Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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* Report News


Port Reports - July 31

Manistee, Mich. - Stephen Grima
Calumet was inbound Manistee Thursday morning, heading up to the Morton Salt Dock. She departed early afternoon after a very quick unload, heading north up Lake Michigan.

Green Bay, Wis. - Stephen Grima
Thursday morning, Alpena was inbound Green Bay, going to the Lafarge dock.

Toledo, Ohio - Jim Hoffman
The tug Michigan with the barge Great Lakes, finished loading cargo at the B-P Dock and departed Thursday morning. The tug Dorothy Ann and the barge Pathfinder finished loading coal at the CSX Docks and departed early Thursday afternoon. The Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin was unloading ore at the Torco Ore Dock. The next coal boats due into the CSX Docks will be the Saginaw, John B. Aird, and Manitowoc due in Friday; and the Robert S. Pierson and Michipicoten, due in Saturday. Manitowoc is due in Sunday, John J. Boland is due in Tuesday followed by the Robert S. Pierson due in Wednesday. The next ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock will be the Lee A. Tregurtha, due in Monday, followed by the H. Lee White due in Wednesday.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Thursday, Calliroe Patronicola was unloading at Redpath Sugar. The yacht Calixe has been in port for several days. The schooner Empire Sandy departed Wednesday afternoon for the Welland Canal and the beginning of Canal Days.


Hannah Marine tug, barge on the block at U.S. Marshals' Sale

7/31 - The U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Alabama will sell the ocean cement barge Hannah 7701 and the twin screw 3,900BHP tug Wilbur R. Clark on August 19 in Mobile, Ala. The barge and tug will be sold as is. Prospective bidders may arrange an inspection of the tug and barge by arrangements through Marcon International, Inc. of Coupeville, Wash., or on application with the United States Marshals' Office.

This is the first of several U.S. Marshals’ sales of floating assets of the Hannah Marine fleet. The 3,000BHP twin screw tug Rio Bravo will also be sold by the U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of Alabama at a date yet-to-be-determined. A full list of equipment and dates of sales will be made available shortly.

According to its Web site, Hannah Marine Corporation, based in Lemont, Ill., "owns and operates the largest fleet of ABS load lined, U.S. Flag, double hulled tank barges on the Great Lakes."

Marcon International Inc.


Great Lakes pilotage rates going up

7/31 - The U.S. Coast Guard's Marine Safety, Security and Stewardship Directorate announced Tuesday publication in the Federal Register of the final rule amending the Great Lakes Pilotage Rates for 2009.

Pilotage rates on the Great Lakes will increase by 10.77 percent when the final rule takes effect Aug. 1. The increase is an effort to align compensation levels between Great Lakes pilots and industry. The rate amendment was made in accordance with regulations relating to the annual review of pilotage rates.

This rule reflects an increase in the American Maritime Officer Union's benchmark contractual wages and benefits.

The Coast Guard also published a notice requesting public comment on the Coast Guard's Great Lakes Pilotage Ratemaking Methodology, to better understand how well Great Lakes shippers, Great Lakes pilots and other stakeholders think pilotage rate formulas represent commercial shipping on the Great Lakes, and fairly balance competing considerations.

The final rule and related materials may be viewed online at at this link docket number USCG-2008-1126. The notice requesting comments on the Coast Guard's ratemaking methodology may be reviewed at the link under docket number USCG-2009-0552.


More than $2 million in Blue Water area projects approved

7/31 - Port Huron, Mich. – The Senate has approved funding more than $2 million worth of water projects in the Blue Water Area.

The funding, part of the federal Energy and Water Appropriations bill approved on Wednesday, includes $1.64 million for work in Lake St. Clair channels, $533,000 for dredging in the St. Clair River and money to dredge the Port Sanilac harbor. The money will go to the Army Corps of Engineers.

The money for local projects is part of $64.4 million that would come to Michigan. Other funding includes more than $23 million for maintenance and operation of the Soo Locks, $2 million for Great Lakes fishery and ecosystem restoration and $400,000 for the Great Lakes navigational system.

A version of the appropriations bill was approved by the House on July 17.

A House-Senate conference committee will work out the differences between the approved bills. The House and Senate each will pass a conference report and the bill will be sent to President Obama for final approval.


Coast Guard evacuates woman from Mackinac Island

7/31 - The U.S. Coast Guard medically evacuated a woman from Mackinac Island after she fell from a dock and fractured her leg at approximately 4 a.m. Thursday.

Coast Guard Station St. Ignace launched a 47-foot motor life boat with Emergency Medical Services onboard. The woman was transported from Mackinac Island to St. Ignace, where she was taken to a local hospital.

“She was in stable condition,” said Petty Officer Katharine Quick, a crewmember on the 47-foot motor life boat. “EMS put a splint on her leg on the way to St. Ignace and she seemed to be okay.”

Mackinac Island Clinic contacted the Coast Guard and requested a medical evacuation for the woman. The Coast Guard in St. Ignace effects transport of those in need of medical attention due to its proximity to Mackinac Island.



Updates - July 31

News Photo Gallery


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 Mc Cormack Leasing, Inc. (Interlake Steamship Co., Cleveland, Ohio, mgr.). She was built at a cost of more than $43 million under Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1970. She was the third thousand footer to sail on the Lakes and the first built entirely on the Lakes.

On July 31, 1974, the Liberian vessel ARTADI approached the dock at Trois Rivires, 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.


Port Reports - July 30

Saginaw, Mich. – Todd Shorkey
The tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 entered the Saginaw River early Wednesday morning heading upriver to Saginaw. Her security call indicated the pair were headed to the Wirt Stone Dock to unload. They were still in the upper river late Wednesday night. The tug Karen Andrie and tank barge Endeavour remained at the Dow Chemical dock on Wednesday.
American Century was inbound the Saginaw River early Tuesday morning, calling on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville to unload. She completed her unload later in the morning, backing from the dock and turning at Light 12, before heading for the lake. The tug Karen Andrie and barge Endeavour finished unloading at the SEM Materials dock in Essexville on Tuesday, then turned and tied up at the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City. They reported that they could be there a few days, just like they were after their last trip when they unloaded at the Bit-Mat dock.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
The tug Rebecca Lynn and barge A397 departed at 9:30 a.m Tuesday for Detroit. Spruceglen arrived at 8:30 p.m. in ballast for U.S. Steel. Wednesday, Quebecois arrived at 1:30 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Duluth for Dofasco. John B Aird arrived at 7:30 p.m. with coal for Dofasco.


U.S. Steel vows to fight Canadian government over job cuts

7/30 - Hamilton, Ont. – U.S. Steel CEO John Surma promises the Canadian government a stiff fight if it presses ahead with a lawsuit alleging his company broke promises to maintain jobs in Hamilton as part of the deal that allowed it to take over Stelco.

In his first public comment on the federal suit, Surma told industry analysts yesterday U.S. Steel has a clear right under the Stelco deal to cut jobs if there's a severe economic downturn – and that's exactly what the company and the entire steel industry are facing.

"Our relations with the Canadian government started well, but there has been an unprecedented economic downturn that has hit the steel industry hardest of all," Surma said. "Maybe the news of that economic downturn hasn't reached Ottawa yet.

"We are going to run our facilities in a way that best serves us and our employees," he said. "We know how to defend ourselves and we are going to do that."

In a regulatory filing yesterday, it said it made 31 specific promises to Ottawa about how it would run the former Stelco, adding: "In accordance with the specific language of the undertakings at issue, the unprecedented economic downturn, the effects of which were beyond the control of the company, expressly excuse any non-attainment of the production and employment levels targeted by the 2007 submission. The company is vigorously defending the matter and believes that the action is without justification or authority."

The Hamilton Spectator


Coast Guard evacuates man on Mackinac Island

7/30 - St. Ignace, Mich. – The U.S. Coast Guard medically evacuated a man from Mackinac Island to St. Ignace, where local Emergency Medical Services were standing by, at approximately 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Coast Guard Station St. Ignace launched a 47-foot motor life boat in response to a report of a man having chest pains and blurred vision on the island.

“When we picked him up, he was already placed in a stretcher,” said Petty Officer Tyler Benson, coxswain of the 47-foot motor life boat. “He was conscious. He was speaking to his wife and granddaughter, who were on the boat, when we transported him.”



Researchers quarrel over escape of water via St. Clair River

7/30 - U.S. and Canadian study exploring recent lower water levels on Lakes Michigan and Huron has dramatically miscalculated the amount of water the lakes have lost due to erosion on the St. Clair River, a new report says.

The new report found that the water loss was more than nine inches - more than double the four inches estimated by a study released in the spring by the International Joint Commission. That nine inches is in addition to the 16 inches that previous St. Clair dredging and riverbed mining have already cost the lakes.

The report was launched presumably to substantiate the commission study on what is happening on the river north of Detroit that is the main outflow for Lakes Michigan and Huron, which is one body of water connected at the Straits of Mackinac. It did the opposite.

The dispute over what is happening comes at a time when interest in the health of the Great Lakes is high, and the Obama administration has made the freshwater system's health a national priority.

Nine inches escaping out the river, tumbling over Niagara Falls and ultimately spilling into the Atlantic Ocean is not an insignificant amount of water. For comparison, Chicago reversed its namesake river a century ago so it flows out of Lake Michigan instead of into it. It now takes from the lake about 2.1 billion gallons a day. That has dropped Michigan-Huron's long-term average level by about two inches.

The International Joint Commission study was released on May 1. Two weeks before the release, its authors received what has come to be known as the "Baird Report" challenging their findings.

The commission's authors kept the report's findings private for nearly three months, releasing them just a few weeks shy of the Aug. 1 public comment deadline for the commission's study. During that time, the authors also asked the Baird Report's author to refrain from commenting publicly about his findings; they said they needed to review the work for themselves.

However, the commission study's official spokesman showed no such restraint.

"We're very much in disagreement with their (the Baird Report's) approach and with the way they answered the questions that we asked them," study spokesman John Nevin told Ontario's Parry Sound North Star newspaper in June.

Now that the Baird Report has been released, its author said he does not want to get into a public spat with the study authors or their bosses at the International Joint Commission. He said he intends to let his report's findings speak for themselves.

His findings say the International Joint Commission study authors wrongly calculated the increased conveyance in the St. Clair River by using flawed river depth - or bathymetry - data. He says the commission study's authors made a huge mistake by assuming a one-meter (39-inch) depth for the entire river's edge. The reality, his report says, is that in many places along the river's edge, particularly where natural riverbank has been replaced with artificial walls, the water is dramatically deeper.

The result, according to the Baird Report, is that the study "significantly" undercalculates the conveyance changes in the river in recent decades. The Baird Report recommends that the International Joint Commission study authors try to better calculate the river depths.

The study authors contend that they used the best riverbed data possible.

"While identifying some of the same issues (that the Baird Report found), the external peer review found that our modeling results do adequately interpret the conveyance capacity change," the International Joint Commission study board co-chairmen wrote to Baird Report author Rob Nairn on July 9.

The independent peer reviewers employed to evaluate the many research projects that related to the commission's study were paid $250,000, according to contracts the commission provided the Journal Sentinel.

Nairn has a history with this issue.

In 2004, a Canadian homeowners group called the Georgian Bay Association, distressed by what it believed were unnaturally low water levels on Lake Huron, hired him to investigate the issue.

He theorized that a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers navigational dredging project in the 1960s unleashed an uncontrollable erosion problem in the river, resulting in a huge water loss for the two big lakes that feed it.

The International Joint Commission study says a deeper St. Clair River channel has cost Michigan and Huron only about four inches. It says climate change has cost the lakes a similar amount.

The science behind all this is complicated, and few people know enough to judge who is correct, or even closest to correct.

One is Marcelo Garcia, director of the University of Illinois' Ven Te Chow Hydrosystems Laboratory.

"They are both predicting things that are reasonable," he said.

Science, he said, isn't precise enough to know exactly how much the river has changed since the last major Army Corps of Engineers dredging project in the 1960s.

"There is an uncertainty in the predictions both models have to live with," said Garcia, who was hired by the International Joint Commission study team to work on other aspects of the study.

Garcia said that doesn't mean that little changes in the river flow aren't a big deal.

"The Lake Huron-Michigan system is like a gigantic bathtub that has a pretty large drain, so any changes that happen in that drain - which is the St. Clair River - lead to big impacts on the bathtub," Garcia said.

Roger Gauthier, a retired Army Corps hydrologist, said he has seen enough in the International Joint Commission study and the Baird Report to be convinced that something big is going on.

"The emphasis on the study ... was to identify whether or not there has been erosion occurring in the St. Clair River, and the answer is yes," he said. "The magnitude of the increase is still in debate."

Gauthier now works for the Great Lakes Commission. He said he speaks on the matter only as a private citizen, but he doesn't think the International Joint Commission study is complete.

Study authors say their work is essentially done, and the study does not recommend pursuing some sort of fix to compensate for the water loss. The reason is murky.

Study team co-chair Eugene Stakhiv, an Army Corps employee, initially told the Journal Sentinel that the International Joint Commission specifically instructed him that he could not recommend a fix if it deemed the erosion to be nature-caused.

That is exactly what the study found; it says an ice jam in the 1980s likely triggered the erosion, and that the riverbed has since stabilized.

Things got more complicated when Stakhiv's Canadian co-chair told the Journal Sentinel no direct orders on the matter had been received from the International Joint Commission, and the study board decided on its own to take no action.

Then at a public hearing in Door County on July 7, Stakhiv gave another reason. He said the change "was not significant enough to undertake any actions."

He said the issue could be further explored depending on the results of the study's second phase, which will look at Lake Superior water levels and the impact climate change could have on the lakes. That second phase will be completed over the next couple of years.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


U.S. Steel posts loss, offers brighter outlook

7/30 - Granite City, Ill. - In one of the first signs that key markets of the battered steel industry have bottomed out, U.S. Steel Corp. this month recalled about 800 workers at its huge flat-rolling mill here.

The steelmaker also plans to restart an idled Minnesota operation that makes iron-ore pellets used for steelmaking next month.

The company says that prices are firming for some steel products in the U.S. and Europe and it expects shipments and operating rates to increase in the current quarter.

CEO John Surma didn't say which markets are strongest, but other industry executives and analysts said automotive and appliance industries are improving.

Industry-wide capacity utilization, which had fallen to 45 percent earlier this year, stands at about 52 percent. Some of U.S. Steel's plants in the second quarter were operating at just 32.4 percent, Mr. Surma said.

Mills generally have to reach production rates of between 60 percent to 65 percent before turning a profit. That rate won't likely be reached in the current quarter, helping to explain why Mr. Surma still expects an operating loss in the third quarter.

U.S. Steel reported a second quarter loss of $392 million, or $2.92 a share, and said it expects operating losses in the third quarter, due to continued low operating rates and lower average realized prices.

Mr. Surma said U.S. Steel was studying whether it should implement some permanent shutdowns of some of its steel facilities in North America.

"We are looking at our configuration all the time," he said. "Things are so opaque in the market."

The recall surprised many long-time workers at the massive mill in the center of this working-class town, about 15 miles east of St. Louis. About 35 percent of the work force -- mainly those in the flat-rolled division -- were laid off in December amid the slump of flat-rolled steel, which is sold to service centers, which process it and then feed it to car and appliance makers.

The Granite City plant was one of several affected by companywide layoffs of about 3,500, or 13 percent, of its North American work force announced in December.

"I was stunned," at the phone call asking him to return to work, said Doug May, a crane operator who worked at the plant for 36 years. Expecting a more prolonged layoff, Mr. May took side jobs editing the union newsletter and wondered whether he would have to sell his house.

He and other steelworkers welcome the returning paycheck but are reluctant to spend it, showing how difficult it might be to juice consumer spending even when jobs return.

"Let's just say that I'm not going to go out and buy a car," said ladle operator Michael Antoff. "Whatever is extra gets tucked away now."

A 20-year-veteran, Mr. Antoff said fellow steelworkers are concerned that true demand remains weak. Indeed, Mark Parr, steel analyst for the KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., said the pickup isn't a response to real demand recovery. "All it is, is a signal that destocking has run its course," he said.

Nonetheless, destocking inventories is necessary before any recovery can take hold and is thus considered a positive sign.

The slight improvement in steel demand appears centered on stronger automobile and appliance markets, while building remains weak. As a result, steel plants are operating at wildly variable rates.

Wall Street Journal


Company to test its power devices in St. Clair River

7/30 - Port Huron, Mich. – A company that creates electricity from the power of flowing water plans to install its devices in the St. Clair River to test the viability of its product.

The decision by the company is 18 months in the works, after being courted that long by officials from the Economic Development Alliance of St. Clair County.

No jobs will be created, but Doug Alexander, the executive director of the EDA, said the company testing its product could lead to more opportunities.

"It could be very big for us down the road," he said. "The fact that they will demonstrate their procedure and refine it here in St. Clair County, I think, gives us an inside track to develop a relationship with them and hopefully someday be the manufacturing center to make the devices."

Mark Byrne, a Port Huron city councilman who was courting another company to put a device in the river, said there is a lot of potential on that waterway.

"That river has all kinds of energy," he said.

The company is Vortex Hydro Energy, which has exclusive rights to commercialize a technology patented at the University of Michigan, a hydrokinetic power-generating device called the VIVACE converter.

The device does not use turbines but rather the vibration created by the water as it flows around cylinders. The energy created by the movement of the cylinder is captured and converted into electricity.

The device can create energy from currents moving as slow as 2 knots. Funding for research and development -- about $1.6 million -- for the device comes from the U.S. Department of Energy. It is housed at the University of Michigan.

Gus Simiao, the chief executive officer of the startup company, said the device is being developed through a contract with the U.S. Navy, a process three years in the making.

"The St. Clair River is the most promising (waterway) we've seen so far," he said.

Simiao said the St. Clair River is its top choice, but plans could change depending on permits.

He said the EDA was essential in getting the company to consider the St. Clair River, which he said has ideal speeds to test the device.

"They've really helped us in finding sites and locations that would be of interest," he said.

EDA officials made contact with Vortex about 18 months ago about locating the project's testing in the St. Clair River, even though they were looking at a different waterway.

The EDA has helped the company find some potential spots to put the devices, specifically near Dunn Paper at 218 Riverview St., and also will help get permitting for the locations.

Alexander said they've met with Dunn Paper officials about that possibility. He said there could be several locations the devices are installed along the river.

There also is the possibility of installing an underwater camera showing the device and how it works that could be shown to the public as a marketing tool, Alexander said.

"We are going to try to make this a promotion of green energy for our community," he said.

Port Huron Times Herald


Wind turbines proposed for Lake Ontario

7/30 - Watertown, N.Y. – The shoals off Main Duck Island, on the Canadian side of Lake Ontario, may host an offshore wind power project.

Trillium Wind Power Corp., Toronto, is proposing a 142-turbine project in the shoals southwest of the island to produce up to 710 megawatts of power.

"We purposefully went out on the water and chose this unique site because of its attributes," said John Kourtoff, CEO of Trillium Wind.

The project, Trillium Power Wind 1, would send its electricity over a 28-kilometer, or 16.8-mile, underwater and underground transmission line to Lennox Generating Station, Bath.

Main Duck Island was bought by the Canadian government in 1978, Mr. Kourtoff said. It had been in private hands, including those of former U.S. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, who bought it in 1941, according to Times archives. Mr. Dulles had a cabin there, about 22 miles from Cape Vincent.

The shoals are a popular fishing spot. Fishing and sailboats would still be allowed in the area. And fish populations could increase as a result of the project.

Research by Ontario's government has indicated turbine foundations would create a "reef effect," giving young fry shelter from storms that roll across the lake. That would regenerate their populations by up to eight times the natural rate. Commercial fishing once thrived on American eel and lake trout in the area, but commercial fishing is no longer legal there.

"The island is the northeastern point of essentially an underwater mesa," Mr. Kourtoff said.

He said there is not much sediment southwest of the island. The site considered for the wind project would begin about three-tenths of a mile south of the island. There, the water is about 6 feet deep, and at the farthest reaches of the site, the water is about 130 feet, deep.

Mr. Kourtoff said the developer did an unprecedented number of bird studies but found few birds.

"Birds don't nest 20 kilometers out on the lake," he said. "Most feed near the shorelines."

This project is still a few years away.

To install the turbines, Trillium Power would use "eco-designed" barges. Mr. Kourtoff said the two barges, one for installing the turbines and one for creating the foundations, will not bilge and will have greaseless legs to jack themselves out of the water. The barges each carry up to 30 people and are the size of a football field.

"It's kind of bizarre to use old technology while you're putting up a green project," he said.

Watertown Daily Times


Obituary: Edsil Brown "Brownie"

7/30 - Edsil "Brownie" Brown, Lansing, age 91, born June 27, 1917 in Lansing, Mich., passed away June 7, 2009. Mr. Brown was a retired employee of Motor Wheel Corp. with 42 years of service and a graduate of Peoria High School, class of 1935. Brownie was a member of many organizations, such as the Marine Historical Society of Detroit, Detroit Historical Society, Lake Huron Lore Marine Society, the Great Lakes Historical Society, Toronto Marine Historical Society, Peoria High School Alumni Association (1935), the Smithsonian Institution, National Geographic Society and the North Eagle Cemetery Society. He was an avid Great Lakes boat watcher, photographer, car enthusiast and a MSU football fan, season ticket holder for over 60 years. Funeral services were held June 11, 2009 in Grand Ledge.


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, had 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.

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 icebreaker C.C.G.S. ALEXANDER HENRY entered service July 30, 1959. Since 1985, the HENRY has served as a museum in Kingston, Ontario.

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

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

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

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

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


Port Reports - July 29

St. Marys River - Roger LeLievre
Upbound Tuesday: Herbert C. Jackson, Tim S. Dool, Robert S. Pierson, American Century. Downbound Tuesday: Lee A. Tregurtha, barge Lambert Spirit and tug Salvor.

Grand Haven, Mich - Dick Fox
The tug Prentiss Brown and barge St. Marys Conquest were expected Tuesday evening with a load for the St. Marys Cement Terminal in Ferrysburg.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Alpena was in port Monday afternoon loading cement for Whitefish, Ont. and is expected to return Wednesday morning. Out in the bay Tuesday was the research vessel Lake Guardian. The Manitowoc was also seen during the afternoon heading out into the lake, they likely unloaded at Lafarge. Tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived at 5 p.m. to tie up under the silos.

Buffalo, N.Y. Brian Wroblewski
CSL Laurentien was loading coal at the Gateway Trade Terminal in Lackawanna at 6 p.m. Tuesday.


Repairs on Canadian Soo Lock near completion

7/29 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. - Repairs to the recreational lock at the Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site of Canada have posed a greater engineering challenge than originally anticipated. However, repairs are nearing completion and the lock should be re-opening in the near future.

Although closed to boat traffic, the national historic site remains open to land-based visitors, offering guided tours and a staffed visitor centre.

Removal of the old gate anchors from the lower gates has begun and contractors will be fastening the new ones shortly. Installation of the first sets of anchors is expected to take a couple of weeks. The fitting of the second sets of anchors is anticipated to take less time. The recreational lock has two sets of gates and each of the gates is attached to the lock wall using two anchors.

Parks Canada is in the final phases of replacing all eight of these anchors with new hinges that have been designed to better handle the weight of the gates and the water pressure. In fact, the west (upper) gates weigh more than 10 tonnes and the east (lower) gates exceed 23 tonnes. Throughout their 10-year cycle, the old anchors have been put through obvious stress.

The current project, in addition to contributing to the long-term sustainability of the lock, is also providing staff with an understanding of the impacts of forces and loads applied to these structures and their mechanical components.

The knowledge gained from this project will be incorporated into the preventive maintenance strategy.

Soo Today


U.S. Coast Guard rescues one, two others recovered from Lake Saint Clair

7/29 - St. Clair Shores, Mich. – The three males went swimming off a boat on Lake St. Clair. A woman, who was with them aboard the boat, hailed the Coast Guard at approximately 3 p.m. after she lost sight of the three who were swimming nearby.

Coast Guard Station St. Clair Shores launched a 25-foot response boat (RB-S) and a 33-foot special purpose craft (SPC-LE) to respond. Coast Guard Air Station Detroit launched an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter to aid in the search.

Crewmembers from Station St. Clair Shores rescued one of the men, who was treading water, and took him to shore where emergency medical services waited to assess possible injuries.

The Coast Guard helicopter crew spotted a second man and deployed a rescue swimmer to assist the crew of the 33-foot Coast Guard boat recover the unconscious swimmer. Crewmembers on the 33-foot boat performed CPR as they transported the man to shore. Local EMS transported him to local hospital where he was pronounced dead at approximately 5:10 p.m.

The third swimmer, who was also found unconscious, was recovered by the Macomb County Sheriffs Department. He too was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Coast Guard crews worked in conjunction with Wayne County and Macomb County Sheriffs Departments to locate the missing swimmers.

"Once on scene, the crews found two lifejackets floating in the water. No one was wearing them," said Petty Officer Jason Shapiro, watch-stander at Station St. Clair Shores. The Coast Guard encourages those who recreate on the Great Lakes to wear the appropriate safety gear.



Number of barrels dumped into Lake Superior may be half of what was expected

7/29 - Duluth, Minn. – Recovery of Department of Defense barrels dumped into Lake Superior half a century ago will begin next summer. But in a report released this weekend, the number of barrels dumped may be half of what has been previously thought.

The engineering firm EMR of Duluth did a comprehensive sonar scan of 96 square miles of Lake Superior last year, searching seven sites where 1,440 barrels were reportedly dumped during the Cold War. The 55-gallon drums held top-secret ammunition parts that the Department of Defense wanted to keep from the prying eyes of Soviet spies.

Surprisingly, EMR Senior Hydrologist Scott Carney says they only identified 591 barrels in three sites. He believes there may not be many more than that on the bottom of Lake Superior. He says they have more accurate tools to gauge the number of barrels than previous investigations in 1990 and 1994.

"(Because of ) technological advances that have happened between '94 and last year, we were able to rule out some of these areas that were previously identified as sites containing barrels and writing them off as containing debris," Carney said, adding that the debris is discarded junk that has nothing to do with the Department of Defense.

The remaining sites with confirmed barrels are near the Talmadge, Sucker, and Lester Rivers just northeast of Duluth. Knife River, Knife Island, Shoreview Road and the French River have been eliminated as dump sites.

The Red Cliff Band of Chippewa has been getting Department of Defense grant money to investigate the sites since 2004, and has been approved for another $1.2 million to remove 70 of the barrels next summer. Red Cliff Environmental Program Director Tracey Ledder says Lake Superior is within the ceded treaty territories so it's their responsibility to look after that lake.

“The tribe is very concerned about the lake and the quality of water in the lake in general because of their cultural history and spiritual connection to the lake."

After the barrels are removed, Ledder says they'll be tested for chemicals, radiation, and explosives by a laboratory independent of the Department of Defense.

A public meeting is set at Duluth City Hall 6:30 p.m. on August 5.

91.3 KUWS


Updates - July 29

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - July 29

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 while 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 - 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


Port Reports - July 28

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Charles M. Beeghly departed the Upper Harbor ore dock just after sunrise on Monday while fleetmate Lee A. Tregurtha remained secured on the north side of the ore dock waiting to load.

St. Marys River - Roger LeLievre
An exceptionally slow day for traffic ended on a busy note, with the downbound Pineglen in the late afternoon, followed by Charles M. Beeghly, Canadian Enterprise and Paul R. Tregurtha. Ojibway passed upbound as night fell, followed by H. Lee White, Indiana Harbor, Edwin H. Gott and CSL Niagara. The saltwater vessel Kurt Paul remained tied up at the Purvis dock in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. Also, the 1962-built Canadian tug Joyce B. Gardiner has been acquired by Purvis Marine and renamed W.J. Isaac Purvis. The change has been registered on the Transport Canada Web site.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Don Geske and Dick Fox
On Monday, the USCG Bristol Bay and Mackinaw came to Grand Haven for the U.S. Coast Guard Festival. The cutters will be open for tours at various times all week.

Waukegan, Il. - Nathan Ruska
The barge Integrity and tug G.L. Ostrander were docked in Waukegan Harbor on Sunday.

South Chicago
Saturday, a CSL vessel was docked at the grain silos near 109th on the Calumet River. She departed by 2 a.m. Sunday. The barge Integrity with tug G.L. Ostrander was inbound for Lafarge about 4:30 p.m. Saturday. The push boat Windy City was downbound at the O’Brien lock and dam with one barge of compressed stainless steel scrap and two with coke.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Karen Andrie was inbound the Saginaw River on Monday morning, pushing her tank barge, Endeavour. The pair called on the SEM Materials dock in Essexville to unload. They were expected to be outbound early Tuesday morning.

Huron, Ohio – Rex Cassidy
Presque Isle unloaded stone in Huron on Monday at the Huron Lime Dock.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Monday, Algolake departed Dofasco at 12:30 p.m. for Superior, Wis.. The bunkering ship Hamilton Energy departed at 1 p.m. for Port Weller. Algowood arrived with iron ore pellets for Dofasco at 4 p.m. from Duluth. The tug Rebecca Lynn and barge A397 arrived in port at 6 p.m.


Coast Guard rescues five people after collision with breakwall

7/28 - Milwaukee, Wis. - U.S. Coast Guard Station Milwaukee rescued five people from a 26-foot pleasure craft after it collided with the Milwaukee breakwall south of the north gap Monday at approximately 10:45 p.m.

"They were heading south to north when they hit the wall going about 20 miles per hour," said Boatswain's Mate 1st Class Chirstopher Rohrbaugh. "It's really hard to see."

Rohrbaugh and his 45-foot response boat-medium (RB-M) crew arrived on scene minutes after the collision and brought on board one male and three females clinging to the 26-footer's bow.

The station and the Milwaukee Police Department assisted another person in the water unconscious approximately 10 feet away from the boat.

Emergency Medical Services at McKinley Marina transported one male to Froedtert Memorial Lutheran and one male and three females to St. Mary's Hospital.

All five were not wearing life jackets and sustained various injuries.


Updates - July 28

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - July 28

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 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 vessel 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.


Port Reports - July 27

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Sunday afternoon at the Upper Harbor, James R. Barker unloaded coal into the hopper, and Lee A. Tregurtha, on her first trip out of lay-up, waited to load ore.

St. Marys River – Roger LeLievre
It was a very slow Sunday on the river. Early morning traffic included the downbound Cason J. Callaway. The Duluth-based USCG Alder headed upbound around noon. Algocape was downbound in the early afternoon. Evening traffic consisted of the downbound Adam E. Cornelius, Walter J. McCarthy Jr. and Quebecois.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Agawa Canyon came in at 6:30 p.m. Saturday night with a cargo of salt for Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg. It had departed by dawn.

Saginaw, Mich. – Todd Shorkey
Two vessels made their first appearances of the season on the Saginaw River on Friday. Maumee called on the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee, while the tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder called on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. Both vessels were outbound during the day on Friday.

Cleveland, Ohio - Mark Demaline
On Sunday the Robert S. Pierson departed the West 3rd St stone dock with help from the G tug Iowa. The Pierson unloaded a cargo of stone. Lake Boats on the Cuyahoga River have been far and few between this season, but the weekend saw both the Pierson and Calumet come into the Cuyahoga River.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
English River was unloading at the LaFarge plant on Ganson Street Sunday morning. There was also an American Steamship boat at the Gateway Terminal in Lackawanna.


Move over icebreakers: Coast Guard Festival Parade of Ships to be led by canoe

7/27 - Grand Haven, Mich. – The Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival's Parade of Ships traditionally has been led by vessels ranging from a 270-foot medium endurance cutter to a 290-foot icebreaker ... but a canoe?

In an unusual twist, at 1 p.m. on July 27, the 12-person canoe Gabagouache, a modern-day version of a French birch canoe, will lead the Parade of Ships. The Gabagouache was crafted at a cost of $6,000 25 years ago for Grand Haven's sesquicentennial and has been dusted off to celebrate Grand Haven's quartoseptcentennial -- 175th birthday.

The plan is for the Gabagouache to outpace the 240-foot Mackinaw and the 140-foot Bristol Bay. The canoe will be piloted at the stern by Dave Seibold, dressed as Grand River fur trader Rix Robinson, and at the bow by Jerry Witheral, dressed as the Rev. William Montague Ferry, the founder of Grand Haven.

"The Coast Guard ships usually come in very slowly," Seibold said. "Still, we have our work cut out for us to keep ahead."

Seibold said the canoe will lead the ship procession from the former Coast Guard Station on the north shore to Government Basin, where the two Coast Guard ships will be open for tours for the next six days.

Grand Haven Mayor Roger Bergman and his wife Karen will help to propel the canoe along with Grand Haven Rotary president Dave Young and his wife, Karen; Grand Haven Historical Society president John Nasser and his wife, Sharon; historians Wally and Jane Ewing; and Bill and Margie Viveen, members of the 175 Committee.

Once the two Coast Guard ships are berthed at Government Basin, they will be open for tours.

The tour schedule is 6-8 p.m., July 27-29; 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and 6-8 p.m., July 30; and 10 a.m.-noon, 1-3 p.m. and 6-8 p.m., July 31 and Aug. 1. There is no admission charge for the tours.

This year marks the fourth year the Mackinaw has attended. The ship was commissioned June 10, 2006 and is based in Cheboygan. The new Mackinaw is 240 feet long, has a beam of 59 feet and has a displacement of 3,350 tons.

The ship is powered by six diesel generators, which provide electrical power to two individual rotating propulsion units that turn two 14-foot stern propellers, each weighing 10.7 tons.

The engineering plant can develop 10,000 shaft horsepower to drive the Mackinaw at maximum speed of nearly 15 knots.

The Mackinaw is a dual role ship -- tending buoys during warm months and serving as an icebreaker during the winter. The Mackinaw has a crew of 50, plus space for up to six transients. It replaced the 290-foot Mackinaw that was retired in 2006.

The Bristol Bay was built by the Tacoma Boat Building Co. in 1978 and was commissioned in Detroit in 1979. Designed by U.S. Coast Guard engineers, the Bristol Bay's primary responsibility is opening and maintaining icebound shipping lanes in the Great Lakes.

Bay Class tugs are designed to continuously break at least 20 inches of hard, freshwater ice. The ships can break more than 3 feet of ice by backing and ramming. The Bay tugs have a special hull air lubrication system that helps extract the ship from thick ice and improves ice breaking ability at slower speeds.

The ship also performs missions such as search and rescue, marine environmental protection, law enforcement, port security and safety.

Click here to view the live user controlled Grand Haven webcam

Muskegon Chronicle


Coast Guard evacuates man from Beaver Island

7/27 - Beaver Island, Mich. - U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City medically evacuated a 67-year-old male experiencing breathing difficulties from the Beaver Island Airport at approximately 12 p.m. Saturday.

"We initially had some difficulty getting into the island because of fog, but we popped up over the clouds and spotted the airport," said Ensign Daniel Phillips, HH-65C rescue helicopter pilot. "He apparently had very, very low oxygen levels, but he was in good spirits."

A paramedic from Beaver Island Emergency Medical Services accompanied the flight crew to treat the man.

The crew transferred the Beaver Island resident safely to shore at the air station, whereby awaiting EMS then transported him to Munson Hospital.


Coast Guard rescues seven people from boat taking on water

7/27 - St. Joseph, Mich. - U.S. Coast Guard Station St. Joseph rescued seven people from a 30-foot Sea Ray taking on water five miles offshore the Pierheads Saturday at approximately 2 p.m.

A Station St. Joseph 47-foot motor lifeboat crew (MLB) transferred the charter vessel's two captains and five passengers on board shortly before the boat sank.

"They pulled in all the lines and went to restart, when they heard a loud bang; their boat began to take on water very rapidly," said Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class David Perrin, 47-footer coxswain.

The crew transported all seven safely back to shore at the station. There were no injuries or medical concerns. All of the charter vessel passengers were wearing life jackets.

Fishing for perch in Lake Michigan, the crew of the Sea Ray detected a disturbance in the engine room, which caused the space to become flooded.


River of History Museum at Soo to reopen Tuesday

7/27 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - The directors of the River of History Museum will host the Grand Opening of the museum at the new location, the old Woolworth’s building on Ashmun St., on Tuesday, July 28 at 5 p.m.

“We are very excited with the extraordinary result of our newly relocated River of History Museum in the heart of the downtown area,” Tom Robinson, board president said.

“Sault Tribe Construction, under the direction of Lenny Adams and the design of Steve and Lisa Feringa, has produced a marvelous presentation of our River of History Museum in a new and lively manner,” said Robinson.

“The public is now able to view with pride the story of our past, a dream of many starting with our former director, Dr. Susan Schacher, who passed away unexpectedly last year,” Robinson added.

A brief program will be followed by a tour of the exhibits. Light Native American fare will be served. The open house is free and the general public is invited.

The museum recently moved from its location in the Federal Building on Portage to make way for city offices. Exhibits feature local history from the 1700s through the present. Many of the exhibits feature collections on loan from the Chippewa County Historical Society. Featured are local Native American history, the French Fur Trade, the John Johnston family, Fort Brady and its transition to Lake Superior State University, 20th century local history and a special exhibit of Native American basketry. The museum store is also revamped and features a wide selection of local books, locally made artwork, historical toys, and other local history related items. The Sault Tribe Cultural Division has also added special exhibits in the hallway to the entrance of the museum, and their Cultural Interpretive Center in the same building will also be opening the same day.

The museum is open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is Adults $5.50, children 6-17 $2.75, and children 5 and under are free. A combination package is available that includes the museum, the Tower of History and museum ship Valley Camp. Cost for the package is $20 for adults and $10 for children 6-17.

Memberships to the museum are also available. Membership forms will be available at the open house or can be obtained by calling the Museum.

For more information, call 906-632-1999. An RSVP for the open house is appreciated but not required.

Soo Evening News


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Updates - July 27

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public 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.


No injuries after Algocanada hit by an explosion

7/26 - The Algoma tanker Algocanada, after unloading gas and traveling in ballast from Sydney, NS, to Nanticoke, Ontario, was reported to have suffered an explosion Saturday. The explosion is said to have taken place in the bow thruster compartment. Little is known at this time how the explosion occurred. There were no injuries to the crew and no structural damage reported. The vessel is secured below lock one Port Weller, Ontario. Algocanada is a new tanker built in 2008 at Zonguldak, Turkey.


Port Reports - July 26

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Under cloudy skies Friday morning, Edgar B. Speer was backing into the CN/DMIR ore dock to load taconite pellets destined for Gary. Across the bay, Adam E. Cornelius was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal with coal destined for Marquette. American Century was fueling at the Murphy Oil terminal while waiting for the Midwest Energy Terminal dock. The Century was due to be followed later Friday and Saturday by James R. Barker, Walter J. McCarthy Jr., Atlantic Huron and Paul R. Tregurtha.

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick and Lee Rowe
Saturday morning found the Michipicoten loading ore at the Upper Harbor and Adam E. Cornelius arriving at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock to unload coal. Cornelius last visited the Shiras Dock in the fall of 2006. She was expected to load ore at the Upper Harbor later in the day.

St. Marys River - Roger LeLievre
Traffic on Saturday included the downbound H. Lee White, Herbert C. Jackson and Anglian Lady pushing the barge PML 9000, loaded with steel coils. Federal Maas passed upbound and docked at the Algoma Export Dock in the early afternoon. Also, Lee A. Tregurtha headed up on her first trip after a more than a month in layup. The new saltwater vessel Kurt Paul, operated by BBC Chartering, which was upbound in the very early morning Saturday, remained at the Soo, Ont., Purvis dock in the lower harbor throughout the day.

Stoneport, Mich. - from Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug / barge Presque Isle paid a rare visit early Saturday morning when it tied up at the Stoneport dock. It loaded stone throughout the day and was expected to depart after 10 p.m. Pathfinder and Maumee are scheduled to load on Sunday.


Grand plan for a sunken schooner in Lake Erie

7/26 - Buffalo, N.Y. – For as long as 175 years, a shipwrecked schooner that had once sailed the Great Lakes, bringing grain and other goods to and from a just-burgeoning Buffalo, has laid virtually unscathed at the bottom of Lake Erie just west of Dunkirk.

A group of shipwreck hunters who have been diving on the downed ship over the last several years have a novel and exciting plan for the 85-foot vessel: They want to raise it from its watery grave and put it on display in a giant water tank in a museum in the Buffalo harbor.

“We have the birth of the city of Buffalo right there, sitting in the middle of Lake Erie in pristine condition,” said Pat Clyne, a videographer who specializes in filming shipwrecks and is a member of North East Research, the group that wants to lift the schooner out of the lake.

Even more tantalizing, Clyne said that recent research has led some to believe that the ship may actually be the Caledonia, a British-made vessel captured by U. S. forces during the War of 1812 and used against the British in the Battle of Lake Erie. The Caledonia was then sold as a merchant ship.

“It is so chock full of history,” Clyne said.

North East Research employees met with local officials this week to explain their plan and to begin talks about trying to get financial assistance for raising the ship and preserving it.

The schooner’s existence was first detected in the early 1990s by shipwreck salvagers using sonar in Lake Erie where some believe there are as many as 3,000 sunken ships underwater.

Richard Kullberg, owner and founder of North East Research, bought the coordinates to the location, giving him the right to salvage it. He began investigating what would turn out to be the location of the schooner, first believing it could be the remains of a payroll ship that had sunk during the Civil War.

He sent down a remote control camera to scan along side the ship and discovered it was indeed an old, wooden ship. He then sent down some technical divers who took more photos. They showed that while the vessel wasn’t the payroll ship, it was “very, very valuable in a historic way,” Clyne explained.

The discovery was kept under wraps as Kullberg raised money for more dives. In 2000, divers retrieved a compass and a lantern from the ship.

Subsequent dives turned up wheat and barley in the hulls, as well as coins, including a British coin from 1797 and an American coin dated 1834. The 1834 coin has led researchers to believe the schooner sank shortly after that date.

The ship is in remarkably good shape, Clyne said, save for the zebra mussels crusted over much of the vessel, making the possibility of raising it from the lake very real.

North East Research’s grand plan includes using Buffalo Industrial Diving Co., an underwater engineering company. “What we’re going to do is strap, literally, a diaper around it and slowly raise it to the surface,” Clyne said.

The ship would be held in one of the old molasses tanks on the waterfront while it is restored. Then, it would be placed inside a massive acrylic tank, along the lines of those used in the famed Atlantis Hotel in the Bahamas to display sea creatures.

Clyne believes the ship display could be the centerpiece of a maritime museum in the Buffalo harbor that would attract thousands of tourists every year. He likened it to the Vasa, a 17th century ship on display in Stockholm, and the Mary Rose, a 16th century vessel in Portsmouth, England— both popular tourist destinations.

“There is no reason in the world why North America can’t do the same thing and have the same success as Europe,” Clyne said. “We want this to be world class. If we’re going to do this, let’s do it right.”

Tuesday, North East Research met in Buffalo with local leaders, including County Executive Chris Collins; John Montague, director of the Buffalo State College Maritime Center; representatives of local members of Congress and both U. S. senators, the Erie County Canal Harbor Development Committee and tourism officials.

Grant Loomis, a Collins spokesman, said the county executive takes the salvagers seriously but acknowledges the significant financial hurdles that need to be overcome.

“The county executive is very excited about the possibility of raising the historic schooner and turning this underwater treasure into a first-rate destination on Buffalo’s waterfront,” Loomis said.

“To be successful, this project needs broad-based support and financial commitments from various levels of government. The county executive looks forward to continuing to discuss the possibilities of this project with his colleagues in government and North East Research.”

Montague, who has been involved in the research of the schooner, said there’s no doubt there’s historic value to the shipwrecked vessel. “It is spectacular, and if it’s the Caledonia, even more so,” he said. “It would be a wonderful thing to have.”

Judging by the shape, design and woodwork, Montague said it’s clear the ship “was old when it went down.”

Fresh water and frigid temperatures appear to have helped preserve the vessel, as they have for other intact ships that have been found in the Great Lakes, including two off St. Catharines, Ont., and a Revolutionary War ship also in Lake Ontario between Rochester and Syracuse.

Montague said there’s no conclusive evidence yet that the ship is the Caledonia, but that it’s certainly possible. “There’s no name plates when they found it, so this is speculation,” he said.

Montague said the plan to raise and “pickle” the ship is a “feasible thing to do,” but cautioned that it would be an extremely complicated and expensive project.

Other ships that have been raised have met with disaster, he said. A famous example was the Alvin Clark, a wood schooner raised in 1968 off the coast of Wisconsin and put on display at a museum in Green Bay. “The museum ran out of funds, and eventually the boat rotted,” Montague said.

Many archaeologists and maritime experts are against raising boats, believing they should be studied and documented in their final resting places. A cheaper alternative to raising the ship, Montague suggested, would be to do detailed studies of the sunken schooner and then replicate it and have that ship serve as a museum.

But, Montague said, “I’m not a naysayer. We just have to careful how we do this and make sure we do this right.”

The Buffalo News


Updates - July 26

News Photo Gallery
Public 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.

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 people lost their lives.

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.


Today in Great Lakes History - July 25

In 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.


U.S. Coast Guard Cutters offer tours during festival

7/24 - Grand Haven, Mich. - The U.S. Coast Guard Cutters Mackinaw and Bristol Bay will make their official entrance into the Grand River Monday, July 27, marking the beginning of a busy and exciting week at the 2009 Coast Guard Festival.

The parade of ships will begin at 1:00 p.m., Monday. Ships will moor at designated spots along Escanaba Park, adjacent to the Coast Guard station.

The 240-foot Mackinaw (WLBB-30), arriving from Cheboygan, Mich., is a one-of-a-kind icebreaker and buoy tender that replaced the WW II-era Mackinaw (WAGB-83). Her primary missions are: Maritime Homeland Security, Ice Breaking, Aids to Navigation, Law Enforcement, Marine Environmental Protection and Search and Rescue.

The Bristol Bay (WTGB-102), arriving from Detroit, Mich., is a 140-foot icebreaking tug. Bay-class tugs are designed to continuously break at least 20 inches of hard, freshwater ice. The ships can break more than three feet of ice by backing and ramming. In August 1991, Bristol Bay became the first Bay-Class tug to receive a barge specially-designed to perform aids-to-navigation work. The 120-foot long barge works with the ship to service more than 160 aids to navigation each year.

Each of the ships will be available for public tours, at a variety of times, from Monday, July 27 through Saturday, August 1.

The Mackinaw will be carrying a larger-than-life uniformed figure in honor of the women who served during World War II in the U.S. Coast Guard Women's Reserve, also known as the SPARs. The name is a contraction of the Coast Guard motto Semper Paratus. Thirty former SPARs will attend the festival.


Port Reports - July 24

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Thursday was one of the busiest days of the season at the Upper Harbor. Charles M. Beeghly and Robert S. Pierson departed before sunrise with ore cargoes. In the early afternoon, the Army Corps of Engineers' tug Billmaier arrived back at the Upper Harbor for work on the breakwall. In the evening, Michipicoten arrived to load ore. Dense fog enveloped the Upper Harbor most of the day with some breaks.

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
The tug Undaunted and Pere Marquette 41 tied up at the Padnos dock in Holland at about 11 p.m. Tuesday night to load a cargo of metal for recycling. The pair departed at noon Wednesday and headed north.


Northwestern Michigan College leads effort to map bottom of bay

7/24 - Traverse City, Mich. - Raindrops pelted and roiled scenic West Grand Traverse Bay's surface, but those aboard the Northwestern didn't mind.

They cared more about what undiscovered treasures lurked beneath.

Northwestern Michigan College is leading the first effort to map the bottom of Grand Traverse Bay in more than 80 years, and school officials this week used sonar technology to distinguish sand bars, rocky shoals, fish habitat, logs, plant growth and sunken ships.

It's the only Great Lakes locale where such high-resolution, water-mapping technology is used. Officials hope it leads to more efforts to study the floors of North America's freshwater inland seas.

"Our students will use this information for their studies on what's going on in the bay," said Hans VanSumeren, director of NMC's Water Studies Institute. "I think getting people excited about what's down there is important. It's not just about what's on the surface."

Officials are using side-scan sonar equipment on the Northwestern, NMC's research vessel, to capture imagery in a 1,000-foot swath as they move back-and-forth across the bay. The technology allows them to view outlined images from the bottom.

"To be able to tell people about what's in our Great Lakes is wonderful. We've never before seen the lake bottom like this," said Mark Breederland, Michigan Sea Grant's extension educator in Traverse City, and whose agency is assisting with the research.

Existing bay depth data stretches to the late 1920s. Modern sonar technology will provide updated, expanded information that can be used in environmental assessments, coastal management, bottomland studies, commercial navigation charts, fisheries research and tourism opportunities.

Data gathered as part of the research will be shared with agencies like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and catalogued on a public digital water library, VanSumeren said.

The community college's survey equipment was donated by Kongsberg Underwater Technology, Inc., a Norwegian company.

Officials have worked for a week to map the bay bottom, and captured sonar images of what's believed to be the sunken Lauren Castle tugboat near Suttons Bay. The image shows a boat with mast sticking up in about 400 feet of water, where it sank in November 1980.

"I think she's sitting straight up and down on the bottom," VanSumeren said.

A submersible remote-operated vehicle with a camera will be sent down to investigate further.

The Northwestern on Wednesday slowly cut through the water about a half-mile southwest of Power Island when a blip appeared on the computer screen.

"That's the wreck of the Tramp," VanSumeren said. "It's very sandy, so anything that's on the bottom really stands out."

The Tramp was a wooden, 54-foot tugboat that sank in the 1970s, and now is a popular diving attraction. It appeared on the sonar screen with a white-shaded area next to it, the "shadow" of the sonar image of the vessel.

"It's like the shadow of a tree. You can tell what a tree looks like without actually looking at it," VanSumeren said.

Sonar equipment sends out sound waves on both sides of the Northwestern at a 45-degree angle toward the bay floor. The sonar "shadow" was created as sound waves bounced back from the sunken tugboat.

The sonar even picked up schools of whitefish that appeared on the computer screen as clusters between the bottom and the bay's surface.

"How can you not be fascinated by this? This is awesome," said Jack Rowell, of Kalkaska, a potential NMC student.

Rowell was along for the ride on Wednesday to get a taste of NMC's freshwater studies as he tries to decide between that program and the college's Great Lakes Maritime Academy.

Rowell was laid off from a machining job in Kalkaska and wants to complete training to find a new career.

"I'm definitely interested in this. I'm interested mostly in getting a job," he said.

Traverse City Record Eagle


Updates - July 24

News Photo Gallery
Public 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.


Port Reports - July 23

Saginaw, Mich. – Todd Shorkey
The tug Karen Andrie, with the tank barge Endeavour, departed the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City on Tuesday headed for the lake. The pair had arrived on July 14. American Century was inbound on Tuesday, calling on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville to unload coal. She was outbound early Wednesday morning. Inbound on Wednesday was the tug Olive L. Moore, with the barge Lewis J. Kuber. The pair lightered at the Bay City Wirt Stone dock before continuing upriver to finish unloading at the Wirt Stone dock in Saginaw. Moore and Kuber were expected to be outbound late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.

Oshawa and Darlington, Ont. - David Robinson
A BBC Chartering heavy-lift ship was in Oshawa harbor Wednesday morning. Peter R. Cresswell was loading cement at Darlington and the barge St. Marys Cement II with tug was at anchor offshore waiting.


Updates - July 23

News Photo Gallery
Public 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. She was sold for further service overseas in 2007.

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.


Numbers unfavorable for Twin Ports shipping

7/22 - Duluth, Minn. – June tonnage numbers are in and the report is less than favorable for the Twin Ports.

The steel industry remains hardest hit by the global economic recession, evidenced in iron ore shipments off 61 percent through the Port of Duluth-Superior this season. These figures mirror a similar drop across the Great Lakes (57 percent), according to a report released last week by the Lake Carriers’ Association.

According to Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, we are seeing commercial activity at levels not experienced since the mid-1930s.

“Taconite shipments have slowed to a trickle. Iron ore shipments for Minnesota/Duluth-Superior could test record lows this year with steel plants sitting idle and two dozen lakers in layup. We’ve handled just 2.6 million tons of iron ore through June compared to nearly 6.8 million at this time last year."

Hopes of a turnaround during this navigation season may be slipping away.

The real economic recovery won’t arrive until the stimulus plan finds its legs and consumer confidence builds so folks start buying cars and appliances. More than likely, the Great Lakes won’t begin to feel the impact of any upswing until well into 2010.”

There were, however, a couple of ‘bright spots’ in Duluth-Superior’s recent marine tonnage report. Grain shipments through June stood at 352,793 short tons, up 23 percent from record-setting lows experienced last year.

And coal shipments were off 7 percent from last year as Midwest Energy Resources Company’s Superior Terminal continues shipping coal at a steady pace to utilities in the Lower Lakes.

In fact, MERC hit a milestone on June 16, loading its 400 millionth ton of low-sulfur coal since local operations began in 1976.

Coal movement through Duluth-Superior significantly outpaced overall demand across the Great Lakes, where coal shipments were off nearly 30 percent.

Overall, Duluth-Superior tonnage handled during this navigation season stood at 10,505,690 short tons through June – off 33 percent from a year ago.

A total of 243 vessels called on Duluth-Superior during the first three months of this navigation season, compared to 402 during the same timeframe last year; just 17 of those visits were oceangoing vessels.

Northland's NewsCenter


Port Reports - July 22

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Algowood was in Duluth on Tuesday afternoon discharging salt at the Cutler Magner plant. From there it was to proceed to the CN/DMIR ore dock to load taconite pellets. Edwin H. Gott is due at the BNSF dock early Tuesday while Cason J. Callaway was expected to arrive in Duluth on Tuesday to unload stone at the C. Reiss Inland Dock on the St. Louis River. From there it will go to Silver Bay to load pellets for Gary.

Marinette, Wis. – Dick Lund
The Nina and Pinta arrived at NestEgg Marine in Marinette early Tuesday the afternoon. The replicas of two of Christopher Columbus' ships have been touring the Great Lakes since early June, and will continue through the end of August. They will be in Marinette until Sunday. For more information visit


Nautica Queen accident leaves one person injured

7/22 - Cleveland, Ohio - A dinner cruise ended with the Nautica Queen smacking into the east bank of the Cuyahoga River Monday night, injuring one woman.

The boat was headed out for its evening dinner cruise with more than 100 people on board when a generator problem sent smoke into the lower level.

Passengers said when the smoke appeared, the crew started to usher everyone to the upper level.

Many of the passengers were with the International Deaf Catholic Association.

"It was difficult because the staff was saying ‘hold on brace yourself’ and many couldn't hear so we're jumping ‘hold on hold’ on so that was hard," Interpreter Renee Rawlings said.

A representative for Nautica said the crew turned the boat around as soon as the generator problem appeared, but on the way back to the dock the ship lost power.

"It did have an impact to the side wall of the river, but that was rather than run into the bridge trestle, the captain did a great job as did the crew," Michael Mercer, Director of Special Services at Nautica said.

People on board felt the impact.

"They said hold on hold on and I wasn't sure why but then at the corner of my eye I started to see us go right toward the dock area and right before my eyes we crashed into the dock the wood splintered into the air," David Evanko said.

One woman was transported to MetroHealth Medical Center for injuries as a result of the impact. Her condition is unknown.

Mercer said refunds will be issued to passengers.

Fox 8


Welland Canal ruins are a buried treasure

7/22 - St. Catharines, Ont. – The buried remains of the first Welland Canal are a treasure that should be protected and shared, says a St. Catharines city councillor, and the more people who get involved, the merrier.

The city plans to create a visible trail outlining the buried path of the first Welland Canal through Lakeside Park, but Port Dalhousie Coun. Bruce Williamson wants amateur historians and heritage groups to provide input on the location of the canal and how it should be interpreted.

At last week's city council meeting, councillors approved a report from heritage planner Kevin Blozowki, and agreed to include money in the 2010 city budget to implement some of archeologist Jon Jouppien's recommendations.

But before the city decides just how to implement those recommendations, Williamson wants more input.

That's because he has heard from amateur historians and heritage buffs that the route of the canal as outlined by Jouppien may not tell enough of the story.

Jouppien's two excavations, carried out in October 2008, at the request of the city, placed the lock about three metres from the western boundary of Lakeside Park, in the area where Dalhousie Avenue deadends at a park gate.

But Williamson said the supporting structures of the lock walls would have extended another five metres on either side of the lock, perhaps into the adjacent properties, and the actual path of the canal through the area that is now the park has never been completely determined.

At last week's council meeting, Williamson said there is a wealth of amateur expertise in the community, and the city should take advantage of it.

He asked that the Port Dalhousie Heritage District Advisory Committee, the St. Catharines Heritage Committee, the Green Committee, the St. Catharines Museum, and the St. Catharines Historical Society all be given copies of the Jouppien report and the Blozowski report and asked for their comments. The report should also be made available to the public, he said, so that the research they have done can also be included in any efforts by the city to showcase the first canal.

"You want to have as many people involved as possible, to shed light on it and get closer to the truth," Williamson said Monday. "I don't think he (Jouppien) has definitively located the first lock of the first canal. He doesn't have it mapped out completely."

Williamson said the canal and its locks are important links to the city's past.

St. Catharines Standard


Lake Superior Maritime Visitor’s Center offers summer programs

7/22 - Duluth, Minn. – The Lake Superior Maritime Visitors Center is offering a series of summer programs between noon and 4 p.m. daily through Labor Day.

The programs will include films, videotapes and slide-show lectures on Great Lakes topics such as shipping, natural history, shipwrecks, commercial fishing and lighthouses.

Programs will change weekly with more than 20 shows offered through the summer.

The Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center is free and open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. For information regarding specific programs and times, call (218) 720-5260, ext. 1.

This week’s schedule:

• 12:30 p.m.: “Up and Down the Soo Locks,” a humorous, fast-paced film that illustrates the operations of the connecting link between Lake Superior and the lower lakes.
• 1:30 p.m.: “Ore boat,” a ride to the lower lakes on the 1,000-foot bulk carrier Edwin H. Gott with a load of taconite.
• 2:30 p.m.: “Where the steel begins,” a presentation of iron mining and taconite production on the Iron Range.
• 3:30 p.m.: “Pier Safety: A matter of life and death,” on the hidden dangers of using piers and navigation structures for recreational use.


Updates - July 22

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated Shipping and Video Albums


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.


Economy again trips up Lakes coal trade in June

7/21 - Cleveland, Ohio - The slumping economy again dampened demand for coal on the Great Lakes in June. Shipments totaled 3.6 million net tons, a decrease of 16 percent compared to a year ago. June loadings were 18.5 percent off the month’s 5-year average.

The trade did register a milestone in June. Superior Midwest Energy Terminal in Superior, Wisconsin, loaded its 400 millionth ton of coal on June 16. The facility began shipping coal mined in the Powder River Basin in 1976. The benchmark cargo was loaded into the U.S.-Flag lake American Integrity for delivery to the Detroit Edison power plants in St. Clair and Monroe, Michigan.

The downside to this achievement was the amount of coal the vessel was able to load on June 16. The cargo totaled 66,513 net tons. The American Integrity is 1,000 feet long. Vessels this size have carried almost 71,000 net tons of coal in a single trip, but that was when high water levels offset lack of adequate dredging.

For the year, coal shipments stand at 10.9 million tons, a decrease of approximately 30 percent compared to both a year ago and the 5-year average for the first half of the year.

Lake Carriers’ Association.


Port Reports - July 21

Waukegan, Ill - Nathan Ruska
St. Marys Conquest arrived in Waukegan Harbor about 6:30 p.m. on Sunday.

South Chicago, Ill. - Dan F
St. Marys Challenger entered the harbor at about 5 a.m. on July 20. She slid out of her slip at 7 p.m. and moved to the Sheds to pick up supplies. The Challenger began her trip down the river at just after 8:15 p.m., clearing the Torrence Street Bridge shortly after 8:30 p.m.

Alpena and Stoneport, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug G.L. Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived at Lafarge after 9 p.m. on Sunday; its next destination is Detroit. Alpena returned Monday and tied up under the silos around 9:30 p.m. Manitowoc loaded at Stoneport on Monday followed by the Cason J. Callaway in the afternoon.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
On Monday the tug Superior departed the Essroc dock in Essexville with Luedtke Derrick Boat 16 and two dump scows in tow, headed for the lake. Algoway called on the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee to unload as well. Tuesday saw the tug Karen Andrie and her tank barge, Endeavour, call in the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City. After unloading, they departed the slip and headed upriver to the Dow Chemical dock to turn and then tie up. As of Monday night on the 20th, the pair were still there, although they briefly departed the dock this morning and then returned to the dock. On Wednesday, Frontenac and American Century both called on the Saginaw River, unloading at a pair of Essexville docks. Frontenac unloaded at the Essroc dock, while the Century unloaded at the Consumers Energy dock. Thursday brought the tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber to the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. The pair returned again on Sunday with a split load, unloading at the Bay City Wirt Stone dock and the GM dock in Saginaw. On Friday, Calumet arrived with a split load for the Sargent dock in Essexville and the Saginaw Rock Products dock in Saginaw. Finally, Saturday saw the arrival of Manitowoc with a split load for the Wirt Stone docks in Bay City and Saginaw.

Cleveland, Ohio - Bill Kloss
Polsteam's Isa is unloading at the Port Authority docks and Maumee is in at Cargill Salt.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
On Monday the Quebecois arrive at 2 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Duluth for Dofasco. Hamilton Energy arrived at 4 p.m. after bunkering in Clarkson. The tug Salvor and barge Lambert's Spirit arrived also at 4 p.m. and went to Pier 23.


After some confusion, vessel in lake race makes contact

7/21 - After searches by the U. S. and Canadian Coast Guards Sunday afternoon, the sailing vessel Kvack was found continuing its run in the Lake Ontario 300 race.

After Kvack’s crew failed to check in with race officials and didn’t respond to radio calls while transiting near Rochester, Coast Guard crews from both sides of the border began searching for the vessel, along with the Canadian Coast Guard Griffin helicopter.

“They were fine, they hadn’t been able to make contact with anyone,” said Canadian Coast Guard Petty Officer George Degner. “There was some sort of technical difficulty.”

Kvack was able to continue the Lake Ontario 300 race, a 300-mile course along Lake Ontario from Port Credit, Ont., to Oswego and the mouth of the Niagara River before heading back to Port Credit.

Degner said the ship wasn’t in distress at any point, and was able to finish the race Sunday evening.

The Buffalo News


Ogdensburg’s lack of unloading equipment hurts wood chip business

7/21 - Ogdensburg, N.Y. - The port of Ogdensburg could resume shipping wood chips after a several year hiatus, however a wood chips supplier claims the lack of special equipment at the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority is costing the area business.

"The port authority of Ogdensburg has put up several obstacles in the path of Green Energy Resources, having delayed operations nearly a month already," Joseph C. Murray, president of Green Energy Resources, said in a statement Friday. "As a result, Ogdensburg has been losing out to Albany where Green Energy Resources has already commenced operations."

Last month, the OBPA board approved an agreement with Green Energy Resources, the New York City company supplying the wood chips, to handle and store the materials from June 3 until Dec. 31. The first shipment should go out by ship soon, Mr. Murray said.

This will be the first shipment of wood chips for the port in several years, OBPA Executive Director Wade A Davis said. Mr. Murray hopes to bring 30,000 to 60,000 tons through the port each month, which will be shipped to biomass power plants and wood pellet manufacturers in northern Europe. He expects the project to bring at least 10 jobs and about $20 million to growers and truckers in the area.

Mr. Murray said the main problem is the authority does not have a truck tipper, a platform used for lifting and unloading cargo trailers. The equipment could increase wood chip deliveries to the port from 500 to 1,900 tons per day, Mr. Murray said.

Mr. Murray has asked the port to purchase the piece of equipment, which costs between $100,000 and $300,000. Mr. Davis said providing the machinery is not the port's responsibility.

"This is a standard transfer, handling and storage agreement," Mr. Davis said. "Our contract does not have any stipulation that the OBPA provide a truck dump. That is strictly under the auspices of Green Energy Resources. It's not part of the contract agreement, nor was it ever promised or implied."

Without the truck tipper, the company plans to unload with about 15 walking-floor trailers that handle significantly less cargo.

"We've been helpful in many aspects of this project and put him in touch with individuals that have this type of equipment in the region," Mr. Davis said. "The need for specialized equipment has always come up, but it's always been negotiated through the contractual process, not through a press release after an executed agreement. At this point we're questioning whether Green Energy Resources is dealing in good faith with the authority."

Mr. Murray said the Port of Ogdensburg has been losing business to the Port of Coeymans, near Albany, but he did not estimate how many tons of chips are going downstate because of the lack of a truck tipper here.

Since the beginning of the month, Green Energy Resources has stored about 2,000 tons of wood chips at the Port of Coeymans, according to Stephen F. Kelly, vice president of the port. The facility, which also does not have a truck tipper, is under an agreement to handle and store wood chips for two years.

Green Energy Resources remains interested in the Port of Ogdensburg because of its proximity to a large number of wood chip suppliers that grow beech, birch, ash, maple and cherry trees, which are in high demand on the European market, Mr. Murray said.

Although Mr. Davis said he was unaware of the claim that the missing equipment was costing the port business until the press release was issued, he said he did not feel the project would be in jeopardy.

"Obviously there must be an issue there that we're not aware of," he said. "We'll be in touch with them to see if we can address the issue."

Watertown Daily Times


“Know Your Ships” pages from 50 years ago posted

7/21 - As a part of the 50th anniversary edition of the boatwatchers’ guide “Know Your Ships,” all 44 pages of the first edition, published by Tom Manse in 1959, have been posted at


Updates - July 21

News Photo Gallery
Public 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.


Port Reports - July 20

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Paul R. Tregurtha was loading coal at Midwest Energy Terminal on Sunday afternoon while Indiana Harbor was approaching Duluth to take its place at the terminal. Canadian Olympic was docked at the Murphy Oil fueling terminal awaiting its turn at the CN/DMIR ore dock after Presque Isle. A correction: USCGC Hollyhock remains in drydock at Fraser Shipyards. The cutter departing Duluth on Friday morning was USCGC Alder.

Sault Ste. Marie - Greg Barber
Friday saw Alpena, American Century, Federal Kaumanu, Algosar, Canadian Transport, Presque Isle and Beluga Emotion upbound and Peter R. Cresswell, Edwin H. Gott, Ojibway and Rt. Hon. Paul Martin downbound. Saturday upbound was Canadian Olympic, Paul R. Tregurtha, Herbert C. Jackson, Indiana Harbor, Michipicoten and the Charles M. Beeghly; downbound was Quebecois, Algosar and Tim S. Dool. Sunday Morning downbound was Michipicoten, Edgar B. Speer and American Integrity and upbound was Gordon C. Leitch and John B. Aird.

Muskegon, Mich. - Mark Taylor
Sunday, St. Marys Challenger departed temporary lay-up from the Mart Dock and headed down Lake Michigan for South Chicago.

Panama Canal - Andrew Torrence
Saturday, Algoport was transiting the Panama Canal. The vessel is headed to California where she will be towed to China for refurbishment and a new forebody.


U.S. Coast Guard conducts medical evacuation from Manitou Island

7/20 - Cleveland, Ohio - The U.S. Coast Guard conducted a medical evacuation from Manitou Island, Mich. about 1:45 p.m., Sunday.

Coast Guard Station Frankfort received a request for a medical evacuation from the Manitou Island Park Ranger at approximately 12:30 p.m. for a 17-year-old male who had broken his leg.

Station Frankfort launched its 30-foot small boat and transferred the victim to awaiting Emergency Medical Services at the Leland Boat Launch in Leland, Mich. The victim was taken to Munson Hospital, located in Traverse City, Mich.

“We have a really good relationship with the local agencies in the area”, said Seaman Abbea Hoehamer, the communications watchstander at Station Frankfort who received the call. “They know they can call us if they need help with someone who is injured and needs to be taken to the hospital”


Updates - July 20

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Wisconsin Port’s Week requests Wisconsin shipping photos

7/20 - Want to see your photos in print? The Wisconsin Transportation Development Association is in need of hi-res photos of vessels at Wisconsin ports for promotional media. If you have images of vessels in Wisconsin ports please post in the Public Gallery at this link. You may also submit by e-mailing images to


Boatnerd cruises in August

August 8 - Detroit River/River Rouge Boatnerd Cruise
On Saturday, August 8, we will repeat the popular BoatNerd Detroit River Cruise aboard the Friendship, with Captain Sam Buchanan. This year’s cruise will be four hours and will go up the Detroit River, and hopefully into the Rouge River. Pizza for lunch will be delivered by the J. W. Westcott II mail boat. Cost is just $30 per person, same price as last year. Reservations are a must, as we are limiting the group to 100 persons. The cruise will depart at 10 a.m. sharp from Portofino's On The River in Wyandotte, Mich. Click here for reservation form

August 22 - Diamond Jack cruise Wyandotte to Toledo Marine Mart
Diamond Jack’s River Tours and Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping are co-sponsoring a round-trip cruise aboard the Diamond Belle from Wyandotte to the S.S. Willis B. Boyer Marine memorabilia Flea Market in Toledo. The trip will pass the Detroit River Light, Toledo Harbor Light, the CSX coal dock, the drawbridges in the Maumee River, the dry docks at the Toledo ship yard. During the flea market a shuttle bus will provide transportation between the Toledo Maritime Center and the museum ship Willis B. Boyer. The Diamond Belle will depart Bishop Park at 8 a.m. and return around 9 p.m. The cost of $95.00 per person includes three meals on board. Reservations are required. Click here for reservation form


Today in Great Lakes History - July 20

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.

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 Shipbuilding 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.


New Algoma Tanker expected at Halifax in August

7/19 - Halifax, N.S. – Algoma Tankers will apparently place a new tanker in service in Halifax about Aug. 1. The ship is the Samistal Due, ex Clipper Bardolino-08, a 2999 gross tons ship built in Turkey in 2007.

The ship will deliver bunkers to ships and other customers within the confines of Halifax harbor. She is to be renamed Algoma Dartmouth. Although she will fly the Canadian flag and carry a Canadian crew, she will not be "duty paid", and thus will have to receive permission from the Canadian Transport Agency to work in Canadian waters. She will also have to satisfy the government that no other suitable Canadian tanker is available for the work. Algoma may have chartered the ship for a year and not purchased it outright.

The bunkering tanker NT Dartmouth, the former Imperial Dartmouth, built in Collingwood in 1970 and now operated by Northern Transportation in Halifax harbor; will presumably be put out of work as a result of this development.

Mac Mackay


Great Lakes water levels rebound after long slump

7/19 - Ludington, Mich. - Great Lakes water levels are rebounding after a decade-long slump that hammered the maritime industry and even fed conspiracy theories about plots to drain the inland seas that make up nearly a fifth of the world’s fresh surface water.

The three biggest lakes — Superior, Huron and Michigan — have risen steadily since fall 2007, when for a couple of months Superior’s levels were lowest on record and the others nearly so. Erie, shallowest of the lakes, actually exceeded its long-term average in June. So did Lake Ontario, although its level is determined more by artificial structures than nature.

The lakes follow cycles, rising and falling over time. Scientists say it’s a natural process with environmental benefits, such as replenishing coastal wetlands. But extreme ups or downs can wreak havoc for people.

During the mid-1980s, levels got so high that houses, businesses and sections of roads were swept away along Lake Michigan’s southeastern shoreline.

A sudden, deep drop-off began in the late 1990s. It forced cargo ships to lighten their loads to avoid hitting bottom in harbors and channels. Some marina operators were unable to lease slips because the water was too shallow for boats to reach them. Dredging to deepen boat passageways released chemicals and other pollutants that had been buried for years under layers of sediment.

Some waterfront property owners rejoiced over wider beaches, but others griped as vegetation — sometimes unsightly and smelly — sprang up.

Scientists attribute the rebound primarily to wetter, colder weather the past couple of years. But even if the lakes are entering another period of higher water, it does not alter a grim prognosis suggested by climate change computer modeling.

If the estimates prove accurate, global warming will cause the lakes to recede up to 3 feet this century, despite occasional bumps that could temporarily mask the long-term downward trend.

“Climate projections say the lakes will go up and down around a decreasing average,” said Don Scavia, director of the University of Michigan’s Graham Environmental Sustainability Institute. “The lows will be lower than in the past and the highs will be lower than in the past.”

Such predictions spark mixed reactions around the lakes. Boaters at the municipal marina in the Lake Michigan town of Ludington can climb into their vessels now without using wooden ladders installed several years ago, when the low water made it hazardous to jump from dock to boat. “We’re in a lot better shape this year,” said Jim Christensen, the marina’s assistant manager.

Farther up the Pere Marquette River, Ludington’s outlet to the big lake, the water is deep enough for John Chippi to rent nearly all his 40 boat slips. But one is still carpeted with swamp grass that sprouted in the wet sand as the water faded. “Sometimes I wonder why I ever bought a marina,” Chippi said with a bemused chuckle, gazing at the head-high vegetation.

The high water levels also are helping shipping companies that use the lakes. Low water during the past decade forced the haulers to lighten their loads of iron ore, coal and other goods, which meant less money. Ships sacrifice 50 to 270 tons of cargo for every inch of water loss they must accommodate.

“Water levels have risen some, but our problem isn’t solved,” said Glen Nekvasil, spokesman for the Cleveland-based Lake Carriers Association, which represents U.S.-flagged ships. His group says levels are still too shallow in some places and is pushing the government for more dredging.

The Great Lakes have yearly highs and lows. But records extending to the mid-1800s document a series of larger rises and dips at roughly 30-year intervals, said Craig Stow, a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor.

So the drop-off that began in the late 1990s wasn’t unexpected. But its suddenness and severity caught many off guard, especially after a period of unusually high levels. Drought and warming temperatures aggravated the situation. Winter ice caps, crucial for limiting evaporation, formed in ever smaller areas.

Since fall 2007, shortly after Superior hit its all-time low, rain and snow have picked up and winters have been colder. The lakes had substantial ice cover during the winter of 2008-09, said Keith Kompoltowicz, a meteorologist at the Army Corps in Detroit.

At the end of June, Huron and Michigan — which hydrologically are one lake because they are connected and have the same level — were 10 inches higher than the previous year. Erie had risen 5 inches, while Superior was near the same level as a year earlier and Ontario was an inch lower.

Strikingly, both Ontario and Erie were 5 inches above their long-term average levels while Superior, Michigan and Huron had pulled to within 6 inches of theirs. When levels were plummeting, some lakeside residents muttered darkly about secret deals to pipe water to the parched Sun Belt. Such suspicions are heard less frequently these days. But controversy persists.

A Canadian group representing homeowners on Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay contends navigational dredging and mining have lowered Huron-Michigan by increasing outflow to Lake Erie. Members want structures placed in the river to stem the tide.

A study released in May by the International Joint Commission, a U.S.-Canadian advisory panel, disputed the need for that.

Jim Te Selle of Cedarburg, Wis., president of a Lake Michigan shoreline property owners group, is reluctant to tinker further with the lakes, even though they’re already regulated to some extent by hydropower dams and locks. He remembers the high-water days of the 1980s, when the lake lapped right to his front porch. “The truth is that we have no idea what the lakes are going to do,” Te Selle said. “It’s better for Mother Nature to be left alone to do her thing.”

Detroit Free Press


Port Reports - July 19

Escanaba, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Wilfred Sykes arrived at the CN ore dock Saturday evening and loaded taconite. Tug Joyce L. VanEnkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader are in lay-up at the North Reiss Dock.

Green Bay, Mich. – Scott Best
Saturday evening, Manistee arrived in Green Bay with a load of coal from Sandusky, Ohio, for the Georgia Pacific Dock. Manistee entered the Fox River around 6 p.m., and was up to the Georgia Pacific dock by nightfall.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Saturday, Adam E. Cornelius arrived at 3:30 p.m. Saturday afternoon for General Mills.

Hamilton, Ont. – Bill Bird
Saturday the Algoisle entered Burlington Ship Canal and rafted against Canadian Provider for temporary layup expected to last two months.


Today in Great Lakes History - July 19

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

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

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

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

The registry of the GORDON C. LEITCH, of 1954, was closed on July 19, 1985, as '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 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.


Wallaceburg returns to its shipping port roots

7/18 - Wallaceburg, Ont. - The community of Wallaceburg celebrated Thursday, as government officials triumphed the return of Wallaceburg as Canada’s inland deep-water port .

Two barges from Russia entered Wallaceburg full of fertilizer, giving hope that the reemergence of Wallaceburg as a shipping port can kick-start an economic upturn in the community. The barges, which entered on Wednesday and on Thursday afternoon, were headed to Farmers of North America (FNA), which opened up earlier this year in a facility near the Base Line Bridge.

FNAs Randy Furlan gave credit to Chatham-Kent government officials and the Wallaceburg Community Task Force for helping work towards creating a shipping port and for also developing rail access for Wallaceburg. Location brought FNA to Wallaceburg, Furlan said.

“It’s in the heart of our membership, strategically located between Sarnia and Windsor. Along with the roads, water and rail, that is one of the main reasons why we came." Furlan was unsure of how many more barges would come to Wallaceburg this summer, but confirmed that more would come.

A community barbecue attracted several hundred community members, as the second barge entered Wallaceburg at about 2 p.m. The day was declared as Port of Wallaceburg Day. Wallaceburg has a proud marine history and was once well known for its bustling inland shipping port. At one point, in 1884, Wallaceburg boasted more registered ships than the port of Toronto. Boats longer than 400 feet used to regularly come into Wallaceburg.

Industries such as the glass factory and sugar factory and later the Heinz plant all relied to some extent on shipping. Wallaceburg Coun. Tom McGregor said he remembers when big ships in Wallaceburg were the norm.

"It was a fairly common occurrence, and as the years went by it became a more rare occurrence and sometimes you would go down to see the ship because it was relatively rare event," McGregor said. A lot of work and money had to be invested to remake Wallaceburg into a shipping port, McGregor said.

"Hopefully this is just a start."

When the Wallaceburg Community Task Force kicked off a couple of years ago, one of the main messages from the community was that Wallaceburg should be looking at the river as more of an economic opportunity, said the Task Force's Stuart McFadden.

Dredging took place last year.

"We didn't even have a company to call home yet," McFadden said. "A year later the barge is sitting where we did that work. So the work that was done last year helped create an opportunity today," McFadden said. He added that a lot of companies that he talks to on a daily basis are telling him that water transport is becoming a more viable option when it comes to logistics.

This is not the first foray into returning Wallaceburg to its shipping roots. Barge traffic started up in 2004 and 2006 after two decades of no boat shipping traffic. In 2006 corn was shipped by barge to Wallaceburg as an access point to supply ethanol plants in Sarnia and Chatham. In 2004 gravel was also shipped to Wallaceburg.

However, Walpole Island band council had concerns due to damage to the Walpole Island Bridge. In the fall of 2004 a barge hit and took out protective dolphins at the bridge. The dolphins are a cluster of spiels that protect the bridge.

There were also concerns regarding dredging that needed to be completed in the Sydenham River. Both issues have been resolved, McFadden said. FNA is a farmer-member based supply business. Furlan said FNA employs 12 and is looking in bringing in other industries to Wallaceburg. "They suspect it will generate 15-30 additional full-time jobs," Furlan said.

FNA is working with Chatham-Kent to try to have the Wallaceburg port designation become official. To do so would also require the involvement of the provincial and federal governments.

Wallaceburg Courier Press


Port Reports - July 18

Twin Ports – Al Miller
USCGC Hollyhock, which had spent the past several days in drydock at Fraser Shipyards, departed the Twin Ports through the Duluth Ship Canal about 7:30 a.m. Friday, passing the inbound American Integrity about two miles from the piers. The American Integrity was due at Midwest Energy Terminal to load with coal destined for St. Clair. It was to be followed later in the day by Walter J. McCarthy Jr., which will load with coal bound for St. Clair and Monroe. As the American Integrity was approaching the piers, the Edgar B. Speer was pulling away from the Murphy Oil fuel terminal to proceed down the Front Channel to the BNSF ore dock to load taconite pellets for Conneaut. Other Great Lakes Fleet also will be calling soon in the Twin Ports. Presque Isle is due at the CN/DMIR ore dock in Duluth on Saturday to unload stone and then load pellets bound for Gary from the dock’s dwindling winter stockpile. Edwin H. Gott is scheduled to arrive at BNSF in Superior on Wednesday to load.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Adam E. Cornelius is expected to arrive in port early Saturday morning. She is loaded with grain for General Mills.


Canadian government and U.S. Steel Corp

7/18 - Toronto, Ont. – The Canadian government is going to court to force American industrial giant U.S. Steel Corp. to live up to job commitments it made two years ago in return for approval to buy the former Stelco Inc. of Hamilton.

Industry Minister Tony Clement said Friday he has asking the Federal Court of Canada to force the steel producer to meet commitments it made in 2007 on capital spending, production and research and development spending in Canada.

Hamilton-based U.S. Steel Canada shut down most of its Canadian operations in southern Ontario this spring, affecting about 1,500 employees at two mills, because of weak markets. The company has recalled some workers recently. After the mill shutdowns, Clement sent a demand letter to U.S. Steel Corp. in May, asking the Pittsburgh-based parent company to comply with its 2007 commitments.

Such a letter was the first step in the enforcement process under the Investment Canada Act. At the time Clement said the government had several options to fight the layoffs, including reversing the $1.1 billion Stelco takeover, seeking court penalties of $10,000 a day against the company or getting a court order.

"I have carefully reviewed U.S. Steel's response to my letter," Clement said in a release. "I remain of the view that U.S. Steel is not complying with its undertakings, and I am not satisfied by its explanations for non-compliance. I am therefore announcing today that, on my instructions, an application has been filed with the Federal Court of Canada asking the Court to order appropriate measures to remedy this situation. This is the next step in the enforcement process under Section 40 of the Act."

In a statement from its Pittsburgh head office, U.S. Steel said it had been served with legal documents Friday afternoon and promised to fight the Canadian government move in court.

"Since all of the communications between the minister and U. S. Steel on this subject are required to be confidential under the Investment Canada Act, we cannot comment on the substance of those communications," said James Garraux, general counsel and senior vice-president of labour relations and environmental affairs at U.S. Steel.

"We are disappointed that the minister has apparently decided to pursue the matter in the courts while ignoring our numerous requests to meet with him on these issues and while disregarding the ministry's own guidelines with respect to foreign investment," added Garraux.

"Nevertheless, we will vigorously defend our record at U. S. Steel Canada in the appropriate forum."

Seeking a court order to force a company to maintain job commitments is an unusual step for the Canadian government. But it reflects growing unease in the country about the takeover of Canada's steel and mining industries and whether foreign owners will keep industrial jobs in the country.

With the recession hitting Canada's manufacturing sector in Ontario and Quebec hard, unions and other groups are pressing Ottawa hard to protect jobs and Canada's interests as the global recession leads to restructuring in resources and primary industries. Canada's big steelmakers -- the former Stelco, Dofasco, Algoma Steel and Ipsco, have all been acquired in recent years by foreign companies in an earlier wave of consolidation in that sector. Before that, Toronto-based mining giants Inco Ltd. And Falconbridge were acquired by Brazilian and Swiss resources companies. Both companies, Vale Inco and Xstrata Nickel, have also recently cut jobs at operations in Canada.

The Canadian Press


Coast Guard rescues two from Detroit River

7/18 - Cleveland, Ohio - The U.S. Coast Guard rescued two Canadian citizens from the Detroit River approximately one mile from Belle Isle at approximately 6:25 p.m. Thursday.

Coast Guard Station Belle Isle received a call from a Windsor, Ont., 911 operator at approximately 6:20 p.m. with a report of three people in the water clinging to a capsized kayak.

Belle Isle launched its 33-foot Special Purpose Craft-Law Enforcement (SPC-LE) and arrived on scene within minutes to find a good samaritan on a personal watercraft had already brought one person onboard. The boat crew brought the two remaining people onboard.

All three were wearing life jackets.

"When we arrived on scene we saw the good samaritan had already gotten one person out of the water." said Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael Cuneo, the coxswain of the 33-foot SPC-LE. "We saw the other two people, one person holding onto the kayak and the other holding onto his friend."

The three people were taken to the Lakeview Marina in Windsor, Ontario, where they were transferred to waiting Emergency Medical Services. No injuries were reported.


PortFest 2009 this weekend at Black River Landing in Lorain

7/18 - Lorain, Ohio – The Lorain Port Authority continues celebrating “Our Waterfront, Our Future” with a BBQ inspired PortFest 2009 this weekend at Black River Landing.

The whole family can enjoy BBQ, festival foods and much more. PortFest 2009 brings great live music, games, rides, a classic car show, and tours of Lorain’s historic lighthouse. Kids will love The Little Lighthouse Play and Learn Obstacle Course sponsored by Little Lighthouse Learning Center.

Admission and parking is free all day.

For more information about PortFest 2009 visit


Updates - July 18

News Photo Gallery
Public 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 freigjhter 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 installed 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.



Great Lakes cargo falls 46.6 percent

7/17 - The American fleet on the Great Lakes is having a very bad year, with a third of the vessels tied up and the remainder carrying 20.9 million tons of cargo for the first half, down 46.6 percent from the first half last year.

The Cleveland-based Lake Carriers’ Association reported July 16 "the relentless recession again hammered the U.S.-flag Great Lakes fleet in June." Cargo movement in U.S, lakers was 7.2 million net tons of iron ore, coal, limestone and other commodities for cut-back steel and power-producing plants and construction projects called off.

The June total is down 37 percent from June last year and down 38.5 percent from the June five-year average.

For the first half, the 20.9 million tons is not only down 46.6 percent from the first half last year but down 48.9 percent from the 2004-2008 half-year average.

As a result of the prolonged shipping decline, 48 U.S.-flag vessels were working the Great Lakes at the end of June, against 75 in the active fleet in June last year.

The biggest decrease in June was in iron ore for the steel industry, at 2.2 million tons down 57 percent from June last year. At just 7.1 million tons for the half year, iron ore is down 65 percent from the 20.3 million tons in the period last year and down 64 percent from the five-year average for the period.

Weakness in limestone cargoes — 1.9 million tons in June, down 39 percent; 5 million tons for the half year, down 40 percent from the period last year — reflect both reduced steel mill demand and "the paucity of construction projects" in the Great Lakes basin, the LCA said.

Coal came close to previous levels while grain going out to the St. Lawrence Seaway and beyond was well up.

The Journal of Commerce Online


Port Reports - July 17

Sault Ste. Marie - Greg Barber
Edgar B. Speer, American Integrity, Calumet (up to Algoma), Walter J. McCarthy Jr., Canadian Prospector and the Burns Harbor were all upbound. Charles M. Beeghly, Adam E. Cornelius and Calumet (from Algoma) were downbound.

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
Maumee arrived at the Verplank dock in Holland at about 1 a.m. on Thursday to deliver a cargo of stone. It departed at 6 a.m.

Burns Harbor - Tony O'Connor
Federal Yukon arrived Wednesday morning and was still in port Thursday morning.

Alpena/Stoneport, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Wednesday morning, the tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity were in port loading at Lafarge. The Alpena returned Thursday afternoon to load cement for Superior, Wis. More salt was added to the existing pile at the Alpena Oil Dock over the last day or two, likely from the Cuyahoga. John G. Munson tied up at the Stoneport dock Thursday morning to take on cargo. Tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder waited nearby to load after the Munson.


Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw escorts 101st Chicago to Mackinac race

7/17 - Cleveland, Ohio – The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw will escort the 101st Race to Mackinac, the world's longest annual freshwater distance race, with an escort of 350 participating sailboats at the Navy Pier in downtown Chicago for the start of the race Saturday at 11:30 a.m.

The 240-foot Mackinaw will host the former Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert and his wife Jean, the ship's sponsor, as well as members of the race committee and the Coast Guard Foundation on board for the initial leg of the race Saturday.

Beginning in 1898, the Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac is one of the oldest freshwater sailing races in the world. This year's race features more than 3,000 sailors competing in the 333-mile event.

The Mackinaw is hosting public tours Friday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.


Red dye added to St. Clair River

7/17 - Sarnia, Ont. – The Canadian federal government, in collaboration with research partners in Canada and the United States, were expected to being putting red dye in the St. Clair River Thursday.

The experiment, which will go on for much of the rest of the summer, will provide scientific information that could help keep foreign critters from ending up in the Great Lakes. In a press release, Fisheries and Oceans Canada said the project will provide important information about ballast water flow, dispersal and treatment standards. That, in turn, will help authorities guard against the spread and establishment of new aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes.

The study will also "provide data for hydrodynamic models, which will support decision-making related to drinking water intakes, search-and-rescue and pollution/spill response in the St. Clair River."  The dye is used by environmental and health professionals to safely check the integrity of water supply and sewage systems, the federal agency says.

It will be released a maximum of six times a day during July and August near the Suncor dock. Several releases will involve the discharge of ballast water from a ship and a few releases will occur from the side of a motor boat. The dye will be visible upon release, but is expected to dissipate quickly due to the fast-flowing nature of the St. Clair.

"This experiment will be monitored by scientists and poses no risk to public health and safety," the press release says. "Anyone in or near the area at the time of release should not be alarmed by the presence of a reddish-pink color in the water. Members of the public do not need to report these events." Local, municipal, state and provincial agencies, as well as businesses and industries, have been informed of the tests.

The Sarnia Observer


Bob Jardine, Noronic fire survivor, dies

7/17 - Sarnia, Ont. – Bob Jardine, 79, died suddenly at home on Saturday, July 11, in Sarnia. He had an avid interest in Great Lakes shipping and marine lore. At the family's request, a private service and burial has taken place. Sympathy may be expressed through donations to Corunna United Church or the charity of your choice. Arrangements entrusted to Smith Funeral Home, 1576 London Line, Sarnia. Memories and condolences may be sent online at

Mr. Jardine was a lifetime member of the Lake Huron Lore Marine Society and served aboard the Noronic, a passenger ship that was destroyed by fire in Toronto Harbor in September 1949 with a serious loss of life. Most accounts list 118-139 passengers perished in the fire.


Updates - July 17

News Photo Gallery
Public 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.


Port of Green Bay to get $3 million more for dredging

7/16 - Green Bay, Wis. – The Port of Green Bay will get $3 million more for dredging of its navigation channel next year.

The federal allocation will give the port $6.4 million for dredging in 2010, said Dean Haen, port manger. Haen said the majority of the dredging happens at the mouth of the Fox River and about a half mile into the bay.

"The mouth of the river silts in every year. One year we do the east side and the next year the west side," he said.

Before three years ago, the port had difficulty getting dredging funds, and a combination of a shallower port channel and low water levels were forcing ships to come in with less than full loads.

The water level has improved, to within six inches of average at the end of May, and U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Milwaukee, and U.S. Rep. Steve Kagen, D-Appleton, have been more successful at securing funding, Haen said.

"We knew we couldn't go in and fix all the issues associated with the lack of dredging over a decade and a half, but over the last three years we've been able to incrementally tackle that backlog," he said.

Haen said he expects about 200 vessels to use the port this year, down from an average 250, due largely to economic conditions rather than the condition of the navigation channel.

Dredging to remove PCBs farther south on the river will probably help the navigation channel as well, he said.

Estimates put the port's economic impact on the area at about $75 million in 2008, despite the recession that caused a dramatic reduction in waterborne commerce late in the year.

Green Bay Press Gazette


Billions targeted for lake dredging unspent

7/16 - Washington, D.C. - Officials with the nation's shipping industry say they face a looming crisis, but it is not for a lack of money.

The money is there for much-needed dredging of waterways, they say, if only the government would remove its tight grip.

Only about half of the $1 billion-plus in annual revenue from a 23-year-old federal harbor maintenance tax on the value of cargo is actually used for its intended purpose.

Those dollars - with interest - have created a $4.7 billion surplus, with projections that it may reach $8 billion by 2011.

One White House administration after another has, through budgetary maneuvers, allowed the tax surplus to grow. Because the surplus - which now easily tops $500 million a year - is not spent, it counts toward a reduction in the federal deficit.

Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, blames the problem on the White House, regardless of the party or president, messing with the people's money.

"We have a $4.7 billion surplus being held in reserve for the sole purpose of making the budget deficit look smaller," he said. "We are collecting a tax to repair vital infrastructure, not to cover up for deficit spending."

President Barack Obama's Office of Management and Budget did not respond to repeated inquiries over the past week about issues related to the harbor maintenance tax.

The money can only be used for harbor maintenance but under the law cannot be spent unless Congress appropriates it. Typically, a surplus amount appears in a president's proposed budget submitted to lawmakers.

On Capitol Hill, a bipartisan group of about 20 senators and 50 House members is pushing to require further revenue from the tax go toward harbor maintenance rather than the surplus. It's akin to what lawmakers did in recent years for aviation and highway trust funds to ensure generated fees are used for their intended purposes.

A leader of the effort, Rep. Charles Boustany Jr., R-La., said the tax brings in $1.1 billion to $1.3 billion in annual revenue, which he said should be enough for harbor maintenance nationwide. If more comes in beyond that, the excess could go toward a new emergency fund for ports.

As for the nearly $5 billion in existing surplus, he and other lawmakers say that can remain as it is as long as all future revenue from the tax is earmarked as it was intended.

Within Congress, there is no organized opposition to the push for the release of more funds for harbor maintenance.

But the General Accountability Office, the investigative arm of lawmakers, had a warning in a 2008 report on the issue. It said that as more funding is tied down for a specific purpose in the budget, the more lawmakers would be limited in their ability to use that money for other spending priorities.

Virtually every group tied to the shipping industry - from port operators to big retailers to trade unions and vessel owners - has sought more dollars for dredging and other work from the Great Lakes to Louisiana that would enable vessels to move smoothly and at maximum capacity.

An estimated $230 million is needed for dredging 18 million cubic yards of sediment from the Great Lakes alone.

Shipping industry officials cite the June 26 example of the Great Lakes Trader, a barge that took on 35,457 tons of limestone at Presque Isle, Mich. The barge, they say, could have loaded nearly 37,000 tons if the Great Lakes had been properly dredged.

Regular dredging is required for most ports because they usually do not have naturally deep harbors. If the dredging is not done, ships cannot safely navigate waterways. There is also an increasing need for dredging as ships increase in size.

Advocates urge more dredging even as the economic downturn has forced major decreases in shipping tonnage by as much as 40 percent, according to some year-to-date measurements for the Great Lakes.

Rick Gabrielson, director of international transport for giant retailer Target Inc., said in congressional testimony last month that the depressed shipping volume provides more time to develop needed infrastructure for ports and waterways.

"If we do not capitalize on this grace period, we will not be prepared to meet our nation's infrastructure needs," he said.

Associated Press


Port Reports - July 16

Salute Ste. Marie - Greg Barber
Wednesday was a slow day at the Soo, with Tim S. Dool and Peter R. Cresswell upbound and Herbert C. Jackson, Paul R. Tregurtha and J.W. Shelley downbound. On Tuesday, Saginaw was upbound to Algoma, Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin, Edwin H. Gott, Federal Maramichi, Quebecois, Ojibway and Charles M. Beeghly also were upbound and Algoisle, Robert S. Pierson, Algocape, Saginaw (down from Algoma) and Indiana Harbor downbound.

Owen Sound - Peter Bowers
Tuesday afternoon, Cuyahoga arrived at Owen Sound with a load of salt from Cleveland. This is first of two loads for Sutherland Construction to be unloaded at the Great Lakes Elevator. A second load is expected later in the season, likely after the bulk of the 2009 season grain crop arrives at the elevator. She cleared about 7 p.m. Ojibway finished unloading her cargo of wheat early Wednesday morning and cleared the elevator, heading back to Thunder Bay for another load, probably canola for Windsor. She arrived on Sunday afternoon at 5:45 p.m.

Hamilton, Ont. - John McCreery
The Federal Fuji is still in port and is taking on a load of scrap metal at pier 12. The Gordon C. Leitch arrived Wednesday afternoon with a load of ore from Sept Iles for delivery to Dofasco.


Wisconsin Port’s Week requests Wisconsin shipping photos

7/16 - Want to see your photos in print? The Wisconsin Transportation Development Association is in need of hi-res photos of vessels at Wisconsin ports for promotional media. If you have images of vessels in Wisconsin ports please post in the Public Gallery at this link. You may also submit by e-mailing images to


Updates - July 16

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
Historical Perspective Gallery updated - Alabama


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 Collingwood 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.


Stimulus funds aimed at Detroit, St. Marys River projects

7/15 - Washington, D.C. – With an eye toward someday providing ferry service up and down the Detroit River, the U.S. Department of Transportation today committed more than $7 million to an offshore wharf that could also be used for cruise ships, tall ships and more.

U.S. Sen. Carl Levin says it could “help accommodate ships from all over the country and hopefully provide a much needed economic boost to the region.”

It’s also one of the biggest grants awarded under the $60 million in projects announced today by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. That money – authorized by the $787-billion stimulus bill passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama in February – is specifically targeted to the Federal Highway Administration’s Ferry Boat program, intended for the construction and repair of ferry boats and terminal facilities.

Meanwhile, U.S. Congressman Bart Stupak announced that the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) has awarded $1,175,000 for St. Marys River ferry dock upgrades.

The funding, also provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or economic stimulus bill, will be used to upgrade ferry docks at Drummond Island, Neebish Island/Barbeau and Sault Ste. Marie.

The $1,175,000 for St. Marys River ferry dock upgrades will fund three individual projects.

The pier at Drummond Island will be lengthened to accommodate larger vessels; docks at Neebish Island/Barbeau will be modified to accommodate multiple vessels; and deteriorating dock pilings at Sault Ste. Marie will be replaced.

The funding was part of $60 million in grants to 19 states and one U.S. territory to improve ferry service and save and create jobs under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Most of the projects selected are located in economically distressed areas and will address critical transportation needs.

The improvements will be made quickly to satisfy ARRA’s emphasis on immediate economic recovery through infrastructure investment.

Priority was given to projects that can be completed in two years or less.

In LaHood’s news release announcing the grants, it said the Detroit project is being funded because “ferry service to the suburbs is necessary,” but as it stands now, there are no definite plans for who would offer such service, when it would be offered, or which Detroit River communities could be served.

John Kerr, director of economic development for the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority, said construction of the 200-foot-by-40-foot offshore wharf, to be funded in part by the $7.1 million in stimulus money, could lead to such service. A handful of interested vendors have already contacted the Port Authority, he said.

The application for the funding noted that hundreds of people from downriver and Macomb County communities could utilize a ferry service each day and, longer term, a service could be used to move people between Detroit and Windsor, across the international border.

According to Kerr, possible boarding and disembarking points could be Wyandotte and Grosse Ile downriver and the Grosse Pointes, St. Clair Shores and Port Huron upriver. Work is already being done on the dock and terminal between the Renaissance Center and Hart Plaza in downtown Detroit, and an offshore wharf would help solve complications created by anchoring at the seawall near storm water outflows.

The Port Authority expects the total cost of the project to be $23.7 million and, once completed, it should be able to handle any type of vessel wishing to dock in Detroit, including cruise ships, ferries, water taxis, tall ships and more. A passenger terminal could house customers and border patrol personnel to process passengers from other countries cruising the Great Lakes.

It is expected to be completed by spring.

Detroit Free Press, Soo Today


Port Reports - July 15

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Herbert C. Jackson arrived at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock Tuesday at sunrise and unloaded stone. Jackson has been the only vessel to deliver stone to the dock this season.

Sault Ste. Marie - Greg Barber
Monday was a slow day on the St. Marys River with the Herbert C. Jackson upbound at 5 p.m. for the first vessel of the day. The American Integrity was downbound at 5:30 and the American Century downbound at 11:30 p.m.

Toledo, Ohio - Jim Hoffman
Calumet was loading coal at the CSX Docks. Maritime Trader was inbound Toledo Ship Channel Tuesday evening bound for one of the grain elevators upriver. The next scheduled coal boats for the CSX Docks has the Michipicoten due in Thursday, Saginaw is due in Friday followed by the Robert S. Pierson, Adam E. Cornelius and Michipicoten due in Monday. The next scheduled ore for the Torco Ore Dock will be John D. Leitch on Tuesday followed by CSL Laurentien and CSL Niagara on Wednesday. American Fortitude, American Valor, Sam Laud and American Republic remain in layup at the various docksites around Toledo.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Tuesday the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Neah Bay arrived at the Visiting Ship's Berth at the North Pier (Erie Basin) at 6 p.m. under the escort of the motor life boat from the Buffalo base.

Hamilton, Ont. – Eric Holmes
Monday the Algolake arrived at 1 p.m. with coal from Toledo for Dofasco. Her next port after discharging will be Fairport. Maritime Trader departed from Pier 25 at 4 p.m. for Toledo.


Updates - July 15

News Photo Gallery
Public 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.



Economic downturn has an impact on Toledo’s port

7/14 - Toledo, Ohio - A look down the Maumee doesn't reveal the murky waters the seaport is facing, but the ripple effect is flowing all over Northwest Ohio.

“Toledo is down roughly 40 percent from where we were at this point last year,” said Port Authority Business Development Manager Joe Cappel.

Cappel says the slowing of activity in the port is just a microcosm of the world economy.

The most recent seaport stats show the port's activity is down 38 percent, moving more than a million tons less than last year.

”The seaport is a big generator of employment in the area, and it has a ripple effect the region’s economy,” said Cappel.

A snapshot of the numbers break down like this: coal is down 39 percent, general cargo is down 75 percent and petroleum down 74 percent. Overseas activity is down 96 percent with only one overseas vessel in the port compared to 30 vessels three years ago. Right now metals like aluminum are just sitting in port.

”Consumption of those metals isn't as strong as it was, the Port of Toledo is storing these and acting as a distribution center,” says Cappel.

Cappel says they've received roughly $20 million in stimulus money and new projects should bring in more jobs, more ships and new equipment.

Right now the port has anywhere from 20 to 50 workers, but in good times it can easily reach 100.



Great Lakes in line for more than $67 million for dredging, other projects

7/14 - Bay City, Mich. - A measure to provide more than $64 million for dredging and other navigational improvements in the Great Lakes, including several projects in the Saginaw Bay watershed, is working its way through Congress.

An Energy and Water Appropriations bill approved last week by the Senate Appropriations Committee includes almost $64.4 million for Army Corps of Engineers projects in Michigan and the Great Lakes and another $3 million for batteries and other advanced technologies for green vehicles, according to U.S. Sens. Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow.

Proposed Army Corps projects in the Senate bill include $80,000 for a stream characteristics study for the Saganing River in Arenac County; $7 million to dredge harbors including Au Sable, Bay Port and Port Austin; $3.6 million for ongoing dredging of the Saginaw River in Saginaw and Bay counties; $1.2 million for the Sebewaing River in Huron County; and $755,000 for St. Joseph Harbor in Arenac County.

The measure must still be considered and passed by the Senate. A similar process is proceeding in the House of Representatives, the senators said.

The final bill will be sent to President Barack Obama for his signature, Levin and Stabenow said.

The Bay City Times


Port Reports - July 14

Sault Ste. Marie - Greg Barber
Sunday morning, Presque Isle was downbound, then in the afternoon Kaministiqua came down with the Edgar B. Speer and the Manitowoc in the evening. James R. Barker, Algosar and the Adam E. Cornelius were upbound in the late afternoon.

Hamilton, Ont. - John McCreery and Eric Holmes
CSL's Saguenay, the former Lake Superior, arrived in Hamilton on Sunday, a day later than originally expected. The Hamilton Energy asked the bridge master to keep the bridge up and slipped into the harbor right behind the Saguenay, making for quite a line up of waiting vehicles on a rather busy Sunday evening along the beach strip. Also on Sunday, John D. Leitch departed at 11:15 a.m. Diamond Star departed at 2:30 p.m. and anchored off the Petro Canada Piers in Bronte at 3:30 p.m. to wait for the Turid Knutsen to depart. Canadian Oylmpic departed at 4:30 p.m.


Size of St. Lawrence Seaway limits traffic, trade

7/14 - During debate 55 years ago about U.S. participation in the St. Lawrence Seaway project, a railroad industry representative testified that as proposed, the system's locks and canals would be inadequate the day they opened.

"The evidence is clear and convincing that a 27-foot canal is already an obsolete and out-moded waterway for ocean-going vessels," Gregory S. Prince, the general solicitor for the Association of American Railroads, testified before Congress as it considered the Wiley-Dondero Act that would commit the United States to building two locks and associated canals and channels in the St. Lawrence River.

From a transportation standpoint, Mr. Prince said, only a canal 35 feet deep would be sensible, but such a canal's construction cost would be so unjustifiably high that Seaway proponents had chosen to "get the camel's nose under the tent" by proposing a smaller facility.

Much to Seaway supporters' chagrin, Mr. Prince was right about Seaway's dimensions, though they blame the railroads and the coastal ports they served for the situation because of those interests' opposition to the project.

The Seaway's 30-foot depth, allowing vessels drawing up to 26 feet, 3 inches to use it, and the 766-foot by 80-foot size of its locks now exclude much of the world's oceangoing fleet. That's particularly true regarding the huge container ships and "RoRo" roll-on, roll-off vessels that dominate the high-value shipping markets for finished consumer goods and vehicles, cargoes that now cross U.S. docks only on the East, West, and Gulf coasts

But if Mr. Prince's speech against the St. Lawrence Seaway at a 27-foot draft was based on his industry's fear that it would be enlarged soon after construction - to the railroads' detriment - he needn't have worried. Fifty years after its opening, Seaway locks' and channels' basic dimensions haven't changed.

Seaway supporters' original dream was to bring a maritime route into the heartland of America, to connect the factories and mills of the cities ringing the Great Lakes with the world economy. But Big Rail and its union supporters were opposed, lobbying to keep the Seaway as small as possible, if it were to be built at all.

Consequently, Seaway traffic remains predominantly bulk cargoes like grain, iron ore, sugar, and metals, and has stagnated over the past 30 years after growing steadily during the system's first two decades.

And for the foreseeable future, the seven locks along the St. Lawrence River that opened in 1959, five years after the Wiley-Dondero Act's 1954 passage, are likely to stay the way they are, as are the eight locks of the Welland Canal between lakes Ontario and Erie.

Millions in repair needed

A recent study of the Seaway's condition commissioned by the United States and Canadian governments specifically avoided analysis of lock and channel enlargement. Instead, it identified millions of dollars' worth of repair needs just to keep the system reliable into the future.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which investigated the enlargement issue over the nine years ending last fall, determined that the feasibility of deepening the system and its channels to 35 feet was so unlikely that doing a more detailed assessment wouldn't be worth the $20 million, and five to seven years of additional study time, such an assessment would cost. Officials had ballparked the cost of such a project in 2003 at a minimum $10 billion, but acknowledged it likely would be higher.

U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo), who over the years has been one of Seaway expansion's staunchest advocates, said last week that her legislative priorities are enlarging one of the St. Mary's River locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and giving the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. authority to develop "green energy" facilities.

The latter, Miss Kaptur said, could provide the agency in charge of the U.S. Seaway facilities a revenue stream for project development and possible enlargement, along with producing cheap, clean energy for a part of the nation that suffers "job-killing" electricity rates.

Unless a big push develops for a huge, federally funded public-works campaign to further economic-revival efforts, Miss Kaptur said her efforts to promote Seaway trade will focus on maintaining the facilities and supporting development of trade able to take advantage of them, such as "short-sea shipping" using Seaway-sized vessels that would transfer their cargo to and from ocean-going ships at Montreal or along the Canadian coast.

And U.S. Rep. James Oberstar, (D., Minn.), a longtime Seaway champion who during the mid-1990s advocated for creating a single, bi-national agency to manage the system as a precursor to enlarging it, focused on capital maintenance and modernizing the existing Seaway facilities when addressing a Congressional subcommittee about various budget proposals last month.

Canada pledges cash

Canada always has been a bigger backer of the Seaway, and is pledging more money to upgrading the system than its neighbor to the south.

"In recognition of the Seaway's vital role within the economy and to ensure its continued reliability, the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation with the support of Transport Canada will invest $270 million to support asset renewal over the next five years," said Bruce Hodgson, director of market development. "A hydraulic conversion program has been completed in the Welland Canal and the locks will benefit from this technology, which promises to lower long-term maintenance costs."

Collister "Terry" Johnson, administrator of the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., an arm of the U.S. Department of Transportation, said $165 million worth of repair and modernization that the Seaway has proposed for the next 10 years - including $17.5 million to be spent this year - is vital to keeping the system operating.

But as far as capacity goes, he said flatly, "the system is going to stay the same dimensions" as it is now, both because of "intense environmental opposition" and any such project's massive cost. That's consistent with positions taken by officials from the Port of Toledo and trade organizations representing the U.S. and Canadian fleets on the Great Lakes.

"You could make it [the Seaway] bigger, but what would you do for draft and dredging in the rest of the system?" said Alex Johnson, chief executive officer of Midwest Terminals of Toledo International, the stevedore at the general-cargo dock owned by the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. "The cost for deepening and widening would be exorbitant."

"No matter how big you make it, somebody's going to build a bigger ship," said Joe Cappel, senior manager of business development, seaport, for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. While the biggest vessels can't come into the Seaway, he said, there are abundant Seaway-sized ships throughout the world that could come into the system if the cargo lanes developed.

The Corps of Engineers remarked that the biggest uncertainty of enlarging the Great Lakes/Seaway system was not along the St. Lawrence at all, but the unknown cost of blasting deeper channels into the bedrock beneath the Detroit and St. Mary's rivers.

Enlarging those channels and dredging harbors elsewhere throughout the Great Lakes to create the current 27-foot depth cost $257 million during the 1950s, or nearly twice what the United States spent building its two Seaway locks and related facilities.

Key needs

Glen Nekvasil, spokesman for the Lake Carriers' Association, said by far the most pressing need for U.S. shipping is a second lock on the St. Marys River at Sault Ste. Marie capable of handling 1,000-foot ships that handle the vast majority of iron ore and coal moving between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes. Without such a lock, he said, lake shipments are vulnerable should a mechanical failure or other disruption affect the existing Poe Lock.

Building a second 1,000-foot lock is expected to cost about $500 million, of which only $17 million, for construction of a cofferdam to support the project, has been appropriated.

"We have very extensive maintenance needs," said Bruce Bowie, president of the Canadian Shipowners' Association. "Our infrastructure is aging and needs significant maintenance activities to ensure its reliability in the future. But expanding the Seaway would be difficult to justify at this time."

Miss Kaptur said that while she would support any proposal to enlarge the Seaway locks, and would pursue Seaway projects if a large-scale federal public works program were to be developed, "I personally have no preference on enlargement" now.

"I'm advocating for more money for the Soo. It's the only thing on the drawing board right now," Miss Kaptur said.

"Just maintaining the depth is a huge challenge for the Army Corps of Engineers," Mr. Cappel added, referring to a massive backlog of channel dredging throughout the Great Lakes that the Lake Carriers' Association says has forced ships to lighten their loads by thousands of tons on some trips.

The 1,000-foot ships, along with several slightly smaller ships in the U.S. fleet, are too big to go through the St. Lawrence Seaway - but they don't need to. All of their trade routes are confined among lakes Erie, Huron, Michigan, and Superior, serving steel mills and power plants in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Indeed, it is rare to see an American ship in the Welland Canal, and even rarer for one to appear in the Montreal-Lake Ontario section of the system, the stretch of river usually identified as the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Seaway's inception

The Seaway was built only after decades of political wrangling in the United States. The idea for the Seaway arose during the late 19th century, when it became obvious that the small locks and shallow channels previously built to bypass the St. Lawrence's rapids were inadequate to support modern shipping. It appeared to gain traction with President Herbert Hoover's 1932 signing of the Hoover-Bennett Treaty with Canada's prime minister, Richard Bennett, that pledged binational cooperation on a Seaway project.

But treaty ratification languished in the U.S. Senate after attracting swift opposition from railroads and their labor unions, coastal and Mississippi River system ports, and even Great Lakes shipping interests who feared competition from foreign ships entering the lakes through such a canal. Two Senate ratification votes ultimately failed.

Two factors brought the St. Lawrence Seaway back to life in the United States during the early 1950s. First was the discovery of a massive body of iron ore in Labrador along Canada's eastern Atlantic coast - iron ore that was of potential use to U.S. steel makers in the Great Lakes as well as along the Eastern Seaboard.

The other was a decision by Canadian leaders that, if the United States was not going to cooperate with Seaway construction, they would go it alone, albeit with American participation in development of hydroelectric power plants at the project's dams.

The Canadian initiative galvanized American politicians fearful of losing a control stake in such a canal system if it were built without U.S. participation. Combined with some creative accounting that assigned much of the U.S. projects' costs to the hydropower facilities, with the rest to be recovered through tolls collected from ships, that pressure overwhelmed opponents' resistance.

The provision for tolls, while unique among U.S. inland waterways, overcame critics' insistence that the Seaway not be a financial burden on the American taxpayer.

While the project was built during the second half of the 1950s, however, its channels' and locks' dimensions were based on those of the fourth Welland Canal, built by the Canadians between 1914 and 1932 to replace an earlier, smaller facility bypassing Niagara Falls.

While the Welland's dimensions were by no means small, by the 1950s it was clear to many others within the transportation industry that they were increasingly inadequate for ocean-going vessels. At the same time as it built its parts of the Seaway, Canada blasted a channel 35 feet deep up the St. Lawrence from Quebec City to Montreal to allow bigger ocean-going ships to reach Montreal's port.

Cargo declines

For most of the Seaway's first two decades, cargo volume and ship traffic grew, reaching a record 57.4 million metric tons - more than triple the 18.7 million metric tons handled during its first season, 1959.

A bypass around a Welland Canal section that snaked through its namesake city was completed in 1974 and, according to the book Seaway: The Untold Story of North America's Fourth Seacoast, an Army Corps of Engineers study suggested in the mid-1970s that a second canal and locks around Niagara Falls be built on the New York side to alleviate what was expected to be crippling Welland Canal congestion by 1990.

It didn't work out that way. Increasing cargo containerization and the use of ever-larger ships for containers and for vehicles rapidly diverted those cargo sectors out of the Great Lakes system. The Carter administration's 1980 embargo on grain shipments to the Soviet Union, in response to the USSR's late-1979 invasion of Afghanistan, helped accelerate a shift in U.S. grain traffic from European to Asian destinations that favored West Coast ports, and the Seaway's Mr. Johnson said better agricultural practices in Eastern Europe after the Soviet Union's 1989 dissolution again eroded grain traffic.

Cargo tonnage along the St. Lawrence between Montreal and Lake Ontario has gradually declined over the past 30 years, with occasional surges. It reached 50 million metric tons for the last time in 1981 and 40 million metric tons for the last time in 1988. It has broken 32 million tons only once since 2000: the 35.6 million tons of 2006. Last season, 29.4 million tons of cargo traveled the waterway.

While grain continues to be one of the Seaway's top cargoes, it often is exported in vessels that bring foreign steel or Labrador iron ore into the Great Lakes, and volume thus varies both with harvests and North American demand for steel imports.

Toledo port authority and Seaway officials say the potential for developing new cargo bases in the Seaway system is promising, especially as ports modernize to improve their cargo-handling capability.

Federal "stimulus" grants announced in March included $6.8 million for a high-speed crane and "reach stacker" for Toledo's port, which Midwest Terminals' Mr. Johnson said will provide capability to develop container-handling potential.

The port's existing cranes "work for 1950s and 1960s productivity," while modern equipment is needed to load and unload container ships quickly and efficiently, he said. "We will have, in a very short time, a [business] platform to sell them," the port authority's Mr. Cappel agreed. They and the Seaway's Mr. Johnson hold particular promise for a new container feeder service starting this year between Montreal and Hamilton, Ont.

"This Hamilton-Montreal service could be just the beginning," Mr. Johnson said. "Toledo is ideally situated to be a container-handling facility down the road, with the rail and highway connections it has, the available space on its waterfront, and the manufacturing base nearby." But as to why the Seaway operates at only about half its designed capacity, he said, "It's not the size of the ships. It's finding the right mix of inbound and outbound cargo."

Toledo Blade


Updates - July 14

News Photo Gallery
Public 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.


Truck ferry fails to win icebreaker fee exemption

7/13 - Windsor, Ont. – Operators of the Windsor-Detroit truck ferry are crying foul after becoming the only ferry left in this region being charged $25,000 in annual icebreaking fees by the Canadian government.

Ferry operator Gregg Ward has been embroiled in a four-year legal dispute with Ottawa over its icebreaking service fee. The case has dragged because Ottawa has switched lawyers several times and lost information provided by the ferry company, Ward said.

Ward said the Canadian Coast Guard does not clear ice for him. It is the U.S. Coast Guard which keeps the channel of the Detroit River "clear of ice – free of charge."

Yet the local truck ferry is charged the $3,100 fee three times a month during the winter up to a maximum of eight times a year. Once Ward launched his protest and legal action against being charged, he was ordered to put the fee money into a trust fund pending outcome of the case, adding up so far to $150,000.

If he fails to pay into the account, the feds have told him they will seize his vessels. About $100,000 in fees were paid before the ferry launched its protest.

Two other nearby ferries -- Walpole Island and Bluewater -- also refused to pay the fee, but the feds announced this week they have agreed to forgive nearly $750,000 in fees owed by those two operators.  A federal economic impact assessment performed on each company released this week said the fees were "unjust" and "unreasonable." The Walpole-Algonac Ferry will not have to pay back close to $500,000 in fees, while the Bluewater Ferry will not have to pay back $213,000 it owes.

The assessment also noted, "The two ferry operators support cross-border commerce for surrounding communities with frail economies, and if the two companies were to cease operations during winter months, local populations would suffer undue financial hardship."

Previously, the Canadian Coast Guard exempted the Boblo Island Ferry located on the Detroit River from paying the fees, as well. "I was shocked we weren't included in this," Ward said. "You can't treat people differently. It makes this all the more glaring. "It doesn't make sense. The St. Clair River is the same as the Detroit River. What's the difference?"

The Department of Justice in Ottawa refused comment on the case since it remains before the court. Coast guard officials could not be reached Friday for comment.

Windsor Star


Port Reports - July 13

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Charles M. Beeghly arrived Saturday morning to load taconite at the Upper Harbor ore dock. Tug Billmaier and barge H.J. Schwartz departed the Merchandise Dock for work on the Upper Harbor breakwall.

Sault Ste. Marie - Greg Barber
A slow morning at the Soo Saturday saw Algocape upbound and Montrealais and CSL Laurentien downbound. In the evening, Cason J. Callaway was downbound and Indiana Harbor, Robert S. Pierson, Manitowoc and Paul R. Tregurtha were all upbound.

Escababa, Mich. – Lee Rowe
On Sunday the Joseph H. Thompson left Escanaba while the Walter J. McCarthy loaded ore. The barge Great Lakes Trader and tug Joyce VanEnkevort remain in lay-up there.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Scott Best
Arriving at Bay Shipbuilding for repairs early Saturday morning were the tug Samuel D Champlain and her cement barge Innovation, as well as Joseph Block. By Saturday afternoon, Champlain was in the floating drydock which was still flooded. Her barge was rafted to the outside of American Courage.

Grand Haven, Mich. – Dick Fox
Manistee backed in for Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg Saturday morning. After some difficulty it tied up to unload about 10:30 a.m.

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
Calumet arrived in Holland early Saturday afternoon and delivered a cargo of stone to the Brewer dock. It was gone by evening.

South Chicago, Ill – Bill
After unloading at LaFarge Saturday afternoon, Alpena cleared the Calumet Harbor light and was northbound about 6 p.m.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The Robert S. Pierson was inbound for the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City late Friday night. She had completed her unload and was outbound for the lake early Saturday morning.

On Sunday, the tug Kurt Luedtke was outbound from the Essroc Dock in Essexville, headed for the lake, towing a hydraulic dredge, spud barge and 750 feet of dredge pipe. The tug Superior was inbound on Sunday headed upriver to pick up another barge. On her trip back downbound Sunday afternoon, the Superior hooked a log in the channel, getting hung up on her Kort nozzle and the barge nosing in towards the east bank of the river. The tug Jill Marie was summoned to assist in getting the pair free, but tug Superior was able to free herself on her own before the Jill Marie arrived. USCG Station Saginaw River was in contact with the Superior during the incident and after talking with Sector Detroit, the Superior was asked to dock before heading out to the lake so a crew from Sector Detroit could come aboard. The tug and barge stopped at the Essroc dock in Essexville to wait.

Toledo, Ohio - Jim Hoffman
Algolake was at the CSX Coal Dock loading coal Saturday. Saginaw was at the Kraft Food Elevator unloading grain; when finished she will proceed to the CSX Docks to load coal. The next scheduled coal boats due into the CSX Docks will be the Saginaw on Sunday, the H. Lee White on Monday followed by Calumet on Tuesday. The next scheduled ore boat due into the Torco Ore Dock will be Charles M. Beeghly on Monday.

Sandusky, Ohio - Mark Demaline
Late Sunday morning, John G. Munson entered Sandusky harbor, enroute to the NS Coal Pier for loading.

Port Colborne, Ont. - Andrew Elcich
Commodore Straits left Port Colborne heading for Sarnia, Ont., with two barges filled with fertilizer after a two-day lay up for bad weather.

Hamilton, Ont. – Eric Holmes
Saturday, Turid Knutsen arrived at the Petro Canada Piers in Bronte at 7 a.m. The tug LaPrairie arrived at the Petro Canada Piers at 7:00 help the Knutsen dock. LaPrairie then departed the Petro Canada dock in Bronte at 7:45 a.m. for Hamilton. Hamilton Energy departed Hamilton at 6:15 a.m. and arrived back in Hamilton at 2:30 p.m. Agawa Canyon departed Hamilton at 9:45 a.m. for Goderich. Hamilton Energy departed Hamilton at 5:15 p.m. for Port Weller.

Toronto, Ont. – Charlie Gobbons
English River was in port unloading Sunday, and the passenger ship Clelia II was at Pier 52 for her second visit of the summer. Just after 8 a.m., Hamilton Energy arrived to bunker Clelia II, and about an hour later the Groupe Ocean tug LaPrairie arrived in from Hamilton. The latter tied up at Redpath Sugar. Hamilton Energy returned to Hamilton when it was done.

Toronto Drydock Co. did another small sailboat salvage today with its tug M. R. Kane and spud barge Rock Prince. They lifted a sunken 26 foot O'Day, which sank during the squall on June 28, which also capsized the sailboat Diogenes (salvaged the same day). It was also on this date that Clelia II made its first appearance in port.


County could pitch in for Fort Gratiot light station

7/13 - Port Huron, Mich. – St. Clair County's Parks and Recreation Commission is considering partnering with the Port Huron Museum to take ownership of the Fort Gratiot Light Station.

Dennis Basinski, the chairman of the commission, said the Finance and Acquisitions committees of the commission will do an "exhaustive analysis" of its financial ability before making a decision about whether to go ahead with acquiring the light station.

"(The committees) are going to be working together to see whether or not it is feasible for us to join with the Port Huron Museum," he said. Port Huron Museum officials said in May they would seek a new partner to take over the light station after Port Huron officials rejected the deed for the site from the federal government.

City officials cited financial obligations it can't handle right now when they rejected the deed. Six years ago, the city and museum partnered to try to take ownership of the station, a five-acre parcel that includes an iconic lighthouse.

In February, the city received a signed deed from the U.S. Coast Guard to take ownership. But the city did not agree to the terms of the deed, specifically calling it financially onerous.

Dennis Zembala, the president of the Port Huron Museum, has been courting county officials to see if they are interested in the station. Zembala said he has given presentations to the Parks and Recreation commission and the regular Board of Commissioners about the light station. He also said that on Wednesday, the groups took a tour of the light station to see the condition of its seven buildings.

"I'm hopeful," Zembala said of the county joining the effort. "Nothing is over until the fat lady sings, but I think there are a lot of positive feelings on both the parks commission and county commissioners that the lighthouse is saved and preserved."

Officials said $3.83 million worth of work needs to be done on the light station's seven buildings.

The buildings are: the lighthouse, built in 1829; the duplex light keeper's dwelling, built in 1874; the fog signal building, built in 1900; the single light keeper's dwelling, built in 1932; the former Coast Guard building, built in 1932; the equipment building, built in 1939; and a three-bay garage, built in the 1970s.

The lighthouse was closed last year because of structural problems and remains closed to the public.

Port Huron Times Herald


Volunteers needed aboard museum tug John Purves

7/13 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – The Door County Maritime Museum is seeking volunteer docents to lead daily tours aboard the tug John Purves. The restored 149-foot vessel has proven to be a hit with museum visitors since tours began last August. However, due to the tug’s appeal, the museum is in need of additional docents to meet the seven-day-a-week schedule.

The docent script provides for easy training, and the opportunity to share a stunning piece of Sturgeon Bay maritime history makes for a gratifying experience. Volunteers are asked to sign up for a daily shift from 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. and can work as often as they wish. If interested, please contact the museum at 920-743-7826.

Door County Maritime Museum


Idling ships clog up Singapore shores, reflecting world economy

7/13 - Singapore claims to be the busiest port in the world. About 130,000 ships arrive there each year. But these days, the problem is many of those vessels are not putting back out to sea. The usual stay for a cargo carrier is just 10 days. That is enough time to offload one set of cargo and take on another load, re-fuel and re-stock supplies.

But, of the 220 container ships arriving in Singapore this year, - excluding the tugs, yachts and bunkering vessels which are permanent port residents - more than half have stayed longer than that. Another 44 cargo ships have been in port for more than six months.

Time is money. It costs about $1,000 (£614) per day to keep a ship at Singapore port. On top of that, most of these ships would have been bought with multi-million dollar loans that need to be serviced. They will have a crew that needs to be paid, fed and watered. Engines and machinery that need to be maintained. All of this is necessary for a ship to maintain its class - the equivalent of an MOT or bill of health.

Being taken "out of class" means a ship cannot trade or earn money and cannot be insured for voyage on the open sea. The sharp downturn in world trade is behind this enforced idleness. It mirrors a downturn on the Great Lakes, where shipping has slid 50 percent this season.

And, in the absence of global economic recovery, all firms can do is minimize their costs. A ship owner can save up to 80 percent of his or her running costs just by laying anchor 45 minutes south of Singapore, off the Indonesia islands of Batam-Rempang-Galang.

Earlier this year, Rob Wilkins, general manager, Enviro Force, opened a new anchorage off Galang. "In Singapore you have to maintain a full crew (25-30 people on average) on-board your vessel," he says. "In Batam you don't.

"You can save on insurance costs, maintenance costs and crew costs by laying up here instead." Mr Wilkins and his partner Damian Chapman are serial entrepreneurs. For months, they have noticed more and more vessels idling in ports, running up huge costs. According to AXS Alphaliner, 511 container ships are laid up.

That is a tenth of the global fleet.

There are different levels: hot stacking requires the engines to be fired up every day, allowing a vessel to be brought back into service in days; but a vessel kept in cold stack can be welded closed with engines off for months at a time. At the most extreme end, ship owners can take the ship out of class and save hundreds of thousands of dollars in insurance costs alone.

But these are drastic measures. Ship owners have a range of options before they lay-up their vessels. The most common is idling your vessel beyond the port perimeters. On the ferry between Batam and Singapore, Damian points out ships that have been left anchored for months. They don't pay port dues, which saves them money but also means they don't have access to port services.

One Singaporean shipmaster (who wants to remain unnamed) brags business is booming since he turned his two small service ships over to water supplies. Crew on these idling vessels are not allowed to go ashore for food or water.

A rusting oil tanker also sits outside Singapore limits. Damian says it is being used for storage. "When the oil price was low, it was worth buying up crude and holding onto it until the price rose," he says. "That tanker will probably be sold for scrap… as soon as scrap metal prices recover."

And that's a big problem. Even for those owners who want to cut their losses and sell up, the market is grim. Jonathan Le Feuvre, managing director of shipping services firm Fearnleys Asia, says "scrap metal prices are down 75 percent from their peak a year ago".  "And," he adds, "there are no trading buyers" who would buy the ship as a going concern.

Only those who have to sell, perhaps forced by their bank, would sell up at such low prices. Mr Le Feuvre recites anecdotes of Chinese and Greek shipping owners who have snapped up bargains at a 90 percent discount from the peak. There is, however, some sign of hope on the horizon: China. "It's the only game in town," according to Mr Le Feuvre. "It is single-handedly lifting the dry sector (trade in coal, metal ores and other raw materials) out of recession," he says.

"Ten months ago, owners of Capesize bulk carriers (ships carrying 150,000-170,000 dead weight tonnage used for the transport of, say, iron ore and coal) were effectively transporting cargo for free at charter rates of $5,000 a day." On 8 July, rates hit $67,000 a day.

But, many question whether this recovery in the dry sector can be sustained. Owners of smaller container ships used to transport consumer goods such as cars, televisions and refrigerators say business remains slow. There is still little sign people in the United States and Europe are returning to shops to buy these shipped goods. And dismal U.S. jobs data suggests economic recovery will take longer than hoped.

AXS Alphaliner predicts a quarter of the container fleet will be idle by the end of next year. "Things will look pretty rosy in containers about 18 months from now' time," says Mr Le Feuvre, "but we're going to go through a year and a half of hell to get there."



Updates - July 13

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
Historical Perspective Galleries updated - Alabama and Red Wing galleries updated
Lewis G. Harriman 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 Marine Transport in 2006. She now sails as KAMINISTIQUA.

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.


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 Lockport, 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.


Port Reports - July 11

Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - Greg Barber
Friday afternoon at the Soo saw fleetmates Charles M. Beeghly and Herbert C. Jackson meeting just above Mission Point at 7:30 p.m., with Algoisle coming upbound after dark and the Ojibway downbound.

Green Bay, Wis. - Stephen Grima and Scott Best
Friday morning the tug Olive L Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber arrived in Green Bay with a load of stone from Port Inland, Mich., for the Western Lime dock. After unloading, the Moore remained in port for a short time to take on fuel before departing.

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
The tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 arrived at the Verplank dock in Holland at about 10 p.m. Thursday to unload a cargo of stone. Niagara Prince arrived in Holland at about 8:30 a.m. Friday and tied up at the Boatwerks Restaurant dock. It departed shortly after 6 p.m.

St. Joseph, Mich.
The tug G.L. Ostrander and barge Integrity departed St. Joseph, Mich., around 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The tug Gregory J. Busch & barge STC2004 made their final trips out to the OXL Lotus on Friday, finishing the transfer of cargo destined for the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville. OXL Lotus had arrived in the Saginaw Bay on July 3 and by Friday evening, 7 days after arriving, she was finally outbound for the lake once again. The Busch and her barge headed back upriver to the Busch Marine dock in Carrollton Friday evening as well.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The tug Barbara Andrie and barge were in port Friday. They were outbound on the Black Rock Canal in the notch of the A-390 around noon heading to the Marathon Asphalt Dock on the River Rouge to load more cargo.


St. Lawrence Seaway, engineering marvel, turns 50

7/11 - Massena, N.Y. - Working 90 feet above the ground, pouring buckets of concrete that would harden into a 195-foot-high dam the length of 11 football fields, a teenage Frank Wicks knew even then he wasn't on just another job.

"We had a real sense of excitement. At the time it was going on, it was the world's biggest construction project. We knew we were part of history," said Wicks, who worked on construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway after graduating from Massena High School in 1957.

"I remember growing up, people were always talking about it. Now, it's kind of been forgotten," said Wicks, now 70 and a mechanical engineering professor at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y.

Hailed as one of North America's top engineering marvels and one of the most important public works of the 20th century, the $470 million project - of which Canada funded $336 million and the U.S. about $134 million - linked the Great Lakes interior industrial hubs to the Atlantic Ocean.

It was branded by some as obsolete before it was even finished and today is an obscure footnote in history for many Americans. Yet for a half century it was the defining issue in American-Canadian relations and even now is regarded as one of the country's most durable deeds of diplomacy.

Stretching 265 miles along the U.S. border with Canada from Montreal to Lake Ontario, the Seaway replaced the river's old 14-foot-deep, 30-lock canal system with 27-foot-deep channels, 15 locks and an international hydrodam.

Since it opened in 1959, more than 2.5 billion tons of cargo - mostly grain, iron ore and steel - valued at more than $375 billion have passed through the Seaway.

The Moses-Saunders dam provides low-cost power to more than 1 million consumers in the two countries.

Queen Elizabeth II, President Dwight Eisenhower and Vice President Richard Nixon came to Massena to christen the shipping route. Fifty years later, there will be no royal or presidential appearances during a weekend of 50th anniversary events that began Thursday - possibly a statement about the Seaway's present and future.

As the global economy has faltered, freight levels have dropped for the past two years and cargo levels were down 40 percent for the first two months of the current shipping season, according to Seaway officials.

"Over its time, it has played a major role in the economy of the Great Lakes. In the future, it can still be a very relevant feature to the region's economy, even if it's just one of many features," said Collister Johnson Jr., administrator for the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., which runs the American portions of the system.

The Seaway was created between 1954 and 1959 by taming a 44-mile stretch of rapids, temporarily diverting the St. Lawrence River and flooding six Canadian villages. More than 22,000 workers excavated 360 million tons of earth and poured 6 million cubic yards of concrete, completing the project three years ahead of schedule.

The idea of northern deep-water shipping route was first raised by a joint U.S.-Canadian commission in the 1890s. For the next half-century, U.S. and Canadian politicians debated its merits.

Cold War-era American politicians were finally won over by the Seaway's national security potential - an inland waterway protected ships and submarines in the event of an attack - and its potential for fostering industrial growth in America's heartland, while Canada desperately needed the power from the dam, said Claire Puccia Parham, a history instructor at Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y., and author of the recently published "The St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project: An Oral History of the Greatest Construction Show on Earth."

"It's in an isolated location and it basically sits there doing nothing spectacular. Most Americans are unaware of the Herculean accomplishment the Seaway was in terms of engineering, construction and diplomacy," said Parham, who interviewed more than four dozen former workers for her book, including Wicks.

The Seaway is credited with creating and preserving millions of jobs in Canada and the Great Lakes states but it did little to transform New York's North Country.

For a five-year span during its construction, the project brought widespread prosperity to the region. The influx of outsiders also brought a fleeting jolt of cultural awakening and worldliness to the less sophisticated, tradition-steeped rural communities.

"Locally, it turned out most benefits were short-lived," said Brian Chezum, a labor economics professor at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y. "The Seaway was viable as a commercial venture largely because of the benefits generated by hydropower. This stands in sharp contrast to the estimates that were used to support the project which generally expected a much larger impact from navigation."

Although an engineering milestone, the project had its blemishes. The locks were supposed to be 100 feet wide, but the American government capitulated to Canadian shippers and kept the locks at 80 feet. That meant the transoceanic freighters would have to unload in Montreal, and then pay local companies to take their cargo the rest of the way on smaller ships.

"It could have been more than it was. People said it was obsolete the day it was completed because it wasn't big enough for oceangoing vessels," said Parham.

On the positive side, not allowing transoceanic vessels into Lake Ontario likely preserved The Thousand Islands region as a recreational destination.

"Tourism wasn't something they talked about in the 1950s, but it has been maybe the one lasting benefit for the local region," Chezum said.

While the Seaway has had a productive past, officials concede its future is uncertain.

This year marks the beginning of the biggest infrastructure investment in the Seaway's history. In March, Congress nearly doubled the Seaway's annual budget to $32 million. The extra money, like a similar Canadian investment, is part of a 10-year project to modernize and maintain the system.

Associated Press


Updates - July 11

News Photo Gallery


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 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 1920's 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.


Change of command for USCG cutter Alder

7/10 - Duluth, Minn. – The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Alder underwent its second change in command Wednesday, passing to the leadership of Lt. Cmdr. Mary Ellen Durley. “I’m familiar with breaking ice, but not with the bone-chilling temperatures of Duluth,” Durley said at a change-of-command ceremony Wednesday morning. “I’m looking forward to winters here.” Durley comes to Duluth from the Coast Guard International Training Division in Yorktown, Va. She was commanding officer in 2003 of the Thunder Bay, a 140-foot ice-breaking tug based in Rockland, Maine. Durley will serve for the next three years.

Commanding officers are allowed to serve once for three years on a single ship. She relieves Lt. Cmdr. Kevin E. Wirth, who will serve as icebreakers and aids to navigation cutter manager at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Speakers at Wednesday’s ceremony included Wirth and the Coast Guard’s Ninth District’s Chief of Staff Captain David Callahan.

Both Wirth and Callahan spoke of the challenges the Alder has faced in breaking ice and keeping the waterways clear. Durley said the Twin Ports can trust her to keep ice clear as long as she has the resources and assistance needed for the task.

Her duties will include the oversight of the Alder’s 52-person crew in executing its missions, which include aids to navigation servicing, domestic icebreaking, search and rescue, marine environment protection, homeland security and law enforcement.

The Alder is one of two Juniper-class vessels in the Great Lakes and stretches 225 feet in length. There are nine smaller vessels in the Great Lakes with ice-breaking capabilities, all in the Bayfront class.

Durley is the second woman Coast Guard commander posted in Duluth. The first woman was Beverly Havlik in 2003, who commanded the Sundew. The Alder relieved the Sundew in 2004. The first-ever woman commanding officer in Coast Guard history came in 1979, and women were first involved in the Coast Guard as lighthouse keepers in the 1830s.

Superior Telegram


Port Reports - July 10

Escanaba, Mich. – Lee Rowe
John J Boland loaded ore in Escanaba on Thursday. Wilfred Sykes came in later and waited for the Boland to finish.

Grand Haven, Mich. – Dick Fox
Algoway arrived Thursday morning with a load of salt for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg. This was the port’s third load of salt this season. Algoway was still unloading at 2 p.m.

Indiana Harbor, Ind. - Stephen Grima
Joseph L Block was inbound Indiana Harbor Thursday morning for the ArcelorMittal dock.

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
Within 24 hours of her last visit, Manistee returned to Alpena with another load on Thursday. This time it brought a load of salt from Goderich,Ont., to the Alpena Oil Dock. Manistee departed the river by 3:30 p.m.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The tug G-tug Superior was outbound Thursday morning with two barges from the upper river dredging project. Superior had arrived Wednesday morning. The tug Gregory J. Busch made two more trips out to OXL Lotus on Thursday, continuing the shuttle back and for between the vessel and the Consumer Energy dock.

Cleveland, Ohio - Bill Kloss
Manitowoc was in Cleveland, unloading at Ontario Stone Thursday.

Hamilton, Ont. - John McCreery
Wednesday, Federal Yukon arrived from Sorel with steel for Pier 14. J.W. Shelley was next to follow her in, also from Sorel, arriving in ballast to load soy beans at James Richardson. Her next port of call will be Windsor. Canadian Leader is at Pier 10 in lay up. Maritime Trader is at pier 26 in apparent lay up and the Shelley had to back around her fleet mate in order to reach James Richardson at Pier 25. Algoisle completed her unload and fueling at Dofasco and departed again for Duluth. For reasons unknown the harbor website is not reporting the presence of either Maritime Trader or the just-arrived Shelley.


U.S. Department of Transportation awards $17.1 million in shipyard grants

7/10 - Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Maritime Administration Thursday announced $17.1 million in grants to 14 small shipyards in 10 states. The grants are part of the Assistance to Small Shipyards program. “Small shipyards are vitally important for the health of the maritime industry, and for the nation’s economy,” said Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.

The purpose of the grants is to make capital and infrastructure improvements that facilitate the efficiency, competitive operations, and quality in ship construction and repair. Small shipyards fall into two categories: those with fewer than 600 employees, and those with between 600 and 1200 employees. All but two of today’s recipients have fewer than 600 employees.

Recipients, amounts, and purposes of grants awarded on the Great Lakes are:
• Basic Marine, Inc., of Escanaba, Michigan: $1,376,187 for a cutting table, press brake, and welders
• Bay Shipbuilding Co. (A Division of Fincantieri Marine Group LLC) of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin: $2,894,972 for 220-ton transporter, micro panel line, burning machine, magnetic lift beam, brake press
• Marinette Marine Company of Marinette, Wisconsin: $1,404,919 for bridge cranes, deck straightener, cable system, panel line jib cranes

The Department of Transportation is using the Small Shipyard Grants program to administer grants to be made under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Those grants will be for a much larger total, $98 million, and are expected to be announced shortly.

The Maritime Administration is the agency in the Department of Transportation dealing with waterborne transportation. Its mission is to improve and strengthen the U.S. marine transportation system, including infrastructure, industry and labor, to meet the economic and security needs of the United States.


Coast Guard rescues three people from breakwall after collision

7/10 - Cleveland, Ohio - - U.S. Coast Guard Station Cleveland Harbor rescued a 40-year-old female, a 60-year-old male and a 62-year-old female after their personal watercraft collided with a breakwall on Whiskey Island at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River Thursday at approximately 1:45 a.m.

A 25-foot small response boat crew arrived on scene and transferred all three safely to Edgewater Marina for transport to Metro Hospital in Cleveland.

"It took some time to get them off the breakwall because of their injuries," said Operations Specialist 1st Class Mary Patterson, Coast Guard Sector Buffalo watchstander. All three people sustained serious injuries from the breakwall strike and were not wearing life jackets.

The Cleveland Police Department contacted the Coast Guard after a 911 call from a 60-year-old male, who said he and two other passengers were ejected from their personal watercraft at approximately 1 a.m.

Cleveland Marine Towing assisted the crew with dewatering and trailering the craft back to the station.



St. Clair plans steam whistle blow in October

7/10 - St. Clair, Mich. – A portable steam engine once owned by Henry Ford will provide the operative force necessary to “wake up” the city of St. Clair, Mich., which will play host to a steam whistle event from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 3 in the city’s Palmer Park along the St. Clair River.

Alan Johnson, a member of the city’s Downtown Development Authority and chairman of the event, said organizers expect collectors to bring about 30 steam whistles.

“Probably about three quarters of them in this area are coming off old steamboats,” Johnson said. Other whistles are from old steam engines and factories. Most whistle events used compressed air to give voice to the large steam whistles.


2010 Duluth Seaway Port Authority requests calendar picture submissions

7/10 - The Duluth Seaway Port Authority is looking for photographers who may be interested in submitting up to five photos for consideration on the Duluth Seaway Port Authority 2010 wall calendar. The port produces 10,000 calendars each year, which are distributed to recipients in the Twin Ports, along the Great Lakes/St. Lawrence Seaway and around the world. The photo chosen will be reproduced approximately 19 x 14 on a wall calendar that measures 22 x 34. The photographer will be paid for the use of the image selected.

The authority is looking for captivating images of vessels or vistas that highlight the working port of Duluth-Superior (i.e. salties/lakers in any season, from unique perspectives that almost tell a story in a single frame, taken in the last couple of years).

If you are interested in submitting photos for consideration, please send those images on a CD/DVD to the address listed below by Monday, July 27.

Adele Yorde
Public Relations Manager
Duluth Seaway Port Authority
1200 Port Terminal Drive
Duluth, MN 55802-2609


Updates - July 10

News Photo Gallery
Public 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, was 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.


Customers big winners in Lake Michigan ferry fare wars

7/9 - Ludington, Mich. – For trips booked by July 31, the S.S. Badger carferry is now offering free travel for kids, 20 percent off both passenger and vehicle fares on sunset and moonlight sailings and expanded onboard services for customers. The combined discounts result in prices as low as the company's 2007 fares, and the savings make the Badger's prices lower on cross lake service.

"The new programs mean passengers get big savings plus a really fun cruise experience," said Kari Karr, director of marketing for Lake Michigan Carferry. "With our discounts, no hidden fees or surcharges, and a lot of great amenities on the ship, the Badger is still by far the best value for cross-lake transportation."

A family of two adults and two children traveling round trip with a vehicle on a sunset or moonlight crossing on the S.S. Badger will pay $316.80.

New daytime entertainment features aboard the S.S. Badger include $100 in "Badger Cash" given away playing free Badger Bingo and Badger Idol Karaoke, plus seat-side snack and beverage cart service and a wide range of new kids' activities. Badger passengers can also take advantage of free movies and satellite television, seven different lounge areas, an onboard gift shop, private staterooms, two separate food service areas, and expansive outside decks for lounging or walking.

Now in its 56th sailing season, the historic S.S. Badger has worked to keep its fares as low as possible despite escalating fuel costs. As part of its long-term commitment to making the ship's unique steam engines as green as possible, the Badger is now using a higher-BTU, lower ash coal that exceeds new EPA standards. The new fuel is significantly more expensive than the coal available in large quantities for power plants.

Lake Michigan Carferry


Levin supports standard to control invasive species

7/9 - Washington, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Carl Levin has again argued in favor of a strong national requirement for ballast water in oceangoing vessels to be treated before entering the Great Lakes as a means of controlling invasive species that have ravaged the watershed.

Levin, a Democrat, spoke to two Senate subcommittees – Water and Wildlife, and Oversight – which were having a hearing today on what should be done about nonnative species causing damage across the nation. Rebecca Humphries, director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, also testified.

In the Great Lakes alone, said Levin, more than 180 invasive species have been identified. Among them is the zebra mussel, a species native to Russia which has crowded out other species and caused vast damage by clogging intake pipes for utilities and industrial facilities and spreading across boat hulls.

Noting that his colleague, Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, was there to talk about a Burmese python, Levin said that creature “makes our poor zebra mussel look so puny by comparison you wouldn’t think it would be a problem.” He called for a national standard that requires vessels to use technology to kill invasive species captured in ballast water taken on elsewhere in the world and giving shipping companies some time to comply.

The committees were considering several possible measures to deal with the issue of nonnative species coming into the U.S., not just in ballast water but by other means as well.

Detroit Free Press


Port Reports - July 9

Green Bay, Wis. – Dick Lund, Scott Best, Stephen Grima and Wendell Wilke
Wednesday saw two vessels arrive in Green Bay on a perfect summer day. Great Lakes Trader arrived early afternoon with a load of coal for the C. Reiss Dock, and by 5:30 p.m., Calumet was heading up through the downtown bridges going to Georgia Pacific to unload her coal cargo.

Milwaukee, Wis. - Stephen Grima
Alpena was inbound Milwaukee harbor Wednesday and went to anchor in the South Outer Basin.

South Chicago, Ill. - Tad Dunville
H. Lee White was backing up river in South Chicago. At 8 a.m. Wednesday it was under the Skyway bridge.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Wednesday morning, Manistee was unloading stone at the Alpena Oil Dock. Before noon she departed the Thunder Bay River and backed out into the bay.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Over Tuesday and Wednesday, the tug Gergory J. Busch, with barge STC 2004, made two more trips out to the OXL Lotus to transfer cargo and returned back to Consumers Energy to unload. As of Wednesday night, the tug and barge were back out in the Saginaw Bay at the OXL Lotus for the forth time. The G-tug, Superior, arrived on the Saginaw River Wednesday morning and traveled upriver to the Luedtke dredging operation on the upper Saginaw.

Hamilton, Ont. – Eric Holmes
Tuesday the tug LaPrairie departed at 5:30 a.m. and returned to port at 10:30 a.m. The Canadian Leader departed at 5:30 a.m. from Dofasco. John D Leitch departed at 5:30 p.m. from Dofasco. John B Aird arrived at 8:30 p.m. Algoisle arrived at 10 p.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
Algontario was tied up in Toronto where Canadian Ranger was prior to fireworks assignment. Canadian Ranger is now docked in beside Metis.


Coast Guard medically evacuates man from rocks in Presque Isle Park

7/9 - Marquette, Mich. - U.S. Coast Guard Station Marquette evacuated a 23-year-old-male after he fell from a 30-foot cliff at the Presque Isle Park, at approximately 2 p.m. Wednesday.

A 30-foot utility boat-medium crew (UTM) arrived on scene and deployed two crewmembers donning Search-and-Rescue vests to scale up the rocks 10 feet to recover the Kingsford, Mich. native.

"He said the rocks fell below him; he had a broken left wrist and broken left leg," said Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Michael Davis, Station Marquette 30-footer coxswain. "We transported him safely on board within 20 minutes."

With Emergency Medical Services personnel and officers from the Marquette Police Department scaling down the rocks, Station Marquette arrived on scene at approximately 1:30 p.m and assisted with the painstaking process of transferring him safely on board.

The crew transferred the man to shore for transport to Marquette General Hospital.

An off-duty petty officer of Station Marquette, Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Chris Connelly, arrived on scene by Jet Ski shortly before the 30-footer crew to help transfer the man on board.

Initially, the station overheard a transmission on their 800 MHz. radio of a person falling 30 feet from the "Black Rocks" at Presque Isle Park.



Updates - July 9

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - July 9

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

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

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

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

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



Port Reports - July 8

Escanaba, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Tuesday evening, Joseph L. Block was waiting to load taconite at the CN ore dock. Tug Joseph H. Thompson and barge is now in lay-up at the North Reiss Dock.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Maumee was unloading at the Sand Supply Co. on Tuesday afternoon. She was expected to depart overnight or early Wednesday morning.

Montreal, QC. – Rene Beauchamp
Saguenay, the former Lake Superior, is expected to leave Montreal for the Great Lakes in the near future. The new name was painted less than two weeks ago. Not renamed yet is fleet mate Lake Erie to become Richelieu. Both had been renamed during last winter by CSL but only on paper.


Kewaunee hopes to acquire landmark lighthouse

7/8 - Kewaunee, Wis. - Like a string of pearls circling Lake Michigan, lighthouses have been shining beacons of safety to untold Great Lakes mariners.

Situated on the edge of Wisconsin's thumb, Kewaunee's lighthouse has guided boaters and ship captains for more than a century. The federal government is giving it away to a nonprofit organization, state or local agency, educational group or community development organization. And it must be maintained and used for educational purposes, such as a museum.

The City of Kewaunee wants the building and not just because it's a tourist attraction that still sports its original fifth-order Fresnel lens. "It's the focal point of the harbor," said Ald. Jeff Vollenweider, chairman of the city's recently formed Lighthouse Preservation Committee. "It's kind of a trademark."

Kewaunee officials submitted a letter of interest and will fill out a lengthy application this summer. The idea is to open the structure for tours and promote preservation of lighthouses, said Ald. Jamie Sperber, director of the Kewaunee Chamber of Commerce.

Though visitors can walk up to the lighthouse, it's not now open to the public. In a money-saving move, the U.S. Coast Guard no longer wants the building, though the agency plans to keep the navigational aid in operation, said Terry Pepper, executive director of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association.

"They want to keep the lights operating, (but) they can't afford to maintain the buildings," said Pepper, whose nonprofit lighthouse preservation society is based in Mackinaw City, Mich.

The Coast Guard has been shedding ownership of lighthouses much of this decade, spurred by the 2000 National Lighthouse Historic Preservation Act, which allows the agency to turn over the historic buildings to the U.S. National Park Service and publish their availability.

Though most are acquired by nonprofit groups that must restore and maintain them under federal guidance, lighthouses that garner no interest are eventually auctioned. Prices have ranged from $2,000 to $500,000.

This year, 11 lighthouses are available on the Coast Guard's list, including the Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse and the Manitowoc Breakhead Lighthouse, as well as ones in Puerto Rico, New Jersey and Massachusetts. Last year, a dozen lighthouses were available.

It usually takes eight months to a year to transfer ownership of a lighthouse, with the Coast Guard acquiring an easement to service the light, said Arthur Ullenberg, a realty specialist for the U.S. General Services Administration, the federal government's landlord.

The lighthouses are not appraised for sale because they're such special properties. But almost all that eventually are put up for sale at auction get sold. In the meantime, Kewaunee officials are conducting an informal survey of visitors to their lighthouse. "The lighthouse is a major tourist attraction here," Sperber said. "If somebody can get that open, that would be great."

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Updates - July 8

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
Historical Perspective Galleries updated - Alabama and Red Wing galleries


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.


Great Lakes limestone trade slumps badly again in June

7/7 - Cleveland, Ohio - The Great Lakes limestone traded continued to slump in June. Loadings totaled 3 million net tons, a decrease of 32 percent compared to a year ago, and a drop of 34 percent compared to the month’s 5-year average. Quarries that can load nearly a million tons a month when demand for aggregate and fluxstone is strong saw their shipments plunge by 40 to 60 percent.

On June 26, the U.S.-Flag self-unloading barge Great Lakes Trader took on 35,457 tons of limestone at Presque Isle, Mich. That is the largest stone cargo the vessel has ever loaded at that dock. The vessel was able to load deeper because of rising water levels.

However, if the Great Lakes navigation system was dredged to project dimensions, the Trader would have loaded nearly 37,000 tons of stone.

For the year, the Great Lakes limestone trade stands at 7.4 million tons, a decrease of 37 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments are 44 percent below the 5-year average for the first half.

U.S. ports: Calcite, Mich.; Cedarville, Mich.; Drummond Island, Mich.; Kellys Island, Ohio; Marblehead, OH; Port Inland, Mich. and Presque Isle, Mich. Kellys Island is currently not shipping. Canadian ports: Bruce Mines, Manitoulin Island, Port Colborne, and Smelter Bay (all Ontario). Port Colborne ceased shipping by vessel in 2006.

Lake Carriers’ Association


St. Marys Challenger gets new stack herald

7/7 - The steamer St. Marys Challenger, temporarily laid up in Muskegon, Mich., has received a new stack marking. Recently her stack was painted black, leading to speculation that the orange letters PC, representative of her new operator, the Port City Steamship Co. of Muskegon, would soon appear.

Built in 1906, the Challenger is the oldest operating bulk carrier on the Great Lakes.


Port Reports - July 7

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Twin Ports boatwatchers early Monday saw Agawa Canyon approaching the CN/DMIR ore dock to make an unusual call there. Elsewhere in port, Paul R. Tregurtha was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal while American Century took on fuel and awaited its turn at the dock. Later in the day, American Mariner was due at BNSF ore dock in Superior.

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
Manitowoc delivered coal to the James DeYoung power plant in Holland early Monday afternoon. It was gone by 7 p.m.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
Traffic on Saginaw River remained steady over the holiday weekend with a number of vessel passages. The SCS Greyfox departed for the lake early Sunday morning after spending the past week docked in downtown Bay City.
On Monday morning, the tug Gregory J. Busch and her barge, STC 2004, traveled from their dock in Carrollton out to the anchored vessel OXL Lotus out in the Saginaw Bay. During the day, cargo was transferred from the OXL Lotus to the barge and then brought in to the Consumers Energy dock later in the day. As of 9 p.m. Monday night, Gregory J. Busch and her barge were still at the Consumers dock and the OXL Lotus was still anchored out in the Saginaw Bay. It was reported that the Lotus, which had arrived on Friday, was unable to make it to the Consumers dock due to her deep draft.
Olive L. Moore Lewis J. Kuber were inbound on Sunday with a split load for the Bay City and Saginaw Wirt stone docks. After unloading, the pair was outbound for the lake early Monday morning. Algoway was also inbound on Sunday, calling on the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee for her second trip there this week. Algoway was outbound late Monday morning.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
English River was towed up to LaFarge with two G-tugs Sunday night around 9 p.m., using two tugs instead of one due to a bowthruster problem. She was still unloading Monday morning.


Capt. Molly Kool's ashes spread over Bay of Fundy

7/7 - The ashes of New Brunswick native Molly Kool were spread over the Bay of Fundy on Sunday, honoring the dying wish of North America's first female sea captain. Kool, who died in February at the age of 93, had always wished for a proper captain's burial at sea, which her friends and family carried out.

Kool's ashes were taken out in a lobster fishing boat and scattered just a few nautical miles off the coast of the tiny southern New Brunswick fishing village of Alma. Joannie Carlisle, a close friend of Kool's in her later years, said she was a sea captain who never forgot her roots. "Every time we would come here, I would see how much this meant to Molly to be in Alma and to be back home and just to be a part of the ocean," Carlisle said.

Kool died in her home in Bangor, Me. The two friends often visited New Brunswick and looked out at the waters where Kool once navigated in her father's boat the Jean K.

"Molly would sit and look out over the bay, and she made me promise her [that] I would bring her home, that when she passed away that she was put back to the sea," Carlisle said. "She loved the sea, never was out of her blood, always talked about coming home."

Kool received her master's ticket in April 1939 and was named the first female skipper in North America. Carlisle said her friend often talked about both the difficult days aboard the Jean K. and her favorite moments.

"She would love listening to the creak of the boat and the waves splashing up," Carlisle said. "That was her favorite time was under sail, when they had to be towing the gravel or the lumber, that was hard work."

Capt. Jim Wood, a friend of Kool's who agreed to take her family out on his boat for the ceremony, said he could appreciate the difficulty in working with the world's highest tides in the Bay of Fundy.

He said it's hard to imagine what Kool faced without the help of modern technology.

"This was a difficult job she had, not like sailing these modern small boats equipped with all the electronics, but an older vessel steering by compass, by watch, by time. You really had to be aware, you had to know what you were doing," Wood said.

A permanent memorial for Kool has been installed near the water's edge in Alma. Local historians are raising money to move Kool's family home down into the village as a permanent historic site.

CBC News


Updates - July 7

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated (Video and Shipping Albums)


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 Drydocks replaced her entire forward section and she was renamed b.) CSL ASSINIBOINE in 2005.

The DAVID Z. NORTON sailed on her maiden voyage July 7, 1973, as the a.) WILLIAM R. ROESCH. She sailed light from Lorain to Superior, Wisconsin where she loaded 18,828 tons of iron ore on July 9th bound for Jones & Laughlin's Cuyahoga River plant at Cleveland, Ohio.

In 1971, the CITY OF SAGINAW 31, went to Manitowoc for a thorough overhaul. While there, a fire broke out July 29, destroying her cabin deck and rendering her useless for further use. The blaze was caused by an acetylene torch, and caused over $1 million in damage.

On 7 July 1895, IDA MAY BROWN (wooden schooner, 53 foot, 20 gross tons, built 1884, at Charlevoix, Mich.) 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 Mich.lwaukee on the hull of NANCY DOUSMAN) capsized and foundered in a white squall in Lake Mich.chigan. 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, Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit.


Freighter business sinks in less than ship-shape times

7/6 - Detroit, Mich. - Freighter traffic on the Great Lakes is down about 40 percent this summer. There were 47 freighters plying the lakes last month compared with 75 during the same time last year, said Glen Nekvasil, vice president for corporate communications for the Lake Carriers Association.

It's the economy, Nekvasil said.  The demand for transporting limestone, coal and especially iron ore (used heavily by the auto industry) are all on the decline this summer.  It's the lowest number of freighters on the lakes since the recession of the 1980s, when the U.S. steel industry was struggling, Nekvasil said. Back then, several ships ended up scrapped when the demand for freighters went down.

But Nekvasil doesn't expect that to happen this time. The ships that were scrapped in the '80s were near the end of their useful lives, and that's not the case with today's younger fleet.

Oceangoing freighter traffic is down about 50 percent this year, said Stuart H. Theis, executive director of the U.S. Great Lakes Shipping Association. Exact numbers weren't available.

Less freighter traffic is also bad news for those who love watching the ships glide by. "I always thought that each ship kind of has its own story and own personality," said Roger LeLievre of Ann Arbor, a freighter enthusiast and publisher of the annual boat watching guide “Know Your Ships.” He's going to miss the queens of the lake this summer.

LeLievre's favorite freighter, the Edward L. Ryerson, was laid up in May because of lagging demand.  "It was built in 1960 and was the last ship that was built with an eye towards streamlined design," LeLievre said, explaining that "the later models were boxier" to accommodate more cargo. "Plus she has a magnificent whistle that the captain delights in blowing," he said.

Industry experts don't look for freighter traffic to increase this summer.  "This year, I would think, is fairly well shot," said Jason Lowery, director of business development for the Toledo Lucas County Port Authority

Detroit Free Press


Port Reports - July 6

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Alpena arrived in port Saturday morning and tied up at the coal dock for a brief lay-up. It is scheduled to load on Tuesday. Tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity came into Lafarge late Sunday night to tie up under the silos. The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation are expected in port on Monday.

Saginaw River
OXL Lotus remained anchored in Saginaw Bay Sunday with the tug Gergory J. Busch and barge along side. The cargo is reported to be off loaded onto the barge because the ship is too deep to reach the dock in Bay City.


Updates - July 6

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
Historical Perspective Galleries updated - Alabama updated


Today in Great Lakes History - July 6

CACOUNA's bow was damaged in a collision with the Greek tanker CAPTAIN JOHN on the fog-shrouded St. Lawrence River July 6, 1971. The CACOUNA of 1964, was repaired by replacing her bow with that of her near sistership the SILLERY which was being scrapped. Later renamed b.) LORNA P and c.) JENNIFER, she foundered 20 miles Northeast of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on December 1, 1974.

Canada Steamship Lines, ASHCROFT was used to haul ore, grain and coal only on the upper Great Lakes until July 6, 1932, when she was able to enter Lake Ontario through the newly expanded Welland Canal. On that trip ASHCROFT, loaded with grain from Fort William for Kingston, Ontario, was the largest vessel to traverse the canal to date.

The keel was laid for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co.'s, GOVERNOR MILLER (Hull #810) in 1937, at Lorain, Ohio, by American Ship Building Company.

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.


Coast Guard rescues two men in Oswego

7/5 - Oswego, N.Y. - The U.S. Coast Guard rescued two men after waves washed them off the breakwall at approximately 4:10 p.m. Saturday.

Coast Guard Station Oswego was on patrol with a 47-foot Motor Lifeboat (MLB) when they spotted the men near the breakwall. Crewmembers from the MLB quickly recovered them from the water. Neither of the men were wearing lifejackets. Both men were in good condition and refused medical attention.

The waves were about six feet, said Petty Officer Byron Wiswell, crewmember from Station Oswego. “They were lucky we happened to be so close.”



Port Reports - July 5

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ tug Billmaier and barges, including H.J. Schwartz, remained secured at the Merchandise Dock, just north of the Upper Harbor ore dock, on Independence Day.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
There was some steady vessel traffic on the Saginaw River on Friday and Saturday, with a number of boats making stops along her banks. The OXL Lotus arrived on the Saginaw Bay early Friday morning and went to anchor. As of Saturday evening, she remained anchored out in the bay.
The tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber arrived on Friday, traveling upriver to the GM Dock in Saginaw to unload. The pair was back outbound late on Friday. Also arriving on Friday was the tug Zeus pushing the tank barge Robert F. Deegan. The pair called on the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City to unload and were back outbound for the lake Saturday afternoon. Saturday morning saw Algoway call on the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. She finished her unload and was back outbound for the lake Saturday afternoon as well.


Updates - July 5

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - July 5

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 East Saginaw. In 1858, her rig was changed to that of a 2-masted 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.


Four missing boaters found alive

7/4 - Monroe, Mich. – Four overdue boaters, missing since Thursday, were found alive near Middle Sister Island in Lake Erie at approximately 5:45 p.m. Friday.

Monroe Country sheriffs located a capsized vessel and four people in the water. They were later identified as Douglas Whittaker, Roy Letson, Larry Vert and Ron Miller, the four missing fishermen. U.S. Coast Guard, Canadian Coast Guard, and Monroe, Lucas and Ottawa County sheriff’s search-and-rescue assets had been looking for the fishermen since approximately 10 p.m. Thursday.

The men showed signs of hypothermia and were taken to Bolles Harbor, Mich., where local emergency medical services was standing by.

This successful rescue effort demonstrates the vital cooperation of local, state, federal and Canadian agencies working together to keep boaters safe on the Great Lakes. The search area covered the entire western basin of Lake Erie.

The four overdue boaters had filed a float plan, leaving information with family indicating when they were departing, where they were going and when they were expecting to be back in port.

"These boaters had done the right thing by filing a float plan," said Lt. Wade Hedinger, Coast Guard Sector Detroit. "The men also stayed with their vessel, which aided in locating them."



Port Reports - July 4

Saginaw River
The heavy lift ship OXL Lotus arrived in Saginaw Bay on Friday and went to anchor. It was unknown why the vessel delayed arrival; its destination is shown as Bay City.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
Friday afternoon, Rt. Hon. Paul J Martin departed the Gateway Metroport Main Dock in Lackawanna, N.Y., after unloading. English River was outbound at 11 a.m., after having come in to unload at the LaFarge plant Friday night.


Updates - July 4

New user controlled webcam in Grand Haven (on the Links Page under Webcams)


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 scrapped 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.


Seaway committed to sustainable shipping practices

7/3 - Cornwall, Ont. - Fifty years after the official opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and in this week when both Canadians and Americans celebrate the birth of their respective nations, the Canadian and U.S. Seaway corporations remain resolute in their commitment to the sustainability of this bi-national transportation system.

In this day and age, the marine mode, and the Seaway in particular, remains an ideal means of moving cargo, providing superior energy efficiency and a minimal greenhouse gas footprint. Moving cargo over water provides relief for our congested highways and rail systems and saves both lives and money. A recent U.S. and Canadian Government study concluded that the use of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway (GLSLS) saves consumers $3.6 billion per year in shipping costs. In addition, over 150,000 jobs on both sides of the border are dependent on GLSLS shipping.

Contrary to the recently issued Great Lakes United “A Better Seaway” document and the perception left by some recent press coverage, Seaway operators and users are very active in maximizing the benefits that flow from GLSLS transportation while minimizing any resulting impacts.

This is never truer than in respect to efforts put forward to eliminate the potential for introduction of invasive species in ship’s ballast water. Current Seaway regulations require every ship entering the Great Lakes to undertake saltwater flushing of its ballast tanks, a practice scientifically determined to be “highly effective” in killing freshwater organisms. Moreover, a bi-national inspection program assures that 100 % of the ballast tanks on ocean-going ships entering the GLSLS are inspected or verified to assure compliance with these regulations. The GLSLS has the most stringent ballast water inspection regime in the world and no unmanaged ballast water is entering the GLSLS. Since the progressive implementation of these ‘best practices’ in 2006, there have been no new invasive species reported.

Industry participants are actively engaged in the Green Marine initiative and are pursuing the means to address a host of environmental goals, including air emission standards. Best in class industry practices are being adopted, and certification of member adherence to these standards is underway. For more information on Green Marine, please consult

We invite stakeholders to join us in moving forward in serving the interests of all citizens. For more information concerning the Seaway and insight into its future, please visit

St. Lawrence Seaway


Port Reports - July 3

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Robert S. Pierson loaded ore Thursday afternoon at the Upper Harbor, and tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder unloaded coal into the hopper. Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder's visit was a first for the season. The pair was expected to load ore later in the evening.

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
Niagara Prince was approaching the dock at the Boatwerks Restaurant in Holland shortly before 9 a.m. Thursday. Once tied up, its passengers spent the day at Holland attractions. They departed for Manistee in the evening.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
Shipping numbers on the Saginaw River for June were fairly consistent with the numbers for the same period last year. In June 2008, there were 28 commercial deliveries as compared to 24 deliveries in 2009. When you look at the number year to date, there is more of a discrepancy: 56 so far in 2009 as compared to 73 in 2008.
In other news, dredging continues on the upper Saginaw from the Sixth Street turning basin to the disposal area just above the airport turning basin. The Greyfox continues to give short excursions in the mornings and tours in the afternoons while she is docked in Downtown Bay City at Wenonah Park. The Greyfox will be departing Bay City on Sunday morning.


Tuesday groundbreaking means a new Soo lock, maybe

7/3 - Detroit, Mich. – All the dignitaries at Tuesday's groundbreaking for a new Soo lock expressed high hopes that this really did mark the start of continuous construction that would see the project finished in the next seven to ten years. But the honesty came more readily, and outside the speech-making, from Terrence Salt, the assistant secretary of the Army for Civil Works, who called it "a tough issue to work."

Salt's public remarks were so innocuous ("I take away the need to capitalize on this important mission") that they were impossible to decipher. In a later conversation, he was franker about being unable to commit administration support for the full $580-million project. That's partly because, in the format currently used to evaluate the economics behind projects done by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the duplication of the Poe Lock at Sault Ste. Marie comes in at 0.7 to 1, he said. That means it's technically a money loser.

But the Obama administration is in the process of revising Corps rules that govern these kinds of projects -- rules that will be published and available for comment soon. It will certainly be in the best interest of everyone in this region to ensure that the new rules have benchmarks to recognize the ways the Great Lakes system differs from the Mississippi River and other parts of national navigation that the Corps oversees.

You need only see a boat snugging into one of the locks to understand that it'd be a no-go for an awful lot of shipping if the lock broke. The Poe lock alone can handle the biggest boats, so any long-term shutdown would require shifting cargo into smaller boats in the Great Lakes fleet. A shutdown could also strand big boats away from their home ports.

Considering that the lock on the Canadian side of the St. Marys River is currently out of service and that a lock on the inland waterway system from Cheboygan to Crooked and Pickerel lakes recently had a similar unfortunate experience, locks may not have the indestructibility we have come to assume based on years and years of virtually uninterrupted service at the Soo. The engineers/magicians there have managed to fix most problems within hours.

The work celebrated at the groundbreaking is a $17-million hodgepodge of which two cofferdams will be the most, and perhaps only, visible piece. The big round water-blockers will close off each end of the Sabin lock – the northernmost, and closest to the Canadian side – so it can be emptied of water. The northern wall will also mark the spot of the northernmost wall of the new lock, which will come 20 to 30 feet farther south than the current southern wall. Eventually, the next-door Davis lock will be filled in, thus no need for cofferdams there.

The $1.9-million cofferdam contract is a pittance of the whole half-billion dollar project. Other work under the 2009 appropriation includes dredging at the downriver end where the new lock will be. The Corps is ready to bid out dredging at the upriver end, plus guide walls at both ends, as soon as it gets its next appropriation.

And that's what will be the trick, appropriations cycle after appropriations cycle, for years to come. U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Menominee, and Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, spent time before the ceremony with Salt and other Corps higher ups who attended. "It will be done," Stupak said emphatically. "It will be done, on earth as it is in heaven."

Levin said, a bit more pragmatically, that the delegation would pressure the Corps to put the lock project in its budget of its own accord, because there shouldn't have to be earmarks once a project is underway. But failing that, Levin said, "There's going to be earmarks" -- or as Salt called them more diplomatically (are we seeing a shift in Obama administration language and attitude?) "congressional priorities."

Tuesday’s groundbreaking, I am told, was the groundbreaking for the lock, whether or not any more appropriations come through. And, in case you're curious, it was about 50 degrees with a wind out of the northwest and it sprinkled off and on during the event. (The festivities were under a tent, but a spontaneous "shh!" arose from the crowd when a speaker uttered the word "rain.") The Presque Isle, Indiana Harbor and Edwin Gott went through the locks before, during and after the event, respectively. If you've never seen a boat inch its way into place as it traverses here, well, you ought to visit.

Detroit Free Press


Lake Express adds new deal, third round trip

7/3 - Milwaukee, Wis. - Management of the Lake Express high-speed ferry said Thursday that its ridership this year has exceeded projections and that it has added a third round-trip crossing of Lake Michigan between Milwaukee and Muskegon, Mich., under its summer service schedule.

The Lake Express also is adding a new promotion, on top of its current 'kids ride free' deal that will cut roundtrip fares on the ferry by 40 percent.

Ferry operators said the kids ride free promotion, which was to end in June but was extended throughout the summer, helped the ferry exceed ridership projections for May and June. The ferry is attracting families who are planning vacations closer to home this summer, and more travelers also are taking advantage of other deals offered by Lake Express.

The newest promotion, called “91-19,” allows travelers to pay only $19 for one leg of a roundtrip fare as long as they travel on either the 6 a.m. cruise leaving Milwaukee, or the 11 p.m. cruise leaving Muskegon, Mich. The late cruise is one leg of the third roundtrip now being offered. The normal fee of $91 will be applied to the other half of the trip.

The new deal, which can be used in conjunction with the kids ride free promotion, is offered from July 1 through August.

“We announced the ‘kids ride free’ family travel deal earlier this summer to assist families hard hit by the recession and received such a positive response from that offer, we wanted to find a way to extend the savings to others who don’t have kids,” said Lake Express president Ken Szallai.

The Lake Express accommodates 250 passengers and 46 vehicles for the two-and-a-half-hour trip across Lake Michigan. The extended summer schedule offers daily departures from Milwaukee at 6:00 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. Muskegon, Mich. trips depart daily at 10:15 a.m., 4:45 p.m. and 11:00 p.m.

The Business Journal of Milwaukee


Updates - July 3

News Photo Gallery
Soo Gathering Pictures
Public 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.


Port Reports - July 2

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Wednesday afternoon, Michipicoten was back at the Upper Harbor ore dock for another load of taconite. Army Corps of Engineers tug Billmaier and barges, including the H.J. Schwartz, have been docked at the Merchandise Dock, just north of the Upper Harbor ore dock, the past few days.

Soo - Herm Klein
On Wednesday, Clelia II arrived on her first trip to the upper lakes. She docked briefly at the Roberta Bondar Marina in the Canadian Soo. Passengers disembarked there for a bus trip back to Mackinaw Island. Clelia then proceeded to the Carbide Dock on the U.S. side.

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
The Calumet arrived in Holland just before 8 p.m. Wednesday evening and proceeded to the Brewer dock to unload a cargo of stone.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Manistee came in empty Tuesday night. It took a load of sand out from the Construction Aggregates Dock in Ferrysburg and cleared the pier heads about 9 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain and Greg Moore
The Alpena returned to service Wednesday morning. It shifted from its lay-up berth at the coal dock and tied up under the silos at Lafarge to load cement for Green Bay, Wisc. The Alpena was outbound in the bay by 11 a.m. and passed the tall ships Nina and Pinta. Both ships came into the Thunder Bay River where they stopped before heading upriver to tie up at the NOAA Maritime Center for weekend festivities. The tug G.L. Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived at Lafarge Tuesday morning to take on cement for Milwaukee, Wisc. The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation is expected to return early Thursday morning.

Toledo, Ohio – Jim Hoffman
Canadian Enterprise was at the Torco Ore Dock Wednesday unloading ore. The next coal boats due into the CSX Docks will be the Cuyahoga on Thursday. The tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder are due in late Sunday evening but won't start loading coal until Monday morning. The CSL Laurentien is due on Tuesday followed by the Algolake on Thursday. The next ore boat due into the Torco Ore Dock will be the CSL Laurentien on Tuesday morning.


Duluth embarks on new era in Great Lakes cruising

7/2 - Duluth, Minn. - Fireworks and patriotic music aren’t the only attractions that will bring tourists to the Duluth waterfront on July 4. Having the luxury expedition vessel Clelia II pass beneath the Aerial Lift Bridge and dock behind the DECC will usher in a new era of international cruise service for Duluth and the Great Lakes.

This, her maiden voyage to the Head of the Lakes, kicks off a series of one-week/one-way trips between Toronto and Duluth. Throughout the summer, the Clelia II will return to Duluth a total of six times – arriving just after daybreak every other Saturday morning to disembark passengers, then departing 12 hours later with up to 100 new passengers onboard for the ship’s return trip to Canada.

Cruise vessels have called on the Twin Ports periodically in recent years, but it’s been decades since the area has enjoyed regular Great Lakes cruise service – or served as a destination and/or origination hub.

Maritime, government and tourism leaders have worked collaboratively for over a year to arrange this summer tour and look forward to welcoming the Clelia II and its crew and passengers. Partnering on this initiative: Great Lakes Aquarium, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Coast Guard, Visit Duluth, the DECC, Monaco Air Duluth, Daniel’s Shipping Service, General Security Services Corp., Duluth Police and Fire Departments, UWS Transportation and Logistics Dep’t, the offices of Congressman Oberstar and former Senator Norm Coleman, and the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. An interim U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Federal Inspection Station will be located at the Great Lakes Aquarium where CBP officers will inspect and determine admissibility of disembarking passengers seeking entry into the U.S.

Clelia II scheduled arrivals/departures from Duluth: July 4, 18; August 1, 15, 29; and Sept.12. For cruise information, visit

Duluth Seaway Port Authority


Great Lakes-built ferry strikes dock in New York City

7/2 - New York, N.Y. - A New York City ferry boat, built in Marinette, Wis., with as many as 800 passengers aboard, hit a pier while docking, injuring 15 people. The injuries were minor.

The hard docking at the St. George ferry terminal in Staten Island happened shortly after 7 p.m. Wednesday at the end of the evening rush hour. Witnesses told The Staten Island Advance that the ferry came into the dock slip quickly after its power failed. They said there was an announcement from the pilothouse to "hang on," and riders scrambled to the rear of the boat.

Fire department officials say between 750 and 800 passengers were evacuated from the John J. Marchi ferry after the incident. A spokesman for the city's Department of Transportation had no immediate comment. The U.S. Coast Guard says drug and alcohol tests have been ordered for the ferry crew.

The same terminal was the scene of a ferry boat crash in 2003 that killed 11 people in 1 of the city's worst mass-transit disasters.


Updates - July 2

News Photo Gallery
Public 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.


New Soo Lock will be an investment in America

7/1 - Toledo, Ohio – A second Poe-sized lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan will be a significant investment in America’s future, and an outstanding return on taxpayers’ dollars was the message delivered Tuesday by a shipping industry official at ceremonies marking groundbreaking for the coffer dams that are the first step toward construction of the lock.

This project creates “the economic equivalent of a small automobile plant,” said James H.I. Weakley, 1st Vice President of Great Lakes Maritime Task Force. The project also provides “national security benefits and economic stability for our mining, manufacturing and power-producing heartland, “declared Weakley. Cargo movement through the locks typically tops 80 million tons a year. The major cargos are iron ore for steel production, coal for power generation, and grain for overseas export via the Seaway.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers considers the Soo Locks the “single point of failure that could cripple Great Lakes shipping. Seventy percent of U.S.-Flag carrying capacity is restricted to the Poe Lock. If that chamber were incapacitated for even a short period of time, shipping on the Lakes would come to a virtual standstill.

Weakley noted Great Lakes shipping saves its customers $3.6 billion a year in transportation costs compared to the land-based modes. “In order to save the American consumer almost $4 billion, we have to maintain and protect the system. Over the past 15 years, proposed Federal budgets spent 50 cents for each ton of cargo moved on the Great Lakes, so the return on each dollar invested is nearly $41. Due to industry’s contributions, taxpayers fund only 3 cents per ton of cargo. Therefore, the American consumer sees a benefit of nearly $590 for each taxpayer dollar spent on the Great Lakes Navigation System.”

First authorized in the Water Resources Development Act of 1986, the second Poe-sized Lock was again authorized in 2007, this time at full Federal expense. The lock is projected to cost $490 million and take as much as 10 years to build. Funding for construction of the lock itself still needs to be secured. Weakley thanked legislators who have played leading roles in advancing the lock project. He stressed the economic recovery will not be complete until this project is and urged Great Lakes interests to get the lock funded. “It took hard work and commitment to get here. It will take Midwest might and tenacity to go the distance.”

Great Lakes Maritime Task Force


Michigan trying to settle shipwreck case

7/1 - Detroit, Mich. - The state of Michigan said it's working with France to conduct a fresh investigation of a Lake Michigan shipwreck, which could be a 17th-century ship called the Griffon.

A federal judge in Grand Rapids postponed a court hearing last week after lawyers said they're trying to reach agreement on ways to finally settle the ship's identity. If negotiations are successful, it could end a legal dispute that began five years ago.

Great Lakes Exploration Group believes it discovered the Griffon, which disappeared on its maiden voyage in 1679.

The precise site has not been publicly revealed but is believed to be between Escanaba and the St. Martin Islands, near Wisconsin.

Michigan has been skeptical of the claim and has sought to have any wreckage declared state property.



Port Reports - July 1

Grand Haven, Mich. – Dick Fox Calumet delivered a load of stone to Meekhof's D & M Dock on Harbor Island next to the power plant Monday evening. It arrived at 10 p.m. and was backing out at 4 a.m.


Updates - July 1

News Photo Gallery
Soo Gathering Pictures updated
Public Gallery updated
Historical Perspective Galleries updated - Chief Wawatam gallery


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 one of the silos and fire was found in five of the silos.

On July 1, 1940, the HARRY COULBY became the first Great Lakes vessel to load in excess of 16,000 tons of iron ore when it loaded 16,067 tons of iron ore in Ashland, Wisconsin. Renamed b.) KINSMAN ENTERPRISE in 1989. She was scrapped at Port Colborne, Ontario in 2002.

On 1 July 1927, ROBERT C. WENTE (wooden, propeller, bulk freighter, 141 foot, 336 gross tons, built in 1888, at Gibraltar, Michigan) burned to a total loss in the St. Clair River. In 1911, she sank in Lake Michigan, but was raised and refurbished.

July, 1983 - The C&O sold its remaining 3 car ferries to Glen Bowden and George Towns. They begin operating cross-lake service between Ludington and Kewaunee under the name Michigan-Wisconsin Transportation Co. (MWT)

On 1 July 1852, CASPIAN (wooden side-wheeler, 252 foot, 921 tons, built in 1851, at Newport, Michigan) foundered a short distance off Cleveland's piers. Some of her gear and structural material were salvaged in the Spring of 1853, and the wreck was then flattened with dynamite.

July 1, 1900, the new wooden steam barge ALFRED MITCHELL started her maiden voyage from St. Clair, Michigan for Cleveland, Ohio, to load coal. She was owned by Langell & Sons.

On 1 July 1869, the wooden schooner GARROWEN was carrying coal from Cleveland to Toronto when she sprang a leak and sank in 60 feet of water about 10 miles from shore off Geneva, Ohio. The crew escaped in the yawl. She was only 19 years old and some of the crew claimed that she was scuttled as an insurance scam. However, a number of divers visited the wreck on the bottom of the Lake at the time and that claim was refuted.

On 1 July 1875, the iron carferry HURON (238 foot, 1052 gross tons, built at Point Edward, Ontario, with iron plates prefabricated in Scotland) made her trial voyage between Fort Gratiot, Michigan, and Point Edward, Ontario, across the St. Clair River. This vessel served the Grand Trunk Railway and ran between Windsor and Detroit for over a century.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, 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.


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