Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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* Report News

Algoma Central buys another tanker

7/31 - St. Catharines, ON - Algoma Central Corporation has exercised an option through its wholly-owned subsidiary Algoma Tankers Limited, to purchase a second double-hulled petroleum product tanker from MedMarine Group. The vessels are currently under construction in the Eregli Shipyard, Turkey.

The vessels will operate in the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Waterway and Atlantic Canada regions.

Delivery of the second ship is scheduled for April 2008 at an approximate cost, including an expected 25 percent import duty payment, of $42 million.

Including these two additions, Algoma Tankers Limited will own and manage six Canadian-flagged tanker vessels. The corporation also owns a foreign-flag tanker through a wholly owned foreign subsidiary.

Including this purchase and the purchase announced on June 15, 2007, approximately $190 million has been committed in modernizing the tanker fleet since 2002 and positioning Algoma Tankers to be our customers' first choice in marine transportation.

Algoma Central news release


Port Reports - July 31

Cheboygan - Jon Paul Michaels
The USCGC Mackinaw departed its Cheboygan moorings at 9 a.m. Sunday and headed westbound to attend the Coast Guard Festival in Grand Haven.

Port Haven - Dick Fox

The USCG Icebreaker Mackinaw came into port Monday, followed by the ice breaking tug Neah Bay. They will be here this week for the Coast Guard Festival.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
A rare visitor to port, the tug Everlast and barge Norman McLeod were in port Sunday at the McAsphalt dock. This is the first time Everlast has been here since her inaugural ceremony.
Also in and out again on Wednesday was the English River.
Algosteel continued unloading Monday at Redpath.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Monday evening at the Upper Harbor, Mesabi Miner unloaded coal.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Monday evening Algoway delivered salt to the bulk cargo dock on Jones Island in Milwaukee's inner harbor.
Ocean bulker Federal Ems was at the General Cargo piers in the outer harbor, unloading onto semi-trailers.
Nearby, saltie Isolda was backed-in at terminal 3 in the outer harbor.
USCGC Alder was docked at the Coast Guard station, just west of the Lake Express ferry.


Ship watchers weigh in on new security fencing

7/31 - St. Catharines - Intrigued by how ships glide through the Welland Canal locks with expert precision, visitors gather on the observation deck of the Welland Canals Centre at Lock 3 and poke their heads between the black iron bars to grab a good look.

But a panoramic view of the marine marvel is a bit more obstructed lately because of the new two-metre security fencing that lines the edge of the canal and the second-storey observation deck. Mandated by Transport Canada as a post-9/11 safety measure, the iron bars and new security cameras are part of a $2-million plan announced by the federal government last November to boost security at Niagara's marine facilities.

The two-metre-high bars replace the 1.3-metre chain-link fences that used to separate people from the canal below.
And come August - pending signs that direct people to the front entrance - visitors will no longer be able to slip through the parking lot side entrance for a quick in-and-out peek.

"There is no way we can regulate who is coming in as far as safety goes," said City of St. Catharines tourism manager Kim Riordon.

The majority of the $750,000 tab for the project was picked up by the federal government, with the St. Lawrence Seaway Authority kicking in $125,000 and the city contributing $26,000, she said.

With the final stages almost complete, Welland Canal ship watchers are weighing in on whether the fence is an obstruction, or necessary precaution. "It was in the way of the view," said Shane Dandy, visiting Friday from Westminster, Mass., with his wife and three kids. "But at the same time," piped in his wife, Emily Dandy, "as a mother of young children, I like the safety factor."

"They're no problem for me," said Dick Mahar, from Conventry, R.I., as he poked his camera carefully through the bars for a photo.

Riordon said she has already received a rash of letters from avid ship watchers who are peeved that the centre no longer boasts an unobstructed view of the action.

Lock 3 is not the only spot that will be under heavier security, Riordon said. There are plans to add fences at Lock 7 in Thorold and canal viewing spots in Port Colborne.

From the St. Catharines Standard


Reservations deadline is tomorrow for Boatnerd Detroit Down River Cruise

On Saturday, August 11, Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping will host a 4-hour freighter chasing cruise on the lower Detroit River, to Detroit River Light, aboard the luxurious Friendship, driven by Capt. Sam Buchanan. The cruise is similar to an Up River cruise that many Boatnerds enjoyed last year.

The cruise leaves the Portofino's On The River restaurant, in Wyandotte, MI at 10:00 am. We'll go down the Detroit River as far as the Detroit River Light, traveling on both the Livingston and Amherstburg Channels. Bring your camera.

All this for only $35.00. Limited to the first 100 reservations. We must have a minimum of 50 paid reservations no later than August 1. Price includes a box lunch. Cash bar on board. Plenty of free, safe parking at Portofino's.

Checks and reservations must be received no later than August 1, 2007. Go to the Boatnerd Gatherings page for all the details and reservation forms. Get your reservation in the mail today!


Updates - July 31

News Photo Gallery 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 7,000 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 McCormack 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 tailed history.


Two reported dead in separate accidents near Beauharnois Locks

7/30 - Montreal - It has been reported that that a sailor received fatal injuries in a conveyor belt accident aboard the Algomarine near Valleyfield, Quebec, on Friday.  Reports indicated that the crew member was shoveling in the tunnel when the belt started.

A brief article appeared in the French-language newspaper Journal de Montreal on Sunday. The investigation is under the jurisdiction of the Quebec Provincial Police.

In a separate accident near the Beauharnois Locks, a female swimmer was reported to have been sucked into the propeller of a vessel on Sunday. Traffic has been stopped in this area of the Seaway while divers search for the body.

The upbound Algontario remained in Lock 3 since noon on Sunday. Flintereems was stopped in Lock 4 since 12:34 p.m.. The saltie Lake Michigan went to anchor about 4:35 p.m. and was joined by Voyageur Independent.  Flintereems was downbound and Lake Michigan upbound. Traffic was moving again by midnight Sunday.


Port Report - July 30

Holland - Bob VandeVusse
The Wilfred Sykes returned to Holland Sunday to deliver coal to the James DeYoung power plant. It arrived around 7 a.m. and departed mid-afternoon.


Knowledgeable Mather Staff Terminated

7/30 Cleveland - All three paid staff members of the museum ship William G. Mather have been terminated by the Great Lakes Science Center (GLSC). Economic reasons were cited by the GLSC after only nine months in charge of the Mather operation. The vessel had previously been owned and operated by the Harbor Heritage Society.

The terminated employees were Mather Curator Lou Cinda Holt, Curatorial Assistant Paula Duesing, and Education Director Patrick Lang. These three people were primarily responsible for interpreting the ship and its significance to Cleveland's history.

The volunteer docent program is not expected to be changed by the terminations.

Reported by Rex Cassidy


Great Lakes Science Center faces opposition on walkway
to Steamship William G. Mather Maritime Museum

7/30 - Cleveland - The Great Lakes Science Center wants to build a 400-foot-long link to a floating museum nearby, but city planners fear it could stymie bikers and joggers in the North Coast Harbor.

The Cleveland City Planning Commission approved the idea of a $3.3 million walkway from the science center to the Steamship William G. Mather Maritime Museum. But commissioners said Friday they don't like the science center's walkway design. They want more cut-through space for those on bike and foot.

The science center acquired the Mather last fall, about a year after the retired Great Lakes freighter moved from the East Ninth Street pier to the harbor's west dock. The Mather is open seasonally. A sheltered walkway means the potential for year-round business, making the floating museum more financially viable, center President Linda Abraham-Silver told the commission. The center is planning millions of dollars in new exhibits. Aboard the Mather, ideas include simulating a sea storm and animating the engine room, Abraham-Silver said.

Within the walkway, a 100-foot section with three bays would feature movable windows and doors, allowing foot and bike traffic to move through, architects for the science center said. The walkway would be enclosed during the winter, except for a permanent, 5-foot-wide cut-through.

City planners said the cut-through was way too small. The science center considered a raised walkway, but it would be expensive and block views in the harbor. Planning commission members agreed the science center needs a better design before it gets final approval for the project.

"You're creating a 400-foot glass wall" for bikers and joggers, Marty Cader, the city's bikeway planner, told science center officials.
From the Cleveland Plain Dealer


Updates - July 30

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History : July 30

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Port Reports - July 29

Goderich - Jacob Smith & Dale Baechler
On Friday night the James Norris was at Sifto Salt mine.
Algoma's Algoway was loading at Sifto on Saturday morning.

Ontonagon - Rod Burdick
On Saturday, John G. Munson delivered coal to the Smurfit-Stone Container Co. on the Ontonagon River. She was drawing only 18 feet of water forward.

Toronto - Clive Reddin & Charlie Gibbons
The saltie Beluga Formation departed late Saturday night for the Welland Canal. The saltie Apollon departed Redpath Sugar early this morning bound down the lake. The Tate & Lyle signs on the Redpath building were removed last week, as ownership of the sugar firm has changed hands.
Stephen B. Roman was also in port on Saturday. Algosteel arrived in Toronto harbour at 12:30 p.m. Saturday. She moored at the south end of the Redpath refinery without the assistance of any tugs.

Alpena & Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Alpena returned to port during the early evening hours of a beautiful Saturday.
The H. Lee White was loading at Stoneport on Saturday. Also due before midnight was the tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Tugs and barges have been the plentiful this week on the Saginaw River. The tug Rebecca Lynn and her tank barge were inbound, calling on the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City on Thursday.
On Friday the tug Karen Andrie and her tank barge called on the SEM Materials dock in Essexville.
Also inbound on Friday was the Indiana Harbor who unloaded coal at the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville.
Saturday saw the arrival of the tug Donald C. Hannah and her tank barge. The pair called on the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The canal schooner/barge Lois McClure was tied up at the Visiting Ship's Dock along the Erie Basin on the weekend of the 28th and 29th. Her assist tug C. L. Churchill was made up on the hip alongside her Starboard Quarter. She is a mid-1800's style canal freighter similar to those seen around Buffalo Harbor in olden times. The McClure's design was considered a "Hybrid" of sorts since she could be pulled by mule, pushed by a tug, or operate under sail power depending on whatever waterway she was navigating through. The McClure has an interesting set of ship handling equipment aboard including a retractable Keelson built into the hull and a rope and tackle type steering gear. Although small, the boat makes for an interesting visit since she's loaded with historic information to learn about and well worth stopping by to see. The boat's hull form looks similar to what we know today as a Great Lakes Freighter. Her rounded bow and long lines were made for maximum cargo efficiency in the lock chambers of the day. More modern laker boats and barges still follow this same design philosophy and the overall shape between then and now is very similar. The Firetug Cotter was moored nearby and also open for tours. Hours of operation were 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. More information is available at: for info on the McClure and


Updates - July 29

News 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 downbound 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 tailed history.


Mackinaw Bridge closes for fireworks, parades during celebration

7/28 - Mackinaw City - Last minute details in place, the Mackinac Bridge Authority is ready for Saturday's re-dedication events to observe the 50th anniversary of the Mighty Mac.

The celebration will involve parades in St. Ignace, across the bridge and in Mackinaw City and a fireworks display that will take place simultaneously from both sides of the bridge and from Mackinac Island.

The Bridge Authority has announced temporary closures of the bridge to occur during two segments of the festivities - the parade and the fireworks - both on Saturday. Northbound lanes will be closed from approximately 11:45 a.m. until 11:55 a.m. and southbound lanes will be closed from approximately 11:50 a.m. until noon for the special parade crossing, to feature 50 vintage automobiles representing the 50 years that the bridge has been open.

In addition, all lanes will be closed from 10:20 p.m. until 11 p.m. for the fireworks display. If necessary, emergency vehicles will be able to cross during the closures, a bridge official said. During the fireworks, many entities will work to afford visitors the best possible views of the fireworks.

Round-trip shuttle bus service will be provided from the St. Ignace Convention Center at Little Bear East Arena to Bridge View Park between 11:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Saturday for a $2 fee. All three ferryboat lines will offer runs to coincide with the fireworks displays, departing from Mackinaw City, St. Ignace and Mackinac Island. Colonial Michilimackinac will open to visitors who want to see the fireworks from outside the fort for $3.

Police agencies on both sides of the Straits of Mackinac are bracing for crowds predicted to exceed the July 4 celebration and the St. Ignace Antique Auto Show rolled into one event.

Mackinac Bridge Authority officials also have reminded pilots of strict Federal Aviation Administration rules regarding flights near Mackinac Bridge, prohibiting aircraft from flying under or within 500 feet of the five-mile span. Because of two recent incidents, bridge officials are concerned that others may attempt similar flights in the near future.

“The safety of our crews and the motorists are of the utmost importance at all times,” said Operations Supervisor Dean Steiner. “We go to great lengths to protect the bridge and inform the traveling public that it is completely safe to cross the bridge. In this case, we want to raise awareness to eliminate any aircraft activity in close proximity of the bridge.”

Bridge Authority officials are working closely with the FAA in investigating the recent incidents. Maximum penalties are possible for flying within 500 feet of the structure or under it.

By Mike Fornes for the Cheboygan Daily Tribune


Port Reports - July 28

Hamilton - Gerry O.
Evans McKeil departed Rochester this afternoon for Hamilton to drydock Metis at Heddle Marine Services, for inspection and any necessary repairs. They are expected to return to service in a week's time.

Soo - Jerry Masson
Friday's upbound traffic included Lee A. Tregurtha, Presque Isle, John G. Munson, American Victory, tug Sandra Mary & barges, John B. Aird and American Republic.
Downbound were Spruceglen, CSL Tadoussac, Algolake, Algoisle, Edwin H. Gott, Herbert C. Jackson, Indiana Harbor, Stewart J. Cort and Canadian Miner.

Manitowoc - Charlie
The Saginaw returned to Manitowoc Friday, unloading at Budweiser's grain elevator. She'll be leaving sometime Saturday.


Funds in place for Rochester dredging, pier work
$1.6M secured for clogged river channel at port, other problems.

7/28 - Rochester, NY - Money is on the way for repairs to the pier adjacent to Ontario Beach Park and for extensive dredging of the silt-filled river channel at the Port of Rochester. But the work won't be done until next summer, officials said.

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D-Fairport, announced Thursday that $1.6 million in federal funds had been secured for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Most of the money will go toward dredging, funding a more extensive operation than previously planned.

"The Rochester waterfront is an enormous regional asset," Slaughter, chairwoman of the House Rules Committee, said in a statement. "Maintaining this infrastructure is critical whether you fish, boat, visit the summer festivals, enjoy the park concerts or just walk the pier."

The Corps last dredged the Genesee River channel near Lake Ontario in 2004. A recent survey found the water depths had decreased as much as 3 feet in the past year. Shallow waters caused the Stephen B. Roman, a cement boat and the only freighter still in operation on the river, to run aground in March.

Meanwhile, concrete spalling and broken cables along the west pier at the river's mouth have raised concern from Mayor Robert Duffy and others in recent months. Corps spokesman Bruce Sanders said the pier is not meant as a pedestrian attraction but there are no plans to close it, pending repairs.

Money for the port area will come out of the fiscal year 2008 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill, passed by the House earlier this month. Last month, Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., announced $10,000 to monitor and track the number of recreational visitors to the west pier.

Reported by Tom Brewer from the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle


Cleveland-Cliffs posts record second quarter

7/28 - Duluth - Improved iron ore pellet pricing and sales helped Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. reach a record $547.6 million in revenue in the second quarter.

It was another impressive quarter for the iron ore supplier that holds ownership and manages three iron ore mines in Minnesota and two in Michigan. Last year, Cleveland-Cliffs recorded $486.2 million in revenue during the second quarter.

“In addition to delivering solid results in the quarter, we continued to increase our presence as a global mining company with a definitive agreement to acquire PinnOak Resources LLC, including its three metallurgical coal mines, as well as an agreement with QCoal for a 45 percent economic interest in the Sonoma Coal Project in Australia,” said Joseph Carrabba, Cleveland-Cliffs’ chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Our North American franchise remains a strong core for the business as we continue to execute our strategy to diversify products and Cliffs’ geographical reach.”

The company also holds majority ownership in an Australian iron ore operation.

Sales of iron ore pellets in North America during the quarter were 5.4 million tons, an 11 percent increase compared to 4.9 million tons in the second quarter of 2006. North American revenues were up 10 percent to $359.8 million, compared with $327.9 million last year. Sales margins were up 3 percent to $104.4 million. Iron ore pellet production at Cliffs’ North American plants was 9.5 million tons in the quarter. Last year, second quarter production was 8.6 million tons.

The Tilden Mine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula topped all Cliffs’ mines in the quarter with 2.3 million tons of iron ore pellets. Hibbing Taconite produced 2.1 million tons; Northshore Mining Co., 1.3 million tons; and United Taconite, 1.4 million tons. Construction is under way at Northshore Mining Co. in Silver Bay to restart an idled pellet furnace. Beginning in 2008, the additional furnace would boost production by 800,000 tons annually.

Company officials say its North American mines are projected to run near or at capacity through 2007, producing about 35 million tons of iron ore pellets.

Strong domestic demand, continued consolidation within the U.S. steel industry and growth in Asian steel production are forecast, which would be favorable for Cleveland-Cliffs, Carrabba said. Operating revenue for the second quarter slipped to $115.9 million, compared with $116.4 million in 2006, primarily because of additional expenses for current and future growth.

Reported by Al Miller from the Duluth News Tribune


Updates - July 28

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History : July 28

ALGOWEST passed Detroit downbound 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 tailed history.


Brig Niagara to visit Toledo to benefit S. S. Willis B. Boyer

7/27 - Toledo - The U.S. Brig Niagara will be sailing into Toledo, under full sail (weather permitting), on Friday, July 27, at approximately 4 p.m. and mooring at International Park. Along with the arrival of the Niagara there will be a yacht parade, an exchange of gun salutes with Fort Meigs cannoneers, and an official welcome at dockside.

The Niagara will be open for tours Saturday, July 28th from 9:00 am-4:45 pm with the gangway closing at 4:15 pm, and also on Sunday, July 29th from 9:30 pm-5:30 pm with the gangway closing at 5:00 pm. The Museum Ship Willis B. Boyer will also be open for tours both days.

Cost to tour the Niagara for adults and children over 12 is $6, children under 12 $5, and children 5 and under are free when accompanied by an adult. To tour the Boyer the same day, add $3.

Also in Saturday there will be a concert on the deck of the Boyer starting at 8:00 pm, featuring the Toledo Concert Band. The program includes Stars and Stripes Forever and other patriotic favorites. The concert ends at sunset with a Naval Ceremony of Colors.

The Brig Niagara will depart Toledo, Sunday evening or Monday morning.

Proceeds will benefit the S.S. Willis B. Boyer Museum Ship.

S. S. Boyer news release


Port Reports - July 27

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The St. Mary's Conquest and tug Susan W. Hannaharrived overnight Wednesday with a load of cement for the St. Mary's Cement Terminal in Ferrysburg.

Soo - Jerry Masson
Upbound traffic on Thursday included Algosar, Burns Harbor, Tug Mike J, American Courage, Drummond Islander II & barge, and Herbert C Jackson from Algoma.
Downbound was Saginaw, Sailing ship Nina, Frontenac, Buffalo, and Michipicoten.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
On Wednesday the Paul R. Tregurtha made one of her uncommon visits to the Upper Harbor. She unloaded western coal from Superior and departed around 5 p.m. headed back to Superior.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The John J Boland departed Lackawanna and was upbound on the lake at 8 p.m. Thursday

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Late Wednesday night the salty Beluga Formation arrived in port with wind turbine parts. She was unloading Thursday at Pier 52 south.

Kingsville - Eric Zuschlag
The Mississagi paid a late night visit Thursday to the small harbour town of Kingsville Ontario. She was unloading gravel.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
The DMIR/CN ore dock in Duluth was busy Thursday as it loaded Great Lakes Trader and Charles M. Beeghly at the same time.
After the GLT left in early afternoon, the James R. Barker slid into the dock to load.
On Friday morning, the Twin Ports were busy with Vancouverborg at General Mills elevator in Duluth, BBC Plata loading at the CHS gallery in Superior, CSL Assiniboine at Midwest Energy Terminal and Adam E. Cornelius loading at General Mills S elevator in Superior.


CCGS Amundsen departs on a 15-month scientific mission

7/27 - Quebec City - The Canadian Research Icebreaker Amundsen departed Quebec City Coast Guard base on Thursday for a 15 months scientific mission in the high Canadian Arctic including the Northwest Passage.

Jointly with ArcticNet, a scientific network of universities headed by Dr Louis Fortier of Universite Laval in Quebec City, as many as 400 researchers will, at different times, study mainly the effects of global warming in the Arctic including wildlife, marine navigation, weather, the Innuit population, ect.

For short periods, school children from fourteen countries will board the ship to witness the work performed.

The CCGS Amundsen is crewed by a compliment of 40 crew members. Crew changes will take place in the High Arctic by plane. The ship will spend the next winter in Arctic waters.

Two Captains will share the command of the Amundsen at different times one of which will be Captain Lise Marchand, the first women to command a Canadian Icebreaker in the Arctic. The other Captain is Stephane Julien. Captain Marchand was in command of the Amundsen on departure.

Other interesting stats....Once the mission completed, the Amundsen will have sailed 50,000 kilometers, used 50 tons of food and served 120,000 meals.

Reported by Frederick Frechette


Updates - July 27

News 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 tailed history.


Box detonated contained depth measurement device

7/26 - Toledo - The box that caused stoppage of trains, boats, and street traffic and evacuation of homes in the area of Norfolk Southern railroad bridge over the Maumee River near downtown Toledo last night contained a depth measurement device, police said.

Authorities yesterday blew up a box found on a Norfolk Southern railroad bridge over the Maumee River near downtown Toledo. The box has to do with the dredging of the Maumee River near the downtown, Sgt. Charles Nearhood, of the Toledo police bomb squad, said.

The box, about 2 feet by 1 foot, was chained to a bridge pier and had wires that dropped about 20 feet into the water, Toledo Police Lt. George Kral said.

After detonating the device and determining it to be harmless, authorities surmised it was a research tool to measure the temperature and depth of the Maumee River. But they didn't know to whom it belonged.

"A blue box chained to a railroad bridge in the middle of the water just didn't look like it was supposed to be there," Lieutenant Kral said.

Before anyone else places any other devices near a railroad bridge, "it would probably be a wise idea to notify the railroad," agreed Scott Wilson, an FBI spokesman.

About 10 people were evacuated from the Starboard Side condominiums for about an hour. The railroad was closed for nearly four hours, delaying at least three trains, while the river was closed to boats for about three hours. Miami Street was closed for about 30 minutes.

Along with Toledo police and the FBI, the Northwest Ohio Bomb Squad and the U.S. Coast Guard went to the scene.

From the Toledo Blade


Port Reports - July 26

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Canadian Transfer backed into the harbour on Wednesday afternoon and loaded at the Sifto Salt dock. She was on the dock and loading at 2:30 p.m.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Wednesday at the Upper Harbor ore dock, American Mariner loaded taconite. Once a regular visitor, the trip was her first to Marquette in 2007.

Holland - Bob VandeVusse
The Wilfred Sykes arrived in Holland at about 7 a.m. on Wednesday and proceeded to the Brewer dock with a load of stone. It completed the unload and departed at about noon.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived in port Tuesday evening to load under the silos at Lafarge.
On Wednesday the Alpena came in at about 1:30 p.m. It loaded cement for Green Bay, WI. The Alpena was out bound in the bay at 5 p.m. and passed the St. Mary's Challenger that was heading in.
The St. Mary's Challenger made the Lafarge dock around 6:30 p.m. and proceeded to take on cargo under the silos. The Challenger is a rare visitor to the area.
The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation is expected in on Thursday morning, after the Challenger departs.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Spirit of Nantucket was in on Monday and spent the night. She departed Tuesday afternoon.
Tuesday night saw the arrival of the salty Apollon at Redpath Sugar, assisted by the Groupe Ocean tugs from Hamilton. It is the first time this salty has visited Toronto. Wednesday afternoon Hamilton Energy came in and bunkered her for a couple of hours before returning to Hamilton.
Also in port early Wednesday morning is the Toronto based tug M. R. Kane, back from the Aquarama delivery to Trois Rivieres.


Tug crew rescues dog

7/26 - Toronto - On Monday morning, the crew of the Toronto Port Authority's tug William Rest rescued Jewel, a golden retriever, from the Eastern Gap in Toronto.

Jewel swam away from her owners at Cherry Beach and proceeded into the busy Eastern Gap, the main shipping channel into Toronto Harbour.

While it appeared she was on a collision course with the tug, which was pushing a barge in the opposite direction, both manged to avoid each other. Jewel continued on her swim but fortunately the crew of the tug spotted her and turned around to attempt to rescue her.

After skillfully maneuvering the tug and barge, the crew managed to pull her aboard. She was put ashore and delivered to her grateful and very relieved owners who will be extra careful next time she goes swimming at Cherry Beach.

Reported by Bill Bird


Regulation proposed to close Ontario's coal-fired power plants

7/26 - Toronto - The current provincial government of Ontario has proposed a new regulation that would force the closure of Ontario's four coal-fired power plants by the end of 2014.

Two of those plants - the Nanticoke and Lambton generating stations - are two large customers of the Great Lakes shipping industry. Both Canadian and U.S. flag lakers move coal to these two plants.

The proposed regulation is open to public comment until August 11, 2007.

Additional information is available at the following website:  Enter the number 010-0945 in the search box.


Updates - July 26

News Photo Gallery updated

Special 2007 Boatnerd Trip Raffle Winners gallery updated

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 tailed history.


Coast Guard rescues woman from sailing vessel

7/25 - Charlevoix, Mi - The Coast Guard evacuated a woman with a broken wrist from a sailing vessel near Grays Reef at approximately 11:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The 43-year-old woman broke her wrist while moving about the deck of a 45-foot sailing vessel.

She was rescued by a 25-foot response boat from Station Charlevoix and transferred to awaiting Emergency Medical Services on shore.

She was taken to Northern Michigan Hospital and was listed in stable condition.

USCG News Release


Port Reports - July 25

Soo - Jerry Masson
Tuesdays upbound traffic included Algoisle, Joyce L VanEnkevort, Algolake, BBC Plata, CSL Tadoussac, Michipicoten, American Mariner, James R Barker, American Fortitude, Edwin H Gott, Stewart J Cort, and Atlantic Huron.
Downbound were H. Lee White, USCGC Alder, Reliance, Kaye E Barker, American Victory, Beluga Constitution and Alpena.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
The tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 spent Tuesday delivering riprap stone for use in dock construction in Milwaukee's outer harbor, just outboard of the Lake Express ferry and the Coast Guard station.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore & barge Lewis J. Kuber were in bound the Saginaw River on Friday with a split load. After lightering at the Essexville Sargent dock, the pair continued up river to the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee to finish. They were out bound early on Saturday.
The tug Shenandoah was also in bound stopping at the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City. There, she picked up a barge left by the Great Lakes Dock & Materials company after the Sixth Street turning basin project last season and then headed out for the lake.
On Saturday morning, the Lee A. Tregurtha called on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville to unload coal. The Lee A. Tregurtha backed away from the dock Saturday afternoon, turning at Light 12 and heading for the lake.
The Calumet was also in bound calling on the Buena Vista dock in Saginaw. She was out bound early Sunday morning.
In bound early Sunday morning was the Indiana Harbor, who called on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville with another load of coal. She backed from the dock and was out bound for Light 12 later in the day.
Monday morning saw the CSL Tadoussac call on the Essroc Dock in Essexville. Toward the end of her unload, she shifted forward on the dock to allow the in bound Olive Moore/Lewis Kuber to have enough room to back into the Bay Aggregates slip directly across the river from Essroc. Both vessels completed their unloads and were out bound for the lake later on Monday.
Finally, the James Norris made her first visit of 2007 to the Saginaw River. She called on the GM dock in Saginaw on Monday and was out bound for the lake early Tuesday.

Sarnia - Henry Gorton
The CSL Assiniboine left Sarnia around 8 p.m. Tuesday after completing repairs to her bow thruster. She was heading to Superior to load coal for New Brunswick.


Updates - July 25

News Photo Gallery updated

Special 2007 Boatnerd Trip Raffle Winners gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History : July 25

July 25, 1991 - The sixteen-man crew of the ocean-going tug PACIFIC TIDE NO 3 were arrested at Montreal on charges of smuggling drugs. The tug had arrived from the Philippines to tow the damaged Spanish vessel MILANOS to Spain.

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 upbound 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, Lake Huron Lore Society, 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

Sarnia - Henry Gorton
The CSL Assiniboine pulled into the north slip on Monday afternoon for repairs to her bow thruster. Repairs are expected to take 24-36 hours.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The Wilfred Sykes came in stern first at 8 a.m. Sunday morning. It sounded the traditional salute as it crossed the pier heads. It unloaded and was gone by mid afternoon.

Soo - Jerry Masson
Mondays upbound traffic included Frontenac, American Valor, Saginaw from Algoma, tug LaComo and barge and the tug Sandra Mary and barge.
Downbound were the American Century, Lee A. Tregurtha, Canadian Progress, Philip R Clarke, Joseph H Thompson, American Integrity, Mesabi Miner and USCGC Alder.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algomarine arrived early Monday morning and loaded at the Sifto Salt dock.
The tug Donald C. Hannah and barge Robert F. Deegan departed Monday morning after discharging a load of calcium at the new harbour dock. She had arrived Sunday at noon.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Monday evening at the Upper Harbor the H. Lee White loaded ore and Kaye E. Barker arrived to unload coal.

Britt - Fred Holmes
The Algosar left Britt, Ontario Tuesday morning clearing the junction at 7:15 a.m. Compared to prior years she appeared to be drawing 18-feet, about 3-feet less due to lowering water levels.


Great Lakes Shipyard Delivers Bridge Pontoon

7/24 - Cleveland - Great Lakes Shipyard, a division of The Great Lakes Group, announced today that it had fabricated and delivered a "bridge pontoon" to New York New Jersey Rail LLC (“NYNJR”), New York City’s only rail car float business serving the New York-New Jersey Region.

The bridge pontoon is a unique maritime rail component of New York New Jersey Rail’s infrastructure rehabilitation program, and acts as a floatation chamber to support an active rail bridge located on the Brooklyn, New York waterfront.

The bridge pontoon was constructed at Great Lakes Shipyard’s new state-of-the-art facilities on the South Bank of the Old River Channel in two (2) modules and was transported by truck to the Cleveland-Cuyahoga Port Authority docks where it was loaded onto a train for delivery to Brooklyn, NY.

NYNJR is part of the national transportation rail system and moves rail freight by rail barge across NY Harbor between Brooklyn, New York and Jersey City, New Jersey. NYNJR carries a wide range of goods to include Food & Consumer goods, Recyclables, Building Materials, Scrap, Brick, Lumber, Plastic, and Large Steel Beams.

As part of an infrastructure rehabilitation program, NYNJR selected Great Lakes Shipyard to construct the "bridge pontoon”. NYNJR Managing Director James Cornell said “After a thorough source selection process, only Great Lakes Shipyard, a new state-of-the art fabrication facility, was able to manufacture and deliver this critical replacement for our infrastructure in record time and to our satisfaction. We look forward to the new floatation chambers deployment and sea-trials to test the durability of this design. One of our top priorities has been the rehabilitation of this important and unique marine rail route and increase the reliability and safety of our operation for our trans-harbor railcar freight operations in the Ports of New York and New Jersey.”

The Great Lakes Group of transportation companies have been in Cleveland since the turn of the 19th century. Recently, the Cleveland-based Company decided to build a new fabrication and repair facility for the construction of unique custom-designed sectional and truckable barge units such as the bridge pontoon, and for tugboat construction.

Great Lakes Group news release


Updates - July 24

News Photo Gallery updated

Special 2007 Boatnerd Trip Raffle Winners gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


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 tailed history.


Port Reports - July 23

Milwaukee - John N. & Leah K. Vogel and Paul Erspamer
Late Sunday morning the Voyageur Independent (Voyageur Marine Transport, Ltd., Ridgeville, Ontario) was loading at the Nidera Elevator.
The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were unloading at the LaFarge elevator.
The BBC Plata continued to unload windmill gearbox assemblies in the outer harbor at General Cargo Pier #2, .
Innovation and its tug Samuel de Champlain unloaded at the LaFarge terminal on Jones Island in Milwaukee's inner harbor on Sunday.
Sunday evening at about 10 p.m. the St. Marys Challenger passed the Milwaukee main entrance light (watched by thousands awaiting fireworks over the harbor) proceeding upriver to its silo on Kinnickinnic Avenue.
John J. Boland delivered coal at the WE Energies dock at Greenfield Avenue in Milwaukee's inner harbor Monday morning.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The tug Karen Andrie and barge A-397 departed Buffalo and were on their way up the lake at 9 a.m. Sunday morning.
The Spirit of Nantucket (Ex-Nantucket Clipper) had departed by 9 a.m. Sunday morning.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Slow weekend in Toronto. The border patrol vessel Simmonds was out and in again Sunday afternoon.

Marquette - Rod Burdick & Lee Rowe
Sunday evening at the Upper Harbor ore dock, Lee A. Tregurtha and Saginaw arrived to load taconite. The Lee A. carried the Boatnerds who won the raffle trip. They reported that they are having the time of their lives.

Alpena/Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Alpena was in port on Friday loading for Superior, WI. It was seen heading out onto the horizon after 10 p.m., while another vessel looked to be coming in, possibly the Buffalo with coal for Lafarge.
At Stoneport on Saturday the American Fortitude, which is not a common visitor took on cargo at the dock.
Sunday morning brought the Algoway in to load, followed by the Calumet later in the evening. The Calumet approached the dock,   then turned around to back in, and begin loading once secured.


An interactive historical replica offers look back at Erie Canal days

7/23 - Medina, NY — Hundreds of people took an up-close look at a white and green 88-foot time machine along the Erie Canal on Saturday.

The Lois McClure, a replica of an 1862 canal schooner, will be open for public tours at several canal sites in Western New York through Aug. 1. In what’s being called the “Grand Canal Journey,” the boat is part of an effort by officials from the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, the New York Canal Corporation and the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum to inspire tourism and economic revitalization in canal communities.

The McClure arrived in the area Friday evening towed into Medina’s port by two mules, as vessels had been in the canal’s early days. “This is literally a time machine. . .,” said John C. Callaghan, of the state Canal Corp. “[Visitors are] stepping back into history.” The replica was built by the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum based on sketches of a wrecked ship that still sits at the bottom of Lake Champlain, Callaghan said.

The ship made its first public stop in Seneca Falls, and will travel over 1,000 miles before its trip is done, he said. The ship’s captain, Roger Taylor, said he’s got an exciting yet easy job. “There’s not much navigation, just follow the road,” he said. Taylor, a native of Maine and a veteran of the U.S. Navy who lives with his wife on a canal boat in Europe, said the design of the boat itself was a rarity even in its own time.

Fashioned for traveling the canal, the McClure also has masts and sails that allow it to navigate other bodies of water, including the Hudson River, the Finger Lakes and Lake Champlain. The boat becomes a sailing rig when it needs to, according to Taylor. “It’s a convertible,” he said.

Lori Duell, project manager for the Lois McClure 2007 Voyage, said the cultural-based events surrounding the ship are aimed at raising awareness about canal resources. Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor is one of 37 national heritage areas and can be a catalyst for economic revitalization if communities combine their enthusiasm with an entrepreneurial spirit, Duell said.
Medina residents Ed and Beth Matthews toured the boat Saturday afternoon. Ed Matthews said he brings family and friends down around the canal because it’s a place to go that provides various recreational opportunities. “We’ve been looking forward to the clipper coming in here,” he said.

John Mooney, also a Medina resident, said he believes events based on the canal’s history can interest visitors and be used by communities to perk up their tourism industry. “It’s boats like this that will sort of refresh people on the canal,” Mooney said.
The Lois McClure can be viewed from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today in Medina before it moves on to other sites in Western New York along the canal in the coming days. The vessel is scheduled to dock at these ports of call: Lockport: Tuesday and Wednesday, Buffalo: Saturday and July 29, Cities of Tonawanda and North Tonawanda: July 31 and Aug. 1

From the Buffalo News


Owen Sound Russel Brothers Tugboat Festival planned for July 28-29

7/23 - Owen Sound - The Russel Tugboat Festival is less than a week away.

The fest is open to any steel-hulled boats, but the idea want to have as many Owen Sound built "Russels" as possible. For more information and to register visit


Updates - July 23

News Photo Gallery updated

Special 2007 Boatnerd Trip Raffle Winners gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


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.

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 tailed history.


Port Reports - July 22

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
On Saturday St. Mary's Challenger was delivering cement at its terminal up the Kinnickinnic River.
In Milwaukee's inner harbor, Voyageur Independent continued loading at Nidera.
BBC Plata is still unloading at terminal #2 in the outer harbor.
Maumee approached and entered the Milwaukee main breakwater entrance at about 7 p.m. Saturday. She proceeded upriver and docked at the bulk cargo dock on Jones Island where it deposited a load of salt.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
At the Upper Harbor, Herbert C. Jackson loaded ore Saturday afternoon. During her load the Charles M. Beeghly arrived to load ore after a lengthy coal unload at Algoma Steel in the Soo.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Nantucket Clipper was docked at the Erie Basin Visiting Ship's dock Saturday evening.
The tug Gregory J Busch and barge STC 2004 were tied up at the old Republic Steel Ore Dock Sunday evening. The entire property was previously filled with Blast furnaces, Open Hearths, Basic Oxygen Plants, Rolling Mills, Ore Docks, boat unloaders and train tracks The land that the mill stood on is completely stripped of all steel plant related structures and totally barren except for the dock facing along the riverfront. The windmill parts are being stored in the open grass fields that now occupy the site.


BBC Scandinavia to move train off Ogdensburg Dock

7/22 - Ogdensburg, NY - The BBC Scandinavia was scheduled Saturday to hoist a 200-ton locomotive from the dock of the Port of Ogdensburg.

Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority Executive Director Wade A. Davis said the lift should proceed in the early afternoon depending on weather conditions.

The locomotive owned by the Quebec Cartier Mining Company is bound for Port Cartier, Quebec with final destination of New Brunswick. OBPA and Quebec Cartier Mining spent Friday preparing the locomotive for transport.

The BBC Scandinavia has two cranes aboard to hoist the locomotive onto the dock.

Reported by Kathy Kelly from the Watertown Daily News


Updates - July 22

News Photo Gallery 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 tailed history.


Port Reports - July 21

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Friday morning at the Upper Harbor ore dock the tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder loaded taconite. The pair had not been in Marquette since early Spring.

Marinette - Dick Lund
The Voorneborg arrived in Menominee with a load of wood pulp for a local warehouse on Friday.
Also, Marinette Marine side-launched the new Vane Bros. tug into the Menominee River around 11:15 a.m. on Friday.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The tug Gregory J Busch and barge STC 2004 were heading into the Buffalo River with windmill turbine bases at 6:30 a.m. Friday morning for the Republic Steel dock. The tug and barge docked in an unusual location Friday afternoon. She was literally tied up to a tree at the foot of Smith St. on the Buffalo River. The barge had 3 lines out, two on the small little dock landing that sticks out into the river and another line out off the barge's Port bow to a tree on the side of the channel. Apparently the they made it up through CSX Main Line River Bridge on Friday morning, but due to high wind, they decided not to try to make it through the Nickle Plate Bridge and CP Draw at that time. They have been tied up there since and will probably go upriver to Republic Steel ASAP. This is an Articulated unit since the tug and barge have a pin and ladder type ATB connection system. This would be the first ATB that I know of to go up this part of the river. The Undaunted-PM 41 is also an ATB but she only ran a short distance into the river and then she used the City Ship Canal from there on up to the TDX Gypsum dock a few years ago.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Early Friday Spirit of Nantucket (ex-Nantucket Clipper) departed for the Welland Canal, her first transit under the new name.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Canadian Transfer made her entry into port and was loading early Saturday morning at Sifto Salt after waiting outside for more than twenty four hours at anchor due to high wind.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Amelia Desgagnes visited Milwaukee's inner harbor at about 3 a.m. Friday, docking and loading at the Nidera grain elevator.
Voyageur Independent backed upriver about three hours later, tying up at the bulk cargo dock on Jones Island as it waited for dock space at Nidera.
When Amelia Desgagnes departed at about 8:40 p.m., Voyageur Independent "tacked" across the turning basin to shift to a berth at Nidera.
BBC Plata remained at terminal #2 in the outer harbor Friday evening, unloading windmill components.

Owen Sound - Peter Bowers
On Friday morning the Saginaw arrived with a load of wheat at the Great Lakes Elevator from the Lakehead. She left light at about 7:10 p.m.


Reservations deadline nearing for Boatnerd Detroit Down River Cruise

On Saturday, August 11, Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping will host a 4-hour freighter chasing cruise on the lower Detroit River, to Detroit River Light, aboard the luxurious Friendship, driven by Capt. Sam Buchanan.

The cruise is similar to an Up River cruise that many Boatnerds enjoyed last year.

The cruise leaves the Portofino's On The River restaurant, in Wyandotte, MI at 10:00 am. We'll go down the Detroit River as far as the Detroit River Light, traveling on both the Livingston and Amherstburg Channels. Bring your camera.

All this for only $35.00. Limited to the first 100 reservations. We must have a minimum of 50 paid reservations no later than August 1. Price includes a box lunch. Cash bar on board. Plenty of free, safe parking at Portofino's.

Checks and reservations must be received no later than August 1, 2007. Go to the Boatnerd Gatherings page for all the details and reservation forms.


Updates - July 21

News Photo Gallery 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.


Port Reports - July 20

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons & Cleve Reddin
Mandarin departed Thursday afternoon around 3 p.m. with the assistance of the Groupe Ocean tugs, which themselves departed when the undocking assist was completed.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey

The American Century called on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville Tuesday night to unload coal. Early Wednesday morning she had completed her unload and backed away from the dock headed for Light 12 to turn around and head for the lake.
The tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber were also out bound at this time after unloading at the Wirt dock in Saginaw. The Kuber & Moore had to check back near the Front Range as the American Century was having some difficulty getting up speed and was taking longer than usual to get out to Light 12 and turned.
In bound early on Wednesday was the Sam Laud who called on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. She was out bound later in the morning.
Taking the Laud's place at the Bay Aggregates dock later in the afternoon was the tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder. The pair was finished unloading and out bound for the lake later in the day.
Also in bound on Wednesday was the tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons. The pair traveled upriver to unload at the GM dock in Saginaw. The Invincible & McKee Sons were also out bound later in the day.

St. Joseph - Jim Lindholm
The LaFarge barge Innovation departed St. Joseph Michigan about noon Wednesday.

Lorain - L. Seabold
The H. Lee White arrived in Lorain at mid-morning Thursday and was unloading at U.S. Steel.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Thursday evening was busy in Duluth-Superior. Pochard was loading grain at CHS in Superior.
John B. Aird was loading coal at Midwest Energy Terminal while Algowood was anchored on the lake waiting for its turn to load.
Heavy-lift saltie Tramper was at Duluth port terminal Berth 1 using both its big deck cranes to unload oil field gear for western Canada.
Heavy-lift saltie Beluga Constitution was waiting in the inner harbor anchorage area for its turn at Berth 1 to unload windmills. By 7:30 Friday morning, Tramper was long gone and Beluga Constitution was ready to work cargo.
About the same time, Presque Isle and American Century came into Duluth back to back under the same lift of the bridge. The Presque fueled then proceeded to DMIR/CN ore docks to load while American Century was due at Midwest Energy Terminal.
Due later in the day were James R. Barker and Canadian Enterprise for Midwest Energy Terminal and Philip R. Clarke to unload stone at DMIR/CN.


S/S Badger seeking Assistant Engineer

7/20 - Ludington - The SS Badger is currently seeking a relief 2nd A/E from August 15th to the 30th.

Anyone interested in filling this position may email Laurie Bialochowski at


Eight hurt in Lake Erie boat accident

7/20 - Sandusky, OH -- A Findlay man was among eight people hurt Tuesday night when a boat carrying a group that had been filming a fishing show for the Outdoor Channel hit a breakwall near Cedar Point amusement park.

John McDow of Findlay was reported in serious condition Wednesday night in St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center, Toledo. Also injured were Roger Raglin, host of the fishing and hunting show Roger Raglin Outdoors, his wife Darlene, their son Joshua, a daughter Raquell, all of Coweta, Okla.; the driver of the boat, Ted Bayer of Liberty Center; and Samuel and James Wiley, both of Athens, W.Va.

According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Watercraft Division, both McDow and James Wiley were taken to the Toledo hospital by air ambulance. Wiley was reported in stable condition Wednesday. The others were taken to Firelands Hospital in Sandusky, where they were treated and released, according to watercraft spokesman John Wisse. None of the injuries appeared to be life threatening, said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Jonathan Hood.

The Division of Watercraft reported that the 33-foot powerboat was returning to Battery Park Marina at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday when it struck the breakwall. Bayer told investigators that he had been looking at his instrument gauges at the time of the crash, Wisse said. Firefighters who arrived by boat at the accident noted that it was foggy on the water, and they had used radar to get there, said Lt. Gary Zakrajsek of the Sandusky Fire Department.

Two people were thrown from the boat and one ended up on the rocks, he said. “He had no idea how he got on the rocks or why he was out of the boat,” Zakrajsek said.

Raglin owns BKS Productions. He was in Ohio filming for a show about fishing on Lake Erie, which is set to be aired in September, according to his Web site. His company has produced dozens of videos about the outdoors.

The Division of Watercraft reported that alcohol was not a factor and that none of the passengers was wearing a life jacket. The agency expects to conclude its investigation of the accident within several days.

From the Findlay Courier


Updates - July 20

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 tailed history.


Port Reports - July 19

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Wednesday morning at the Upper Harbor, American Fortitude loaded ore. The visit was her third to Marquette in 2007.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The Calumet came in light mid-morning Wednesday and was loading at the Construction Aggregates dock.
Also in town docked at the Government Basin, is the Great Lakes Environmental Research vessel Shenehon.

Alpena & Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Monday afternoon the Sam Laud was unloading coal at Lafarge.
The Alpena was in port on Wednesday. It took on cargo under the silos among the fog that blanketed the lakeshore areas.
By evening visibility only improved a little. The tug G. L Ostrander and barge Integrity was expected in around 11 p.m. on Wednesday.
Kaye E. Barker was loading at Stoneport Wednesday evening.
The tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber is scheduled to load after the Barker on Thursday morning.

Soo - Jerry Masson
Wednesday's upbound traffic included Algowood, Manistee, Edwin H Gott, Beluga Constitution, Reserve, Grande Mariner, and American Century.
Downbound were Edgar B Speer, American Victory, Joyce L VanEnkevort/Great Lakes Trader, Frontenac, and American Fortitude.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The salty Mandarin was turned at Redpath Sugar by the Groupe Ocean tugs Laprairie and Omni Richelieu on Wednesday afternoon.
The newly renamed Spirit of Nantucket is due in Toronto Thursday. This is the former Nantucket Clipper.

Holland - Bob VandeVusse
Tuesday the sailing vessel Windy II visited Holland on a charter. They dropped anchor in Lake Macatawa and passengers were tendered to and from shore. Mid-afternoon they departed, reportedly for Milwaukee.
Early Wednesday morning, the Calumet delivered coal to the James DeYoung power plant, then headed to Grand Haven to load sand.

Marinette - Dick Lund
The Amelia Desgagnes arrived in Marinette around 7 p.m. Wednesday with a load of pig iron for Marinette Fuel & Dock. This ship only makes an occasional appearance here as most of these loads are handled by the Catherine Desgagnes.


Dredging Crisis Saps Lakes Coal Trade in June
Lowest June Total in 5 Years

7/19 - Cleveland—Coal shipments on the Great Lakes in June fell to the month’s lowest level in 5 years – 4,184,977 net tons. Just two years ago, almost 5 million net tons of coal were moved on the Great Lakes in June.

The on-going dredging crisis played a major role in the low total. The largest coal cargo of the month in the Head-of-the-Lakes trade totaled 63,628 net tons. Ten years ago, when high water levels masked the lack of adequate dredging, cargos topped 70,000 net tons.

The plunging water level on Lake Superior also impacted coal shipments. The largest cargo loaded at Superior, Wisconsin, and destined for near-by Silver Bay, Minnesota, totaled only 65,623 net tons. The record for this particular move is 71,369 net tons.

On Lake Erie, a vessel that a year ago was able to deliver 13,300 net tons of coal to a Canadian customer on the St. Marys River had to reduce its load by nearly 600 net tons when hauling from the same loading dock to the same receiving terminal.

For the year, the Lakes coal trade stands at 14.6 million net tons, a decrease of 12 percent compared to the same point in 2006. Compared to the 5-year average, shipments are down by 5 percent, or 840,000 net tons.

More information is available at this link

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association


Seaway Officials Meet with Niagara Politicians about canal security
(March 21, 2005)

(Editors Note - This article is being re-printed in light of recent discussion concerning security fences at the Welland Canal.)

7/19 - St. Catharines, Ontario — Michel Drolet, Vice President of The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation’s (SLSMC) Niagara Region met today with Niagara elected officials to discuss security requirements for the Welland Canal.

“There has been a lot of misunderstanding about the impact the new security measures will have on the Welland Canal,” said Mr. Drolet. “We felt it was important to brief elected officials so they understand how and why these new requirements are being implemented.”

During the briefing, Mr. Drolet explained that these security measures are being implemented to detect and prevent unauthorized movement and activity in secure areas where vessels and infrastructure are vulnerable, for instance when a vessel is tied-up in a lock chamber. They are not in response to any particular threat to the canal.

SLSMC is complying with the new Maritime Transportation Security Regulations (MTSR), which came into force on July 1, 2004. Transport Canada enacted these regulations to be in compliance with the International Marine Organization’s International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. As a signatory to the 1974 Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Convention, Canada was obliged to implement the ISPS Code by July 1 last year.

“There seems to be some concern in the community that the entire Canal is going to be fenced,” Mr. Drolet said. “In fact, very little new fencing will be installed, however some existing fencing must be replaced or upgraded to meet Transport Canada standards."

Some additional fencing will be required to close gaps in order to meet national and international obligations. In addressing the specific issue of the Lock 3 Museum and Viewing Deck, Mr. Drolet made a commitment to work with City of St. Catharines officials to implement the security measures in a way that is as unobtrusive as possible for visitors yet still meets the MTSR. Mr. Drolet also made a commitment to continue working with Niagara’s other elected officials on this and other matters.

From the St. Lawrence Seaway website.


Seaway announces "Green Power" projects for Welland Canal

7/19 - St. Catharines, Ontario – The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) announced today that an agreement has been reached with Rankin Renewable Power Inc. to develop three “green” hydropower projects within the Welland Canal. Under the terms of the agreement, St. Catharines based Rankin will construct and operate the three power stations, to be located at the weirs adjacent to Locks 1, 2 and 3.

The agreement which covers a 25 year term heralds a new age for clean and renewable energy production within the Welland Canal, with each of the power stations capable of generating 2 megawatts of electricity. Each facility will generate hydroelectric power in a run-of-the-river manner, using the water in the canal that is normally spilled over the existing weirs. Power generated from the facilities will be transmitted to local distribution lines owned by local electrical utility companies for use in the provincial grid.

Richard Corfe, President and CEO of the SLSMC, pointed out that the project stands as a strong testament to the Seaway’s commitment to corporate social responsibility. “Within the mandate assigned to us by Transport Canada, we are stewards of the Welland Canal. This opportunity affords us the means of expanding our role to harness the canal’s previously untapped power potential to benefit all Ontarians. The end result will supply homes with truly green power”.

Rankin Renewable Power Inc. was chosen through a competitive bidding process, and is a division of Rankin Construction Inc., a firm which has extensive experience in project management within the Welland Canal. The firm’s President, Tom Rankin, enthused about the potential of this development. “We are proud of this renewable power initiative and look forward to a continued long term relationship with the Corporation. In addition to supporting the Provincial and Federal green power initiatives, these three power plants will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 38,900 tonnes of CO2 per year, the equivalent of taking 8,420 passenger cars off the road. Enough energy can be provided to power nearly 5,000 homes.”

From the St. Lawrence Seaway website.


Former Coast Guard Commandant Dies

7/19 - Washington - The U.S. Coast Guard today announced the death of Adm. Owen W. Siler, 85, Coast Guard commandant from 1974 to 1978, who succumbed to heart failure last night.

"This is a sad day for the Coast Guard," said Adm. Thad Allen, commandant of the Coast Guard. "The Coast Guard lost a close member of our family and America has lost a great leader. Adm. Siler's relentless service to his Nation, from World War II to the war on drugs, will never be forgotten.

The face of the Coast Guard was forever changed as a result of Adm. Siler's commitment and foresight towards minority recruiting and the advancement of women within the Coast Guard's ranks."

"Our heartfelt condolences go out to the Siler family during this difficult time," Allen said.

Siler was nominated to become the 15th commandant of the Coast Guard by President Richard M. Nixon and, following Senate confirmation, he relieved Adm. Chester R. Bender, on June 1, 1974. Siler's official Coast Guard biography can be found at at this link

Funeral arrangements are pending.

USCG News Release


Sailor/Shipkeeper Walter Watkins Dies

7/19 - Kalamazoo, MI - Walter Watkins passed away on July 11, 2007 at Woodhills Assisted Living where he was a resident since 2006.

Walt, who called the people of Kalamazoo his family, was born in Detroit, Michigan on November 20, 1927. Memorial Services will be held 10:30 Wednesday, July 25, at the Langeland Family Funeral Homes, Memorial Chapel, 622 S. Burdick St. Inurnment will be in Ft. Custer National Cemetery with full Military Honors.

Walt was a kind, caring and generous person. He loved to entertain people by telling sea stories, and doing rope tricks.

During his life long career in shipping he served aboard many ships, among those being the Stewart J. Cort, Lewis Wilson Foy, Burns Harbor and the Edward L. Ryerson. During his numerous years of ship keeping in Sturgeon Bay he always found time to donate many hours to the young people of the community, teaching all sort of cable splicing and nylon knot tying. He was also awarded the "key to the city" for his countless hours of time, and his generosity.

He retired from Bethlehem Steel Corporation in 1992 and for many years after that he would fill in for shorthanded crews. He will be greatly missed by his numerous friends.

Reported by Don Geske


Marine Program at Port Huron Maritime Center

7/19 - Port Huron - The Lake Huron Lore Marine Society and George Lee will present, "50 Years of Lee Marine!"

A look at the tug and towing business his father founded, including pictures of some of the classic steamers they once owned, such as the former Canadian Pacific Great Lakes passenger liners Keewatin and Assiniboine.

The program will be held at the Great Lakes Maritime Center, 51 Water St., Port Huron, Michigan, on Friday, July 20, 2007, at 7 pm. The program is open and free to the public.


Updates - July 19

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History : July 19

July 19, 1991 - P & H's BEECHGLEN returned to service clearing Port Weller Drydocks. Her hull had buckled on April 30, while loading a cargo of corn at Cardinal, Ontario. She arrived in Thunder Bay to unload her first cargo on July 23.

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 "sold foreign". 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, Lake Huron Lore Society, 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 Star leaves berth near Fuhrmann Boulevard
Future of former ferry is under wraps, but it could be as scrap

7/18 - 7 a.m. Update -Cape Vincent - The tow of the Aquarama entered the St. Lawrence River, from Lake Ontario, at Cape Vincent at 6:20 a.m. Wednesday morning.
The tow plans to be at Cross Over Island at 9 a.m.

Reported by Bonnie Dillenbeck

7/18 - Buffalo - The Marine Star, the derelict Great Lakes passenger ferry that has spent the last 12 years rusting along the Buffalo waterfront, is now on its way to Quebec, and possibly Europe. But its fate — reuse or the scrap heap — remains unknown.

The 62-year-old vessel, once the largest and most luxurious ferry on the Great Lakes, was towed away from its moorings along Fuhrmann Boulevard early Sunday morning. After spending a night in Port Colborne, Ont., where it was inspected by Canadian authorities for sea-worthiness, it worked its way through the Welland Canal on Monday, under the tow of the tugboat Radium Yellowknife.

A representative of Norlake Transportation, the Port Colborne company hired to tow the ferry, confirmed it is headed to a Quebec port. “She’s going to Three Rivers, then she’s going overseas,” said Norlake’s Ed O’Connor. “We’ve been told she’ll be in Quebec for about a month, then another company will take over and take her to Europe.”

O’Connor said the crews who prepared the ferry for departure from Buffalo last week were initially under the impression it was going to be scrapped, but now its fate is unclear. “As far as we know, she’s not scheduled to be scrapped. It’s possible somebody in Europe has a plan to do something with her,” he added.

Rumors that the long-idle ferry is destined for a scrap yard in Alang, India, have been filtering through the shipping industry for months. In late June, James Everatt, a Canadian businessman with an ownership stake in the Marine Star, insisted there were no plans to scrap the once-proud vessel.

“I don’t care what people are saying, no final decision had been made,” he told The Buffalo News. Everatt, whose ownership group floated a $40 million plan to restore the vessel, did not return phone calls Monday.

Fred Langdon, owner of South End Marina, where the ferry has been stored since 1995, said the owners provided him little information about its future. “About a month ago, they said it was being moved, but we didn’t know until about a week ago when that would happen,” Langdon said. “It was supposed to take off Saturday, but it was too windy, so they waited until Sunday morning.”

As recently as Friday, TradeWinds — a shipping publication based in Norway — cited scrap industry sources who said several brokers in Alang, the world’s ship salvage center, were negotiating to buy the Marine Star. A Great Lakes shipping source who asked not to be identified said the planned layover in Quebec indicates that Empire Cruise Lines, which owns the ferry, is continuing those talks. “The price of scrap metal is very strong, and the cost to renovate is a lot higher. She’s got scrap written all over her,” he said.

One recent estimate put its salvage value at $1 million. The Empire group is said to have paid $50,000 to $70,000 a year for dock rental, insurance and other storage-related expenses.

Built in 1945 in Chester, Pa., the Marine Star was designed as a troop transport ship to ferry U.S. troops across the Atlantic. At the end of World War II, it underwent an $8 million transformation into a luxury-class ferry. Rechristened the Aquarama, the 520-foot-long day cruiser was the biggest passenger ferry to ply the Great Lakes.

The first new liner on the Great Lakes in 20 years, it turned heads with its capacity — room for 2,500 passengers and 160 cars — as well as its style. From its glistening corrugated stainless steel exterior side panels, to interior amenities that included two dance floors, a children’s playroom with baby-sitting services, four restaurants and a cigar shop, the Aquarama was in a class of its own.

It was operated by Michigan Ohio Navigation Co., and its Detroit-Cleveland service was quite popular in the 1950s. But its massive size, a lack of overnight accommodations and high operational costs prevented its owners from turning a profit. By the mid-1960s, it was sitting idle at a Muskegon, Mich., dock where it was laid up until 1987, when it was purchased by a Port Stanley, Ont., company for $3 million. The fading Aquarama was first towed to Sarnia, then to Windsor, where it remained on the shoreline.

In 1994, Empire Cruise Lines, whose major shareholders included Everatt, bought the ferry with the idea of turning it into a floating casino and returned it to its original name. In August 1995, it was towed to South End Marina on Buffalo’s outer harbor. While legal obstacles blocked Empire Lines from converting the Marine Star to a gambling venue, the company publicly maintained a goal of turning the deteriorating ferry into a cruise liner offering top-shelf travel on the Great Lakes.

From the Buffalo News


Port Reports - July 18

Marquette - Rod Burdick & Lee Rowe
Tuesday morning, Herbert C. Jackson unloaded western coal at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock. Jackson and fleetmate Lee A. Tregurtha loaded ore.
Work continues on what appears to be a barge for MCM Marine on the commercial dock next to the ore dock.

Toledo - Bob Vincent
On Monday, the Charles M. Beeghly came in under the coal machine after unloading ore (Tildon) from Marquette at that Torco dock.
Edwin H. Gott also came by the coal dock after 8 p.m. and began to unloaded ore at the Midwest Terminal of Toledo International dock. The Gott finished unloading and head out around 10 a.m. Tuesday.
The Beeghly loaded for the steel plant at Ste. Sault Marie Ontario and headed out around 4 a.m.
The barge McKee Sons and tug Invincible was treading water down river in the channel waiting for the Beeghly to clear. The tug/barge finished loading and departed on Tuesday around 8:30 am.
Following the McKee Sons/Invincible in was unknown tug pull the Luedtke Engineering Company dredging equipment.
Next coal boat will be the Arthur M. Anderson on Wednesday, July 18 and due back on Thursday, July 19.
The Lee A. Tregurtha is scheduled for Friday, July 20. with the 2007 raffle winner.

Duluth - Bob
The Agawa Canyon was in Duluth today, at DMIR, unloading limestone.

Duluth - Joe
For two days the USCGC Alder has been marking the wreck of an old vessel. The ship was found last winter when the lake was frozen.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
After arriving at the Bay City Wirt dock on Sunday night to lighter, the tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber finally departed for the Saginaw Wirt dock Tuesday morning to finish her unload. It is unknown if a mechanical problem or some other reason kept them at the Bay City dock for such a long period of time.
Scheduled vessels for late Tuesday night include the American Century for Consumers Energy and the Sam Laud for Bay Aggregates.

Detroit River - Ken Borg
On Tuesday, the Beluga Constitution was up bound at 6:10 p.m. She has a deck cargo of power generating windmill parts.
Liquid Blue followed up bound at 6:32 p.m.
The James Norris departed Detroit Bulk Dock at 6:39 p.m. and entered the Detroit River going over to Canadian Rock Salt in Ojibway, Ont. to take on a load of salt for Muskegon, Mich.


Michigan History magazine celebrates 50 years of the Mighty Mac

7/18 - Lansing - Some said it could never be built. Others opposed building a bridge linking the Upper and Lower Peninsulas for political and economic reasons.

Despite the skeptics and the outspoken opponents, the Mackinac Bridge was built. On the day the bridge opened in November 1957, Governor G. Mennen Williams declared, “The real significance to this bridge is that it is proof there is no job too big for the people of Michigan.”

Michigan History celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of this beloved Michigan icon in its 104-page July/August issue.

This specially expanded issue contains stories of life at the Straits before the bridge; the struggle to raise the money to build it; and the fearless workers who constructed the massive towers and strung miles of cable. Also in this collector’s issue are dozens of recollections from Michiganians chronicling their personal association with Mighty Mac and the saga of one U.S. Air Force pilot who flew under the bridge!

For more information visit

Michigan History magazine news release


Reservations deadline nearing for Boatnerd Detroit Down River Cruise

On Saturday, August 11, Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping will host a 4-hour freighter chasing cruise on the lower Detroit River, to Detroit River Light, aboard the luxurious Friendship, driven by Capt. Sam Buchanan.

The cruise is similar to an Up River cruise that many Boatnerds enjoyed last year.

The cruise leaves the Portofino's On The River restaurant, in Wyandotte, MI at 10:00 am. We'll go down the Detroit River as far as the Detroit River Light, traveling on both the Livingston and Amherstburg Channels. Bring your camera.

All this for only $35.00. Limited to the first 100 reservations. We must have a minimum of 50 paid reservations no later than August 1. Price includes a box lunch. Cash bar on board. Plenty of free, safe parking at Portofino's.

Checks and reservations must be received no later than August 1, 2007. Go to the Boatnerd Gatherings page for all the details and reservation forms.


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 includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history tailed history.


Ryerson Update

7/17 - 9:00 a.m. - Ryerson has cleared the Port Weller piers and is down bound in Lake Ontario.

7/16 - 10:00 p.m. - The Ryerson has cleared Lock Eight and proceeding downbound in the canal.

7/16 - 5:30 p.m. - The Edward L. Ryerson was approaching the Port Colborne piers at 5:30 p.m. on her second trip down the St. Lawrence Seaway. Pilots have been changed.

The next stop will be for fuel in Port Colborne. The fueling will be a little more complicated than usual. Ryerson's fuel loading port is on the starboard side, and the boat will need to turn around outside the piers, and back into the fuel dock, which is located on the west side of the canal.

After fueling, she will need to go back out into Lake Erie, turn around, and resume her trip down the Welland Canal.

The maneuvers should delay her canal trip by several hours, in addition to the time required to load fuel.


Aquarama Tow Update

7/17 - 9:00 a.m. - The tow is in mid-Lake Ontario.

7/16 - 10:00 p.m. - The tow is clear of Lock One.

A decision is to be made at Lock 1 as whether the tugs would change positions below the lock or change in the lake. The Commodore Straights is to take the lead with the Radium Yellowknife trailing.

The crew reports that the generator on the Aquarama had been returned to service and all the machinery on board was in good shape and a great job of lay up years before had been done.

A shipyard in Quebec was mentioned as a stop for some survey work and an appraisal on the condition of the hull.

7/16 - 5:30 p.m. Update - The tow of the Aquarama  is expected to depart Lock Three around 5:40 p.m.

Plans are to make a stop at Wharf One to take on groceries and supplies then travel down Lake Ontario at night. Rumors persist that the Aquarama may not be going directly to the ship breakers as has been suspected. Her present destination is Montreal.

Reported by Wally Wallace

7/16 - 7:00 a.m. - The tow of Radium Yellowknife, Commodore Straits, M. R. Kane and Marine Star departed wharf 16 in Port Colborne Monday morning at 6 a.m. and are down bound in the Welland Canal.

Up bound traffic in the canal is very light so the tow should progress well through the system. As of 7 a.m. they were in Lock 8.

Reported by Jeff Cameron


U.S. Coast Guard airlifts Mackinaw crewmember

7/17 - Traverse City, Mi - A Coast Guard helicopter crew evacuated a 45-year-old USCGC Mackinaw crewmember for medical concerns at approximately 6:30 a.m. Monday morning.

A Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City crew launched its HH-65C Dolphin helicopter to transport the chief petty officer who was experiencing severe abdominal pain.

He was hoisted from the cutter and flown to Cherry Capital Airport where he was transferred to awaiting EMS.

USCG News Release


Port Reports - July 17

Marquette - Rod Burdick
The Saginaw loaded taconite Monday morning at the Upper Harbor ore dock.

Holland - Bob VandeVusse
Grande Mariner made its second call of the season at Holland on Monday, docking at the Boatwerks restaurant.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
BBC Plata (reg. St. John's, Antigua) was backed into the slip at Terminal #2 in Milwaukee's outer harbor Monday evening, waiting to deliver a deck load which included wind turbine blades and cargo containers.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Beluga Elegance departed late Monday and headed down the lake.


Funding for harbors eyed

7/17 - Marquette - Harbor dredging, breakwater reconstruction and rock wall repairs are among the local projects funded by more than $53 million included in a Senate bill working its way through Congress.

Last week, U.S. Sens. Carl Levin, D-Southfield, and Debbie Stabenow, D-East Lansing, announced that millions of dollars for Michigan and Great Lakes projects, part of the current Energy and Water Appropriations bill, was recently approved by the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee. The bill, which includes several projects located across the Upper Peninsula, still needs to be approved by the full Senate and a House-Senate conference committee before being sent to the president.

Wayne Schloop, chief of operations for the Detroit District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, provided some details on the work to be done on local projects funded under the legislation, including those at Marquette, Grand Marais, Ontonagon and Sault Ste. Marie. Funding for specific Michigan harbors is left to the discretion of the Army Corps, so funding allocations may change.

But so far, $387,000 would be allocated for work in Marquette’s Lower Harbor. Schloop said the money would be used for repair of the breakwater. A crane and barge would place stones weighing 5 to 10 tons in place to fortify the rock portion of the wall or fill in spots exposed to waves from Lake Superior.

In Grand Marais, $1.5 million would be set aside for a project locals have worked to see completed for decades. “The money at Grand Marais is to rebuild the breakwater,” Schloop said. A former breakwall at the harbor of refuge there was allowed to wash into disrepair once the harbor moved beyond its glory days of shipping timber. Since that time, sand has infiltrated the harbor filling in the once significant depths to only a few feet in some places.

The cost of building a new breakwater is estimated to be between $6 million and $8 million. The Army Corps of Engineers would not begin construction work on the project until all of the funding is obtained. Schloop said the Army Corps will set aside the money, along with $900,00 previously acquired.

The Army Corps is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on a design for the breakwall project. Biologists want to be sure nesting habitat along the beaches at Grand Marais for the endangered piping plover is not compromised by the breakwall installation, Schloop said. He said it is unknown whether making considerations for the rare shorebird would increase the cost of the project. “The collaboration with the Fish and Wildlife Service would finalize our design,” Schloop said.

In Ontonagon, $643,000 will be used primarily for maintenance dredging of the Ontonagon Harbor. Some additional work may be performed on one of the piers, Schloop said.

At Sault Ste. Marie, $22 million is set to be allocated for work at the St. Marys River involving the Soo Locks. Schloop said the funding would be used for modernizing the locks, maintenance and upgrading hydraulic systems on the Poe Lock. Numerous facets of the project, including hydropower, are part of the activities planned for the funding, Schloop said.

Additional allocations for U.P. projects include $250,000 for the Keweenaw Waterway and $300,000 for Menominee Harbor.

Funding for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers construction projects was also part of the bill. That money included $385,000 for an ongoing wastewater project in Negaunee Township and a project for extension of the Ontonagon Channel. No specific amount for that project was provided.

From the Marquette Mining Journal


Bob McGreevy Presentation

7/17 - Port Huron - Maritime artist Bob McGreevy has been invited back to present ‘Lost Legends of the Lake’ in their Van Gogh Gallery July 19 at 7 p.m. The exhibition is highlighted by the arrival of nine new works by the artist.

The initial reception was held on Friday June 29th and Bob’s ‘Lost Legends of the Lake’ went over so well that he has been asked to do a repeat performance. There is no cost and it is a great opportunity to meet the artist and discuss his work.

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


Reservations deadline nearing for Boatnerd Detroit Down River Cruise

On Saturday, August 11, Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping will host a 4-hour freighter chasing cruise on the lower Detroit River, to Detroit River Light, aboard the luxurious Friendship, driven by Capt. Sam Buchanan.

The cruise is similar to an Up River cruise that many Boatnerds enjoyed last year.

The cruise leaves the Portofino's On The River restaurant, in Wyandotte, MI at 10:00 am. We'll go down the Detroit River as far as the Detroit River Light, traveling on both the Livingston and Amherstburg Channels. Bring your camera.

All this for only $35.00. Limited to the first 100 reservations. We must have a minimum of 50 paid reservations. Price includes a box lunch. Cash bar on board. Plenty of free, safe parking at Portofino's.

Checks and reservations must be received no later than August 1, 2007. Go to the Boatnerd Gatherings page for all the details and reservation forms.


Chief Steward John R. Duning passes
Information Corrected

7/17 - Rogers City - John R. Dunning has passed away after a short battle with a brain aneurysm.

He will be in state at the Brietzke Funeral Home 465 N.3rd St., Rogers City MI.(989)-734-7455.

Viewing will be Thursday morning,  from 10 am to 11:30, at the West Minster Presbyterian church, located at 125 W. Ontario St in Rogers City (not at the funeral home as previously reported). A service will then begin at 11:30 in the church.

John worked with the Interlake Steamship Co. for many years and a regular crew member aboard the Paul R. Tregurtha.

Reported by Frank Frisk.


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

Toledo - Bob Vincent
The barge Sarah Spencer and tug Jane Ann IV unloaded stone at the Midwest Terminal of Toledo on Saturday. The pair left Toledo after waiting for the Walter J. McCarthy Jr. to come under the coal loading machine, around 8 p.m. Saturday. The Walter J. McCarthy Jr. is making Toledo CSX coal docks a regular run. Getting coal at Midwest Energy in Superior and taking it to Nanticoke Ontario, and then coming to Toledo to load coal for Essexville, Michigan.
Saturday morning around 1 a.m. the Algoway was leaving Toledo. Next coal load will be the Charles M. Beeghly and the McKee Sons due Monday.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algosteel arrived over night and was loading Sunday morning at the Sifto salt dock.

Marinette - Dick Lund
The barge Atlantic Trader departed Marinette Marine on Sunday around 12 p.m. CDT and the tow passed Menominee North Pier Lighthouse about 40 minutes later with a deck load of 6 INLS craft for the U.S. Navy. The tug Bridget McAllister led the tow with the tug Erika Kobasic on the stern. The INLS (Improved Navy Lighterage System) craft are part of a 29-barge contract with Marinette Marine. The tow will proceed down the St. Lawrence Seaway on its way to Jacksonville. This is the second shipment of the INLS craft. The last one was about two weeks ago when a string of the crafts were towed to Chicago. The barge Atlantic Trader was not utilized in that operation.
Also, the new Vane Bros. tug, Christiana, which will soon be launched by Marinette Marine was moved out to the launch position at the edge of the Menominee River.

Twin Ports - Glenn Blaszkiewicz
The Herbert C. Jackson arrived at Duluth Sunday afternoon about 5:30. She was going to fuel then load at Midwest Energy after the St. Clair finishes loading.

Soo - Jerry Masson
Sunday upbound traffic included H. Lee White, Mesabi Miner, Edgar B. Speer, Vlistborg, American Courage, and Agawa Canyon.
Downbound were Edwin H. Gott, CSL Laurentian, Reserve, American Century, and Quebecois.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
On a crystal clear Sunday evening the tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader unloaded stone at the Lower Harbor.

Alpena/Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
The silos at Lafarge was a busy place on Saturday with all 3 cement carriers taking on cargo. The G.L. Ostrander/Integrity was first in port early in the morning, followed by the Steamer Alpena.
The Samuel de Champlain/barge Innovation tied up in later in the afternoon once the Alpena departed.
At Stoneport on Sunday morning, the Maumee was at the dock loading.
Fleetmate Manistee arrived before 5 p.m., tying up alongside the dock to begin loading on beautiful evening. The A-frame of the self-unloader was sporting some new gray paint.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Stephen B. Roman was back in port again Sunday afternoon. Beluga Elegance is still unloading at Pier 52 and Mandarin is still unloading sugar at Redpath.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Olive L. Moore/Lewis J. Kuber were in bound the Saginaw River Sunday night calling on the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City. The pair lightering there at 11:30 p.m. and was to finish her unload in Saginaw.
The Mississagi was in bound passing the pump-out island around the same time. Her security call indicated she was headed up to the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. Both were expected to be out bound on Monday.

Holland - Bob VandeVusse
The Wilfred Sykes returned to Holland Sunday evening, bringing a load of stone to the Brewer dock.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Ziemia Lodzka, an ocean bulker from the Polsteam line, was berthed stern-in at Terminal #2 in Milwaukee's outer harbor Sunday, unloading steel products.
Algosoo eased into a berth nearby at Terminal #1 at about 4 p.m. Sunday, delivering salt to the dock surface.
Alpena entered Milwaukee's outer harbor at about 9 p.m., then turned and backed its way upriver to the LaFarge dock on Jones Island, where it discharged cement.


Updates - July 16

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated.


 Today in Great Lakes History : July 16

The DETROIT EDISON, of 1955, departed Quebec City July 16th 1986, along with former fleet mate SHARON, in tow of the U.S. tug PRUDENT to Brownsville, Texas for scrapping.

The SAGINAW BAY departed Quebec City on July 16, 1985, in tandem with the E B BARBER, towed by the Polish tug KORAL for scrapping at Vigo, Spain.

The NORTHERN VENTURE, a.) VERENDRYE of 1944, entered Great Lakes service July 16, 1961, upbound light for the Canadian lake head to load grain.

On July 16, 1935, the BRUCE HUDSON capsized on Lake Ontario off Cobourg, Ontario, while in tow of the wooden-hulled tug MUSCALLONGE.

Keel laying of the CHI-CHEEMAUN (Hull#205) was on July 16, 1973, at Collingwood, Ontario by Colingwood Shipyards Ltd for Ontario Northland Transport Commission.

CATARACT (wooden propeller, 15 foot', 352 tons, built in 1852, at Buffalo) caught fire on 16 July 1861, 5 miles off Erie, Pennsylvania. She became an inferno astern in just a few minutes and this prevented her boats from being launched. Four died. Some were saved by clinging to floating wreckage and some others were rescued by a small fishing boat. The schooner ST PAUL picked up some survivors, Among those picked up by Captain Mosher of the ST PAUL, were Captain McNally and the CATARACT's carpenter. Capt. Mosher had rescued these same two men in 1858, when the propeller INDIANA was lost in Lake Superior.

On 16 July 1873, the new barge MINNEAPOLIS was towed to Detroit for outfitting. She had just been launched four days earlier at Marine City, Michigan. While on the way to Detroit, a Canadian man named Sinclair fell overboard and drowned.

On 16 July 1874, The Port Huron Times reported that "the old steamer REINDEER has been rebuilt to a barge by L. C. Rogers at H. C. Schnoor's shipyard at Fair Haven, [Michigan]. Her beautiful horns have been taken down, [she carried a set of large antlers], her machinery and cumbersome side-wheels removed, and she has been fully refitted with center arch and deck frame complex."

July 16, 1961, the PIONEER CHALLENGER (now AMERICAN VICTORY) entered service. Built in 1943, as a T-3 tanker a.) MARQUETTE, renamed b.) U.S.S. NESCHANIC (AO-71) in 1943, c.) GULFOIL in 1947, d.) PIONEER CHALLENGER in 1961, e.) MIDDLETOWN in 1962, and f.) AMERICAN VICTORY in 2006.

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.


Aquarama Tow Updates

7/15 - 20:00 p.m. Update - The tow arrived at Wharf 16 - R & P Dock in Port Colborne at 1:50 p.m. Sunday. No estimated time of departure has been posted.

7/15 - 7:30 a.m. Update - The tow of the Aquarama got underway about 6:45 a.m. Sunday morning. The tugs did not experience any problems moving her through the outer harbor, at 7:20 a.m. the tow was making the 45 degree turn to Starboard as they swing into the South Entrance Channel. They were expected to clear the harbor by 7:45.

7/15 - Buffalo - Saturday brought a series of challenges for the crew of Radium Yellowknife preparing the Aquarama for tow. The large tug Commodore straits has been sidelined due to low water around the Aquarama.

The first challenge was getting Aquarama's starboard anchor out of the mud. Radium Yellowknife with her shallow 4 foot draft had no problem getting up to the anchor to pull it out.

Later on the Radium Yellowknife came along in front of the bow of Aquarama to push the bow towards the lake. They succeeded in getting Aquarama free of her silt bed resting spot and pushed her about 20-30 feet backwards in preparation for Sunday's tow.

Radium Yellowknife then worked at the stern to pull. Crews are scheduled to return Sunday at 6 a.m. to begin towing Aquarama out of Buffalo Harbor.

The land crew was busy cutting the steel lines that held Aquarama in place for the many years she was in Buffalo. The crew is going to pull another long night in preparation for Sunday's tow.

They will be lighting up Aquarama's rear decks with flood-lights and generators as well as help from the Commodore Strait's spot lights to get the equipment ready for Sunday.

Reported by Rob Wolcott and Brian Wroblewski


Port Reports - July 15

Goderich - Wayne Brown
Canadian Transfer loaded at Sifto in Goderich on a very windy, rainy Saturday.

Soo - Jerry Masson
Saturday's upbound traffic included St. Clair, American Integrity, Indiana Harbor, Herbert C. Jackson, Federal Yukon, Algonorth, Kaye E. Barker, and Joyce L. VanEnkevort/Great Lakes Trader.
Downbound were the Algolake, Spruceglen, American Valor, Edward L Ryerson at Gros Cap Light at 6:50 p.m., Saginaw, and Presque Isle.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Adam E Cornelius arrived in Milwaukee's inner harbor about 10:30 Saturday morning, proceeding to the WE Energies dock at Greenfield Avenue to discharge coal.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Saturday morning at the Upper Harbor, Charles M. Beeghly arrived just behind the Michipicoten. Both vessels loaded ore during the day.

Toledo - Sheldon Rody
The CSL Niagara has left Toledo. Saturday found the Algoway filling the holds with grain at the Port of Toledo.


Agency ends plan to restore old ship for Dunkirk harbor

7/15 - Dunkirk, NY - A plan by a group of World War II Navy veterans to save a surplus ship and display it as a floating museum on the Dunkirk waterfront has been sunk.

Officials of the U.S. Maritime Administration, an arm of the U.S. Department of Transportation, have ended restoration plans for the USS Sphinx, a WWII landing ship transport. Instead, the ship will be scrapped.

“The environmental risk posed by the USS Sphinx, due to her age and advanced deterioration, makes the ship one of the agency’s highest priorities,” Maritime Administrator Sean T. Connaughton wrote those involved in the effort.

Stacy Mosser, a retired Navy veteran who lives in East Aurora, said the effort by the Western New York Amphibious Forces Association was worth it. “I’m not bitter,” she said. “That’s life. We stirred up a few people; that’s good.”

The Sphinx was launched in November 1944 as a landing ship tank transport; was refitted as a supply ship; saw duty in WWII, Korea and Vietnam; and was used to help anti-drug efforts in South America.

The local veterans had been granted ownership of the ship in 2002 and had begun a fundraising effort to have the ship towed to Dunkirk from Newport News, Va., where it had been mothballed. Harold Lawson, keeper of the historic Dunkirk Lighthouse, said plans had called for the ship to be moored on a permanent pier near the lighthouse, which dates to before the War of 1812. The costs of towing and setting up the ship’s new home were expected to reach as high as $1.2 million.

The veterans group has sent out a letter to those who had been solicited for funds, telling them the effort is over. Most of the money the veterans raised, about $36,000 had been spent on a professional fund-raiser, they said.

From the Buffalo News


Shipwreck expert was outdoorsman, mentor to many

7/15 - Duluth - How people remember Julius Wolff will depend on how they knew him. Scoutmaster. Shipwreck expert. Marshall School benefactor. Deer hunter and outdoor enthusiast. Conservationist. Political science professor. Youth mentor. Notre Dame fan. The list could go on.

Wolff, 89, died Friday at St. Franciscan Health Center in Duluth of natural causes.

The Duluth native is perhaps best known for his 1979 book “The Shipwrecks of Lake Superior,’’ the go-to encyclopedia on the subject that was updated in 1989. He was a political science professor at the University of Minnesota Duluth, retiring in 1986. Wolff was a prolific author, writing many articles for the Minnesota Conservation Volunteer magazine and for maritime history publications.

He helped introduce dozens of Twin Ports teens to the outdoors, leading canoe trips to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, and duck and deer hunting expeditions. “Most people knew him as the Lake Superior shipwreck expert, and he was. He was the definitive source to go to for Lake Superior shipwrecks and maritime history for the better part of a half-century,’’ said Thom Holden, director of the Marine Museum in Duluth. “But he also touched so many people’s lives as a teacher and a Scoutmaster and woodsman.’’

Not only did modern-day shipwreck searchers seek out and befriend Wolff, but, Holden said, several of Wolff’s students and Scouts kept in touch with their mentor over the years. “He was, even late in his years, an avid deer hunter, and I don’t think he missed many deer seasons,’’ Holden said. “And he got help from some of those former Scouts getting into his deer stand. They were close to him even then.’’

Craig Grau, retired chairman of the UMD political science department, said Wolff was a groundbreaking professor, weaving conservation policy into his courses before environmental issues became common in college classrooms. “He really pioneered putting environmental policy into the political science classroom,’’ Grau said. “He was right in the middle of all the Boundary Waters issue back in the ’60s and ’70s…

He always amazed people with his mind, that he had so much information in it — dates and names and people. He was a loved professor. “He introduced me to the BWCA, too, and a lot of other faculty,’’ Grau said. “He had a story on every lake, even every rock in the lake. I think he named every rock. He knew that area like the back of his hand.’’

Grau said Wolff was pushed by a UMD chancellor to expand his personal interest in Great Lakes shipping and shipwrecks. It started with a single presentation and grew into Wolff’s nationally known expertise. “It wasn’t his idea at first. But it really took off. After the [Edmund] Fitzgerald went down, the phone rang off the hook … and it never stopped,’’ Grau said. “He was probably the university’s most well-known faculty member in Northeastern Minnesota.’’

Tom Turk of Duluth was one of the teenagers Wolff helped mentor. Always using military terminology but never a harsh disciplinarian, Wolff helped steer kids to the right path, Turk said. “The trips to the Boundary Waters and deer hunting and duck hunting were great. But the real service was the guidance he gave on how to be a responsible young man,’’ Turk said. “He valued toughness, not like wrestling toughness, but being able to get the job done, whether on a canoe trip or whatever.’’

Turk, a longtime family friend who helped care for Wolff in the professor’s later years, said Wolff was the smartest person he’d ever met. “He was extremely intelligent, to the point of brilliant on some points. But he was also a very humble man, a kid of the Depression era who wanted to help people,” Turk said.

Julius Fredric “Fred” Wolff Jr. spent most of his life in Duluth. He was born here in 1918 and graduated from Duluth Cathedral High School in 1935. He attended Duluth Junior College and graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1940. He served in World War II in the U.S. Army as a quartermaster on Attu Island in Alaska, leaving active duty as a captain and serving in the U.S. Army Reserve until 1975, retiring as a colonel. After the war he attended graduate school at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, earned his master’s degree in 1947 and a doctorate in public administration in 1949.

He went to work at UMD as a political science professor and taught there for 37 years. Wolff was a Boy Scout leader for more than 20 years. He never married.

He was a lifelong member of Cathedral of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Catholic Church. A service is scheduled for Aug. 8. His family asks that memorials go to the Dr. Julius F. Wolff Scholarship at UMD.

From the Duluth News-Tribune


Updates - July 15

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated.


Today in Great Lakes History : July 15

July 15, 1991 - The Spanish, 1975-built, 7,311 gross ton, ocean motor bulk carrier MILANOS anchored in the Detroit River since July 2, began the long slow trip home. Auxiliar de Transporte Maritimos, the ships owners, decided it would be cheaper to the crippled ship home for repairs rather than have the repairs performed locally. The ship's engine seized after the crankshaft broke. She departed Detroit, bound for Montreal under tow of Malcolm Marine's TUG MALCOLM and McKeil's tug ARGUE MARTIN. The tow passed down the Seaway on July 19.

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, Lake Huron Lore Society, 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.


Aquarama-Marine Star may be headed to scrapping

7/14 - Buffalo & Port Colborne - The rumors of the Aquarama-Marine Star's eminent departure from Buffalo may be true after all.

Friday, a small tender-tug tied up to the Cargill Pool Elevator tucked in under the ship's bow. The Port side anchor has been raised out of the ground alongside the dock and is up in its pocket.

There is a heavy tow line wrapped around the bow windlass with a lead out to the pier off the Port Side. The ship is slightly pulled away from the dock at the bow and riding on the Starboard anchor at this time. It appears like she is being prepped for a tow.

The Commodore Straits and the Radium Yellowknife departed the stone dock in Port Colborne around 1:40 p.m. Friday. The tugs arrived in Buffalo at 5 p.m. and radio traffic indicated a concerns about the height of the deck from the waterline, the lack of access holes in the hull for towing gear, and the lack of deep water around the bow for the tugs to get in close enough.

Reported by Brian Wroblewski

Additional Report
On Friday, the tugs Radium Yellowknife and Commodore Straits arrived in Buffalo. They are here to attempt to remove Buffalo's long standing resident Marine Star.  Both crews awaited customs to check them in around 7:30 p.m.

Commodore Straits reported they cannot get close to the Aquarama due to the amount of silt built up. Radium Yellowknife is a shallow draft tug that was only drawing 4 feet. The plan on starting Saturday at 4 a.m. wit the tow from Buffalo to Trois Rivieres

Work crews on board Aquarama were waiting to start working with the tug crews. One member found a old relic in the form of a unopened glass Vaseline jar that was at least 50 years old.

The crews have been working inside Aquarama for the last few weeks, they report that the ballast tanks on Aquarama were full. They were a little unsure what Saturday will bring to say the least. They will have quite the crowd as the day progresses Saturday.

Reported by Rob Wolcott


Port Reports - July 14

Toronto - Bill Blair & Charlie Gibbons
The Beluga Elegance arrived Friday morning in Toronto. After docking at Pier 51, she began unloading parts of a wind turbine destined for Ripley near Goderich, Ontario. The first road shipment by a convoy of trucks is scheduled to leave Saturday at midnight.
The saltie Mandarin arrived in at Redpath early Friday morning, assisted by the Groupe Ocean tugs from Hamilton.
The Toronto based tug M. R. Kane departed early this morning for the Welland Canal. It is rumored that it will join Radium Yellowknife in towing Aquarama.

Cheboygan - Jon Paul Michaels
The tug Michigan and Great Lakes arrived at 4 a.m. Thursday morning at the BP Tank Storage on the Cheboygan River. They departed after unloading their cargo of gasoline during the early hours of Friday morning only to return a few hours later for unknown reasons. The tug Tenacious also arrived early Friday morning.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The English River was tied up and discharging what appeared to be a full load of cement at the LaFarge Terminal at 11 a.m. Friday morning.
The tug Karen Andrie departed the Buffalo North Entrance for Detroit with the barge A-397 trailing behind her on the wire at 9 p.m. on Wednesday.

Saginaw River - Brian Ferguson & Todd  Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore & barge Lewis J. Kuber were up bound through the bridges in downtown Bay City at 1 a.m. Friday morning heading for the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee. The Olive L. Moore/Lewis J. Kuber were outbound Friday morning after unloading overnight at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee.
In bound Friday evening was the Maumee. She was headed up to the Saginaw Wirt Stone dock to unload. Maumee was expected to be out bound Saturday morning.

Marinette - Dick Lund
Marinette Marine has been busy the past few days. They have moved the new Vane Bros. tug, Christiana, out into the yard and will eventually move it to the launch area. The tug Bridget McAllister and its barge Atlantic Trader are partially loaded with the new INLS craft for shipment to the U.S. Navy. The pair will depart soon headed off the Great Lakes downbound through the Seaway.

Soo - Jerry Masson
Friday's upbound traffic included Joseph H. Thompson Jr, Canadian Provider, John B. Aird to Algoma Export Dock, Charles M Beeghly, Cason J. Calloway,  James R. Barker, and Michipicoten.
Downbound were American Spirit, Mark Hanna, Pineglen, American Mariner, and Roger Blough

Toledo - Sheldon Rody
CSL Niagara was loading grain in Toledo Friday afternoon.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Canadian Transfer was an early Saturday morning arrival and went to the Sifto Salt dock to load.


Mackinaw to work yacht race

7/14 - Cheboygan - The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw is expected to arrive at Chicago's Navy Pier Friday in preparation for duties as Patrol Commander for the annual Chicago to Mackinac Yacht Race.

The Mackinaw departed Cheboygan Monday morning and conducted helicopter operations en route near Fox Island in northern Lake Michigan. In addition, the ship's crew performed small boat operations, damage control drills and other training. "We have several new crew members that reported recently and this operation will be their first underway event onboard the cutter,” said Cmdr. John Little, the Mackinaw's captain.

Little said that his ship will host several of the planning meetings surrounding the yacht race.

“Friday's captain's meeting at the Chicago Yacht Club is typically attended by nearly 1,000 people and is the last pre-race event,” Little explained. “All of the vessel skippers and many others are present to receive safety briefings and protocols from the Yacht Club, Coast Guard Air Station, Coast Guard Station Calumet Harbor and myself. They also get updated on the latest weather forecast along the race route by the National Weather Service.

Little said the ship will again be open for tours while moored in Chicago. Last year - the new Mackinaw's first to escort the race - the cutter hosted more than 3,000 visitors during three days of tours at the Navy Pier, and provided hospitality to 228 guests who watched the start of the race from its decks.

“The race itself begins on Saturday at noon,” he continued. “After being anchored near the racing start line to observe each of the 18 classes of vessels begin the 300-mile trek up Lake Michigan, we will get underway and remain close to the fleet to be readily available if search and rescue assistance is needed. Approximately 300 sailing vessels are expected to participate this year. The leaders should be arriving to Mackinac Island by late Sunday evening or early Monday morning and the later finishers should be complete by Tuesday.”

Last year the Mackinaw saw no casualty or distress situations for sailors, but did lift a 6,500-pound sinking buoy from Lake Michigan along with an estimated 2,500 pounds of water inside and brought it to the Mackinaw's foredeck for repairs.

By Mike Fornes for the Cheboygan Daily Tribune


S.S. Badger Hosts Women Harley Riders

7/14 - Ludington, Mich.- Seventy-six Harley Davidson riders sporting matching bandanas and t-shirts will board the S.S. Badger in Manitowoc on Monday to begin a 700-mile riding adventure. The unique twist? They’re all women.

The Annual Stock’s Harley Davidson Girl’s Ride started four years ago with sixteen friends going on a road trip. Each year, word-of-mouth has brought more girls to the group for an unforgettable bonding experience on the open road. This year will be drawing riders from as far as Kansas and Minnesota and ranging in ages from nineteen to seventy-two.

The group will caravan through Manitowoc from Stock’s to the Badger dock. After boarding the ship, the women will enjoy a four-hour cruise across Lake Michigan, with free bingo and movies, satellite television, restaurant and bar areas, and outdoor decks where they can rest for the long ride ahead.

Jayme Presl, who coordinated the event, says there are several mothers, daughters, and sisters taking the trip together, as well as many who have never met. “This is a great way to get to meet new girl riders. It is something we do for ourselves”.

After disembarking in Ludington, the group will head for a reception at the Tuscan Grill in Manistee, MI, where they will spend their first night. They ride to Mackinaw City for the second night. A truck and trailer will also travel along as a support vehicle, carrying luggage, repair items and whatever purchases they make along the way.

Day three they will log miles as they travel through the Upper Peninsula and back down along Green Bay with Lake Michigan their constant companion.

“We are thrilled to have the group riding with us,” said Magee Johnson, Media Relations Director for the S.S. Badger. “This fun and empowered group of ladies is among the fastest growing segments in the motorcycle industry.”

From the S. S. Badger


Rescuing the old lighthouse at Point Abino

7/14 - Fort Erie, Ontario - As one looked skyward at its 100-foot snow white tower, a Fresnel lens projected beams of light for almost 20 miles across Lake Erie.

About 12 feet tall, the lens was made up of rings of glass prisms, which bent the light from a 400-watt bulb into narrow beams. At the centre, an enormous bull's-eye created a flashing effect.

Built in 1917, the Point Abino Lighthouse replaced light ship 82, which sank with all six on board. It protected thousands of ships from the rocky shores of Point Abino. The whole mechanism floated on a bed of liquid mercury, allowing the lens to rotate with ease. The lens now rests by itself - intact - waiting to be brought back to light. A diaphonic fog horn once blasted its warnings to ships and boats that a dense fog blanketed the dangerous shoreline.

Today, the lighthouse is a crumbling mass of concrete, requiring structural, as well as cosmetic restoration. That bothers local historians Paul Kassay and Rick Doan. Having been responsible for several restoration projects in town over the years - such as the restoration of the propellor off the Canadiana in Crystal Beach - the two wish they alone had the financial willpower to fix up one of Canada's national historic sites.

Unfortunately, they don't. That's why they appeared before town council recently, along with another historical advocate, Janet Truckenbrodt, asking the municipal, provincial and federal governments for financial assistance to salvage the deteriorating lighthouse. Mayor Doug Martin informed council he has approached the heritage ministers of the provincial and federal governments and asked them to contribute $200,000 each toward the restoration of the lighthouse. Martin noted the town has saved about $140,000 for restoration efforts.

However, Niagara Falls MPP Kim Craitor said the municipality needs to address the lack of free and unencumbered access to the site before he would push the issue of funding with his colleagues. "It would be difficult for me to convince the provincial government to enter into a financial partnership with the town and the federal government when there is still limited access to that historic site," he said. "Once that issue is resolved, then restoration would be a viable option to take."

Access to the lighthouse and its keeper's dwelling has been a sore point for locals for decades. While the town owns the structure, the only road leading to it belongs to a number of homeowners - mostly American summer residents - who maintain a locked security gate at the entrance to the road. Because of that, the town is required to sign a contract with the association to be granted access to the premises from June through September.
People can walk up to the lighthouse and visit the site every day, from June 21 to Labour Day - 3 to 6 p.m., Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday. Guests are required to sign personal injury and indemnification waivers and to wear guest passes while on tour. Visitors can't access the lighthouse by motorized vehicles, however trolley vehicles depart the Bertie Boat Club four times each day, eight times a year, starting June 9 and ending Sept. 22.

"It is well worth investing in preserving and protecting this landmark for Fort Erie, Ontario and Canada as a whole," said Craitor. "But there needs to be better access before all this can happen." At a recent council meeting, Kassay and Doan showed a seven-minute DVD they created, highlighting the lighthouse, as well as its recent decline in condition. Several photos detailed its crumbling infrastructure, stains, leaks and cracks. "The water is getting in deep into the cement and starting to pop things off," Doan said. "We're scared that in another winter, it will break even more. It's now time that we give back to protect our national historic site - a love of ours that we are so proud of."

Coun. Ann-Marie Noyes, along with other members of council, recently took a tour of the lighthouse. She said it needs "immediate attention. "There are some decisions that can't be put off forever and this is certainly one of them," she said. "We need to get a business plan together and we need to bring a consultant in to find out what exactly needs to be done and how much it will cost."

Martin said the lighthouse building is "structurally sound," but the outside has suffered the most "wear and tear. "We need to get at the building - chisel away at the damaged parts to truly gauge what it will take to fix it up," he said. "We can't just do patch work, that won't work at this stage." He said a consultant would have to be brought in to assess the lighthouse before the municipality could consider putting together a business plan. He expects town staff to bring forward a report for council's consideration by the middle of August, detailing what the costs would be to hire a consultant.

Niagara Falls MP Rob Nicholson said he looks forward to seeing the town's business plan, if and when one is created. "Once they have (a business plan), we will take a look at it and go from there," he said. "I am not in a position to make any promises, but I have always supported the preservation of historic sites."

With one of the world's largest coastline, Canada required many navigation aids in the form of lighthouses. Built on rocky, rugged shorelines, they became "sentinels of great beauty, intrigue, and fascination," standing on guard to "protect and defend our country's marine activity," said Truckenbrodt, a Crystal Beach resident, who has fond memories of biking out to the lighthouse as a child.

By the second decade of the 20th century, the increase of shipping on Lake Erie resulted in several shipwrecks and deaths on the waters off the tip of Point Abino.

"It was our great fortune that the Ministry of Fisheries and Oceans chose this location in Bertie Township to build an exquisite treasure as part of its last lighthouse building program," she said. The land for the lighthouse was expropriated from the Crown at no cost. The property for the dwelling was purchased from U.S. citizen Allan Holloway for what Truckenbrodt said is a sum equal to $1 million at today's market value.

At one time, local residents and tourists walked, biked, or drove freely down Point Abino Road to visit the lighthouse. For more than 40 years, Bertie Township repaired and snow-plowed the road.

Since being decommissioned in 1995, the Point Abino Lighthouse has been designated as a national historic site by the federal government. In 2003, the town purchased the lighthouse. The architectural and engineering assessment completed that year showed a cost of approximately $460,000 for restoration to the lighthouse and keeper's dwelling, said Truckenbrodt. "If the town had acted on that assessment and a three-to-four year plan, the restoration would have been completed by now," she said.

Although Doan said he would like to see free and unencumbered access to the lighthouse in the future, "for now, at least we have the tram. "We know there is not a lot of money in the kitty out there ... but we do seriously deem this to be a worthy cause for consideration." Coun. Bob Steckley said he was "truly shocked" when he saw the current condition of the lighthouse. There is "no doubt" in Coun. Tim Whitfield's mind the lighthouse is worth saving.

"I believe it's a piece of Fort Erie heritage that is slowly deteriorating and we shouldn't allow it to be sucked up by the lake," he said. "I think we need to do everything we possibly can to restore it and (assume) the responsibility we took when we purchased it."

From the Niagara Falls Review


Reservations deadline nearing for Boatnerd Detroit Down River Cruise

On Saturday, August 11, Great Lakes and Seaway Shipping will host a 4-hour freighter chasing cruise on the lower Detroit River, to Detroit River Light, aboard the luxurious Friendship, driven by Capt. Sam Buchanan.

The cruise is similar to an Up River cruise that many Boatnerds enjoyed last year.

The cruise leaves the Portofino's On The River restaurant, in Wyandotte, MI at 10:00 am. We'll go down the Detroit River as far as the Detroit River Light, traveling on both the Livingston and Amherstburg Channels. Bring your camera.

All this for only $35.00. Limited to the first 100 reservations. We must have a minimum of 50 paid reservations. Price includes a box lunch. Cash bar on board. Plenty of free, safe parking at Portofino's.

Checks and reservations must be received no later than August 1, 2007. Go to the Boatnerd Gatherings page for all the details and reservation forms.


Updates - July 14

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery 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 upbound 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.


Port Reports - July 13

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Edward L. Ryerson was docked in Fraser Shipyards in Superior on Thursday morning, reportedly undergoing repairs. Elsewhere, Quebecois remained under the big unloading arm at St. Lawrence Cement. The loading berth at Midwest Energy Terminal was uncharacteristically empty Thursday, but Friday shapes up to be a big day, with Indiana Harbor, Paul R. Tregurtha, Canadian Progress and American Century all scheduled to arrive.

Soo - Jerry Masson
Thursdays upbound traffic included the Burns Harbor, tug Joyce B Gardiner, Saginaw, American Century, Canadian Leader. Downbound Algoway, Edgar B. Speer, Algosar, Michipcoten, Mesabi Miner, Maritime Trader, Canadian Transport and BBC Mississippi.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons came into port early on the evening of July 11 with a load for Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg. It had departed by early morning.

Saginaw - Todd Shorkey
The Lee A Tregurtha was outbound from the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville Wednesday morning after unloading coal there overnight.
On Thursday the tug Olive L. Moore & barge Lewis J. Kuber arrived with a split load. Their security call indicated that they were to lighter two holds at the Sargent dock in Essexville before heading upriver to finish unloading at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee. The Kuber and Moore were still at Sargent Essexville as of 10:45 p.m. Thursday night.


Historic replica docks in Duluth

7/13 - The ropes creaked and the iron ship’s bell dinged softly. Overhead, flags stood out in the winds off Lake Superior. Those were the only sounds as the Nina sailed north along Minnesota Point on Wednesday morning, its two forward sails taut in the wind — just as they would have been when Christopher Columbus sailed alongside the ship in 1492.

Not the original Nina, of course. If it were still around, this one of the original three ships that Columbus and his crew sailed would be more than five centuries old. But the Nina under Capt. Kyle Friauf’s command is the closest thing the modern world has been able to create. The 93-foot-long replica of the Nina was built in the late 1980s and early ’90s by the Columbus Foundation in the British Virgin Islands. The foundation had planned to build all of Columbus’ fleet, but for financial reasons scrapped plans for the Pinta and the Santa Maria. The Nina reportedly was Columbus’ favorite ship.

Today it has become a traveling museum, a tool for teaching not only about the history of sailing but about the perseverance and courage displayed by those early sailors, Friauf said. The Nina has been traveling the country steadily for 15 years, though Wednesday marked its first stop in Duluth.

“She looks good today, guys — a damn sight better than yesterday,” Friauf called to the crew aboard the Nina at 6 a.m. in Two Harbors. The smell of his Swisher Sweet cigar wafted across the deck as he eyed the clouds on the horizon.

The Nina had made an unscheduled stop in Two Harbors overnight to ride out Tuesday’s furious winds. It’s not often that the Nina gets to actually sail under its own power. The ship is strictly a downwind sailing vessel, Friauf said, and the gusty Lake Superior winds just haven’t been in the crew’s favor.

“It’s almost impossible for us to sail from place to place,” Friauf said. “Time is a luxury we don’t have.”

But as the Nina motored toward the Canal Park waterfront, the captain decided he had time to show off what the Nina was built for. The crew unfurled the foremost square sail, and it luffed a bit before it caught the wind. The main sail followed, and soon Friauf ordered the diesel engine switched off. Silence. Only blue skies and white clouds, with the flags flying overhead.

“This is what it’s all about,” said Mike Duggan, a former New York Police Department detective who has been a “salty dog” with the crew for just a month. It was something of a ceremonial sail — the motor would have been quicker, but not as true to the ship. “It’s a very elemental, very organic way of traveling,” Duggan said of the ship’s gentle rise and roll with the wind.

The Nina’s docking in Duluth was a ceremonial arrival, indeed — the unfurling of those huge square sails, the wooden ship running alongside ore boats and touring boats, the deafening sound of toast being shot from a cannon.

Yes, toast — the crew stuffs the cannon with wads of bread and it comes out as toast, with a little flour added for a smoke effect. In Columbus’ day, the cannon could have fired a 3-pound ball a mile. Today, the Nina crew fires the cannon whenever they arrive in a new port.

The Nina hadn’t even docked in the Lakehead Boat Basin on Minnesota Point before a crowd began to gather. A harbor employee blocked the long dock with a picnic table so the crew could get their work done. Public tours begin today and run daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. until the Nina sets out early on July 19.

Tours include access to all parts of the ship. People can grip the tiller that controls the 600-pound rudder, climb the deck and descend into the hold. In Columbus’ day, that hold would be filled with provisions and livestock. Four-legged animals were dangled from slings so they wouldn’t be injured when the boat rolled, and chickens ran free among the barrels and boxes of hardtack and salt pork. Early Wednesday morning, only Miss Elli was below deck, frying up French toast and offering strong coffee from her tidy galley. Miss Elli, as everyone calls Elenore Kaiser, has been sailing with the Nina for seven years. At age 80, she has no plans to quit.

“I’ll stay as long they keep asking me back,” she said. Shortly after her husband died, her three children got together and pushed for Miss Elli to join the crew. Her son, Doc, has been with the Nina for nine years. “I thoroughly enjoy it,” she said. She prepares two meals a day and sells tour tickets while the ship is in harbor.

Miss Elli admires the fortitude Columbus and his crew showed during their Atlantic voyage. Just think, she said — the crew sailed for months, not knowing where they might end up, living on dry biscuits and salty meat, sleeping on the deck in the salt spray. Yet sail they did. The current six-person crew seems to have little in common. There’s Beth Frederick of Sawyer, Mich., who joined the Nina crew just six days ago on a whim. She had four hours to pack her belongings, and she might be with the crew for a long time. “I’m trying to enjoy every minute,” she said. Jameson Marquardt of Davenport, Iowa, has been with the crew for two years, after quitting his job as a manager of a shoe store; Doc and Miss Elli have long been with the Nina; and Capt. Kyle feels his sea legs calling after even a 10-day trip home to Florida. But they all speak of the Nina as a living thing, and they all love this ship.

Duggan told of climbing out of the hatch for a 3 a.m. watch shift on a dark, moonless night. He looked up at the mast and the riggings silhouetted in the night sky, “and it was like sailing through the stars,” Duggan said. “Honestly. It was like you were in space, like you were floating through time.”

Reported by: the Duluth News Tribune


Updates - July 13

News Photo Gallery 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. Purchased by Voyageur Transportation in 2006.

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.


Port Reports - July 12

Soo - Jerry Masson
Wednesdays upbound traffic included Stewart J. Cort, Walter J. McCarthy Jr, American Valor, Presque Isle, Spruceglen, Lee A Tregurtha, Canadian Progress, Indiana Harbor, and Paul R Tregurtha.
Downbound were Algowood, Cedarglen, Algosar, Catherine Desgagnes, and Federal Yoshino

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
BBC Australia finished unloading wind turbine towers at Milwaukee's heavy lift dock, turned and departed without help from tugs about 1:45 p.m. Wednesday.
Also Wednesday, St. Marys Conquest and its tug Susan W. Hannah left port after unloading at their Kinnickinnic River silo just after 3:00 p.m.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
In the face of sustained high winds with gusts up to 60 mph, the American Integrity departed Duluth on Tuesday afternoon, pushing into a lake full of whitecaps. Inbound vessels Mesabi Miner and Quebecois elected not to try entering and anchored out on the lake. By Wednesday morning, the winds had died down and Quebecois was unloading cement at St. Lawrence Cement, Canadian Transport was loading coal at Midwest Energy Terminal and Carola was at CHS grain elevator in Superior.

Owen Sound - Peter Bowers & Ed. Saliwonchyk
Cuyahoga arrived with a load of salt Wednesday morning at the Great Lakes Elevator at 12:50 a.m. She appeared to have difficulty getting along side the dock until she off loaded enough cargo to pull forward.
About ten or fifteen minutes into unloading, she had hydraulic problems and had to shut down while repairs were made. She unloaded and departed shortly after 6 a.m.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Agawa Canyon arrived Wednesday evening to load at Sifto Salt. It is the first arrival at the mine in over two weeks, following some planned maintenance and upgrades to the facilities.


Updates - July 12

News 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.


Port Reports - July 11

Twin Ports - Joe
The Quebecois and the Mesabi Miner were anchored in Duluth because of the high winds on the Lake. Gusts were reported up to 45 mph.

Madeline Island, Lake Superior - Tim Eldred
Ferry service to Madeline Island on the south shore of Lake Superior was halted Tuesday afternoon due to high winds. Sustained wind speeds of 25 to 40 knots was reported at the Madeline Island Yacht Club with higher gusts. The combination of steep waves at the island dock and historic low water and shoaling prompted the temporary move by the Madeline Island Ferry Lines. High winds were forecast through the evening and there was no indication of when the service will resume. The suspension of service has stranded both visitors on the island side and Islanders who visited the mainland for the day.

The yacht Justine A. Bell, a converted tug, came ashore at Madeline Island this afternoon. The 50 foot black hulled vessel dragged its ground tackle through the special anchorage at the western end of Madeline Island in strong northwest winds. The boat managed to miss three other moored sailboats on its trip to the beach. Waves are breaking over the boat but the ports and hatches appear intact. The sand bottom may spare the boat any significant damage. The boat had been a fixture on the waterfront near the William R. Irvin in Duluth's Minnesota slip prior to its arrival at Madeline Island over the fourth of July holiday.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Sunday afternoon tug Rebecca Lynn and barge A-410 turned in Milwaukee's mooring basin about 4:30 p.m. then docked at the inner harbor tank farm north of Greenfield Avenue. Wilfred Sykes entered the inner harbor about 8 p.m. Monday, delivering cement clinker to St. Mary's at the south end of Jones Island. Across the inner harbor, BBC Australia continued depositing its deck load of turbine components to the heavy lift dock surface and onto barges.
Wilfred Sykes backed downriver departing onto Lake Michigan during the noon hour on Tuesday.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived at Lafarge around 10:30 p.m. on Monday. The Alpena is expected to return on Wednesday.
At Stoneport on Tuesday the Arthur M. Anderson took on cargo during the morning and departed around 11 a.m. Waiting nearby was fleetmate John G. Munson. The Munson approached the dock once the Anderson cleared.

Hamilton - John McCreery
Canadian Provider arrived in port on a hot and muggy evening to join fleet mate Canadian Leader at Dofasco.


Updates - July 11

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated.


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.



Port Reports - July 10

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Early Monday, the St. Clair was loading coal at Midwest Energy Terminal, BBC Mississippi was completing its load at AGP elevator in Duluth, and Federal Yoshima was loading at the Peavey elevator in Superior. Elsewhere, the Alpena was tying up at the Murphy Oil fueling depot, apparently with help from a GLT tug. On Sunday, the tug Gregory Busch and barge were docked at the Duluth port terminal as wind mill towers were being loaded aboard the barge for shipment to Buffalo.

Soo Locks - Jerry Masson
Mondays upbound traffic included the Quebecois, Algosar, Mesabi Miner and Maritime Trader. Downbound was the Drummond Islander II, Paul R. Tregurtha, Herbert C. Jackson, Michipicoten, Charles M. Beeghly, Algowood departed the anchorage to Algoma and the Bluebill departed from Algoma to Montreal.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
Sunday at 9 p.m. the tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber arrived off the pier heads with a load for Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg. The St. Mary's Challenger was still in port. Both vessels were gone by daybreak Monday.

Green Bay - Wendell Wilke
On Monday afternoon the Maumee was off loading at Georgia Pacific.

Cheboygan - Jon Paul Michaels
The USCGC Mackinaw departed her moorings in Cheboygan at 8 a.m. Monday morning and headed westward passing under the Mackinaw Bridge at 9 a.m.  It is unknown where the Mackinaw was headed but presumably will arrive in Chicago for the start of the Chicago to Mackinaw Race on July 14.

Saginaw - Todd Shorkey
The tug Donald C. Hannah made her first visit of 2007 to the Saginaw River as she and her tank barge called on the Dow Chemical dock Sunday night. Also inbound Sunday night was the tug Barbara Andrie and her tank barge. That pair called on the Bit- Mat dock in Bay City. Both were expected to be outbound on Monday.

Detroit River - Angie Williams and Dave Cozens
The Cuyahoga, upbound for Owen Sound, went aground early Monday morning in the Detroit River in the Amherstburg Channel after losing power. She stopped near the Canadian shoreline just below the Canadian Coast Guard Base at the bottom of Boblo Island. She was not blocking the shipping channel and was freed Monday afternoon with assistance from the G-tugs Wyoming and Superior. The Cuyahoga continued upbound with no reports of damage to the vessel.


Updates - July 10

News 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.


Port Reports - July 9

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The Herbert C. Jackson arrived in Marquette on a hot Sunday evening for ore. Parts of the Upper Peninsula were experiencing stormy weather, but Marquette escaped the hail and rain Sunday evening.

Alpena Report - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Sunday two vessels called at the Lafarge dock. The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were under the silos loading during the morning. The Sam Laud waited out in the bay until the Innovation departed and passed them out in the channel. The Sam Laud then backed into Lafarge to tie up and unload coal. The tall ship Highlander Sea was also out sailing around the bay.

Saginaw - Todd Shorkey
On Thursday, the Indiana Harbor called on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville to unload coal. She was outbound later in the day backing out to Light 12 to turn and head for the lake. The Indiana Harbor has three more trips scheduled for Consumers in the next few weeks.

On Saturday, the Calumet arrived with a split load. She lightered first at the Sargent dock In Essexville before continuing upriver to finish unloading at the Buena Vista dock in Saginaw. Calumet was outbound later in the day. Also inbound on Saturday was the Walter J. McCarthy, Jr., calling on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville. She was also outbound later in the day.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The St. Mary's Challenger arrived overnight for the St. Mary's Cement Terminal in Ferrysburg. It was still unloading as of Sunday evening.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
Late Sunday morning the port was empty except for the BBC Austrailia at the Heavy Lift dock in the inner harbor. It appeared to be unloading windmill components.

South Chicago - Steve B.
Sunday at noon was a busy time at the South end of Lake Michigan with three vessels arriving and departing. The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity were outbound in Calumet Harbor headed for the lake. At the same time the Wilfred Sykes was off the harbor headed for Indiana Harbor. Departing Indiana Harbor was the barge McKee Sons and tug Invincible. Over on the Calumet River the Arthur M. Anderson was unloading stone at Marblehead at 106th St.

Buffalo- Brian W.
On Saturday evening the Halifax was taking on a load of blended coal at the Gateway Trade Center. She was backed in about quarter of the way down the Lackawanna Slip with her boom swung over to Port at a nearly 90 degree angle off the centerline of the ship to allow the loading conveyors access to her holds.  They departed sometime Sunday morning.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Sunday the Vega Desgagnes departed the Petro Canada Pier in Bronte at 6:30 a.m. CSL Niagara departed Stelco at 8:30 a.m. The Birchglen arrived at 12:45 p.m. with gypsum from Point Tupper Nova Scotia for Pier 12. After unloading she is expected to head out into the lake to clean holds and then return to load slag at Pier 26 for Three Rivers Quebec. The Spruceglen followed at 1:15 p.m. going to Dofasco with iron ore pellets. Her next port is to be Superior. The saltie Aquamarina departed Pier 23 at 1:30 p.m.
 Friday evening the Halifax departed Stelco at 5:15 p.m. The tug Annie M Dean departed Bronte with a work barge and arrived in Hamilton at 9 p.m. Saturday the Vega Desganges arrived at the Petro Canada Pier at 8:30 a.m.
The tug Sea Eagle II and barge St. Mary's Cement II departed Hamilton at 2:30p.m. The saltie Aquamarina arrived at 9:30 p.m. going to Pier 23.

Toronto- Charlie Gibbons
Both the Stephen B. Roman and English River were in port Saturday. The Roman departed in mid afternoon. The saltie Fairlift was loading railroad locomotives at Pier 51. Late Saturday night the finale for the Festival of Fire took place off Ontario Place from the deck of Canadian Ranger. Early Sunday morning the Ranger was towed back into port by Radium Yellowknife and M. R. Kane. It is rumored that these tugs will soon be heading for Buffalo to pick up Aquarama for a tow down the Seaway.



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.


Port Reports - July 8

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Lee A. Tregurtha and Kaye E. Barker loaded taconite at the Upper Harbor ore dock on a hot Saturday.

Owen Sound - Ed Saliwonchyk
The Mississagi arrived in Owen Sound shortly after noon on Saturday to unload salt.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Friday evening Canadian Navigator was docked under the chutes at the Nidera elevator in Milwaukee's inner harbor, boom swung out and waiting to load.
About 8 p.m. Friday the barge St. Marys Conquest and tug Susan W. Hannah appeared among the sailboats on a calm Lake Michigan surface, before moving upriver slowly to the Kinnickinnic Avenue terminal.

Waukegan - Bill Strauss
On Saturday morning at 10:15 a.m. the tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity left Waukegan Harbor under sunny skies and a 8 knot southerly wind.


Updates - July 8

News Photo Gallery updated

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.


Minister jumps on 'H2O highway' ferry suggestion

7/7 - Hamilton, Ont. - A commuter ferry from Hamilton to Toronto is getting closer to having sea legs.

Ontario's transportation minister Donna Cansfield put the old idea back into play this week when she suggested GO Transit should explore a ferry to help relieve road and rail traffic. "I think it's really worth investigating," she said yesterday in an interview with The Spectator. "You should put everything on the table." Lake Ontario is underutilized as an "H2O highway" and has the potential to ship goods to the Hamilton airport, along with commuters, she said.

The Hamilton Port Authority is keen to explore the idea, too -- as long as it's accompanied by a strong business case. "It's a question of economics," said Bob Matthews, vice-president of marketing. "I think we have to look at it with an open mind."

Three years ago, Matthews met with a visiting British colleague to discuss if a hovercraft service he ran overseas would work here. After a 40-minute boat trip from Hamilton to Toronto and a much longer drive back, they agreed the ferry would be viable. "Gridlock is not going to get any easier," he said, noting the ferry might just be a matter of time. Mayor Fred Eisenberger, a longtime advocate for the H2O highway, is also keen on investigating a ferry plan -- a message he conveyed to Cansfield in a meeting last winter.

The port authority has pegged Fisherman's Pier or Pier 8 as a possible location for a ferry dock. If the service was subsidized like other public transit, it could be just as affordable as the GO train, said Matthews.

Modern technology also means the boats could run all year long, said Ian Taylor, president of Reflex Advanced Marine, a Dundas company that designs fast ferries. He's met with Cansfield twice in recent months to pitch the ferry and is thrilled with her public support for exploring the idea. It's the first time a minister has supported the idea that's been kicking around for decades. "This is groundbreaking," he said.

But any ferry proposal has a lot of ground to cover before hitting water. GO Transit and the Greater Toronto Transportation Authority are both focused on improving rail lines along the lakeshore. More trips and the prospect of electrifying the rails in the future is expected to make the service more user-friendly and boost ridership.

Ferries are typically used to transport people from one land mass to another, not run parallel to road and rail, noted GO general manager Gary McNeil. Plus, he said, land transportation typically offers higher capacity or "more bang for your buck."

A train can hold up to 2,000 people and stops quickly at stations along the route. A ferry, by contrast, would be a few hundred people. Still, McNeil thinks the ferry option should be considered by the GTTA as Ontario plans for the future. Rob MacIsaac, chair of the GTTA, agrees, but notes the top priority right now is adding train services and bringing transit to under serviced areas. Still Cansfield says she's eager to work with Hamilton and Toronto to champion the ferry idea.

From the Hamilton Spectator


Port Reports - July 7

Waukegan - Bill Strauss
On Friday afternoon the tug G. L Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived at Waukegan Harbor, IL to offload cement.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
After two days of no vessel activity, James R. Barker unloaded western coal at the Upper Harbor on Friday.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
St. Mary's Challenger arrived at its Kinnickinnic River silo in Milwaukee just after 4 p.m. on Thursday, unloading overnight.
Also Thursday the tug G. L. Ostrander and cement barge Integrity arrived just before midnight, proceeding to unload at LaFarge. Integrity departed onto Lake Michigan mid-day Friday.
Friday evening Canadian Navigator was docked under the chutes at the Nidera elevator in Milwaukee's inner harbor, boom swung out and waiting to load.
At about 8 p.m. Friday, cement carrier St. Marys Conquest and its tug Susan W. Hannah appeared among the sailboats on a calm Lake Michigan surface, before moving upriver slowly to their Kinnickinnic Avenue terminal.

Holland - Bob Vande Vusse
On Friday the Wilfred Sykes arrived in Holland at about 5 a.m. to deliver a load of coal to the James DeYoung power plant. It was departing by mid-morning.
At about 9:30 p.m. the Manistee arrived to deliver stone to the Verplank dock.


New entrant in Stelco sweepstakes

7/7 - Toronto - A new player in the North American steel consolidation frenzy is joining two of the usual suspects in taking a serious look at Stelco Inc., the last remaining Canadian-controlled steel maker, sources say.

Metinvest of Ukraine is kicking Stelco's tires, along with Russian steel maker OAO Severstal and India's Essar Global Ltd.

Severstal has already taken at least one run at Stelco, Essar paid $1.8-billion for Algoma Steel Inc., and Metinvest is new to the scene, but it's hardly a bit player because it's controlled by Ukraine's richest man, Rinat Akhmetov – no. 214 on the Forbes magazine list of the world's billionaires.

Officials from Severstal, Metinvest and the steel division of Essar have toured Stelco's operations in recent weeks since the Hamilton-based company officially put itself up for sale last month, the sources said.

Recent Article
Consolidation has swept aside Stelco's neighbour Dofasco Inc., Essar's deal for Algoma closed last month, and shareholders will vote on a $7.7-billion (U.S.) buyout of Ipsco Inc. by Svenskt Steel AB later this month. Those transactions have helped reduce the number of mid-sized, relatively cheap North American steel assets to three.

They are Stelco, AK Steel Holding Corp. of Middletown, Ohio, and a mill near Baltimore, Md., that Mittal Arcelor, the world's largest steel maker, has been ordered to sell by the U.S. government. The scarcity of assets has been driving up valuations and share prices of the remaining publicly traded players. At Thursday's closing price on the Toronto Stock Exchange, a Stelco takeout would cost $741-million (Canadian).

Stelco as a whole is worth less than that, said John Hughes, who follows the company for Desjardins Securities Inc. in Toronto. “It's worth more in pieces than it is together,” Mr. Hughes said yesterday, pointing to the more modern and efficient Lake Erie Works in Nanticoke, Ont., versus the older operations in Hamilton that carry the bulk of Stelco's pension and retiree health care liabilities of about $1.7-billion. “Whether the union situation would allow for a division of assets is more possible than probable,” he said.

Stelco chief executive officer Rodney Mott said at the company's annual meeting last month that it would be difficult to sell Lake Erie separately from the Hamilton operations. Mr. Mott is on vacation and could not be reached for comment yesterday.

The purchase of Stelco makes a great deal of sense for Severstal and for Essar, analysts said. Severstal, which took a run at Stelco in 2005 when the Canadian company was operating in bankruptcy protection, owns a mill in Dearborn, Mich., and is a partner in a mill in Mississippi that will turn out galvanized and other value-added steel. Severstal is flush with cash – $3.2-billion (U.S.) as of the three months ended March 31. Deutsche Bank AG analysts predict the company will generate profit of about $1.6-billion this year.

Essar, which produces more than eight million tons of steel annually, plans to increase Algoma's steel production to four million tons annually from about 2.5 million now, and is spending about $1.6-billion to develop a slab mill in Minnesota that will supply Algoma. Slabs shipped to Algoma's Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., mill from Hamilton would probably be cheaper than those coming from offshore, one analyst said yesterday. “Algoma is the keystone of our expansion into the North American markets,” Shashi Ruia, chairman of Essar, said in a statement last month.

Metinvest, which controls Azovstal Steel Works in Ukraine, produced more than eight million tons of steel in Ukraine last year.

From the Toronto Globe and Mail


Saving Michigan's lighthouses
Legal issues, lack of cash impede preservation of maritime history

7/7 - Port Huron -- Its original light is now in a museum and storms have pockmarked its side. Today tourists, rather than vigilant lighthouse keepers, carefully climb the 94 cast-iron steps to the top of Port Huron's Ft. Gratiot lighthouse.

Built in 1829, Michigan's oldest lighthouse is still working today. It has weathered storms such as one in 1913, when waves pounded halfway up its 86 feet and several ships were destroyed. But the sea captains passing by now are far more likely to have their eyes on satellites, global positioning devices and other modern navigation tools.

Many of the lighthouses have been lovingly restored -- some as homes and museums -- but legal obstacles and a lack of money are keeping many from being preserved as artifacts of maritime history and architecture. Only a handful of lighthouses, including the fabled one at Whitefish Point on Lake Superior, still serve as beacons of mariner safety. The U.S. Coast Guard has spent the last decade or so handing them over to communities and groups committed to maintaining part of Michigan history.

"They represent the romance of maritime history. It's one thing to be out there on a beautiful day when the sun is shining and fair winds, but when the weather turns foul, it's a totally different ballgame," said Dennis Zembala, president of the Port Huron Museum. "There are just so many people that are into lighthouses, it's unbelievable."

Michigan has 124 lighthouses -- more than any other state -- and nearly all are historically or architecturally significant. The Coast Guard has transferred about two-thirds of those in Michigan to nonprofits and local governments that have proven they have the deep pockets and the commitment to maintain the often-crumbling relics.

The once-proud Ft. Gratiot tower sits with holes in its sides where the 178-year-old bricks have popped out. Its north side has an 8- to 10-foot crack that allows water to get in and expand during winter freezes, causing further damage.

Port Huron has an agreement with the federal government to take ownership of the lighthouse, and a $400,000 federal grant to begin the $700,000 to $800,000 worth of work it needs. But the state's Department of Environmental Quality has rejected a report by the Coast Guard saying the site was not contaminated, and wants an additional year of monitoring.

Big job awaits preservationists
Preserving lighthouses isn't for the fainthearted. Given their age and exposed-to-the-elements locations, lighthouses typically need enormous amounts of money and unflagging zeal from preservationists. "This is not just a romantic idea that you can have," said Martha McFarlane Faes, lighthouse project manager with the State Historic Preservation office. "They are massive preservation projects."

Tim Conklin and his wife, Ian Aronsson, said they believe they have the only privately owned, working lighthouse in the country, the Port Sanilac lighthouse.
Aronsson's grandfather bought the light-keeper's house and the grounds in the 1920s, but the attached light remained under Coast Guard control. When the Coast Guard started to divest itself of lighthouses, the couple bought it. Maintaining the 1886 house and light has its challenges. "It's basically always work," Conklin said. "Good intentions are one thing, but you've got to do it. I'd be a fool to let this thing run down."

The future of Michigan's lighthouses depends on the ability to find preservation funding, said Kirk Lindquist, president of the Michigan Lighthouse Fund. "Most of these lighthouses are located in very obscure places, and we don't necessarily have wealthy people nearby," Lindquist said.

The Granite Island lighthouse in Lake Superior was likely the last Michigan lighthouse to go on the public auction block, when Bob and Martine Holman of Freeland bought the island in 1999 for $86,000. Bob Holman won't say how much he spent restoring it, but McFarlane Faes estimates it's "well into the six figures, if not higher." First Holman had to find workers willing to take a boat trip to Granite Island and live in a tent four days a week. The lighthouse came with a gaping hole from the roof to the basement and plenty of ruined plaster, flooring and wainscoting.

It took 2 1/2 years to restore it and the adjacent keeper's house, including adding solar and wind power and a microwave dish for high-speed Internet. Today, the work is considered a model of preservation. The lighthouse is private, but interested parties can see it via an elaborate set of webcams the Holmans installed.

Legal issues in the way
Over on Lake Michigan, Karen McDonnell has what could be considered the ultimate lighthouse experience. Since 1982, she has been curator of the White River lighthouse in Fruitland Township, near Muskegon. It has been a museum since 1970. She lives in the light-keeper's house and is the jack-of-all-trades of lighthouse preservation. "When you go through a number of storms that you thought would take the lighthouse down, and then you multiply it by years, you get to the point where you feel very safe," McDonnell said.

The DeTour Reef lighthouse off Drummond Island is another example of stunning restoration, Lindquist said. "They've invested millions over the last 10 years," Lindquist said.

Ironically, that lighthouse has also become the poster child for one of the biggest obstacles to Michigan lighthouse restoration. Offshore lighthouses sit on lake bottomlands claimed by the state, which wasn't a problem when the lighthouses were federally owned because the U.S. government has a right to an easement to aid in navigation. But it became a problem as soon as the federal government stepped away.

Michigan restricts the use of bottomland to hunting, fishing or recreation. Other uses -- such as historic preservation -- require the state to lease the land out, and that process -- which includes reaching an agreement on fees -- has slowed the transfer of the remaining lights.

"We are a volunteer organization helping the state maintain what could be a crumbling eyesore, and they want to charge us for it? It's offensive," said Clif Haley, a director and legal adviser of the DeTour lighthouse. He maintains that the federal government's easement rights transfer to the new lighthouse guardians. "The public trust really does mean the bottomlands are held in trust for the benefit of the public in general," said Stanley Pruss, DEQ deputy director. "So when we convey an interest in the Great Lakes bottomlands ... it has to be done consistent with the law."

From the Detroit Free Press


Updates - July 7

News Photo Gallery updated

Scenes from the 2007 Soo BoatNerd Gathering, including a full steam salute from the Ryerson. Salute Video

Public Photo Gallery updated.


Today in Great Lakes History : July 7

July 7, 1939 - The Bureau of Lighthouses was merged into the U. S. Coast Guard.

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 Drydock 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.

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 6

South Chicago - Brian Z.
The Wilfred Sykes arrived at KCBX Terminals on Thursday to load a cargo of blended coal, destined for Holland, Michigan.

Alpena & Stoneport- Ben & Chanda McClain
On Wednesday afternoon the G.L Ostrander/barge Integrity arrived at LaFarge under cloudy skies.
The Steamer Alpena is expected in port early Friday morning.
At Stoneport, early on Thursday morning, the Joseph H. Thompson departed the dock.
The Cason J. Calloway was next to tie up and load. The Calloway departed around 6 p.m.
Waiting at anchor until the Calloway cleared was an unusual visitor, the barge Sara Spencer/tug Jane Ann VI. They pulled up to the dock and unloaded dolomite on the other side of the loading rig.


Environmental Risks Haunt 'Ghost Fleet'

7/6 - BENICIA, CA - From afar, the ghostly warships recall a fierce phalanx ready for battle. A closer look, though, shows the rust and rot of ships unfit for duty or even dismantling, a quandary that is costing taxpayers millions of dollars and could cause environmental misery that will cost millions more.

This is the Suisun Bay Reserve Fleet, a collection of once-valiant troop transports, tankers and other vessels dating back to World War II, Korea and Vietnam.

Before they can be scrapped and sold, Coast Guard regulations require the removal of the barnacles and other sea creatures clinging to their hulls. That process causes toxic paint to flake off into the water, and fear of contamination has brought ship disposal to a halt in California, and delayed it in the country's other "mothball fleets" in Texas and Virginia.

"The fleet has devolved from these historic and wonderful vessels into basically a floating junkyard," said Saul Bloom of Arc Ecology, a San Francisco environmental group working to make the ghost ships disappear. "While they're sitting there, they continue to pollute." After World War II, the military designated several sites for ships withdrawn from active military service, among then Suisun Bay, a shallow, brackish body of water east of San Francisco Bay.

For several decades, many stood ready to be called back into duty on short notice. But over time, most of the vessels in the fleet have become too decrepit to justify the cost of repairs.

On the troop ship General Edwin D. Patrick, the wooden deck has turned black with rot, and grass grows through the cracks. Sea birds roost where soldiers once waited anxiously to go to war, and peeling paint exposes vast expanses of rust from bow to stern. "There's really very little you can do to maintain a ship like this," said Sean T. Connaughton, head of the U.S. Maritime Administration during a recent tour of the fleet. As a result, the Patrick and 53 other ships of the 74 in the Suisun Bay fleet are slated to be chopped up for scrap. About 140 out of the 190 in all three fleets are destined for disposal.

The Maritime Administration sets aside about $1.2 million per ship for the dismantling program, though some if not all of that can be recovered by selling the scrap metal on the robust international steel market. By comparison, the federal government spends about $20 million a year to maintain the three reserve fleets. But agency officials say the potential cost of environmental damage caused by aging ships crumbling and sinking into the bay could dwarf the expense of the dismantling program.

Under a congressional order, the Maritime Administration had a 2006 deadline to dismantle ships in reserve fleets classified as no longer useful. That hasn't happened. Maritime officials blame a lack of funding and a shortage of facilities able to perform the messy task of taking the massive ships apart. But recently, the more vexing environmental problem has also emerged.

Owing to a lack of proper facilities on the West Coast, California ships headed for the scrap heap must first be towed through the Panama Canal to Brownsville, Texas, center of ship breaking operations in the U.S. But on these towering hulks, mounted with guns stilled long ago and propellers nearly rusted through, thriving ecosystems cluster beneath the waterline. Millions of microscopic invertebrates in moss-like colonies several inches thick shelter barnacles, clams and tiny crustaceans.

Some of these organisms have already devastated native San Francisco Bay species that lacked the defenses against the sudden introduction of invaders unwittingly transported from overseas. Hauling the uncleaned ships to Texas could spread these ecologically hazardous creatures even farther.

Last year, divers using devices resembling floor buffers "scamped" several Suisun Bay ships to clean off the unwanted organisms, but tests of samples taken around the ships showed it was leaving toxic paint in the water. Until federal officials figure out how to keep the paint from contaminating the bay, California regulators have warned them to stop the cleaning or risk running afoul of state water laws.

The conflicting regulations halted the scrapping not only of California's mothball fleet but also the country's two other reserve fleets in Beaumont, Texas, and James River, Va. The discovery of the paint in Suisun Bay had led the Maritime Administration to place a moratorium on ship disposal in all three reserve fleets, though agreements with Virginia and Texas have paved the way for cleaning to resume.

But regulators in California, along with environmentalists and members of the state's congressional delegation still find the risk unacceptable. "We don't want to see these kinds of things going into the bay," said Keith Lichten, a senior engineer with the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board. They also cite a February study suggesting paint is flaking off the ships on its own and dumping more than 21 tons of copper, lead, zinc and other metals into the ecologically sensitive estuary.

Still, Connaughton has promised that by this time next year the environmental quandary will be solved and 15 crumbling ships will be gone from Suisun Bay. And Maritime Administration officials play down the environmental threat, arguing that heavy metals are found in sediments throughout the bay. The hulls of even the most rickety vessels are secure, according to fleet managers, with none likely to sink anytime soon. "We're trying to remove these vessels as quickly and safely as possible," Connaughton said. "This has been a very difficult issue for all of us."

If any ships do go down, they would leave not only paint but PCBs, fuel oil and other pollutants into wildlife-rich waters.

For sailors who served on them, the possible legacy of pollution adds further distress to the sorrow of seeing their cherished vessels cut up and destroyed. "I don't think anyone is going to remember them except for the guys that served on them," said Chris Plum, a hull technician in the 1980s on the USS Cimarron, a tanker slated for disposal. "Nobody cares. There's more money in scrap."

From the Columbus Dispatch


Updates - July 6

News Photo Gallery updated

Scenes from the 2007 Soo BoatNerd Gathering, including a full steam salute from the Ryerson. Salute Video

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 sister ship 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

Soo - Jerry Masson
Wednesday's upbound traffic included CSL Tadoussac, tug Gregory J Busch & barge, Samuel Risley, Capt. Henry Jackman, American Victory, Isadora, American Courage, Roger Blough, and Algolake. Down bound were Burns Harbor, Canadian Transport, Saginaw to Algoma Steel, Stefania-1, and Federal Mattawa.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The barge McKee Sons and tug Invincible came in Wednesday morning with a load for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg. It had lightered in Muskegon overnight.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
On Tuesday the ocean bulk freighter Isadora (reg. Limassol, Cyprus) delivered steel products at dock 2 among the general cargo piers located on Milwaukee's outer harbor. Isadora left the port with the aid of one G-tug at about 6 p.m.
Earlier Tuesday the American Mariner departed onto Lake Michigan at about 9 a.m. after completing its coal delivery to WE Energies in the inner harbor.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Late Tuesday night, the Manistee was in bound the Saginaw River going up to unload at the Burroughs Dock in Zilwaukee. She was out bound Wednesday morning.
Her fleetmate, Calumet was in bound Wednesday afternoon traveling upriver to unload at the GM dock in Saginaw. She was expected to be out bound early Thursday morning. The H. Lee White was also in bound, calling on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville. She was out bound Wednesday early Wednesday evening.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The Jumbo heavy lift salty Fairlift arrived in port late Tuesday and began unloading at Pier 52 (the old fast ferry dock) on Wednesday. Stephen B. Roman was back at Essroc yesterday.


Updates - July 5

News Photo Gallery updated

Scenes from the 2007 Soo BoatNerd Gathering, including a full steam salute from the Ryerson. Salute Video

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.


Quebec Shipyard back from the brink

7/4 - Levis, Que.–The Davie shipyard, a Canadian industrial giant that came to the brink of liquidation, is groaning back to life once again.

Across the vast dockyard with giant hangars of high-tech welding machines, cranes and massive assembly lines, tiny pockets of workers are kicking this sleeping behemoth back to its feet. Some 170 mechanics, welders and maintenance workers are operating in small teams to resuscitate machinery that was installed a decade ago, thanks to government largesse, but has barely been used.

The deadline is August. That's when hundreds of workers will start to pour back into the shipyard of Davie Quebec where they will bend and weld the steel hull of the first major vessel to be built here in a decade.

The first of three 130-metre, offshore construction ships will start to rise from the enormous concrete trench known as the Champlain drydock. The projects are worth $425 million. In a year, the shipyard expects to have 600 full-time workers. The first ship is scheduled for delivery in April 2009.

"We'll be ready," says Denis Fournier, an operations manager at the shipyard across the St. Lawrence River from Quebec City.

Davie is the biggest shipyard in Canada and one of the oldest, dating back to 1825 and the dawn of industrial Quebec. At its height, when it floated a massive fleet of warships through the Second World War, Davie employed 5,000 and continued to thrive for a few decades afterwards.

Clues pointing to how close Davie came to disappearing from the Canadian industrial map just last year are scattered around the shipyard. One massive building once used to launch ocean-going vessels is full of bins of pipes and tools. They are marked with lot numbers for the final liquidation sale that was about to begin last summer. "That's how close we were to being sold piece by piece," says Fournier. "Look at all that stuff ready to go," he adds, pointing at dozens of welders lined up like automobiles in a used car lot.

The latest effort to rescue Davie came from Norway's Teco Management in 2006, when it bought the bankrupt shipyard for the bargain basement price of $28.4 million, complete with tax breaks and loan guarantees from the local and provincial governments. Four months later, the company signed a deal with Norway-based Cecon ASA to build three ships, with an option for three more. Cecon specializes in deepwater pipe-laying for the oil industry.

A general recovery in the shipbuilding industry and a boom in offshore oil development in Norway were the keys to the rescue of Davie after 10 years in bankruptcy, according to Davie Quebec president Gilles Gagné. "The market we have now wasn't the situation two or five years ago," he said in an interview. "It's the market that created this opportunity. We're getting more calls in a week now than we got in a year seven or eight years ago."

Davie is unlikely to return to the days of the 1960s and 1970s when it built massive cargo ships and ferries. That business has moved to China and won't come back soon, Gagné says. Instead, Davie will concentrate on building high-tech ships, platforms and other equipment for the oil industry for the short term. In the long term, a return to building high-tech navy ships will be an additional target.

"We will not try to compete with (Asian shipyards) on regular vessels, product tankers and things like that," Gagné says. "But it's easier to compete in the market we are looking for, the offshore market, and the high-value products that are not necessarily contemplated by these yards."

Canadian navy frigates launched in the early 1990s was the last line of major ships to be built at Davie.

From the Toronto Star


Port Reports - July 4

South Chicago - Brian Z.
Inland Lakes' Alpena was inbound early Tuesday on the Calumet River at 106th Street. The Alpena was destined for a load at Lake Calumet.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Agawa Canyon was inbound the Saginaw River early Tuesday morning with a split load. She traveled upriver to the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee to lighter before moving up to the Buena Vista dock in Saginaw to finish. The Canyon was outbound Tuesday afternoon.
The CSL Tadoussac was also inbound during the morning calling on the Essroc dock in Essexville. She finished her unload and backed from the dock late Tuesday afternoon, backing out to Light 12 to turn and head for the lake.
The tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 made their first visit of the season to the Saginaw River. The pair were inbound for the Bay Aggregates dock Tuesday morning, but had to wait at the Consumer Energy dock for the Barbara Andrie and her barge to finish unloading at Bit-Mat as both docks share the same slip. Once the Barbara Andrie cleared Consumers outbound, the Undaunted & PM41 continued upbound to Bay Aggregates making the dock early in the afternoon. The pair were expected to be outbound on Wednesday.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
At 5 p.m. Tuesday the American Steamship Sam Laud passed through the pierheads heading to Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg. This is the Laud's first visit since 2005.

Manitowoc - Charlie Nelson
The Joseph L. Block arrived in Manitowoc Tuesday with a load of coal for the power plant and carferry.

Soo - Jerry Masson
Edward L. Ryerson was up bound at 1 p.m. and the Samuel Risley locked down and arrived at Bondar Park at 1 p.m.

Marquette - Rod Burdick & Lee Rowe
Tuesday at the Upper Harbor, steamers Herbert C. Jackson and Saginaw loaded ore.
Great Lakes Trader and Joyce L. Van Enkevort unloaded stone in the lower harbor.
MCM Marine appears to be putting together some type of floating structure. Several tanks have been offloaded from semis and have been put together on the north side of the commercial dock.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Tuesday evening the Atlantic Erie arrived at 6:30 p.m. with iron ore pellets for Stelco from Superior. The Algoport departed Stelco at 6:30 p.m. with coke breeze for Port Cartier.
Tug Reliance and barge followed the Algoport out through the Burlington Piers. The tug Anglian Lady and barge PML 2501 arrived at 9:30p.m.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
On Tuesday, ocean bulk freighter Isadora (reg. Limassol, Cyprus) delivered steel products at dock 2 among the general cargo piers located on Milwaukee's outer harbor. Isadora left the port, with the aid of one G-tug, at about 6:00 p.m.
Earlier Tuesday, American Mariner departed onto Lake Michigan at about 9:00 a.m. after completing its coal delivery to WE Energies in the inner harbor.


Competing quests hunt for Lake Erie's most elusive shipwreck

7/4 - At least two dedicated quests for the "holy grail" of Lake Erie shipwrecks are set to take place this summer -- one originating in Port Dover and one in Ohio.

The Marquette & Bessemer No. 2 vanished in a winter gale on Dec. 7, 1909, somewhere between Conneaut, Ohio, and its Port Stanley destination. Laden with 30 railcars full of coal, it had no gate at its stern and the roiling waves probably swamped it. The ship has never been found.

Some claim -- late at night, if you strain to listen -- you can still hear its whistle.

Port Dover diver Rob Cromwell plans to head out onto the lake starting this week, in a search that will use side-scan sonar and a torpedo-like metal detector called a magnetometer. "It's not a really valuable ship -- but it's the last big one that hasn't been found," he told The Free Press. "This is the holy grail of shipwrecks now," says Ohio researcher David Frew, author of Long Gone, considered a definitive book on the Marquette & Bessemer No. 2.

Hundreds of other ships dot the floor of the shallowest Great Lake, but few have attracted the same attention as this coal-hauling ferry.

Perhaps that's because few other lost wrecks are 100 metres long. "It's a football field long. It's enormous. Where is it?" asks Chris Gillcrist, executive director of the Great Lakes Historical Society, based in Vermilion, Ohio ( "We are searching for it this summer."

Last month, his group announced it had found the long-lost General Anthony B. Wayne steamship that went down in 1850 about 12 kilometres from Vermilion.

Port Stanley historian Frank Prothero, who has written his own book on the Marquette & Bessemer No. 2, says it's a great story -- "a Port Stanley story" -- that has sparked the imaginations of mariners and historians.

Theories abound about the ship's whereabouts. Ohio researcher Frew believes its captain turned her back toward Conneaut when he realized she wasn't going to find harbour in Port Stanley. He says some of the crew left the ship in a life raft near the Ontario shore and the rest stayed aboard until it sank. Frew believes the boat is upside-down and mostly silted over. "I'm one of those that believes it was near enough to Conneaut that the captain's wife heard the whistle."

Gillcrist, of the Great Lakes Historical Society, also believes she's on the American side of Erie. Port Dover diver Cromwell will search across from Long Point, on the Canadian side of the middle of the lake, where he believes the boat is lying on her side.

Prothero believes it's in deep water off Long Point. He says a customs agent spotted her battling the 70-knot gale off Port Stanley on Dec. 7, 1909. "She reportedly turned westward and was never seen again," Prothero says.

Maybe it headed for Erieau, a port with even less protection. More likely, her captain changed direction and made for the deeper waters of Long Point, where dozens of other ships had found shelter.

"From an historian's point of view, it's certainly the most mysterious of the shallow-lake shipwrecks," Prothero says. "It's been called the Mount Everest of Great Lake shipwrecks." Prothero is pleased the Ohio group is searching, but "I don't think their chances are much better than anybody else's."

Cromwell's theory of her location is based on wind direction, currents and drift rates. "The lake that night was like a big milkshake." But finding it might take a while. "I think it's anybody's game right now," he says.

If found in Ohio waters, the wreck would become property of the state; and it would be Ontario's to manage if found on this side.

Finding the Marquette & Bessemer "is just a matter of time," Gillcrist says. "We hear the rumour about every two years it's been found by divers using it as their personal sanctuary" while keeping it secret. He doubts that.

Prothero is also skeptical: "Divers are people who, when they are under the water, can't open their mouths. When they're out of the water, they can't shut them."

Meanwhile, the Marquette & Bessemer No. 2 is a ship of mystery. Is it a ghost ship? Seasoned mariners dismiss the idea, but some say they've heard its distinct whistle when no other boat is nearby.

What about the tale that one man jumped aboard the ship at the last minute, his pockets full of cash to buy a Port Stanley fish company?

Prothero has his doubts. For one thing, the purported $50,000 would have been enough to buy every boat in Port Stanley, never mind a single company. And the man couldn't have stashed the cash inside the ship safe, as the story goes -- because, Prothero points out, the ship didn't have one.

No, the biggest secret remains its resting place. "History is about trying to find answers to the unknown," says Gillcrist. "I think now the Marquette-Bessemer is one of the top five wrecks to be found on the Great Lakes."

- 335 feet (100 metres) long, steel ferry, with a cargo of 30 railroad hopper cars full of coal
- Left Conneaut, Ohio, Dec. 7, 1909, for Port Stanley
- Encountered a winter storm blowing 70 knots.
- Some accounts say a customs official saw her off the Port Stanley coast, headed west. Others say the captain's wife, in Conneaut, heard its whistle.
- A lifeboat with nine frozen bodies, and the ice-encrusted clothing of a 10th person, found three days later.
- Despite numerous ventures by sport divers and scientific searchers, the ship has never been found.

From the London Free Press


Lighthouse in need of new keepers

7/4 - Racine - Whenever Jeff and Melissa Peterson's 4-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter see a picture of Racine County's iconic Wind Point Lighthouse, they tell people: "Hey, that's my lighthouse." The children's sense of ownership is understandable.

For the past five years, the Petersons have lived on the lighthouse grounds, serving as the lighthouse keepers. In exchange for taking care of the grounds and managing events, they lived rent-free in the caretakers house. "Unfortunately, I think they grew up thinking they owned the lighthouse," Jeff Peterson said.

The Peterson children's world view soon will need to change. In August, Jeff and Melissa plan to leave behind the lighthouse keeper gig and move to a home in Racine. That's opening up the post of lighthouse keeper - a job that doesn't come open very often. Prior to the Petersons, the previous lighthouse keeper, Mike Cooper, held the part-time job for 21 years.

Jeff Peterson offers one warning to would-be applicants: It's like living in a fishbowl. That's the reason they've decided to leave behind living on what he described as one of the best pieces of property in the city. The lighthouse grounds belong to the Village of Wind Point, which designated the space as a park - and approximately 20,000 people visit the site a year, according to village officials. "Every once in a while, you get people (who) walk right into the house," Peterson said.

The lighthouse was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. The village started leasing the lighthouse from the Coast Guard in 1964, taking full ownership in 1997 - during that entire stretch relying upon caretakers to maintain the grounds in exchange for free rent.

The best part of residing on the grounds: the view - "It can't get any better," Peterson said, who also said he enjoyed its location by the beach.

Like Cooper when he was lighthouse keeper, Jeff Peterson's full-time job is a firefighter with the Racine Fire Department. That's not a requirement for the next keeper. The Village of Wind Point will be advertising for the position and accepting applications, with the hopes of filling the post by August.

"We're looking for someone who has good skills, someone who is interested in lighthouses, outgoing and really people-oriented," said Wind Point Trustee Pete Christensen. The position requires about 600 hours a year of work, doing everything from cutting the grass and cleaning the public restrooms to weeding the flower beds and coordinating events, such as small weddings held on the grounds. "It's not intense work, but it doesn't really go away - it's pretty continuous," Christensen said.

In exchange for the work, the keeper and family gets to live in the 3-bedroom, roughly 1,200-square-feet caretakers house, which was adapted from the Coast Guard station. The Wind Point Lighthouse was built in 1880 as one of about 220 lighthouses on the shores of the Great Lakes. At 112 feet, with 140 steps, it is one of the tallest on the Lakes.

The original Fresnel lens, designed and built in France using a series of prisms and lenses to magnify kerosene light, is displayed in the Village Hall, which is located on the lighthouse grounds. The light became fully automated in 1964 and still is maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard. The 1,000-watt bulb, magnified by a parabolic mirror, can be seen for 19 miles on clear nights.

People interested in more information on the lighthouse keeper position can contact the village at 639-3524.

From the Racine Journal Times


BoatNerd Raffle Winner Report

7/4 - My wife, Dorothy Lewis, won a Keweenaw Waterway tour in your recent raffle.

Just thought I'd pass along that we did the trip on June 30, and all of the people on the Keweenaw Star could not have been nicer.

As it happened, they had a group scheduled for that night, allowed us to join the group, would not let us contribute to the onboard buffet, and we had a four hour trip instead of the two-and-a-half hours specified.

Capt. Fred & sons were most gracious- they did BoatNerd and themselves proud.

Reported by Dave Lewis


Updates - July 4

News Photo Gallery updated

Scenes from the 2007 Soo BoatNerd Gathering, including a full steam salute from the Ryerson. Salute Video

Public Photo Gallery updated.


Today in Great Lakes History : July 4

July 4, 1996 - The veteran Buffalo fireboat EDWARD M COTTER, built in 1900, was designated a National Historic Landmark by the U. S. National Parks Service. She was decommissioned as a fireboat in 1992.

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, Lake Huron Lore Society, 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 3

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Monday at the Upper Harbor, Lee A. Tregurtha loaded ore, and fleetmate Charles M. Beeghly unloaded western coal. Tregurtha moved to the north side of the ore dock after loading for more engine repairs and departed in the evening.

Soo - Jerry Masson
Monday's up bound traffic included Edgar B Speer, Mesabi Miner, Voyageur Pioneer, Saginaw, John J Boland, Joyce L VanEnkevort/Great Lakes Trader, American Republic, and Canadian Miner.
Down bound were Algontario, Algolake, Edwin H Gott,and Walter J McCarthy Jr.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Saturday saw the tanker Algosea arrive at the Petro Canada Piers in Bronte at 3 a.m. then depart at 5p.m.
The Canadian Progress departed St. Lawrence Cement in Clarkson at 5 a.m.
The Montrealais arrived in Hamilton at 7:30 a.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco.
The Canadian Miner departed at 7:30a.m. from Dofasco for Thunder Bay in ballast.
The tug John Spence and barge McAsphalt 401 departed at 5 p.m.
Sunday the Algoisle arrived at 10:30a.m. going to Dofasco with iron ore pellets.
The tug Reliance and barge arrived at 1 p.m.
The tug Tradewind Service and barge arrived at 4 p.m. going to Pier 11.
The Vega Desgagnes arrived at the Petro Canada Pier at 7 p.m.
The tug Ecosse departed Hamilton at 7 p.m. pushing a small barge.
The Algosoo arrived at 9p.m. with coal for Dofasco.
The Carola departed at 9p.m. for Port Weller.
On Monday, the tug Tradewind Service and barge depart at 10 a.m. for the Welland Canal.
The Algosoo departed Dofasco at 1 p.m. for Ashtabula.
The Algosoo was followed out by the Algoisle also from Dofasco at 1:15 p.m. She was heading to Thunder Bay.
The Algoport waited outside the Burlington Piers for the 2 Algoma ships to depart after arriving from Bowmanville in ballast and then entered at 1:30p.m. She was going to Stelco to load coke breeze for Port Cartier Quebec.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Monday morning steamer Alpena delivered powdered cement at the LaFarge silo on Jones Island in Milwaukee's inner harbor, while saltie BBC Mississippi continued unloading at the heavy lift dock just to the north.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Samuel de Champlain/barge Innovation arrived at Lafarge around 5:30 pm on Monday. A strong breeze was blowing off the lake making the bay a little choppy. It tied up under the silos and began loading. Not far behind on the horizon was the Manistee. It came in near the shipping channels and then anchored for awhile. By nightfall it was heading into the Lafarge coal dock

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Sunday on the Saginaw River saw the tug Karen Andrie & her tank barge depart the SEM Materials dock in Essexville and head out bound for the lake. Also on Sunday, the US Naval Cadet Training Ship, Grey Fox, arrived, docking in Downtown Bay City at Wenona Park. The Grey Fox will be giving tours through the 4th of July holiday.
Monday saw the tug Barbara Andrie and her tank barge call on the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City. The pair was expected to be out bound on Tuesday.


Updates - July 3

News Photo Gallery updated

Scenes from the 2007 Soo BoatNerd Gathering, including a full steam salute from the Ryerson. Salute Video

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 Authority approves ethanol plant proposal

7/2 - Toledo - The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority approved June 28 the construction of an ethanol plant on the Maumee River. If built, the plant would be the first ethanol plant with direct access to the Great Lakes.

“We are very pleased that the Port Authority feels that an ethanol plant would be a great addition to the City of Toledo and the region,” said Bob Spitler, an attorney for Buckeye Biopower. “We anticipate that the ethanol plant would have a significant positive economic impact on the region and help lead Toledo in the alternative fuels arena.”

The Port Authority, which owns the 120-acre site on the Maumee River, consented to Midwest Terminals of Toledo's request to sublease the property. Buckeye Biopower in turn will build the 30-acre plant on the site. Midwest Terminals President Alex Johnson said groundbreaking would likely happen between October and December. “The land in the port has been underutilized,” Johnson said.

When completed, the $240 million plant will produce ethanol from corn and the grain Milo. Johnson said it would be the first ethanol plant with direct access to the Great Lakes. The plant would have access to highway, railway and water connections, he said. “Most of the ethanol plants are out in the country,” Johnson said. “I think this is the first ethanol plant with all forms of transportation.”

Deichert said the plant would be able to continue ethanol production during the winter season on the Great Lakes. “It'll provide year-round employment opportunities for our employees,” Deichert said. “The shipping industry in the Great Lakes is a seasonal business.”

Johnson said the plant could result in more offshoot jobs in addition to those created directly at the plant.

“I think it's a great opportunity for East Toledo to improve the employment situation,” Johnson said. “There's not only the 40 to 50 direct jobs from this plant, but there are other opportunities that will create jobs that are support for the ethanol plant.”

From the Toledo Free Press


Port Reports - July 2

Saturday evening, Lee A. Tregurtha made a stop at the Carbide Dock in the Soo. A large shore-side crane lifted a wooden crate into the engine room through a hatch between the self unloader and the stack. Radio traffic indicated that the crate contained repair parts. The Tregurtha continued upbound and backed into the slip at Algoma Steel. She left Algoma for Marquette on Sunday morning.
Early Monday morning, Herbert C. Jackson arrive at Algoma Steel and advised he would take about 6 hours to unload then would be headed back to Marquette.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel & Paul Erspamer
Sunday morning American Mariner was delivering coal to the WE Energies dock at Greenfield Avenue in Milwaukee's inner harbor.
Across the turning basin, BBC Mississippi continued unloading windmill parts at the heavy lift dock.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Sunday morning, the classic Steamer American Fortitude arrived at the Upper Harbor to load ore.

Alpena/Stoneport - Gordy Garris
The Alpena was loading cement under the silos of the LaFarge cement terminal at her namesake port of Alpena on Saturday. She was expected to depart Saturday night.
Tug GL. Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived in Thunder Bay Saturday at sunset. The pair went to anchor and will take the Alpena's place under the silos after the Alpena departs and clears the channel
Calumet departed from Stoneport early Saturday morning after loading stone overnight. The Calumet was headed for Bay City and Saginaw.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons came into port early afternoon with a load of slag for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg.


Updates - July 2

News Photo Gallery updated

Scenes from the 2007 Soo BoatNerd Gathering, including a full steam salute from the Ryerson. Salute Video

Public Photo Gallery updated.


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.


Great Lakes Pilot Short Sea Effort

7/1 - Washington – Both houses of the US Congress appear to be jumping onto the Short Sea bandwagon, especially where the Great lakes are concerned.

On Wednesday, Michigan democrat Senator Debbie Stabenow introduced the Great Lakes Short Sea Shipping Enhancement Act of 2007, aimed primarily at eliminating the repetitive harbour maintenance tax imposed on containers every time they enter a separate port.

 Her bill follows initiatives already launched in the House of Representatives by Minnesota Democrat James Oberstar to facilitate a Great Lakes short sea system.

And while the Department of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters and Maritime Administrator Sean Connaughton have suggested a broader short sea program – largely to reduce congestion on American roads – it appears that the pilot program will clearly be in the Great Lakes, which abut the states represented by the two powerful Democrats.

Stabenow’s bill only exempts containers from the commercial and harbour maintenance taxes and specifically excludes bulk cargos.

From Lloyd's Register


Port Reports - July 1

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Walter J. McCarthy, Jr. called on the Saginaw River on Thursday, unloading coal at the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville. She completed her unload, backed from the dock out to Light 12, and turned for the lake by Thursday evening. The Calumet also called on the Saginaw River late Thursday night, unloading at the Sargent dock in Essexville. Once finished, she turned in the Essexville turning basin and headed out for the lake early Friday morning.
The tug Olive L. Moore & barge Lewis J. Kuber called on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City Friday afternoon, backing into the slip to unload. The pair was expected to be outbound late Friday night.
It was an interesting day on the Saginaw River Saturday. The tug Karen Andrie and her tank barge called on the SEM Materials dock in Essexville, formerly the Triple Clean Liquifuels dock. This is the first delivery to the dock in 2007.
The American Century called on the Consumers Energy dock Saturday morning to unload coal. This is the first trip for this vessel to the Saginaw River under her new name and the first trip here in many years. Her fleetmate, John J. Boland, also called on the Consumers Energy dock to unload coal on Saturday.
The Calumet was inbound Saturday morning for the Saginaw Rock Products dock when she became hung up between the Liberty and Veteran's Memorial bridges. Eventually, she was able to free herself and unload at Saginaw Rock. Calumet was outbound Saturday night. This spot in the river has been a constant problem the past few years with a handful of vessels getting hung up in the same spot between the bridges.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The English River arrived with a full load of cement for the LaFarge plant Friday morning at 11 a.m. She departed at 11 a.m. Saturday morning.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Friday evening after 10 p.m. the barge Innovation and tug Samuel de Champlain arrived in Milwaukee's inner harbor, turned and docked at LaFarge.
Shortly after the St. Mary's Challenger arrived and transited up the narrow Kinnickinnic River to its terminal.
Tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 departed at about 8 p.m. Friday.
Saltwater vessels BBC Mississippi and Olympic Merit both remain in port, continuing to unload cargo.

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

Ludington - Joe Wilmes
Sam Laud arrived around 8 p.m. Saturday.


Update on Lake Superior Outflow

7/1 - Detroit - The International Lake Superior Board of Control, under authority granted to it by the International Joint Commission, has set the Lake Superior outflow to 1,560 cubic metres per second (m3/s) (55.1 thousand cubic feet per second (tcfs) for the month of July.

This is the outflow recommended by the regulation plan for the month of July and is an increase from the June outflow, which was 1,530 m3/s (54.0 tcfs). The July outflow will be released by discharging about 1,444 m3/s (51.0 tcfs) through the three hydropower plants and passing most of the remaining flow through the control structure at the head of the St. Marys rapids.

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

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

Currently, the Lake Superior level is about 52 cm (20 inches) below its long-term average beginning-of-July level, and is 32 cm (13 inches) below the level recorded a year ago. This past month the level of Lake Superior rose 9 cm (4 inches), while on average it rises by 8 cm (3 inches) in June. The last time Lake Superior was lower at this time of year was in 1926.

The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron rose 1 cm (1/2 inch) this June, while on average the level of these lakes rise by about 5 cm (2 inches) in June. The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron is now about 50 cm (20 inches) below its long-term average beginning-of-June level but is 6 cm (2 inches) lower than it was a year ago.

The Board continues to monitor conditions both on Lake Superior and downstream and will advise the International Joint Commission accordingly on those conditions.

Additional information can be found on the Internet at:
here or here

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District news release


The Cotter returns home
Venerable fireboat had repairs to hull

7/1 - Buffalo - Buffalo’s famous Edward M. Cotter — the oldest working fireboat in the world at 107 years of active use — pulled back into harbor on the Buffalo River Friday morning after spending seven weeks in intensive hull repair at a shipyard in Detroit.

As the Cotter shot plumes of water into the air, spectators smiled and waved at the boat, which had faced an uncertain future when funding for repairs stalled.

But the evening ride was bittersweet for Capt. Mike Higgins, who will turn over the boat to the Friends of the Cotter Foundation after 10 years as its main operator. “I grew up in the First Ward and I used to walk by this boat and want to be the captain,” he said as he steered the red and white vessel into the Erie Basin Marina.

“It’s the past, present and future all in one,” he said.

Higgins, who had spent the last 48 hours bringing the Cotter home from Detroit, said he hopes his retirement will pave the way for making the fireboat a major attraction. He said the foundation hopes to turn the fire inspector’s house, where the fireboat docks, into a Cotter-themed museum — a project with an estimated price tag of $1.2 million that would be raised by the foundation.

“It’s one of Western New York’s treasures, and we should celebrate what we’ve got,” said Rick Smith, the founding chairman of the foundation, which scraped together $200,000 to pay for the most recent repairs, using an Oishei Foundation grant, money allotted by the City of Buffalo and private donations. The boat likely will need more repairs.

Smith said he hopes the Cotter will encourage an increased interest in the waterfront. “[It’s] a cornerstone of waterfront development,” he said. “The Cotter makes it fun.”

As the Cotter pulled back to its dock, friends and relatives, in addition to a dozen couples from SS. Peter and Paul parish in Hamburg, who had won a sunset tour as part of a fundraiser, cheered and blew the horn for Higgins.

Higgins said he doesn’t plan on abandoning the Cotter. With his guidance, the fireboat will keep on fighting yearly driftwood fires, breaking ice and making appearances at waterfront events.

“I’ll probably be back here Monday,” he joked.

From the Buffalo News


Aquarama No sail

Buffalo - 7/1 - Unconfirmed reports last month reported the Marine Star was to be heading to Alang, India for scrapping.

Not true, said James A. Everatt, a shareholder in the ship’s owner, Empire Cruise Lines of Delaware. “No final decision has been made,” said Everatt in a phone interview from his office in St. Thomas, Ont. “I don’t care what people are saying.”

Everatt did say that if the ship, also known as the Aquarama, is moved from Buffalo, it wouldn’t be sold for scrap. Everatt has maintained since the ship arrived in 1995 that the plan is to spend some $40 million to refurbish it and have it cruise the lakes.

From the Buffalo News


Updates - July 1

News Photo Gallery updated and more News Photo Gallery updates

Scenes from the 2007 Soo BoatNerd Gathering, including a full steam salute from the Ryerson.

Public Photo Gallery updated.


Today in Great Lakes History : July 1

July 1, 1991 - The automobile/passenger ferry DALDEAN celebrated its 40th year in operation between Sombra, Ontario and Marine City, Michigan. She was built by Erieau Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company, Erieau, Ontario for Bluewater Ferry Ltd. Service started between the two communities on July 1, 1951.

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 on 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, 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.

The tug-barge unit Brian McCallister-Wiltranco's first major accident took place on 6-30-67 while they were coming back to Buffalo loaded with coal for Semet Solvay in Tonawanda. While entering the Buffalo North Entrance Channel it was found that there was a hole in the Wiltranco due to grounding on some unknown object and that she had been taking on water. The Captain then beached the barge on the West side of the Black Rock Canal just before the Peace Bridge heading North. There, a salvage diver stuffed the hole with old bed mattresses and they proceeded to Semet Solvay to unload before permanent repairs were made at a later time.

Data from: Brian Wroblewski, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Lake Huron Lore Society, 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.




News Archive - August 1996 to present

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