposal site before dumping on it.

By Jeremiah Stettler for The Saginaw News.


Marquette Maritime Month is Coming

7/14 - The Marquette Maritime Museum recently was awarded a $12,000 Michigan Council of Arts and Cultural Affairs grant under the Cultural and History Projects Program. Under the terms of the grant the funding will be used to create a Marquette Maritime Month in August 2006.

The Marquette Maritime Museum is working with a variety of organizations to provide residents and tourists many different opportunities to experience Marquette’s rich maritime history for the entire month of August. To make Marquette Maritime Month successful the museum is partnering with The Peter White Public Library, UP Children’s Museum, Lake Superior Theater, Marquette County History Museum, De Vos Art Museum, Marquette Downtown Merchants Association and the Downtown Development Authority.

Key events include special maritime concerts arranged for by the Peter White Public Library, including August 4, 2006 - Kitty Donohoe and Family - Lighthouses and Legends; August 10, 2006 - Carl Behrend Legends of the Lakes Concert; August 15, 2006 - James Gordon in Concert; August 18, 2006 - Concert with Wanda Degen and Pete Wittig   Michigan in Song--Of Woods and Water; and August 22, 2006 - Bill Jamerson--They Came By Ship. All concerts begin at 7:00 pm.

A special nationally recognized exhibit Marlinspikes and Monkey Fist's Exhibit will open at the library on August 7, 2006. The Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum will offer special maritime themed “Together Time” events featuring topics like: Fishy Tales and Tails, Storms in a Tea Cup, On Goldfish Pont and Ore Boats with Iron Pellets.

The Lake Superior Theater will present The Christmas Tree Ship, a fictional account of a 19th Century Great Lakes captain who is intent on sailing the treacherous winter waters of Lake Michigan in order to bring the Tannenbaum (the Christmas tree) the thousands of German immigrants in to Chicago who otherwise would have no tree. August 2-6, 9-13.

Marquette County History Museum will feature an exhibit on “Communications” stressing how mariners communicated as well as a “Maritime Mini-Marathon.” A unique poster competition exploring the theme of “Marquette and the Lake.” Details were mailed under separate cover. The tour boat KEWEENAW STAR will return and offer harbor cruises in conjunction with Seafood Fest in August. While in Marquette the KEWEENAW STAR is available for private charter.

A series of maritime history lectures and Special tours of Marquette Lighthouse and the waterfront are planned. For additional information and detailed calendar go to  or contact Carrie Fries – Manager, 300 Lakeshore Blvd., Marquette, MI 49855, 906-226-2006 or 906-228-7749, ext. 15.


Port Reports - July 14

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
Activity at the port was relatively calm mid-morning, Thursday. The Magdalena Green remained at the municipal pier in the outer harbor, as did the BBC Shanghai. No other activity was noted.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The barge PM41 with the tug Undaunted in the notch came in light to Verplank's Dock late Wednesday evening. It was still loading bottom ash on Thursday afternoon. It's reported destination is Charlevoix.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The David Z. Norton arrived in the bay off Alpena around mid-day on Thursday. The Norton was expected to come in and unload at Lafarge but remained anchored throughout the evening, possibly fixing a mechanical problem. The Steamer Alpena made its way into port on a beautiful Thursday evening, passing the Norton while inbound. The Alpena tied up around 8:00 pm and was expected to depart before midnight.
The Samuel de Champlain/barge Innovation has been making stops at various Lake Michigan ports and the J.A.W Iglehart is on the lower lakes run. The G. L Ostrander/barge Integrity is delivering to Superior and Duluth, an unusual trip for the pair.
At Stoneport the Cleveland Rocks has been a regular visitor lately, loading on Thursday evening. The John G. Munson and McKee Sons are on the schedule for Friday.


Hammond Bay Cruise is Saturday
Make your reservations today!

July 15 - St. Clair River Boatnerd Cruise aboard the Hammond Bay
A 3-hour narrated St. Clair River cruise on board the HAMMOND BAY passing Algonac, Harsens Island, Walpole Island, Seaway Island and the St. Clair Flats. Departure at 11:00. Cost: $30.00 Can., $25.00 US. including lunch. Free parking at dock. Alcohol not permitted on board or in dock area. Maximum 40 persons. Reservations and payment by mail to Hammond Bay River Cruises, RR 1, Port Lambton, Ontario NOP 2B0, or Hammond Bay River Cruises, P.O. Box 502, Marine City, MI 48039. E-mail: Phone: 519-892-3973 Website:  VISA, Mastercard accepted.


Updates - July 14

News Photo Gallery updated and more News Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated

Lighthouses of the Great Lakes updated.


Today in Great Lakes History - July 14

The AMERICAN REPUBLIC (Hull#724) was launched July 14, 1980, by the Bay Shipbuilding Co., Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin for the American Steamship Co.

While up bound in the St. Lawrence River on July 14, 1970, for Saginaw, Michigan with a load of pig iron from Sorel, Quebec, the EASTCLIFFE HALL, of 1954, grounded in mud near Chrysler Shoal six miles above Massena, New York at 03:00 hours but was able to free herself. A few hours later, approaching Cornwall, Ontario she struck a submerged object and sank within a few minutes in 70 feet of water only 650 feet from the point of impact. The submerged object was believed to be an old aid to navigation light stand. Nine lives were lost. Divers determined that her back was broken in two places. After salvaging part of the cargo, her cabins were leveled and her hull was filled.

In 1988, the JOHN T HUTCHINSON and "tow mate" CONSUMERS POWER passed through the Panama Canal heading for the cutters torch in Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

On 14 July 1908, MENTOR (wooden propeller tug, 53 foot, 23 gross tons, built in 1882, at Saugatuck, Michigan) burned south of Chicago, Illinois. No lives lost. Her original name was HATTIE A FOX.

On 14 July 1891, T. H. ORTON (wooden barge, 262 gross tons, built in 1873, at Buffalo, New York) anchored off Marblehead, Ohio on Lake Erie to ride out a storm. She dragged her anchors and was driven ashore where she was declared a total wreck. She may have been recovered though. Just two years earlier, this vessel went through a similar incident at the same spot!

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


Great Lakes Limestone Trade Off 6 Percent In June
Light Loading Means Fleet Can’t Offset Capacity Being Upgraded 

7/13 - Cleveland---Shipments of limestone from U.S. and Canadian Great Lakes ports totaled 4.5 million net tons in June, a decrease of 6 percent compared to a year ago. The June stone float was 3 percent behind the month’s 5-year average.

Light loading again was a major factor in the limestone trade in June. The largest vessels hauling limestone reported losing anywhere from 500 to 700 tons per trip because either the loading or discharge port has not been dredged to project depth. Dredging is an annual need at many ports and waterways, but appropriations from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund have been inadequate for decades, even though the Fund is generated by a Federal tax on cargo movement.

This loss of carrying capacity is doubly significant right now as two vessels that haul stone are out of service for upgrades. The self-unloading barge Joseph H. Thompson has yet to sail this year because its tug is being modernized. The Thompson is steadily engaged in the stone trade. The self-propelled Lee A. Tregurtha also has been in the shipyard since January for repowering. The Tregurtha backhauls both coal and stone.

For the year, the Lakes stone trade stands at 14 million net tons, a decrease of 2.6 percent compared to the same point in 2005. The trade is 8 percent ahead of the 5-year average for the January-June timeframe.

Reported by the Lake Carriers' Association


Shipping-Line Flags Greet Visiting Boaters
Great Lakes Maritime Center gets a new look

7/13 - Port Huron - Forty-two brightly-colored flags now greet visitors to the Port Huron area, especially those arriving by boat. Flying above Acheson Ventures' Great Lakes Maritime Center on the south bank at the mouth of the Black River, the flags, which represent many of the major Great Lakes' shipping lines, are the latest in a string of improvements along the St. Clair River. City officials and community leaders have worked on sprucing up corridors into the city, such as Griswold and Oak streets, but boaters said they mostly notice how a city looks from the water.

The shipping-line flags were put up in the past few weeks, in time for Port Huron's busiest time on the water - the Port Huron-to-Mackinac Island Sailboat Race.

As boaters fill the city this week to prepare for Saturday's big race, the flags may be the newest thing they'll notice as part of the ongoing Desmond Landing project, Acheson Ventures' 77-acre redevelopment project along the St. Clair River. "It just adds another dimension to the Great Lakes Maritime Center," Acheson Ventures' spokesman Paul Maxwell said.

Jean Hall of Port Clinton, Ohio, and her family noticed the difference Tuesday as they approached the Black River. Hall was waiting at the River Street Marina for dockhands to finish fueling, My Joy, a 32-foot Marinette Sedan sailboat. Port Huron was on the family's group's 900-mile trip. Hall said she hadn't been to Port Huron for about 30 years. The riverfront, she said, looks a lot different. "We had a great impression," she said.

Desmond Marine dockhand Dick McVety said boaters have noticed the new look. "A lot of them say it really looks great from the river," he said.

From the Port Huron Times-Herald


Maritime Industry Steps Up Regulations

 7/13 - Duluth - Pressed by environmental lawsuits, lawmakers and public demand, the maritime industry is moving faster than ever toward removing exotic species from the ballast water in ships. The industry is looking to clean the on-ship water much the same way people keep unwanted creatures out of drinking water -- with chemicals, filtration, heat and ultraviolet light. The effort targets everything from minnow-sized fish to zebra mussel larvae and even germs.

Another option is no ballast water at all -- ballast-free ships that use water moving through tunnels in their hulls to maintain stability. So far, no perfect combination has been found, but efforts continue, including in the Twin Ports. The solution will have to be effective, do no additional harm to the environment, be safe for ships and their crews and be cost-effective. "I think we're very close, maybe a couple years off," said Dale Bergeron, maritime educator for Minnesota Sea Grant. "But it's not going to be a simple solution. It will likely be a combination of technologies."

Researchers say that, on average, a new exotic species is coming into the Great Lakes on ships every eight months. There are 170 invasive species in the Great Lakes, although not all of them arrived in ballast water.

A U.S. District Court judge last year ordered the federal Environmental Protection Agency to begin regulating ballast water under the Clean Water Act. While the EPA so far has balked, and that ruling is under appeal, Congress is considering various legislation that would curb the problem. A 2005 Michigan law that takes effect in 2007 requires that all oceangoing ships have some sort of mechanism to prevent exotic species from being released. While few salties call on Michigan ports -- and the law may not be enforceable -- the law fires a shot across the bow of the maritime industry.

"'Nobody wants to solve this more than the industry. But it takes more than regulations. It takes technology," Bergeron said. Local exotic species experts praised an effort, to be announced today, to focus Great Lakes ballast water efforts with a research program in the Twin Ports. "The issue of aquatic invasive species continues to be a serious problem, not just for the Great Lakes but for our inland watersheds as well. We're going to get more of them coming in," said Doug Jensen, aquatic invasive species program leader for Duluth-based Minnesota Sea Grant. "The first step in solving the problem is cutting off the pathways for new species, and this new institute is going to be a big step in that direction."

Ballast water is considered one of the primary pathways for exotic species -- including zebra mussels, ruffle, spiny water fleas, goby, New Zealand mudsnails and more -- to move into new waterways. The species, usually with no natural enemies in their new home, often explode in number. Some displace local species and, in some cases, cost billions of dollars to control.

Ballast water is held in ships' tanks for stability and maneuverability, especially when ships are empty. It often is discharged when ships reach ports to take on their loads. With port water less polluted with toxic chemicals than any time in the past 100 years, the species that survive the voyage have found easy living in their new ecosystems. Zebra mussels, for example, have killed off all native clams in some areas of the Great Lakes.

The International Maritime Organization is considering standards for all waters to keep ships from moving species. Other countries, such as New Zealand, Australia and Norway, are leading research efforts to clean ballast. "Over half the species in San Francisco Bay... and Chesapeake Bay are nonnative species now," Jensen said. "This is a huge global problem. Maybe we can be part of the solution here."

From the Duluth News-Tribune


Port Reports - July 13

Twin Ports - Al Miller
The Goviken on July 11 became the first saltie to ever load at the BNSF ore dock in Superior. The ship took on taconite pellets destined for a Mittal Steel mill in Algeria.

Birchglen was docked at Midwest Energy Terminal on July 12 to load coal for New Brunswick Power in Belledune, New Brunswick. The ship’s captain took the unusual approach of docking with the ship’s bow pointed upstream or “inbound.” Nearly all vessels loading there dock so they are pointing “outbound” so they don’t have to wind after loading.

American Mariner unloaded stone at the CLM dock in Superior overnight July 11-12. It was due next to load taconite pellets at CN/DMIR.

Duluth’s Hallett Dock co. is nearly finished with its docks 6 and 7 on the St. Louis River. The last cargo to be handled there is 250,000 tons of sand that will be used to compress contaminated sediment in Stryker Bay before it’s covered with rock and sand. Sediments in the bay were badly polluted by various industries from the late 1800s to 1962. Rather than risk unleashing the buried pollutants by dredging, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency elected to dredge some parts of the bay and permanently cap other parts, including the portion ships used to reach the Hallett docks. Hallett Dock Co. has moved that part of its operations to the new Hallett 8 on St. Louis Bay in Superior, just above the Midwest Energy Terminal.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
A relatively busy week at the harbor continued late Wednesday Morning. The Magdalena Green departed the heavy lift dock sometime in the last 48 hours.  Similarly, a load of salt appears to have arrived in the last 24 hours.

Departing Milwaukee in the last 48 hours was the Magdalena Green. The Marinus Green, however, remains at Municipal Pier #2.

The Alpena was at the LaFarge dock unloading cement, and the BBC Shanghai (general cargo, built 2001, 330' long) was at the Municipal Pier #3.

Holland - Bob VandeVusse
Undaunted/Pere Marquette 41 arrived at Holland mid-morning Wednesday to deliver agricultural lime to the Brewer dock.

South Chicago – Steve B.
The Philip R. Clarke was getting ready to depart the KCBX south dock at 6pm Wednesday, while the ASC vessel Adam E. Cornelius was loading (coke?) at Beemsterboer at 106th St, the second vessel to visit there in as many days. 

Over at LaFarge on 130th St, the Samuel de Champlain/Innovation was seen unloading.

Marquette – Lee Rowe
Michipicoten arrived Wednesday afternoon and will continue her regular run to Algoma Steel in Soo, Ontario.

Saginaw River – Gordy Garris
The tug Cleveland and the barge Cleveland Rocks were inbound the Saginaw River Wednesday morning headed for the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee to unload. The Cleveland departed the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee by 7:45pm Wednesday evening and turned around off the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee and were outbound for the lake. The Cleveland passed through the Downtown Bay City drawbridges around 9:30pm Wednesday evening. This was the Cleveland's sixth straight trip to the Saginaw River this season, all from Stoneport, and the Cleveland is due back in Saginaw again on Friday from Stoneport with another load.

The CSL Tadoussac was inbound the Saginaw River early Wednesday afternoon headed for the Essroc Terminal in Essexville to unload. The Tadoussac is expected to finish unloading and back out to Light 12 in the Saginaw Bay Entrance Channel, turn around and head for the lake early Thursday morning.

The tug Mary E. Hannah and her tank barge Robert F. Deegan were inbound the Saginaw River early on Monday headed for the Dow Chemical dock in Essexville. The pair are expected to be outbound Thursday morning.

A dredge along with a barge pushed by the MCM Marine tug Beaver State departed the 1000 ft dock behind the E. M. Ford at the LaFarge Terminal in Carrollton and headed upstream to begin the dredging of the Sixth Street turning basin in Saginaw on Tuesday. The tug will individually tow the four deck barges out to the Confined Disposal Island at the mouth of the Saginaw River when each barge is full with dredging spoils. The plan is to dredge the Sixth Street turning basin and about a mile stretch down river from the turning basin, and it is expected to be a 60-day dredging project. When the project is finished, in late September, the shipping channel is expected to be 22 feet in most areas. Presently the water levels in the turning basin in some areas are as shallow as 14 feet, which had sent many ships aground this spring. This is the first time that this part of the Saginaw River has been dredged since 1995. 

Grand Haven – Dick Fox
The Wilfred Sykes came in about 6:00 am Wednesday and unloaded at Verplank's Dock.  It departed around 10:00 am.


First Public Tours of Saginaw River Rear Range Light

7/13 – Bay City - For the first time since restoration has begun on the Saginaw River Rear Range Light, public tours will be available in conjunction with the Tall Ships Festival in Bay City.   

Tickets will be available at the Tall Ships Festival from members in a tent at Vets Park on the west side of the river and a bus will transport you to the lighthouse with a guide aboard to answer any questions. 

Tour hours are Friday, July 21st from 10:00 am till 8:00 pm; Saturday, July 22nd from 10:00 am until 8:00 pm; and on Sunday, July 23rd from 12 noon until 6:00 pm.

T-shirts and souvenirs will be available from Saginaw River Marine Historical Society members.


Cannon Firings at Put-In-Bay

7/13 – Put-In-Bay, OH – A special cannon firing will be held this Saturday and Sunday at Perry's Monument & International Peace Memorial on South Bass Island in Lake Erie.

The demonstrations will take place at 11:30 am, 1 pm, 2:30 pm & 4pm. There is no charge to attend.

More information is available by calling 419-285-2184, or at


New Tours Announced at Put-In-Bay

7/13 - South Bass Island, OH - Two tours of facilities on South Bass Island in Lake Erie have been announced. Each Wednesday through August 15 tours will be available of the South Bass Island Lighthouse, and the Ohio State Stone Lab/Gibralter Island.

The lighthouse, which is not normally open to the public, is located on Langram Road on the south end of the island. Tours are between 10:00 am and Noon, and there is a $5.00 fee. Additional information is available by calling 419-285-2341 or at  

The tours of the Ohio State Stone Lab/Gibralter Island, which is located in the harbor at Put-In-Bay, depart aboard the water taxi at the Boardwalk Dock. The tours last around 2-1/2 hours. There is a $10 fee for adults, $5 for children 12 yrs. and under. The tour fee does not include charge for water taxi. Call 419-285-2341 for details


Updates - July 13

News Photo Gallery updated

L. E. Block Scrap Tow Photo Gallery updated.

Calendar of Events updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - July 13 

Algoma’s straight-deck bulk freighter ALGOWEST was christened at Collingwood on July 13, 1982.  She was converted to a self-unloader in 1998, and renamed b.) PETER R. CRESSWELL in 2001.

SASKATCHEWAN PIONEER (Hull#258) was launched July 13, 1983, at Govan, Scotland by Govan Shipbuilders Ltd. for Pioneer Shipping Ltd. (Misener Transportation Ltd., mgr.). Renamed b.) LADY HAMILTON in 1995.

The LIGHTSHIP 103 was opened to visitors on July 13, 1974, at the city's Pine Grove Park along the St. Clair River.

The rebuilt BOSCOBEL was launched at the Peshtigo Company yard at Algonac, Michigan on 13 July 1876. Originally built in 1867, as a passenger/package freight propeller vessel, she burned and sank near Ft. Gratiot in 1869. The wreck was raised, but no work was done until January 1876, when she was completely rebuilt as a schooner-barge at Algonac. She sank again in the ice on Lake Erie in 1895, and was again raised and rebuilt. She lasted until 1909, when she sank in the middle of Lake Huron during a storm.

On 13 July 1876, the Port Huron Weekly Times listed the following vessels as being idle at Marine City, Michigan: Steam Barges BAY CITY, D W POWERS and GERMANIA; steamer GLADYS; schooners TAILOR and C SPADEMAN; and barges MARINE CITY and ST JOSEPH.

On 13 July 1876, The Detroit Tribune reported that "the captain of a well-known Oswego vessel, on his last trip to Oswego, found that the receipts of the trip exceeded the expenses in the neighborhood of $250, and stowed $210 of the amount away in a drawer of his desk on the schooner. The money remained there some days before the captain felt the necessity of using a portion of it, and when he opened the drawer to take out the required amount he found that a family of mice had file a pre-emption claim and domiciled themselves within the recess, using the greenbacks with the utmost freedom to render their newly chosen quarters absolutely comfortable. A package containing $60 was gnawed into scraps the size of the tip of the little finger, while only enough of the larger package containing $150 remained to enable the astonished seaman to determine the numbers of the bills, so that the money can be refunded to him by the United States Treasury Department. The captain made an affidavit of the facts, and forwarded it and the remnants of the greenbacks to Washington, with the view of recovering the full value of the money destroyed. He is now on the way to Oswego with his vessel, and no doubt frequently ruminates over the adage, "The best laid schemes of mice and men, . . ."

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


Great Ships Initiative to Combat Aquatic Nuisance Species

7/12 - Duluth, MN - Ports of Indiana officials will join industry and government leaders in Duluth on Wednesday to announce the launch of the “Great Ships Initiative,” a $3.5 million research center that is the first in the Great Lakes region designed to specifically focus on developing the technology necessary to prevent the introduction of aquatic nuisance species into the Great Lakes by ocean-going ships.

Leaders of over a dozen major U.S. and Canadian Great Lakes ports will be joined by scientists and federal agency officials at a ceremony in Duluth/Superior harbor to announce the project. Research efforts will be based within the University of Wisconsin-Superior. The project will be co-managed by the Northeast-Midwest Institute, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, both of Washington, D.C. An executive committee of maritime industry stakeholders will provide broad oversight for the program. Several technical advisory committees will provide advice on topics relating to ships’ engineering and biological efficiency.

The Indiana General Assembly declared its support for the “Great Ships Initiative” earlier this year by passing House Concurrent Resolution No. 35 recognizing the need for protection of the Great Lakes’ environmental and economic resources.
“This is a very important initiative that will impact shipping around the world,” said Rich Cooper, executive director for the Ports of Indiana. “Aquatic nuisance species are unwelcome hitchhikers on our ships and we hope the Great Ships Initiative will help develop the technology necessary to combat this problem. Waterborne shipping is the most environmentally friendly mode of transportation and this is one way we can make it even better.”

The Great Ships Initiative has received funding and in-kind contributions by the following project partners: U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Maritime Administration, St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp., National Oceanic and Atmospheric Admin., Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute, City of Superior, Duluth Seaway Port Authority, Ports of Indiana, Port of Milwaukee, Illinois International Port District, Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority, Port of Toronto, Ontario, Port of Hamilton, Ontario. Additionally, the project has received endorsements from Wisconsin Governor James Doyle, the Great Lakes Cities Initiative, Great Lakes United, a regional conservation organization, and Fednav Limited, the largest operator of ocean shipping on the Great Lakes.

Released by Ports of Indiana, reported by Peter Zagorac


More Boatnerd Gatherings up Coming
Make your reservations today!

July 15 - St. Clair River Boatnerd Cruise aboard the Hammond Bay
A 3-hour narrated St. Clair River cruise on board the HAMMOND BAY passing Algonac, Harsens Island, Walpole Island, Seaway Island and the St. Clair Flats. Departure at 11:00. Cost: $30.00 Can., $25.00 US. including lunch. Free parking at dock. Alcohol not permitted on board or in dock area. Maximum 40 persons. Reservations and payment by mail to Hammond Bay River Cruises, RR 1, Port Lambton, Ontario NOP 2B0, or Hammond Bay River Cruises, P.O. Box 502, Marine City, MI 48039. E-mail: Phone: 519-892-3973 Website:  VISA, Mastercard accepted.

August 12 - Boatnerd Detroit River Cruise
A 3-hour freighter chasing cruise on the lower Detroit River aboard the luxurious Friendship, driven by Capt. Sam Buchanan. Cruise leaves the Portofino's On The River restaurant, in Wyandotte, MI at 10:00 am. We'll go where the boats are. Maybe up the Rouge River, maybe down the Detroit River. Bring your camera. To make the trip even more interesting, a pizza buffet will be delivered by the mail boat J. W. Westcott. Cash bar on board. Plenty of free, safe parking at Portofino's. Click here for directions.
All this for only $25.00. Limited to the first 100 reservations. Mail your check today to: Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, Inc., 1110 South Main Street, Findlay, OH 45840-2239. Click here for Reservations Form. Checks will not be cashed until the week before the cruise. No physical tickets will be issued. Your name will be on the Boarding List.


Port Reports - July 12

Port Colborne - Bill Bird
The Gaelic tug Shannon arrived in Port Colborne, Tuesday morning, with the L. E. Block in tow. The pair were met in the outer harbor by the Nadro Marine Services tugs Sea Hound and Vac. Also on hand was the International Marine Salvage tug Charlie E. to deliver crew members to assist in securing the Block. Shortly after noon, the Block was secured to the bank at IMS.

Port Weller - David Bull & Al Howard
On Tuesday evening the partially completed Frisian Spring was towed from Port Weller Dry Docks to begin her voyage to The Netherlands where she will be completed. She was assisted from the dry dock by the tugs Radium Yellowknife and Salvage Monarch. Waiting on the west wall above Lock One was the big deep sea tug Fairplay XIV.

South Chicago - Steve B.
The David Z. Norton arrived at Calumet Harbor during the mid afternoon hours on Tuesday. She was greeted by the "G" tug South Carolina who assisted the "Z" in backing down the Calumet River, with a destination of Beemsterboer at 106th St. The salty Kwintebank was still unloading at Iroquois Landing.

Lower Lake Michigan - Brian Z.
The Edgar B. Speer unloaded a cargo of flux pellets at U.S. Steel in Gary, IN on Tuesday and backed her way out past the John B. Aird which was taking on a cargo of coke breeze.

Toledo -
Algosoo was loading at the Andersons Kuhlman Facility. She had to retract the steering pole to clear the N&S (south) RR Bridge.
A Hannah tanker barge sits alone in the nonloading (downriver) slip of the Sunoco Riverfront Terminal.
The streets, bridges and harbor boat "The Champ" was busily placing tempory buoys by the Anthony Wayne High Level Bridge in preparation for the 10:00 pm fireworks off the bridge. The Toledo Police Harbor Patrol boat "Blue Star" was in the area.
Catherine Desgagnes was loading steel ingots at Midwest Terminals of Toledo, International.


Updates - July 12

News Photo Gallery updated

L. E. Block Scrap Tow Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - July 12

On this day in 1978, the keel for Hull#909 was laid at Toledo, Ohio after Interlake Steamship and Republic Steel signed a 25 year haulage contract. Hull#909 was to be named WILLIAM J DE LANCEY and renamed PAUL R TREGURTHA in 1990.

On July 12, 2005, the DAY PECKINPAUGH, under tow of the tug BENJAMIN ELLIOT departed the lakes through the New York State Barge Canal to Lockpork, New York for a new life as a traveling history museum.

The BELLE RIVER, renamed b.) WALTER J McCARTHY JR in 1990, was christened on July 12, 1977, as American Steamship's first thousand-footer and the first thousand-footer built at Bay Shipbuilding.

The H M GRIFFITH (Hull#203) was launched July 12, 1973, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards for Canada Steamship Lines. Rebuilt with a new cargo section in 2000, renamed b.) RT HON PAUL J MARTIN.

In 1986, the ENDERS M VOORHEES was chained together with her sisters, A H FERBERT and IRVING S OLDS, a severe thunderstorm struck Duluth, Minnesota pushing the trio across St. Louis Bay eventually grounding them near Superior, Wisconsin. It was discovered that the force of the storm had pulled the bollards out of the Hallett Dock No. 5, thus releasing the ships.

On July 12, 1958, Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd.'s, FRANK A SHERMAN entered service, departing Port Weller Dry Docks, for Duluth and a load of iron ore on its maiden voyage.

On 12 July 1871, ADVANCE (wooden scow-schooner, 49 tons, built in 1847, at Fairport, Ohio), was bound for Detroit from Cleveland with a load of coal. She and the steamer U S GRANT collided near South Bass Island (Put-in-Bay) in Lake Erie and ADVANCE sank. Her crew escaped in the yawl.

On 12 July 1852, CITY OF OSWEGO (wooden propeller passenger-package freight vessel, 138 foot, 357 tons, built in 1852, at Buffalo, New York) collided with the steamer AMERICA and sank off Willoughby, Ohio, a few miles east of Cleveland. 15 lives were lost. This was CITY OF OSWEGO's first season of operation.

On 12 July 1889, T H ORTON (wooden barge, 262 gross tons, built in 1873, at Buffalo, New York) anchored off Marblehead, Ohio on Lake Erie to ride out a storm. She dragged her anchors and was driven ashore where she was declared a total wreck. She was recovered and just two years later, at the same place, this incident was repeated.

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


Ryerson’s Departure Planned for Saturday or Sunday

7/11 - Sturgeon Bay - The Edward L. Ryerson is now expected to sail from Sturgeon Bay to Escanaba on Saturday or Sunday morning. She will load taconite for Indiana Harbor, Ind., marking her first trip after eight years of idleness. In preparation, she has been given a complete refit, which includes the installation of Mittel Steel Co. heralds on her stack.

Capt. Eric Treece reports “I have been here a couple of days checking things out and there were a lot of unexpected broken pipes on the forward end that the engineers have been troubleshooting. Those were all fixed Sunday. Some of the crew are arriving Monday and the rest Tuesday. Inspection will be later this week. ...There is some lower lakes stuff in the works right now, but it is not a done deal yet. Will post on this when it becomes available, but yes, it is a real possibility. And it is not Hamilton.

“Also, the other big question seems to be which way are we going out? I think a lot of that will depend on a couple of things, but I need to check that out too before I make the decision on whether to leave via the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal or out Sherwood Point. Will let you all know that one too for those coming up to watch her head out.”

Until this surprise fit-out, announced in early June, it was widely believed that the Ryerson, which is not a self-unloader, would never sail again.

Stay tuned for further reports.


Only Slight Gain In U.S. Shipping on Lakes In May

7/11 - Cleveland - The major U.S.-Flag vessel operators working the Great Lakes moved 12.2 million net tons of cargo in May, a slight increase over the corresponding period in 2005. The May float also was 4.6 percent ahead of the month’s 5-year average. However, the totals for May 2002 and May 2003 reflect depressed market conditions that no longer prevail.

Lack of adequate dredging continued to affect cargo movement on the Great Lakes. The largest coal cargo to transit the locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, in a 1,000-foot-long U.S.-Flag Laker totaled 64,319 net tons, well below the record of 70,903 set in 1997 when high water levels helped mask the effects of inadequate dredging.

Light loading was evident in all trades. The largest iron ore cargo loaded during May in a U.S.-Flag Laker totaled 64,366 net tons, only 92 percent of the vessel’s carrying capacity. The largest limestone cargo carried in a U.S. bottom totaled 32,888 net tons. The vessel has hauled as much as 34,557 net tons of limestone in a single trip, so lack of adequate dredging effectively reduced the vessel’s carrying capacity by 5 percent.

For the year, U.S.-Flag carriage stands at 30,251,198 net tons, an increase of 2.3 percent compared to the same point in 2005. The increase compared to the 5-year average for the January-May timeframe - 14 percent – is somewhat skewed by very sluggish iron ore totals in 2002 and 2003.

Lake Carriers’ Association News Release


Port Reports - July 11

Holland - Bob VandeVusse
The David Z. Norton made its way slowly to the Brewer dock at the far eastern end of Lake Macatawa Monday evening. It tied up at about 11 p.m. to deliver a load of stone from Port Inland.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The tall ship Pride of Baltimore II departed Monday morning in fog. She arrived in port Saturday morning. The tall ship Empire Sandy returned to port Sunday night after a weekend away at Whitby for that town's annual waterfront festivities, which included a "Parade of Lights" sail past and fireworks. The barge Metis was towed in Sunday by the tug Radium Yellowknife, from Humber Bay where Metis served as a fireworks platform for the "Festival of Fire" finale on Saturday night.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
There were only two ships in the harbor mid-morning, Monday. The Magdalena Green remained at the heavylift dock in the inner harbor. It has been joined by its Greenfleet sister ship Marinus Green, which was at the municipal pier in the outer harbor. A tug/barge combination was approaching the harbor as well. It appeared to be a delivery for the LaFarge cement elevator.


Updates - July 11

News Photo Gallery updated and more News Photo Gallery updated

L. E. Block Scrap Tow Photo Gallery updated.

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History : July 10

On this day in 1979, Captain Thomas Small had his license for Master of Steam and Motor Vessel of any gross tonnage renewed at the St. Ignace Coast Guard Station. Captain Small, a retired Pittsburgh Steamship employee and 106 years of age, is the oldest person to be licensed and the issue number of his license is the highest ever issued by the Coast Guard -- 14-17 (fourteenth Masters license and seventeenth license as a pilot, mate, or Master).

On July 10, 2005, noted marine photographer Paul Wiening passed away at his residence in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

G A TOMLINSON (Hull#370) was launched at the American Ship Building Co., Lorain, Ohio on July 10, 1909, for the Douglas Steamship Co (J.J.H. Brown, mgr.), renamed b.) HENRY R PLATT JR in 1959. The hull was used as a breakwater in Burlington Bay, Ontario in 1971.

In 1998, the ALGOWEST was re-dedicated at Port Weller Dry Docks. The $20 million conversion of the ship to a self-unloader from a bulk-carrier was completed by 400 shipbuilders at Port Weller Dry Docks during the previous eight months. Renamed in 2001, he sails for Algoma today as b.) PETER R CRESSWELL.

On 10 July 1866, COQUETTE (1-mast wooden scow-sloop, 90 foot, 140 tons, built in 1858, at Perry, Ohio as a schooner) capsized in a storm on Lake Michigan and was lost with her crew of four. She had originally been built for the U.S. Government.

On 10 July 1911, JOHN MITCHELL (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 420 foot, 4,468 gross tons, built in 1907, at St. Clair, Michigan) was carrying wheat off Whitefish Point on Lake Superior when she was rammed broadside by the coal-laden steel steamer WILLIAM HENRY MACK (steel propeller bulk freighter, 354 foot, 3781 gross tons, built in 1903, at Cleveland, Ohio). The MACK tried to keep her bow in the hole, but the MITCHELL still sank in 7 minutes. Quick work saved most of her crew and all 7 passengers. Three of the 34 onboard were lost. The MACK got most of the blame for the accident. The MITCHELL's wreck was discovered upside-down on the bottom in 1972. (Note: Bowling Green's database gives the date of this accident as 19 July 1911 and Dave Swayze's Shipwreck database gives the date as 10 July 1911.)

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

Today in Great Lakes History : July 11

On this day in 1962, the EDWARD L RYERSON carried a record cargo of 24,445 tons of iron ore through the newly opened Rock Cut Channel. The new channel increased allowable depths by 26 inches to 25 feet 7 inches.

On this day in 1943, the new McArthur Lock was formally opened to traffic. The first boat to lock through during the ceremonies was the up bound CARL D BRADLEY, Captain F. F. Pearse. There were 250 dignitaries and passengers aboard the Bradley during the lockage. The first down bound vessel was the new Leon Fraser of the Pittsburgh Steamship fleet.

On July 11, the STEWART J CORT was upbound in the St. Marys River on her first trip under the colors of the Interlake Steamship Co.

The INDIANA HARBOR was christened July 11, 1979.

On July 11, 1943, the ENDERS M VOORHEES became the first downbound vessel to transit the newly built MacArthur Lock at the Soo.

On 11 July 1888, the 2-mast wooden schooner JOHN TIBBETS was carrying coal on Lake Erie when she foundered in the shallows near Clear Creek, 7 miles west of Port Rowan, Ontario and then broke up in the storm waves. Her crew made it to shore in the yawl. She was built in 1863, at Clayton, New York on the hull of the Canadian schooner PERSEVERANCE which was originally built in 1855.

The PERSIA, a 150 foot passenger/package freight vessel, was launched at Melancthon Simpson's shipyard at St. Catharines, Ontario on 11 July 1873. She was built at a cost of $37,000. She lasted until the 1920Ős when she was converted to a barge and then abandoned.

MONTEZUMA (3-mast wooden schooner-barge, 341 feet, 2,722 gross tons) was launched at the John Davidson shipyard (Hull #102) in West Bay City, Michigan on 11 July 1903. She was one of the largest wooden vessels ever built. It was later stated in the press that the reason Davidson's last large vessels took so long to build was the difficulty in obtaining the required large oak timbers and their expense. As steel went down in price, wood went up, and Davidson's last hulls cost as much as comparably-sized steel ones. At the time of launching this vessel the Davidson shipyard announced that it would not build any more wooden freight vessels.

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


Wind Carries Pair of Grand Blanc Boys Eight Miles on Lake Michigan

7/10 - Straits of Mackinac - Two Grand Blanc boys spent a night they won't soon forget floating eight miles out into Lake Michigan before a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter finally located them just west of the Mackinac Bridge.

“They were swimming on an inner tube when the wind caught them and blew them out,” said Michigan State Trooper Rick Carlson of the Petoskey Post adding the duo were last seen at sundown on Friday off of the Wilderness State Park.

Authorities were notified of the boy’s disappearance around 11:30 p.m. and the search began for the 11-year-old and 13-year-old friends. In addition to state troopers from Petoskey and St. Ignace, numerous other agencies answered the call. The Mackinaw City Police were stationed on the Mackinac Bridge with night vision equipment scanning the waters to the west. The Pellston Area Search and Rescue Team, the Emmet County Marine Patrol and a Michigan Department of Natural Resources officer out of Petoskey all joined in the search with various watercraft.

The U.S. Coast Guard also responded flying a helicopter from the Traverse City station to the region to assist in the search. The search came to an end approximately five to six hours after the boys went missing when the chopper crew spotted the pair about eight miles from their original swimming site and within a mile or so of the Mackinac Bridge.

“They were fortunate,” said Carlson, noting the mild temperatures Friday night and into Saturday morning helped keep the boys' body temperatures up despite the fact they were wet and wearing only swimsuits. Both boys were flown by helicopter to the Pellston Airport. From that location they were transported by ambulance to Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey and subsequently treated for hypothermia.

Carlson said the boys made the right decision by sticking with the inner tube. “If they had tried to swim to shore, they wouldn't have made it,” he said.

Reported by Bonnie Barnes from the Soo Evening News


Damage To The New York State Canal System
Ends Continental Sloop Providence’s Voyage To Great Lakes

7/10 - Providence, RI - The New York State Canal System announced Wednesday on its website ( that its Lock E-10 was severely damaged in recent storms and that “extensive work will be required at Lock E-10 and this lock is not projected to reopen for two months.” Phone calls to the New York State Canal System confirmed this report. Subsequently, the Providence Maritime Heritage Foundation today announced that its ship, the Continental Sloop Providence, which was has been waiting in Albany, NY to enter the Canal System on its way to the Great Lakes, will be unable to proceed to the Great Lakes.

“We are extremely disappointed that our vessel can not proceed through the Canal System” said Robert Hofmann, Executive Director of the Providence Maritime Heritage Foundation. “We have looked at other options, but none were feasible. We are saddened that our plans to visit the Great Lakes must be cancelled.”

The Sloop Providence was scheduled to appear in Cleveland, OH; Bay City, MI; Green Bay, WI; Chicago, IL; South Haven, MI and Port Huron, MI. The Continental Sloop Providence will be returning to Rhode Island.

Providence Maritime Heritage Foundation News Release


Setting Sail for Mackinac: From small to tall, boats ready to race

7/10 - Detroit - Eyes around the world will turn to Michigan on Saturday when as many as 250 boats and 2,500 sailors set off in the 82nd annual Port Huron to Mackinac race -- among the world's longest fresh-water races with one of the largest fleets on the international circuit.

And a whole lot of landlubbers fascinated by the spectacle -- an estimated 100,000 of them -- will roam the docks in Port Huron for Friday's Boat Night party. Thousands more will be there Saturday to cheer the sailors heading out of the Black River and into Lake Huron for the race. To sailors, it's known simply as "the Mack." It draws all kinds of sailboats. Big ones, small ones, new hot rockets and old but dignified ladies.

At 27 feet, the Defiant of Grosse Pointe Park is tied with the Sea Wise of Grosse Pointe for smallest in the fleet. They're dwarfed by the largest, the 86-foot Windquest. The behemoth is owned by Doug DeVos, brother of Dick DeVos, the Grand Rapids area Republican running for governor. The boats are opposites in many ways.

Defiant, a 1972 Morgan, is a low-tech boat with a couple of alcohol burners for cooking dangling from the mast. Owner Robert Lech of Grosse Pointe Park has owned it since 1976 and races Defiant with a crew of family and friends on Lake St. Clair or the Detroit River. "It's cramped, but it's a lot of fun," Lech said. His six-person crew includes his three grown children -- Kate, 24, of St. Clair Shores, Jennifer, 25, of Grosse Pointe Park, and Peter, 28, of Rochester.

Defiant has taken two third-place prizes and a second-place prize in its class. It also took a third-place finish on the Mack's shore course overall. Its fastest race was two years ago, when Lech and his crew made it to Mackinac in 24 hours. His slowest? "Put it this way, the Tuesday party was going on and we were still out there," Lech said.

But Windquest, a state-of-the-art MAXZ 86 with the latest in high-tech gadgetry, is more likely to get in on Sunday than Tuesday. Racing in top regattas all over the world, Windquest broke a speed record in the 2005 Transpac race from Los Angeles to Honolulu. Its crew included former America's Cup skippers John Kolius and John Bertrand. With a crew of 16 to 20 sailors, Windquest routinely gets 10 to 12 knots per hour and has clocked speeds of up to 22 knots, more than 25 m.p.h. It should be the first monohull, a traditional sailboat, to finish the Mackinac race. With just a little cooperation from the wind, it could set a record.

Doug DeVos will skipper the boat. His brother Dick has done the race, but will not be on board this year, his spokesman John Truscott said. "The crew is made up of close friends, which is going to make this race very special for us," said Tom Giesler, Windquest captain. "What Doug wants to do is sail with family and friends and make it fun, because Michigan is such a great place to do it."

Because the boats are so different, Defiant and Windquest will take different courses in the race. A longer, 291-mile course for bigger or faster boats crosses Lake Huron to Canada before turning back to Michigan and the Straits of Mackinac. That's the route Windquest will take. The 235-mile shore course is traditionally sailed by the smaller or slower boats, and will be the path Defiant will follow.

How fast they'll get to Mackinac depends on the wind. Typically the biggest boats arrive late Sunday. Most of the fleet will get in Monday, but once in a while, a race can drag out until Tuesday. Crews have been known to not pack enough food for Tuesday -- whether that's out of superstition or as an incentive to sail faster isn't always clear.

Allure, a 36-foot Catalina, is a family affair. Wick Smith of Grosse Pointe Woods did his first Mackinac at age 12. But now that he's 48 and has a family of his own, Smith chartered the Catalina to give two sons, Scott, 13, and Andrew, 11, their start. "My goal was to get my dad doing the race with both his sons and all his grandchildren," Smith said.

Allure's 11-person crew also includes his father, Lee Smith, 85, of St. Clair Shores, who will sail in his 53rd Mackinac. Brother Randy Smith of San Francisco also will be on board with his two daughters, Lauren, 22 and Katherine, 21. Andrew said the race is "kind of" scary. But at age 11, he's ready for the open water.

From the Detroit Free Press

Editor's Note: WJR will broadcast live from Boatnerd World Headquarters on Saturday


Tall Ship from Movie to visit Bay City

7/10 - Bay City - The city's Tall Ship Celebration will feature a visit from the Sloop Providence, which has a role as the Black Pearl in the movie "Pirates of the Caribbean II: Dead Man's Chest." The Providence, R.I.-based ship is one of 13 ships that will be in Bay City on July 20 for the festival. It was filmed as a pirate ship and merchant ship for the Disney movie.

The sequel to the first "Pirates of the Caribbean" film arrived in theaters on Friday. But Wednesday - as a thanks for use of the ship - the home port staff of the Providence got a screening of the movie. "It was really a fun film," Kathleen McQuillan-Hofmann, communications director of the Providence Maritime Heritage Foundation, told The Bay City Times. "I thought it was very entertaining, very fun and great action." For the movie, the left side of the ship was painted like a pirate ship, McQuillan-Hofmann said. The right side was painted to look more like a merchant ship.

Bay City is an official host port for the American Sail Training Association's Tall Ships fleet. The ships will line up on either side of the Saginaw River in downtown for the tall ships gathering. The city's maritime festival, which includes three and a half days of activities, also starts July 20. And Bay City's State Theatre will offer special showings of the first "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie.

For more information Tall Ship Celebration: Bay City 2006 and Sloop Providence

From the Bay City Times


Port Reports - July 10

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The English River was unloading concrete at the LaFarge Plant on Saturday evening.

Holland - Bob VandeVusse
The Wilfred Sykes brought a load of coal to the DeYoung power plant in Holland Saturday morning, departing by 9 a.m.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Cleveland & barge Cleveland Rocks were back once again on Sunday, calling on the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. This is the fifth straight trip for the pair to the Saginaw River with three unloads at the Burroughs dock and two now at Sargent Zilwaukee. The tug and barge should be outbound on Monday.

Saginaw River - Gordy Garris
The Manistee was outbound from the Wirt dock in Bay City around 3 a.m. Saturday morning. The Manistee was headed for Drummond Island.
The tug Cleveland and the barge Cleveland Rocks were also out bound early Saturday morning following the Manistee outbound. The pair had unloaded at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. The pair were headed for Stoneport to load another cargo for Saginaw.
The tug Invincible and the barge McKee Sons were inbound the Saginaw River late Saturday afternoon headed for the Wirt dock in Bay City to unload. The pair finished unloading by midnight, turned in the West end of the Wirt turning basin and were outbound for the lake early Sunday morning

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
As of mid-morning, Sunday, the Tuscarora remained at the Nidera Elevator, while the Magdalena Green was at the heavy lift dock. The Federal Margaree finished loading and departed within the last 48 hours.
The John J. Boland was discharging coal at the WE Energies dock at the foot of Greenfield Avenue.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
After a three day lull the Saginaw made an evening arrival, on Sunday, at the Upper Harbor ore dock to load ore for Algoma Steel at the Soo.

Toledo - Bob Vincent
Federal Kivalina headed out around 8 p.m. Saturday. The dredge Buxton II and Tug Muskegon are working the ship channel.
Next coal boat will be the Arthur M. Anderson due early Monday morning.
The next stone boat for the Midwest Terminal will be the Algosteel expected on Monday.
Torco dock will have the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin on Monday.

Algonac - Larry Leverenz
The sailing vessel Nina left the Algonac dock at 6 a.m. Sunday. She was going to Put-In-Bay.

Fairport Harbor - Bob Hunter
The Madeline arrived Thursday for planned weekend tours in Fairport Harbor, Ohio. The schooner, built by the Maritime Heritage Alliance in 1990, is a reconstruction of a schooner originally named Madeline, which was built in Fairport in 1844-5.
The Mississagi unloaded limestone Saturday at Carmeuse.


Great Lakes Cruises Offer Majestic Views, Relaxing Pace

7/10 - Detroit - A massive freighter towers over the Grande Mariner as the 183-foot-long cruise boat slips past the Motor City skyline en route to Mackinac Island. By the time the Grande Mariner and its 65 passengers reach Chicago four days after seeing Detroit, they will have traveled through the Erie Canal and four of the five Great Lakes. It's a journey of contrasts, with stops in reviving Rust Belt cities and quaint tourist towns, passing heavily industrialized stretches of the Detroit River and miles of unspoiled coastline.

The route is rich in history and natural beauty. And the trip is one of dozens of multi-day vacation cruises planned this year for the Great Lakes, from weeklong Lake Michigan coast excursions to fall leaf-peeping tours that stretch into the far northwest reaches of Lake Superior. "It's just beautiful travel and beautiful scenery," says Roy Keith, the Grande Mariner's captain, who for the last decade has taken cruise ships onto the Great Lakes.

Largely dormant since the 1960s as international air travel and tropical cruises increased in popularity and affordability, the Great Lakes cruise tradition began a revival in the mid-1990s. For travelers accustomed to the massive cruise ships of the Caribbean and Mediterranean, the Great Lakes boats are modest. The pace is easygoing, passengers get to know the crew on a first-name basis and the scenery along the way - best seen from the top deck - is much of the attraction. "When you travel by car, you've got to find those hot spots," says Ryan McMullen, cruise director on the Grande Mariner. "When you travel by water, you just have to sit back and watch those hot spots come by."

The trip on the Grande Mariner, which is owned by American Canadian Caribbean Cruise Line Inc. and can hold up to 100 passengers, began in the company's Warren, R.I., home port. The boat passed by New York City and traveled up the Hudson River, heading through the Erie Canal and stopping in cities along the way. After visiting Buffalo and Rochester, N.Y., it headed to Cleveland before stopping in the Detroit suburb of Wyandotte. Many of the passengers got off the boat for an optional tour in Dearborn of The Henry Ford, which includes the Henry Ford Museum, a collection of auto-related and other technological and cultural artifacts.

Others, like Jan Musson, 69, of Goshen, Ky., stayed on board to read a book while her husband, Wick, 71, went on the tour. They took the cruise to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary and enjoy the chance to relax. "You don't have to think. It's just very comfortable," she said. Since the Grande Mariner is so small, it can squeeze through the Erie Canal and dock in smaller communities like Wyandotte, as well as bigger cities, letting passengers off right in downtown. Cost varies by cabin size, with prices for the 16-day trip ranging from $2,785 to $3,840.

The Grande Mariner will spend the summer in Lake Michigan before returning to its home port for fall color tours on the Erie Canal.

Tour options on different lines vary widely. Smaller boats carry up to 18 passengers on cruises that skirt Lake Ontario. And the MV Columbus - a 423-passenger ship designed especially for the Great Lakes - offers 11-day cruises between Toronto and Chicago that spend time in all five Great Lakes during prime fall color season.

On the Columbus, prices range from $2,139 to $6,190 per person, depending on cabin size and trip.

The Great Lakes and their connecting channels form the largest fresh surface water system on the planet. Travel promoters say the Great Lakes region, well-known for its recreational boating, stunning beaches and summer vacation towns, has the potential to attract more cruise ships. More than a half-dozen ships have cruises scheduled for this year. The Great Lakes Cruising Coalition, which since 1997 has worked to promote the industry, said it would like to see about 60 of the about 130 cruise boats that can get to the Great Lakes via the St. Lawrence Seaway offering tours.

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



Updates - July 10

News Photo Gallery updated and more News Photo Gallery updated

L. E. Block Scrap Tow Photo Gallery updated.

Soo Gathering Photo Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - July 9

WILLIAM R ROESCH, renamed b.) DAVID Z NORTON in 1995, loaded her first cargo in 1973, at Superior, Wisconsin where she took on 18,828 tons of iron ore bound for Jones & Laughlin's, Cuyahoga River plant at Cleveland.

The BENJAMIN F FAIRLESS and her fleet mate IRVING S OLDS passed through the Panama Canal on July 9, 1988, under tow by the German tug OSA RAVENSTURM. The pair was on a 14,000 mile journey to Kaohsiung, Taiwan arriving there on November 8, 1988, for scrapping by Sing Cheng Yung Iron & Steel Co. Ltd.

On 9 July 1876, ST CLAIR (wooden propeller freighter with some passenger accommodations, 127 foot, 326 gross tons, built in 1867, at Algonac, Michigan) had 14 crew and 18 passengers aboard along with cargo of flour, feed and deck loads of cattle as she sailed on Lake Superior. At 2:00 a.m., she caught fire about five miles off shore from 14 Mile Point. She was a wood burner and had a history of shipboard fires. The fire spread so quickly that only one boat could be launched and being overloaded, it capsized. The cries of those left on the vessel, along with the bellowing of the cattle, were heart rending. Only six survived in the one lifeboat since the cold water took its toll on those who clung to it. Eventually they righted the boat and paddled to shore, leaving the ST CLAIR burned to the waterline.

On 9 July 1891, W A MOORE (wood propeller tug, 119 foot, 212 gross tons, built in 1865, at Detroit, Michigan) burned to a total loss at Cleveland, Ohio.

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


L. E. Block Tow Update

Sunday, 7/9 - 10:00 pm - The tow passed under the Ambassador Bridge at 6:00 pm and headed toward the Detroit River Light. The J. W. Westcott made a run out to the lead tug Shannon to deliver some supplies and a newspaper. The crew on the Shannon seemed to be enjoying their trip.

 2:30 p.m. - The tow is expected under the Ambassador Bridge after 6 p.m. The ETA for South East Shoal was 3 a.m. Monday morning.

1:30 p.m. - The L. E. Block scrap tow passed Light 23 in the St. Clair River down bound at 1:30 p.m. The tow is expected to pass Belle Isle shortly after 5 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

10 a.m. - The L. E. Block scrap tow was down bound at the Black River in Port Huron at 9:43 a.m. ETA for the Salt Dock Light was 12:45. Carolyn Hoey will depart the tow at the Detroit River light and return light tug to the Gaelic Dock in Detroit.

6 a.m. - The Gaelic tug Shannon and the L. E. Block are above buoys 11 and 12 waiting the arrival of the tug Carolyn Hoey. The Carolyn Hoey will be the trailing tug and is expected to arrive around 8:30 am. Sunday.

Tow Photo Gallery

Please send pictures to


Saturday, 7/8 - 6:45 pm - As of late Saturday afternoon, the tow of the L. E. Block to Port Colborne is off Harbor Beach.

The tow has slowed to wait for a tail-off tug to meet them outside the Bluewater Bridges. The second tug cannot be there before 8:00 am Sunday morning.

The tow should pass down the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers during daylight on Sunday.


Dangerous Move by Small Fishing Boat

7/8 - Saturday morning the H. Lee White was upbound in the Detroit River when a 17-foot aluminum fishing boat suddenly cut in front of the vessel. Witnesses report that the single occupant in the small boat was fishing a safe distance from the freighter when for unknown reasons he suddenly, with out warning, gunned his engine and cut across the bow of the White.

The fishing boat did not strike the White but the single fisherman jumped or fell over board into the Detroit River near the Ambassador Bridge.

The U.S. Mailboat J.W. Westcott responded and rescued the fisherman who was wearing a life preserver but reported he was having trouble staying afloat. The 17-foot fishing boat was still under power and running in circles. Capt. Sam Buchanan of the J.W. Westcott placed the mail boat between the circling fishing boat and the fisherman in the water to protect him. The circling fishing boat struck the Westcott, causing no damage to the mailboat or fisherman.

Westcott crews pulled the fisherman on board and returned to the Westcott dock as an ambulance was arriving.

The Detroit Fireboat Curtis Randolph departed its dock about 10 minutes after the incident and worked with the US Coast Guard fast response boat from Station Belle Isle to retrieve the fishing boat. The 17-foot fishing boat was recovered and returned to the fireboat dock.

The fisherman refused treatment by EMS crews and requested to return to Windsor. He was allowed back in his boat with US Coast Guard escort across the river. It is unknown why the fisherman made the dangerous maneuver of cutting in front of a moving freighter but thanks to the quick efforts of the professional crews near by a potential disaster was averted.


L. E. Block Leaves Escanaba

The tow departed Escanaba a shortly after midnight on Friday. At an estimated 60 hours to reach Port Huron, and could pass through the St. Clair River during daylight hours on Sunday. Up dates will be posted here.

Rusty Ore Carrier Slips Away

7/8 - Escanaba - As city residents woke up Friday morning they viewed a sight on Little Bay de Noc they haven’t seen in a number of years: open water where the L. E. Block used to be. “Good riddance” — that’s what many area residents and city officials said Thursday in anticipation of the Block being removed from Little Bay de Noc.

The L.E. Block, the rusty freighter in Little Bay de Noc, is on its way to a scrap yard after sitting idle for years on Escanaba’s north shore — a bane for many residents while an apparent attraction for some tourists, often seen stopping their cars and snapping some photos. The boat was moored behind the Daily Press building. It was still there at 10 p.m. Thursday when a newspaper employee left work, but was gone when the first staffer showed up for work at 5:30 Friday morning.

The boat is being towed to Canada where it will be scrapped, according to the Daily Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping News Web site. The L. E. Block will be scrapped by International Marine Salvage in Port Colborne, Ontario, according to the Web site The ship is being pulled by the tug Shannon, owned by Gaelic Towing Co. and commanded by Capt. John Wellington. The Block will travel through three Great Lakes beginning in Lake Michigan, traveling to Lake Huron and onward to the port in Lake Erie. According to the Web site, the tow is expected to take about 60 hours to reach Port Huron with the boat arriving in Port Colborne Tuesday, weather permitting.

“It will be a good thing if it’s gone,” said Mayor Judi Schwalbach Thursday, saying she heard the boat was being removed but did not have any confirmation. For years, the L.E. Block has been a major issue with the city. City officials received complaints from residents saying it’s an eyesore. The city has also had environmental concerns about the boat, such as its peeling paint falling into Little Bay de Noc. The dilapidated freighter, owned by Basic Marine, 440 N. 10th St., was docked on the north side of town. Dan Kobasic, owner of Basic Marine and the boat, declined to comment Thursday when the Daily Press questioned him on the boat’s removal.

“If Mr. Kobasic takes the initiative to move it, it’s a positive move on his part and we can all move forward,” said Schwalbach. Basic Marine entered into a contact with the city in 1997 to purchase the former Northern Motor Rebuilders building on 1st Avenue North for $1. As part of the agreement, Basic Marine agreed to remove the freighter. Because the boat was never moved from the site, the city of Escanaba decided in January to take legal action to remove the L.E. Block, known locally as “the boat.” The city filed a legal complaint in circuit court against Basic Marine to remove the boat or return the former Northern Motor Rebuilders building to the city. A pretrial was scheduled for June 30 and later rescheduled for Aug. 29. The trial date was set for Oct. 26-27.

When questioned Thursday about the boat being moved today, City Manager Doug Terry said, “I don’t believe it’s appropriate for me to comment at this time because we have pending litigation.”

From the Escanaba Daily Press


Soo Ontario Lock Re-opened

7/8 - Sault Ste. Marie, ON - Parks Canada Agency and the City of Sault Ste Marie are pleased to announce that the recreational lock at the Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site of Canada is back into operation after a structural failure. Parks Canada and its technical advisors have now determined that the recreational lock is 100 percent safe for public use.

A secondary system to restrict water discharge will be used. This will increase the average lockage time for all recreational lock users.

Parks Canada would like to thank all those who provided co-operation, support and offered assistance during this difficult time. They would also like to thank the public and our regular users for their patience.

Operating hours are from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. all summer until Labour Day. From Tuesday, September 5 until Sunday, October 15 the Recreational Lock will be open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

City of Sault St. Marie news release


Port Reports - July 8

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Calumet arrived Friday morning to unload at the Sargent dock in Essexville. Once finished, she turned in the Essexville turning basin and was outbound for the lake during the afternoon. She slid over at the Consumers Energy dock to let the inbound tug Cleveland & barge Cleveland Rocks to pass. The pair continued upriver to unload at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. This is the fourth straight trip for them up to Burroughs.
Finally, the Manistee was back again, this time unloading at the Wirt dock in Bay City. She was unloading there into the evening and was expected to be outbound early Saturday morning.
The tug Cleveland & Barge Cleveland Rocks departed the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee overnight and was outbound for the lake early Saturday morning. Just ahead of the pair was the Manistee who had unloaded at the Bay City Wirt dock. She turned in the basin at the West end of the Wirt dock and was also outbound early Saturday morning.

Toledo -
Federal Kivalina came in early Friday and is loading at ADM Elevators. Maumee got underway and departed at 3 p.m. She was at the Arms Dock unloading salt at the city salt pile.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski & Ken Goodman
The English River being towed up the Buffalo River stern first by the G tug Washington to the LaFarge dock at 2 p.m. Friday afternoon.
The Luedtke dredge rig #16 has been moved off the pierhead and to the North East dock face of the Cargill Pool Terminal Pier.
Paint work continues to improve the overall look of the Aquarama/Marine Star's upper works, near the bow.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The Agawa Canyon came into port very early Friday morning with a load of salt for Verplank's. It finished unloading and was on its way out of the harbor about noon.
The St. Mary's Conquest with tug Susan W. Hannah in the notch arrived while the Canyon was still unloading and squeezed into the St. Mary's Terminal Dock just in front of the Canyon. The contract has been awarded for dredging the inner harbor. The winner was Ryba Marine of Cheboygan. This will be a clamshell type of dredging with the material to be deposited on a shore site. Completion date is no later than August 30.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
It is a busy mid-morning at the Milwaukee harbor on Friday. In harbor at that time was the Federal Margaree (FedNav), which continued to load in the outer harbor at Terminal 3.
Loading at the Nidera Elevator was the Tuscarora.
The Greenfleet's Magdalena Green, which sails under the Dutch flag, was at the Heavy Lift dock in the inner harbor.
And finally, the St. Mary's Challenger was at the St. Mary's Cement terminal on the Kinnickinnic River.


Updates - July 8

News Photo Gallery updated and more News Photo Gallery updated

Soo Gathering Photo Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History : July 8

An apparent steering gear or engine failure caused the salty ORLA, built in 1999, to ground off Marysville on the St. Clair River on July 8, 2005. She was able to dislodge herself.

LOUIS R DESMARAIS (Hull#212) was launched July 8,1977, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd. for Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. Cargo hold replaced at Port Weller Drydocks Ltd., and renamed b.) CSL LAURENTIEN in 2001.

In 1918, a slip joint on the main steam line of the ANN ARBOR NO 5 let go, killing four men and badly scalding one other. The dead were: Lon Boyd, W.T. Archie Gailbraith, 1st assistant engineer Arthur R. Gilbert, coal passer William Herbert Freeman, 2nd engineer.

In 1984, the Michigan-Wisconsin Transportation Company (MWT) resumed service to Milwaukee with disappointing results.

On 8 July 1908, JAMES G BLAINE (formerly PENSAUKEE, wooden schooner-barge, 177 foot 555 gross tons, built in 1867, at Little Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin) was being towed in Lake Ontario by the tug WILLIAM G PROCTOR. Her towline broke in a storm and she was driven ashore near Oswego, New York where the waves broke her up. No lives were lost. At the time of her loss, even though she was over 40 years old, she was still fully rigged as a 3-mast schooner.

On 8 July 1863, ALMIRA (2-mast wooden scow-schooner, 85 foot, 80 tons, built in 1849, at Black River, Ohio) was dismasted and capsized in a violent squall on Lake Ontario. All hands were lost. On 27 July, the cargo of barreled fish was found by the schooner M L COLLINS. The ALMIRA was found still afloat by the schooner PETREL on 30 July. She was rebuilt and sailed until December 1871, when she foundered in the ice.

On 8 July 1920, MARY WOOLSON (3-mast wooden schooner, 179 foot, 709 gross tons, built in 1888, at Bay City, Michigan) was being towed by the wooden steamer CHARLES D BRADLEY along with the schooner-barge MIZTEC, when the BRADLEY slowed in mid-lake, causing both tows to ram her. The WOOLSON's bow was heavily damaged and she quickly sank 8 miles northeast of Sturgeon Point on Lake Huron. No lives were lost.

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


Port Reports - July 7

Sturgeon Bay - Wendell Wilke
On Thursday morning the Edward L. Ryerson was looking good with steam was coming from her stack.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Algorail arrived in the Thunder Bay River around 9:30 a.m. on July 1 to unload the first salt cargo of the season. Also tied up in the river that day was the research vessel Togue, Pride of Michigan and the schooner Appledore.
Independence Day morning brought the Alpena in to load at Lafarge. The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation pulled in next and tied up at the coal dock to wait for its turn to load under the silos.
Wednesday night the Algorail made a second trip into port with more road salt. The Algorail with its spotlights shining, carefully eased into the river and tied up at the Alpena Oil dock around 11 p.m. After midnight the Alpena returned for another cargo of cement and was outbound early Thursday morning headed for Whitefish, ON.
The tug G. L. Ostrander and barge Integrity is expected into port on Friday. The J.A.W Iglehart has returned to service, after a temporary lay-up in Muskegon.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Thursday morning on the Saginaw River saw the tug Cleveland & barge Cleveland Rocks along with the Manistee outbound for the lake. Both were delayed in Bay City by "Bridge Hours" which are in effect for rush hour vehicular traffic. The Cleveland was held up above the Liberty Bridge while the Manistee was held above the Lafayette bridge. At 8:30 a.m., both were allowed to continue outbound.

The Manistee then moved out of the channel at the Consumers Energy dock to allow the inbound Sam Laud pass. The Laud called on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City to unload. She was later outbound Thursday afternoon. This was the first visit of the season to the Saginaw River for the Laud.

For the month of June, there were 44 vessel passages on the Saginaw River, down slightly from 46 in 2005. For the year there have been 100 passages as compared to 138 in 2005. The boat with the most visits to date is the Manistee with 9. She is followed by the Buffalo and the tug Joyce L. Van Enkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader each with 8. The company with the most visits is Lower Lakes with 29. They are followed by American Steamship/Liberty Steamship with 20.

Toledo -
Cuyahoga was loading at ADM Elevators throughout the day. Fleet mate Saginaw came in at 12:30 p.m. to off-load sand at Kuhlman Corporation on the other side of the Upper Turning Basin just below the I-75 Bridge.

Fairport Harbor - Herb Hubbel
Thursday morning found the Maumee loading salt at Morton Salt.

Sandusky - Jim Spencer
The CSL Niagara loaded overnight Wednesday at the NS coal dock, as did the Algolake.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Agawa Canyon arrived in Milwaukee during the noon hour Thursday, proceeding into the inner harbor where she delivered salt to the bulk cargo dock. At the same time, Federal Margaree, Magdalena Green, Blue Moon and tug Samuel de Champlain with barge Innovation were all docked in Milwaukee.


Updates - July 7

News Photo Gallery updated

Soo Gathering Photo Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History : July 7

The BURNS HARBOR's sea trials were conducted on July 7, 1980.

JEAN PARISIEN (Hull#684) was launched July 7, 1977, at Lauzon, Quebec by Davie Shipbuilding Company Ltd. for Canada Steamship Lines. Port Weller Drydocks replaced her entire forward section and she was renamed b.) CSL ASSINIBOINE in 2005.

The DAVID Z NORTON sailed on her maiden voyage July 7, 1973, as the a.) WILLIAM R ROESCH. She sailed light from Lorain to Superior, Wisconsin where she loaded 18,828 tons of iron ore on July 9th bound for Jones & Laughlin's Cuyahoga River plant at Cleveland, Ohio.

In 1971, the CITY OF SAGINAW 31, went to Manitowoc for a thorough overhaul. While there, a fire broke out July 29, destroying her cabin deck and rendering her useless for further use. The blaze was caused by an acetylene torch, and caused over $1 million in damage.

On 7 July 1895, IDA MAY BROWN (wooden schooner, 53 foot, 20 gross tons, built 1884, at Charlevoix, Michigan) was carrying gravel when her cargo shifted in heavy weather. She capsized and later drifted to the beach near Michigan City, Indiana. Her crew was rescued by the U.S. Lifesavers.

On 7 July 1851, GALLINIPPER (wooden schooner, 95 foot, 145 tons, built in 1846, at Milwaukee on the hull of NANCY DOUSMAN) capsized and foundered in a white squall in Lake Michigan. The wreck drifted to a point about 10 miles South South East of Manitowoc where it sank.

On 7 July 1895, I MAY BROWN (wooden schooner, 53 foot, 20 gross tons, built in 1884, at Charlevoix, Michigan) was near Michigan City, Indiana with a load of gravel when her cargo shifted in heavy seas and she capsized, later drifting to the beach. Her crew was rescued by the U. S. Lifesavers.

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


Soo Ontario Recreational Lock Closed

7/6 - Sault Ste. Marie, ON - The recreational lock at the Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site of Canada is currently closed due to structural failure of the Recreational Lock water discharge system. An assessment of the damage is underway and no time frame is currently available as to when the recreational lock will re-open to maritime traffic.

Boat traffic will be unable to use the recreational lock until further notice. We wish to thank the public and our regular users for their understanding and patience at this time.

City of Sault Ste. Marie news release


New Corps Head Credits Staff for Smooth Operation

7/6 - Sault Ste. Marie, MI - New Area Engineer Al Klein settled into his new job as the head man at the Corps of Engineers' Soo Locks operation to find matters well in hand. He said the much-reduced staff at the Locks, power plants and channel maintenance units in need of relatively little direction from above. “There are so many good people around here who know this place so well,” he said.

Klein said the current staff of 94 is a far cry from the more than 400 who, not long ago, staffed the Sault Area operation. At the same time, he said the much-reduced staff has not crimped the Locks operation in a material way. “We would always like to do more, but we're making do with what we have,” he said.
“Plan for the worst, then hope it doesn't happen,” he added.

The new area engineer said some hope of change in the Corps steady reduction in the Sault Area workforce may be in the wind. He said there is some talk the 2007 fiscal year budget is a “healthy” one, but quickly added that official word has not yet trickled down to his level.

Asked the status of the few ongoing special projects at the Locks, he said work on the damaged West Center Pier is on schedule - about half finished and cooking along toward the contracted October completion date. He said the repair will resemble a nearby section of the same undermined pier completed two years ago using steel sheet piling driven into bedrock below a new concrete cap.

Planning for winter work includes the “dewatering” of the Poe Lock for the short off-season period so crews can attend to testing and pintle replacement on the north side gate at the upper end of the giant lock chamber. Planning for a new Soo Lock continues to proceed through design work at the Corps' Huntington District under existing funding to cover planning. No substantial change is apparent in funding arrangements for actual construction, however. The new lock project has been running in neutral for several years with no recent signs that actual work on the long-anticipated big lock job will be forthcoming anytime soon.

Klein said the Sault Area Office continues to rotate members of its limited staff into high priority Corps projects elsewhere. He said one staff members has rotated to the Gulf Coast at Lake Charles, La. to assist with ongoing Hurricane Katrina recovery projects there. Another has detached for a year of duty much farther afield in Iraq, he said.

If big, new engineering projects are not on the immediate horizon at the Locks, Klein said the Corps is experimenting with a small switch in the rules governing lock assignment for ships using the canal. For the next two years, vessels with maximum beams of up to 78 feet will be permitted to use the MacArthur Lock under a special dispensation agreed to by the Detroit District.

For several years, Canadian vessel operators have complained that the MacArthur does not admit vessels of more than 76 feet in beam, thus incurring delays at the Soo Locks not encountered in other locks of the same size in the Welland Canal and Seaway. A number of Canadian vessels have been rebuilt to a slightly larger version of “Seaway size” in recent years, only to find they were diverted to the larger Poe Lock because of the size creep.

Until now, the Corps resisted requests that size limits for the “Mac” Lock be increased to accommodate the new interpretation of “Seaway size,” top be met with resistance here. For decades, “Seaway size” in Great Lakes vessels was the maximum allowed by the several entities operating locks on the St. Lawrence Seaway system - 730 feet long by 75 or 76 feet wide. In recent years other authorities on the Seaway have given way on the size question to the beefed up version in fashion recently - 740 feet overall and 78 feet on the beam.)

Klein cautioned that the experimental 78-foot dispensation in the MacArthur Lock will not be a blank check for any vessel purportedly of that beam. To qualify, he said ship owners must make detailed vessel drawings available to the Corps for review and verification of a ship's actual dimensions.

Asked if the Corps has been asked to step into the ongoing sewage dumping situation downriver off Sugar Island, Klein said, “Not so far.”

An 18-year veteran of area engineer duties at the Corps Duluth Office and a native of Dollar Bay in the western Upper Peninsula, Klein said he does not plan to change his lifelong status as a Green Bay Packer fan. He said 18 years in Minnesota Viking country never changed his affiliation with the Packers and he has no plan to appear in Honolulu Blue and Silver just because the Locks lie in the Detroit Lions' territory.

From the Soo Evening News by Jack Story


State Ferry Dock to Get Facelift

7/6 - Cheboygan, MI - A dock that once served as the main terminal for transportation across the Straits of Mackinac is getting a re-fit that will benefit recreational boaters and eventually cruise ships. Construction has started on the second phase of a $9.5 million new state harbor in Mackinaw City, Michigan Department of Natural Resources officials have announced. Ryba Marine of Cheboygan was awarded a $1,599,527 contract to construct a new three-lane boat-launching facility, harbor basin dredging and various shoreline, utility and drainage improvements. Future phases of the project will develop harbor buildings and floating piers.

“Phase II of the construction of the new harbor facility at Mackinaw City includes dredging the basin area for the new harbor and boat launch, installing the boat launch and riprap along both the north and south sides of the dock to break the waves and disperse the energy,” said Mary Dettloff, DNR public information officer. The new Mackinaw State Harbor will add up to 125 transient slips and creatively redevelop the state's former car ferry dock within the city. DNR Parks and Recreation Division staff and the State Waterways Commission have reviewed surrounding existing harbors to create a slip configuration that will accommodate boaters' greatest needs.

“We will also be cleaning up the walls of the old car ferry slip and the ‘triangle' at the end of the dock where there is sheet piling,” Dettloff added. “We will be doing a dive and assessment of the east end of the dock and slips for stabilization at the end of the dock. This will determine what additional work may be needed to assure the long term viability of the State Dock. There are no plans to demolish the buildings, the long term plans are to be developed for the function of the ‘triangle,' however cruise ships will be the primary focus for this area.”

The construction is expected to be completed by December. The finished boating access site will provide an excellent location for boaters to access the waters of the Straits of Mackinac, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. “We're very excited to begin the second phase of this project,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNR Parks and Recreation Division.

The project is funded by the State Waterways Fund. The fund is derived from boaters' registration fees and marine fuel sales tax.

By Mike Fornes, The Cheboygan Daily Tribune


Hope Shines for Toledo Lighthouse Fix-up Project
Preservation group upbeat on ownership application

7/6 - Toledo - A beam of hope has been cast on the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse. The Toledo Harbor Lighthouse Preservation Society's application for ownership of the lighthouse has taken a significant step forward.

"Getting sent forward to the U.S. Department of Interior is a huge step - it's like winning the lottery or bingo," said Sandy Bihn, the society's chairman. Once the lighthouse's deed is transferred from the U.S. Coast Guard to the nonprofit organization, the society can more aggressively begin its fund-raising campaign for a lighthouse preservation and renovation project, she said. Ms. Bihn estimates that the restoration project will cost about $1 million.

The final application was submitted to the National Park Service in February and soon will be sent to Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne, according to Rebecca Kumar, an architectural historian for the park service and the lead person on this particular application. "I'm sure it will be approved," Ms. Kumar said. "We feel that financially [the society] will be able to care for it, and they submitted an excellent application." The National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000 provides a mechanism for the disposal of federally owned historic light stations.

"With the way the ships work today, they don't need lights to point them the way they need to go," said Brain Hoth, petty officer first class in the Coast Guard's external affairs department. If the Coast Guard no longer has a use for a lighthouse, it transfers the lighthouse's deed to the General Services Administration, which disposes of a few lighthouses each year.

Through this preservation act, historic lighthouses are only conveyed to entities that will use them for educational, cultural, or historical purposes. If the application is not approved, the GSA may then sell the property. The Toledo Harbor Lighthouse is the first lighthouse in Ohio to be recommended for conveyance under the act. While the society would be responsible for the building's restoration and maintenance, the Coast Guard would still maintain some control over its operation because the lighthouse is still an active aid to navigation.

The lighthouse is about seven miles off shore at the western end of Lake Erie at the entrance to Maumee Bay and the Toledo shipping channel. The 69-foot tall, 4,000-square-foot lighthouse is steel framed and has cast-iron cornices. Its steel roof is designed like the hull of an upside down ship.

"It's a wonderful example of a Romanesque-style structure," said Steven Shrake, the project manager for Dicket Porter Associates, the architectural firm that has helped formulate design plans. Under the planned renovation project, the society will replace the brick-filled windows with their original fixtures and it will paint the interior, replace doors, and update the structure's sewer, water, and electrical systems.

The first floor will house a museum; the second floor will be for education, research, and public outreach, and the third floor will focus on boater safety and emergency management. The society received a $10,000 grant on June 7 from the Lake Erie Protection Fund to build an access dock and a ramp for the lighthouse.

The society will celebrate the lighthouse's 102nd year with a festival that starts at 10 a.m. Saturday and Sunday at Maumee Bay State Park. Among the events will be sand-sculpting, photo, and clam chowder contests; magicians; a silent auction, and music. Fireworks are scheduled for 9:15 p.m. Saturday. The festival ends at 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. Boat rides around the lighthouse will cost $20.

From the Toledo Blade


Port Reports - July 6

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Ocean vessel Magdalena Green (reg. Rotterdam, Netherlands) from the Green Fleet backed into Milwaukee's inner harbor at about 7:45 AM Wednesday, assisted by G-tugs Virginia and Arkansas. She carried a deck cargo of two huge cylindrical structures described as "silos" by port authorities.
St. Marys Challenger backed downriver, turned and exited onto Lake Michigan at about 1:30 PM Wednesday.
Federal Margaree continues to load food aid cargo at terminal 3.
Large yacht Blue Moon is again docked outboard of the Lake Express in the outer harbor.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Just before sunrise on Wednesday, American Fortitude (ex - Courtney Burton) arrived at the Upper Harbor ore dock to load taconite. It was her first visit to Marquette with her new name.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
LaFarge Cement tug/barge Samuel de Champlain/Innovation approached Milwaukee from the north at about 8:00 PM Wednesday, before turning in the inner harbor mooring basin and unloading at its Jones Island silo.

Toledo -
Federal Welland completed on-loading at ADM Elevators and got underway on the fourth of July with the assistance of the Great Lakes Towing Co. tugs.
Maumee off-loaded salt at Consolidated Docks just below I-280 Craig Bridge on the Summit Street side.


Updates - July 6

News Photo Gallery updated

Soo Gathering Photo Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History : July 6

The CACOUNA's bow was damaged in a collision with the Greek tanker CAPTAIN JOHN on the fog-shrouded St. Lawrence River July 6, 1971. The CACOUNA of 1964, was repaired by replacing her bow with that of her near sistership the SILLERY which was being scrapped. Later renamed b.) LORNA P and c.) JENNIFER, she foundered 20 miles Northeast of Milwaukee, Wisconsin on December 1, 1974.

Canada Steamship Lines, ASHCROFT was used to haul ore, grain and coal only on the upper Great Lakes until July 6, 1932, when she was able to enter Lake Ontario through the newly expanded Welland Canal. On that trip ASHCROFT, loaded with grain from Fort William for Kingston, Ontario, was the largest vessel to traverse the canal to date.

The keel was laid for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co.'s, GOVERNOR MILLER (Hull#810) in 1937, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Company.

The COLUMBIA STAR set a record for the Head-Of-The-Lakes coal trade. The vessel loaded 70,903 net tons of low-sulfur coal at Superior Midwest Energy Terminal in Superior, Wisconsin, on July 6, 1997. She was renamed b.) AMERICAN CENTURY in 2006.

On 6 July 1836, YOUNG LION (2-mast, wooden schooner, 73 foot, 83 tons, built in 1830, at Buffalo, New York) was carrying railroad iron and lumber. About 12 miles from Erie, Pennsylvania, in rough weather, her seams opened and she quickly sank with just her topmasts left above the water. 3 died, but 5 managed to clamber up the masts and hold on until the schooner NEW YORK rescued them.

On 6 July 1871, CASTALIA (2-mast wooden schooner, 119 foot, 242 gross tons, built in 1847, as a brig at Sandusky, Ohio) was on her way to pick up lumber at the camp at Bying Inlet, Georgian Bay, when she came too close to Cove Island Reef and stranded in 3 feet of water. Although not badly damaged, she was about a mile from deep water. Tugs could not get to her and she was sailing light, so there was no cargo to lighten. She was stripped and abandoned. She finally broke up in a storm on 12 July 1871.

On 6 July 1871, the Detroit newspapers (Detroit Free Press and Detroit Daily Post) both published articles stating that there were rumors on the docks regarding the tug TAWAS having her boiler explode on Saginaw Bay. The rumors originated with sailors from Port Huron and proved to be unfounded. However, in a sense this rumor turned into a prediction since TAWAS did blow her boiler about three years later (14 May 1874) on Lake Huron off Rock Falls, Michigan. At that time 6 crew members perished.

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


Port Reports - July 5

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Manistee lightered at the Wirt's Essexville Sand and Stone dock early Tuesday morning before continuing upriver to finish her unload at the Bay City Wirt dock. Once finished, the Manistee turned from the dock and was outbound for the lake.

Also outbound on Tuesday were the Canadian Transfer from the Bay Aggregates dock and the tug Rebecca Lynn and her tank barge from the Bit-Mat dock.

The steamer Alpena was inbound Tuesday evening headed upriver to unload at the LaFarge dock in Carrollton. She was expected to be outbound late Wednesday morning. Also inbound Tuesday night was the tug Barbara Andrie and her tank barge. The pair called on the Triple Clean Liquifuels dock in Essexville to unload. They were expected to be outbound during the day Wednesday.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
On Tuesday evening just before 10:00 PM, steamer St. Marys Challenger could be seen approaching Milwaukee while southbound on Lake Michigan, by many of the thousands gathered for community fireworks displays in lakeshore communities. Challenger proceeded to its Kinnickinnic River terminal to deliver powdered cement.

Saltie Federal Margaree, which is painstakingly loading food aid cargo packed in bags loaded on pallets, remained at terminal 3 in the outer harbor.


Updates - July 5

News Photo Gallery updated and more News Photo Gallery up dates.

Soo Gathering Photo Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History : July 5

The PAUL H CARNAHAN was launched in 1945, as a.) HONEY HILL, a T2-SE-Al World War II Tanker, for U.S. Maritime Commission.

July 5, 1991 - Charles Conrad announced he had formed a corporation to purchase the Ludington, Michigan carferry operation from Michigan-Wisconsin Transportation Company.

JUSTIN R WHITING was launched on 5 July 1874, at Langell's yard at the mouth of the Pine River in St. Clair, Michigan. Her dimensions were 144 feet X 26 feet 2 inches X 11 feet 6 inches. Although built to be a self-powered steam barge, she was towed as a regular barge during her first season of operation.

IDA CORNING (2-mast wooden barge, 168 foot, 444 gross tons) was launched in East Saginaw, Michigan on 5 July 1881. She was built for L. P. Mason & Company of E. Saginaw. In 1858, her rig was changed to that of a 2-mast schooner. She lasted until abandoned at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin in 1928.

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


Short Sea Shipping Would Bypass Rails
Port of Hamilton looks at Port of Halifax for plan to build a Great Lakes transportation hub

7/4 - Halifax - The Port of Hamilton is considering a "short sea" shipping connection with the Port of Halifax to help build its fortunes as a Great Lakes transportation hub.

"What we are looking at is providing a service between Hamilton to Halifax and we are initially thinking of a weekly service in small ships that would provide a feeder service," says Keith Robson, president and CEO of the Hamilton Port Authority.

The service would give major shipping lines another way to move container cargo to and from Halifax to Central Canada, most of which now goes by rail.

"We are not (ready) yet. We are looking at the costs and we are talking to a number of big liner companies and getting quite a lot of interest in the potential development of this service," Mr. Robson said. "We are also looking at services, tug and barge particularly, from Montreal to Hamilton, but we think the best opportunity for us is with Halifax."

Mr. Robson said one hurdle in trying to provide a year-round service is what to do in winter when the St. Lawrence Seaway is closed.

He said one idea is to have ferries cross Lake Ontario between Hamilton and Oswego, N.Y. In winter, cargo could be transported by ship from Halifax up the Hudson River to Albany, N.Y., then trucked to Oswego and loaded onto a roll on/roll off ferry. It would be a drop-trailer service and Mr. Robson said trucking companies on both sides of the border are interested in the idea.

Although shipping by rail from Halifax to Central Canadian markets may appear to be quicker to move cargo, Mr. Robson believes a short sea service could still be competitive.

He estimates it would take about five days to move cargo from Halifax to Hamilton but he points to rail congestion in Toronto and increases in fuel costs as hindrances to other forms of transportation.

The biggest vessel that could negotiate the St. Lawrence to the Great Lakes would have capacity for about 1,050 TEUs (20-foot equivalent containers). Mr. Robson said acquiring a vessel, either through charter or having one built, is not a priority at the moment but he said whoever operates the service would need a vessel that can handle containers up to 53 feet.

The Hamilton authority wouldn’t operate the service but is building a consortium of interested people from various sectors.

Mr. Robson said there is no defined timeline for when the service will start "but I think we are getting closer. We have been working on this for a few years now. Initially I think there was a lot of skepticism but the more we move forward, as fuel costs go up and trucking companies have problems (finding) drivers" it brings short sea shipping into the realm.

"The time for the marine sector is coming."

The Port of Hamilton handles about 12-14 million tonnes of cargo a year, mainly bulk. Mr. Robson said the port is developing a container business and is looking at investing in container-handling equipment.

From the Halifax Chronicle Herald


More Boatnerd Gatherings up Coming
Make your reservations today!

July 15 - St. Clair River Boatnerd Cruise aboard the Hammond Bay
A 3-hour narrated St. Clair River cruise on board the HAMMOND BAY passing Algonac, Harsens Island, Walpole Island, Seaway Island and the St. Clair Flats. Departure at 11:00. Cost: $30.00 Can., $25.00 US. including lunch. Free parking at dock. Alcohol not permitted on board or in dock area. Maximum 40 persons. Reservations and payment by mail to Hammond Bay River Cruises, RR 1, Port Lambton, Ontario NOP 2B0, or Hammond Bay River Cruises, P.O. Box 502, Marine City, MI 48039. E-mail: Phone: 519-892-3973 Website:  VISA, Mastercard accepted.

August 12 - Boatnerd Detroit River Cruise
A 3-hour freighter chasing cruise on the lower Detroit River aboard the luxurious Friendship, driven by Capt. Sam Buchanan. Cruise leaves the Portofino's On The River restaurant, in Wyandotte, MI at 10:00 am. We'll go where the boats are. Maybe up the Rouge River, maybe down the Detroit River. Bring your camera. To make the trip even more interesting, a pizza buffet will be delivered by the mail boat J. W. Westcott. Cash bar on board. Plenty of free, safe parking at Portofino's. Click here for directions.
All this for only $25.00. Limited to the first 100 reservations. Mail your check today to: Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, Inc., 1110 South Main Street, Findlay, OH 45840-2239. Click here for Reservations Form. Checks will not be cashed until the week before the cruise. No physical tickets will be issued. Your name will be on the Boarding List.


Port Reports - July 4

Toledo -
Recently visiting Midwest Terminals of Toledo were Alouette Spirit with two McKeil tugs one was Evans McKeil.
Donald C. Hannah and two tanker barges were also there. Two Andrie tanker barges are at the Toledo Shipyard.
Federal Welland was at ADM Elevators. She was sitting high in the water and has been at the elevators two days.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder made their first visit to the Saginaw River this season, arriving early Monday morning to unload at the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. The pair were outbound around 6:30 Monday morning. They passed the inbound tug Cleveland and barge Cleveland Rocks who returning for their third straight visit to the Saginaw River.

Buffalo- Brian Wroblewski
The CSL Niagara was backed into the Bethlehem Slip and taking on coal at the Gateway Terminal in Lackawanna at 4:00 pm. Her boom was swung over to port at a near 90 degree angle.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The "Canada Dry - Festival of Fire" went of beautifully Monday night with fireworks presented by Brazil being fired from the barge Metis in Humber Bay, off Ontario Place. The Canada Day fireworks from the same barge were presented by Canada. Next up is China presenting a display starting at 10:30 p.m. Thursday, to be followed on Saturday by the finale, for which all three countries will participate. The tug Radium Yellowknife took Metis out to Humber Bay and anchored it Thursday afternoon.
The tall ship STV Unicorn (ex-True North of Toronto), arrived around 3:00 p.m. Thursday, and is still in port. It is expected to depart for the Welland Canal late Tuesday.
Nantucket Clipper was back in port Monday and gone before dawn on Tuesday.
Stephen B. Roman was also in and out. The Peter R. Creswell was in on Thursday with salt. Hamilton Energy came in and bunkered it before returning to Hamilton. The salty Woody departed Thursday with assistance from Omni St. Laurent, which came from Hamilton and returned after the job was done. Other Thursday activity saw the English River going out before daybreak.
The tour boat Galactica 001, which sank at it's moorings on Sept. 22, 2004 and was subsequently salvaged on October 8, 2004, has been sitting ashore idle near the Atlas crane on Pier 35 ever since. About two weeks ago, while the superstructure was being demolished, sparks from a cutting torch set the superstructure ablaze. The fire consumed the superstructure and the ship's interior before it could be extinguished. All that now remains is the burned out hull.

Saginaw River - Gordy Garris
The Canadian Transfer was inbound the Saginaw River early Monday evening headed for the Bay Aggrates dock in Essexville. She is the second vessel to vacate this dock today. She is expected to finish unloading and depart for the lake Tuesday morning.
Inbound not long after the Transfer, was the tug Rebecca Lynn and her tank barge A-410.
The pair were headed to the Bit-Mat dock in Essexville to unload. This dock shares the slip with the Bay Aggrates dock, so the pair will wait for the Transfer to finish unloading before backing into the slip to unload.
The Manistee was also inbound Monday night, but at the time of this report it was unknown what dock she was headed for.
The tug Cleveland and her deck barge Cleveland Rocks were unloading Monday at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee, and are expected to finish unloading and depart for the lake early Tuesday morning.
The tug Gregory J. Busch and her deck barge Primary 1 were unloading at the Saginaw Rock Products dock in Saginaw on Saturday and Sunday, and are expected to finish unloading late Monday.


Updates - July 4

News Photo Gallery updated

Soo Gathering Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History : July 4

The WILLIS B BOYER museum ship was opened to the public at Toledo, Ohio in 1987. She was built by Great Lakes Engineering Works (Hull#82) in 1912 as a.) COL JAMES M SCHOONMAKER. Renamed b.) WILLIS B BOYER in 1969.

In 1976, the SAM LAUD grounded entering Buffalo, New York. She was dry docked at Lorain, Ohio for repairs to bottom plates of No. 1, 2 and 3 port and starboard tanks.

Also on this day in 1976, the H LEE WHITE struck the Algoma Steel plant dock at the Canadian Soo resulting in damage to her stern amounting to $108,000 at the repair yard of Sturgeon Bay.

The JOSEPH S YOUNG a.) ARCHERS HOPE of 1945, was commissioned July 4, 1957. She was the first of seven T-2 tanker conversions for Great Lakes service. The YOUNG was renamed c.) H LEE WHITE in 1969 and d.) SHARON in 1974. She was crapped at Brownsville, Texas in 1986.

On July 4, 1953, the JOHN G MUNSON set a Great Lakes record for limestone by loading 21,011 tons of limestone at Calcite, Michigan. This record for limestone stood until being broken by the Canada Steamship Lines self-unloader MANITOULIN late in the 1966 season.

July 4, 1952 - The PERE MARQUETTE 18 of 1911, was laid up due to railroad strike. She was never to operate again and was scrapped at Hamilton, Ontario in 1957.

The wooden propeller freighter MAINE, owned by Northern Transportation Co., had sailed from Chicago and was on Lake Ontario on 4 July 1871, when Fireman Orsebius Kelley stoked the fire at 8:00 p.m. and went to the porter's room to get a lamp. When he returned, the boiler exploded with such force that Kelley was mortally wounded and died later. The blast also killed Engineer M. H. Downer, deckhand Joshua Kelley (the fireman's brother), Halbert Butterfield (a 13 year old passenger) and his mother. The MAINE still floated after the blast. She was repaired and put back in service. Including this boiler explosion, she had four major mishaps in her career. She sank in 1872, burned in 1898, and finally burned again in 1911.

On 4 July 1900, during her maiden voyage from St. Clair, Michigan to Cleveland, Ohio, the wooden steam barge ALFRED MITCHELL ran aground at Bar Point Light. It was claimed that the steering gear broke which rendered the boat unmanageable. Later that same day the MITCHELL was released by the wrecker SAGINAW.

About 9:00 p.m. on 4 July 1874, the steam barge W H BARNUM, with the schooner THOMAS W FERRY in tow, collided with the bark S V R WATSON near Point Pelee on Lake Erie. The WATSON sank in 28 feet of water. She was raised about two weeks later by the Coast Wrecking Company.

July 4, 1958 - The keel for the second of two new bulk freighters for Interlake Steamship Co. was laid at Great Lakes Engineering Works shipyard at River Rouge, Michigan on Wednesday morning June 25. Assigned Hull 302, the ship will be 689 feet long, 75 feet beam and 37-1/2 feet molded depth with a designed maximum cargo capacity of about 24,000 tons. H. C. Downer & Associates of Cleveland did the design work. The ship will be powered by a 6,000 shp steam turbine main engine with coal-fired boilers. Hull 302 was eventually named HERBERT C JACKSON. Interlake's other new ship, the 710-ft. flagship JOHN SHERWIN (Hull#192) at Toledo, Ohio, joined the Great Lakes bulk cargo fleet in May of this year

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


State of Michigan does job for Blue Angels Show

7/3 - Traverse City - Thirty minutes before the air show, the State of Michigan drifted 500 feet off course. And that's a problem, because the ship, used as a training vessel by the Great Lakes Maritime Academy, has one primary job during the air shows — staying put. The 224-footer acts as the show's center point, providing pilots with a visual point of reference while they execute high-speed aerial maneuvers. The former Navy ship used to hunt Russian subs, and was briefly used by the Coast Guard to intercept drug traffickers. But its weekend charge was to sit anchored in the Grand Traverse Bay at the center of the performance area, known as "the box."

The task doesn't sound all that challenging, but with winds at 17 knots and gusting to 36 knots on an overcast Saturday afternoon, it was anything but easy. The ship's anchor dragged along the bay's sandy bottom, and found itself out of position. "This ship is really touchy," said Tom Simmonds, a maritime academy cadet. "The whole ship will just act like a huge sail." As show time approached, the crew scrambled to bring the State of Michigan back into place. They didn't want to be in the wrong spot when the U.S. Navy's Blue Angels jetted over the bay. "It would an embarrassment," said Tim Dunn, an academy alumnus who piloted the vessel.

Capt. Mike Surgalski gave orders from the bridge as Simmonds and fellow cadet Ed Hadden manned the wheel and operated the thruster. As the show began, a Coast Guard helicopter and diver simulated a rescue in front of the State of Michigan, and the crew managed to wrestle the ship back into position.

"It kind of gets hectic sometimes," Hadden said afterward on deck. He and Simmonds are second-year students in the academy's four-year program, and are staying with the boat through the night. The assignment is a mix of homework and fun, Hadden said. The two are logging required sea days, but neither had seen a Blue Angels performance before.

Ear plugs are standard issue aboard the State of Michigan, where F/A-18 jets thundered directly overhead. "We're the target — they're aiming for us," said chief engineer Dave Sobolewski. And the fighter pilots did just that, scorching by low enough to elicit screams from a few of the 45 people aboard.

The sun emerged from the clouds as the show ended and the crew headed back to work, cleaning the deck, shuttling passengers off the ship and getting ready to do it all over again.


Manatra Making First Cruise of Summer

7/3 - Chicago - The Manatra, homeported in Chicago, will be departing on its first of two training cruises on Sunday, July 9, heading to South Haven, MI., and their Maritime Museum dock. The boat will be open for limited tours on Monday during the day. (Weather and time permitting).

The majority of the crew is comprised of USN Sea Cadets finishing off their 10-day on-board training cycle. Sea Cadets are young adults of High School age who have shown an interest in the Navy, USCG, Marines or Merchant Marines as a possible career path. Along with finding out what you're made of, the Sea Cadets can also help to shape our youth into good, productive citizens. Along with navigation and seamanship training, their experiences will also include exposure to USCG stations along the way to get a glimpse of how the pros operate.

Planned port visits are South Haven, Grand Haven, St. Joseph, Ludington, Manitowoc, Two Harbors and back home to Chicago's Du Sable harbor.


Port Reports - July 3

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The graffiti on the Marine Star had been painted out by early July. Some of the rust on the upper decks has also been touched up and the ship had the potential to look good again with a little more work.

Leudtke dredging equipment continues to appear in the Outer Harbor. The two dump scows that the tug Kurt Leudtke brought in last week are rafted to the North side of the Cargil Pier and Sunday their large dredge rig moored across the end of the pierhead along with a smaller tug tied up closer to the marina end of the North side of the dock. A quick Internet search revealed that the Army Corps awarded Leudtke a contract back in May for navigation dredging on the Buffalo River, City Ship Canal, and Black Rock Canal. The Kurt was no where to be seen and probably went back up the lake to go get something else and bring it here. By the looks of their growing fleet, I would say they are just about ready to get going here with the addition of a few more pieces of equipment.

Kingsville - Erich Zuschlag
Agawa Canyon was in Kingsville Ont. Sunday. She is the fourth boat into the small harbour. Earlier entries being: two visits from the Cuyahoga, the Saginaw on Friday and now the Agawa Canyon.

Owen Sound - Peter Bowers
Cuyahoga arrived with a salt load around 6 p.m. Sunday. She is expected to depart around midnight.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel & Bill Bedell
As of mid-afternoon Sunday the Daviken continued loading at Terminal 2, while the Federal Margaree continued at Terminal 3. The American Mariner was at the WE Energies dock unloading coal while the G.L. Osterlander and its barge Integrity were discharging cement at the LaFarge silo, after a minor mechanical problem was taken care of over night.

Detroit -
The Detroit Free Press reported Sunday that Detroit's fireboat, the Curtis Randolph, is back in service. The boat was taken out of service late last year as a result of Detroit's budget shortfall. The city reevaluated the decision and the fireboat was back in service for last week's fireworks show.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Cleveland & Barge Cleveland Rocks was outbound early Saturday morning after unloading overnight at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee. The only other commercial movements in the Saginaw River the past few days have been the group trips by the Navel Cadet training Vessel Grey Fox, who has been averaging about two trips per day.

Kingsville - Erich Zuschlag
The Agawa Canyon entered Kingsville Harbour late Sunday night after spending most of the day anchored in Pigeon Bay off Kingsville to ride out a sever storm that was passing through the area.


Updates - July 3

News Photo Gallery updated

Soo Gathering Photo Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History : July 3

On this day in 1943, the J H HILLMAN JR (Hull#524), the 14th of 16 Maritime ships being built for Great Lakes Service, was launched at the Great Lakes Engineering yard at Ashtabula, Ohio. After having the stern of the CANADIAN EXPLORER, ex CABOT of 1965, attached, her forward section sails today as the CANADIAN TRANSFER.

The JOHN B AIRD was christened June 3, 1983, at Thunder Bay, Ontario for Algoma Central Marine, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

The U.S. Steel's ROGER BLOUGH was moved out of the dry dock at Lorain, Ohio, on June 3, 1972.

In 1954, the CLIFFS VICTORY successfully completing her sea trials. The FRANK ARMSTRONG departed light from Ashtabula, Ohio on her maiden voyage in command of Captain H. Chesley Inches June 3, 1943, bound for Superior, Wisconsin to load iron ore.

The PATERSON entered service on June 3, 1954, with 440,000 bushels of wheat from Port Arthur, Ontario. She was scrapped at Thunder Bay, Ontario in 1985.

On 3 July 1872, the wooden steam barge MARY MILLS was launched at P. Lester's yard at Marysville, Michigan.

On 3 July 1872, GRACE DORMER (wooden propeller passenger & package freight ferry, 71 foot, 66 gross tons, built in 1868, at Buffalo, New York) had just finished loading a cargo of fish at St. James, Beaver Island, when she caught fire and burned. One life was lost. The vessel was rebuilt and lasted until she burned at the bone-yard at Grand Island, New York in 1925.

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


Port Reports - July 2

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Saturday was a busy day at the outer harbor cargo terminals in Milwaukee with three ocean vessels backed into adjacent slips. Daviken and Greenwing (reg. Limassol, Cyprus) were at the north and south sides of Terminal 2, respectively, and Federal Margaree continued at Terminal 3 loading food aid cargo.
Meanwhile, new cement barge Innovation and its tug Samuel de Champlain unloaded powdered cement at LaFarge on the inner side of Jones Island.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
On Saturday, Mesabi Miner arrived at sunrise and unloaded western coal the entire day. Michipicoten arrived in the early afternoon before a fierce thunderstorm hit the Upper Harbor.

South Chicago - Steve B.
Noon hour on a very warm Saturday found the Reserve unloading stone at Marblehead at 106th St, while the ASC vessel American Mariner was seen taking on a load of coal at KCBX south dock. Both vessels were ready to depart around 2:30 pm or so, but could not leave due to the bridge at 92nd St. being stuck in the down position due to the heat. The bridge closure was causing headaches for barge traffic and some tall pleasure craft as well.
As of 4:00 pm the situation had not changed, and conversations between the Mariner and Reserve hinted that the fire department was on the way to hose down the bridge in order to try and cool it off. Quite an interesting afternoon. The salty Gulmar was seen unloading at the Iroquois Landing facility, which is east of 92nd St.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The Manistee came into port about 7:00 pm on Friday. This vessel had a split load. It docked at the D & M dock in Grand Haven on Harbor Island next to the Board of Light and Power Sims #3 plant. At 9:00 pm there was a mechanical failure in the unloading system. As od late Saturday, they still had not finished unloading the first load. Once that is completed they will proced up river and unload the other cargo at Meekhof's dock in Ferrysburg by the railroad swing bridge.


Updates - July 2

News Photo Gallery updated

Soo Gathering Photo Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History : July 1

On this day in 1943, the nine loading docks on Lake Superior loaded a combined 567,000 tons of iron ore into the holds of waiting freighters.

At 16:00 hours on July 1, 2005, an explosion hit the Cargill elevator in Toledo, Ohio, which collapsed one of the silos and fire was found in five of the silos.

On July 1, 1940, the HARRY COULBY became the first Great Lakes vessel to load in excess of 16,000 tons of iron ore when it loaded 16,067 tons of iron ore in Ashland, Wisconsin. Renamed b.) KINSMAN ENTERPRISE in 1989. She was scrapped at Port Colborne, Ontario in 2002.

On 1 July 1927, ROBERT C WENTE (wooden, propeller, bulk freighter, 141 foot, 336 gross tons, built in 1888, at Gibraltar, Michigan) burned to a total loss in the St. Clair River. In 1911, she sank in Lake Michigan, but was raised and refurbished.

July 1, 1983 - The C&O sold its remaining 3 car ferries to Glen Bowden and George Towns. They begin operating cross-lake service between Ludington and Kewaunee under the name Michigan-Wisconsin Transportation Co. (MWT).

On 1 July 1852, CASPIAN (wooden side-wheeler, 252 foot, 921 tons, built in 1851, at Newport, Michigan) foundered a short distance off Cleveland's piers. Some of her gear and structural material were salvaged in the Spring of 1853, and the wreck was then flattened with dynamite.

July 1, 1900, the new wooden steam barge ALFRED MITCHELL started her maiden voyage from St. Clair, Michigan for Cleveland, Ohio, to load coal. She was owned by Langell & Sons.

On 1 July 1869, the wooden schooner GARROWEN was carrying coal from Cleveland to Toronto when she sprang a leak and sank in 60 feet of water about 10 miles from shore off Geneva, Ohio. The crew escaped in the yawl. She was only 19 years old and some of the crew claimed that she was scuttled as an insurance scam. However, a number of divers visited the wreck on the bottom of the Lake at the time and that claim was refuted.

On 1 July 1875, the iron carferry HURON (238 foot, 1052 gross tons, built at Point Edward, Ontario with iron plates prefabricated in Scotland) made her trial voyage between Fort Gratiot, Michigan and Point Edward, Ontario across the St. Clair River. This vessel served the Grand Trunk Railway and ran between Windsor and Detroit for over a century.

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

Today in Great Lakes History : July 2

On July 2, 1966, the SIMCOE entered service for Canada Steamship Lines. Renamed b.) ALGOSTREAM in 1994, she was scrapped at Alang, India in 1996, as c.) SIMCOE.

The railroad carferry TRANSIT was launched at Walkerville, Ontario on 2 July 1872, at the Jenkins Brothers shipyard.

Before noon, Saturday, 2 July 1870, several attempts were made to launch the barge AGNES L POTTER at Simon Langell's yard at St. Clair, Michigan. Nothing happened until 3:00 p.m. when the vessel moved about 100 feet but still was not launched. The tug VULCAN arrived at 8:00 a.m. the following day and broke the line on the first attempt to pull the vessel off the ways. A 10 inch line was obtained in Port Huron and at 2:00 p.m. a second effort only moved the barge about 4 feet. Finally , on the third attempt, the VULCAN pulled her into the water. The POTTER's dimensions were 133 feet X 27 feet X 9 feet, 279 gross tons and she was built for the iron ore trade. She was named for the daughter of the general superintendent of Ward's Iron Works of Chicago. She lasted until 1906.

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


L. E. Block Tow Update

7/1 - Sault Ste. Marie - The tow is expected to leave Escanaba on July 7th and arrive in Port Colborne on July 11th.

The tow will be pulled by the Gaelic Towing Co. tug Shannon, with Capt. John Wellington in command..

It is anticipated that the will take approximately 60 hours to reach Port Huron, weather permitting. Watch here for updates.

Pictures in the News Photo Gallery


Great Lakes Iron Ore Trade Up Slightly In April
Top Cargo Still Less Than A Full Load

7/1 - Cleveland - Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes totaled 4.9 million net tons in April, an increase of 3 percent compared to both a year ago and the month’s 5-year average.

The increase, however, could not hide the fact that the Great Lakes iron ore trade is being negatively affected by the dredging crisis. The largest iron ore cargo moved through the Soo Locks in April totaled 63,122 net tons, well below the record of 72,300 net tons set in 1997. The record cargo was set during a period of high water levels that masked the lack of adequate dredging, but Lake levels soon began to decline dramatically and have yet to fully recover. While Lake levels normally rise during the summer, light loading will continue to plague the industry until the Lakes receive their fair share of Federal dredging dollars.

The Great Lakes Maritime Task Force, a labor/management coalition promoting waterborne commerce, is working with the Great Lakes delegation in Washington to correct the imbalance in how Federal dredging dollars are appropriated.

For the year, the Lakes iron ore trade stands at 11.6 million net tons, an increase of 5.5 percent compared to the same point in 2005. The trade is 17.5 percent ahead of its 5-year average. However, it must be noted that 2003 was the worst year for iron ore shipments since 1986.

Lake Carriers’ Association represents 18 American corporations that operate 62 U.S.-Flag vessels on the Great Lakes. These vessels carry the raw materials that drive the nation’s economy: Iron ore and fluxstone for the steel industry, limestone and cement for the construction industry, coal for power generation.... Collectively, these vessels can transport as much as 125 million tons of cargo a year when high water levels offset the lack of adequate dredging of Great Lakes ports and waterways.

Lake Carriers' Association news release


Port Reports - July 1

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algorail entered the harbour at 4:30 p.m. Friday, to load at Sifto Salt. Good timing, as the crew was treated to the annual Canada Day fireworks display at the main beach at dusk.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin departed the Gateway Terminal on the Lackawanna Canal and heading for the Outer Harbor Friday evening. She has taken on coal for Hamilton and is on her way to the Welland Canal.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Tugs and barges continue to rule the Saginaw River. The tug Gregory J. Busch was inbound from the lake Friday afternoon. She passed through Bay City mid-afternoon, light tug, bound for the BMT Terminal in Carrollton. Following about 30 minutes behind was the tug Cleveland & barge Cleveland Rocks back again with another cargo for the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee. The pair expected to be finished unloading by 1am Saturday morning and outbound at that time.

The Naval Cadet Training Vessel Grey Fox was inbound Friday evening bound for Wenona Park in downtown Bay City. She will be docked there until Wednesday and open for public tours.

Kingsville - Erich Zuschlag
The Saginaw was in Kingsville Ontario Friday night unloading stone. She left around 3:00 am on Canada day.


Boatnerds Gather for Engineer's Weekend

7/1 - Sault Ste. Marie - Boatnerds, boat watchers and just plain tourists gathered in Soo Michigan for the Annual Engineer's Day on July 30.

Many Boatnerds started the weekend with a well attended, all-day picnic at Rotary Park on Mission Point on Thursday.

Friday's activities started with a group photo of the Boatnerds and the Engineer's Open House from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. The public was allowed to cross the MacArthur and Poe Locks to get a closer look at the operation and any boat traffic. The Edgar B. Speer, CSL Tadoussac, Diezeborg and Federal Elba locked through during the open house.

An added attraction was an open house at the Edison Sault. The 1/4 mile long sandstone building that houses 78 water-driven electric generator was available for tour. Many of the gathered visitors took advantage of the opportunity.

Special Soo Gathering Photo Gallery


Updates - July 1

News Photo Gallery updated

Soo Gathering Photo Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated

News Archive - August 1996 to present

Return to Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping

Comments, news, and suggestions to:

Copyright 1996 - 2004 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Due to frequent updates, this page will automatically reload every half hour