Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

* Report News

Port Reports - July 31

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Michipicoten continues to carry ore from the Upper Harbor to Essar Algoma. She arrived Friday afternoon for another load. Kaye E. Barker was due for ore late in the evening.

Green Bay, Wis. - Scott Best
Friday the Calumet arrived in Green Bay with a load of coal from Ashtabula for the Georgia Pacific Dock. Friday evening it departed with the assistance of the seldom-used G tug Texas. The Fox River has been near flood stage in recent weeks due to record rainfall in most of Northeast Wisconsin.

Stoneport and Calcite, Mich. - Daniel McNeil
Joseph H. Thompson and Cason J. Callaway were loading at Stoneport Friday. John G. Munson is due Saturday. Due at Calcite on Friday was H. Lee White, followed by Victory and James L. Kuber on Monday.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Friday the Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder were in Lorain. Also in port was the Algoway at the Jonick Dock.


Thousands crowd waterfront to welcome armada

7/31 - Duluth, Minn. - At full sail and with cannons firing, a long-anticipated contingent of tall ships glided gracefully into the Duluth harbor on Thursday afternoon as thousands watched.

While eight ships entered on schedule in the Grand Parade of Sail, a ninth ship didn’t make the grand entry that began at 2 p.m. The S/V Denis Sullivan, which was held up by storms in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula on Tuesday, arrived shortly before 6 p.m.

The arrival of the nine vessels, including replicas of 1812 warships, is said to be the largest contingent of tall ships to visit Duluth since the late 1800s.

As each tall ship approached the Aerial Lift Bridge, heads turned and smiles erupted among the hundreds lined along the canal. With cameras in hand, arms shot up to take pictures. Behind the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, those with paid passes watched as the big vessels eased into dock.

Duluth police estimated that 75,000 to 100,000 people converged in the Canal Park area for the ships’ arrival, according to Officer Brad Wick.

That compares to the 125,000 people drawn to the waterfront for the duration of the event when three tall ships were part of the Duluth Maritime Festival in 2008.

Led by a group of escort boats on Thursday, the tall ships came in three groups, with a fleet of smaller sailing boats, motor boats and cruisers tagging along. First the HMS Bounty and Roald Amundsen arrived. They were followed by barque Europa, Roseway and U.S. brig Niagara, then the Pride of Baltimore II and the smallest ships, Zeeto and Coaster II.

The ships will be open for public tours today through Sunday.

For the ships, traveling through the canal and under the Aerial Lift Bridge is a challenge.

“The entryway to get under the bridge is fairly narrow,” said Peter Berkcout, first mate on the HMS Bounty, who was focused on maneuvering the ship rather than the crowds as they entered the Duluth harbor. “I’ve been to other ports that are more wide open, like Cleveland.”

Duluth News Tribune


Emergency floating bridge proposed for Detroit-Windsor crossing

7/31 - Detroit, Mich. - The company behind the busiest bridge in North America is floating an ambitious idea. The Detroit International Bridge Company, which runs the Ambassador Bridge connecting Windsor with Detroit, wants to make a floating emergency bridge.

Or, in the words of president Dan Stamper, a bridge-on-demand.

In case the four-lane Ambassador is attacked by terrorists or damaged in a natural disaster, a back-up bridge, stored on land, could be rolled out. Still in its design stages, the bridge would be based on concepts used by the U.S. military and would open in the middle to allow for shipping traffic.

“There’s no definitive price tag yet. Were talking millions but not $50 million or $100 million,” Stamper said in an interview.

The novel concept has been met with criticism at home and abroad, with many saying the Detroit River’s fast current is too strong for a floating bridge, and others, like Michigan’s Department of Transportation, arguing it’s just a patchwork fix.

“A floating bridge for 8,000 trucks and 65,000 cars everyday is absolutely ridiculous,” Minister of Transport John Baird said in an email. “The Ontario and Michigan economies deserve better.”

Stamper said his company is moving forward and has hired the engineering firm American Consulting Professionals. He said the company didn’t consult with anyone in Canada.

“People who say you can’t build a floating bridge in Detroit, well there were people in 1917 who said we couldn’t build a suspension bridge to go across the Detroit river and we did that,” said Stamper. He went on to say if any other bridge in North America is attacked, the floatable bridge could be deployed as needed by truck.

The company is currently approaching other bridge and tunnel owners who may be interested in paying an insurance premium for the service, as well as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

The announcement also appears to be an attempt to dilute arguments for a second, publicly-funded bridge the Canadian and Michigan governments have been pushing to build three kilometres up river.

While Ambassador Bridge owner Manuel (Matty) Moroun moves forward with his own proposal to build a second bridge, the billionaire is arguing that a publicly-funded span is unconstitutional because he has the exclusive rights to a bridge between the two cities. Also, that it will take up to 75 per cent of his business.

Proponents for the second publicly funded bridge, dubbed The Detroit River International Crossing Project (DRIC), say redundancy is a key reason to build another span.

“We come up with real solutions to a real problem instead of DRIC’s (solution) to build a $5 billion duplicate of the Ambassador Bridge,” said Stamper. “Planning for a redundant bridge that’s a mile apart makes no sense in this kind of critical infrastructure planning.”

On Wednesday, the Windsor Star reported that the mayor of Windsor and 10 city councillors are being sued for $125,000 each by the Ambassador Bridge Company for unlawful interference, among other accusations.

One quarter of trade between Canada and the U.S. goes over the Ambassador Bridge.

The Toronto Star

Boatnerd note: The technology has been used in the past. The Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul and Pacific Railroad (also known as the Milwaukee Road) operated two pontoon bridges across the Mississippi River and one across the Missouri. Milwaukee Road bridges with a pontoon draw span were used at Prairie du Chen, Wis., from 1884 to 1961.


Updates - July 31

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - July 31

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

On this day in 1955, Al A. Wolf, the first Chief Engineer of a Great Lakes freighter powered by a 7,000 hp engine, retired as Chief Engineer of the WILFRED SYKES. Chief Wolf started as an oiler on the POLYNESIA in 1911, became Chief Engineer in 1921, and brought out the SYKES in 1948.

Sea trials took place for the JAMES R. BARKER this day in 1976. She was to become Interlake's first 1000 footer and the flag ship of the fleet for Moore 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.


CSL issues report on Richelieu incident

7/30 - Montreal, Que. - CSL Group reports that clean-up work on the banks of the Saint-Lawrence Seaway, in Côte Sainte-Catherine near Montréal, is completed and any fuel traces left on the shore line after the July 12 incident involving the Richelieu have been removed.

CSL personnel were present throughout the clean-up operation and will remain on site until all equipment is demobilized.

Operations to pump out the remaining fuel from the damaged tank of the vessel demonstrate that the total quantity of fuel spilled during the incident was actually far less than reported in the news. The amount of fuel that leaked onto the main deck before being washed overboard is estimated to be at no more than four tonnes.

After temporary repairs, the vessel sailed to Québec City to unload her cargo of wheat, and then proceeded safely to the shipyard of Groupe Maritime Verreault in Les Méchins for permanent repairs to the hull. Repairs are now well underway.

CSL Group wishes to thank all the governmental agencies and authorities that offered their expertise and help. It also wishes to express its gratitude to ECRC (Eastern Canada Response Corporation) for its efficiency in implementing a clean-up plan.

As a result, restrictions in the section of the river have been lifted.

Canada NewsWire


Port Reports - July 30

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Manitowoc docked about 1 p.m. Thursday with a load of stone for Meekhof's D & M dock, next to the power plant on Harbor Island.

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
Undaunted and Pere Marquette delivered a load of stone to the Verplank dock on Tuesday, departing at about 8 p.m.

Saginaw River - Daniel McNeil
Making her first trip out of temporary lay-up, Algorail paid a visit to the Saginaw River Wednesday heading up to the Saginaw Asphalt Dock to unload. She was outbound from the Sixth Street turning basin early Thursday evening.

Hamilton, Mich. - Eric Holmes
Thursday turned out to be a very busy day. Michiganborg arrived at 5:30 a.m. with manganese for Pier 12. She departed at 6:30 p.m. with a part cargo for Chicago. Rt. Hon. Paul J Martin arrived at 8:15 a.m. with iron ore pellets from Superior for US Steel. She departed at 3 p.m. for Toledo. John B. Aird arrived at 8:30 a.m. with coal from Toledo for Dofasco. After discharging her cargo, Aird shifted to Pier 26 at 5 p.m. The saltie Arctic Sea departed at 8:45 a.m. CSL Laurentien arrived at 9 a.m. with coal from Toledo for US Steel. CSL Niagara departed at 9:15 a.m. with coke from US Steel for Detroit. Algowood arrived at 5 p.m. with coal from Sandusky for Dofasco. CSL Tadoussac arrived at 6:30 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Superior for US Steel.


US and Canadian Coast Guard vessels offer tours during Grand Haven festival

7/30 - Grand Haven, Mich. - The U.S. Coast Guard cutters Neah Bay and Buckthorn and the Canadian Coast Guard ship Samuel Risley are scheduled to make their official entrance into the Grand River Aug. 2, marking the beginning of a busy and exciting week at the 2010 Coast Guard Festival.

The parade of ships will begin Aug. 2 at 1 p.m. The ships will moor at designated spots along Escanaba Park, adjacent to the Coast Guard Station in Grand Haven. Each of the ships will be available for public tours at a variety of times from Aug. 2 through Aug. 7, with crewmembers available to answer questions. Though the tour will show off many spaces, some spaces will be off-limits.

No, backpacks, coolers or bags of any type, nor open food or drink will be permitted on board. Searches may be conducted. Additionally, specialized Coast Guard units may be on display at Kids Day Aug. 3 from 10 a.m., to 2 p.m., at Mulligan’s Hollow and other times and locations. Visit Coast Guard Sector Field Office Grand Haven at 650 South Harbor Drive for current status.

Arriving from Cleveland, cutter Neah Bay is a 140-foot icebreaking tug. Its primary duty is facilitating the movement and commerce in the ice-choked waterways of the Great Lakes from November to May. Additional missions include search and rescue, public relations and law enforcement. Neah Bay is specially designed for icebreaking missions such as establishing and maintaining tracks and assisting beset vessels. Its 2,500 shaft horsepower propulsion system and hull design are its greatest assets in breaking through restrictive ice formations. Neah Bay can continuously break through 18-30 inches of ice and 3-8 feet while backing and ramming.

Arriving from Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., cutter Buckthorn is a 100-foot inland buoy tender, the only cutter of its class. Its shallow draft allows the ship to service aids to navigation in waters that are not navigable by deeper draft vessels. The twin-screw configuration makes the ship highly maneuverable, which is vital for working around shoals and obstructions in placing navigational buoys. Buckthorn's primary mission is aids-to-navigation on the St. Marys River, one of the Great Lakes most critical waterways. The crew is responsible for maintaining 270 buoys, 3 lighthouses, 16 ranges, 71 shoreside lights and 39 Canadian buoys as part of an international agreement. Buckthorn also performs light construction work throughout the Great Lakes.

Arriving from Parry Sound, Ont., Canadian Coast Guard ship Samuel Risley is a 229-foot light icebreaker and medium navigation aids tender. The ship is named after the first chairman of the Board of Steamship Inspection, and was the first Type 1050 vessel commissioned by the Canadian Coast Guard. The vessel is powerful with 8840 horsepower in four main engines and highly maneuverable as it is equipped with controllable pitch propellers, bow and stern thrusters and twin rudders. During the primary navigation season, from late March to late December, the ship tends aids to navigation in the Canadian waters of the Great Lakes. During the winter months, the ship breaks ice in Canadian and U.S. waters from Port Colborne, Ontario to Thunder Bay, Ontario. The vessel can move steadily through ice up to 36 inches thick.

The Neah Bay, Buckthorn and Risley will each be available for public tours at the following times, although times are subject to change.

Monday - Wednesday 6-8 p.m.
Thursday - Saturday 10 a.m. -Noon, 1-3 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.


Duluth lift bridge stuck for hours after possible lighting strike

7/30 - Duluth, Minn. Hundreds of cars were stuck in gridlock after an apparent lightning strike stuck the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge in the up position Tuesday night.

It happened just after 5 p.m., during the busy afternoon commute.

The Duluth News Tribune reports that heavy thunderstorms were passing through Duluth as the bridge lifted to let the Joseph L. Block pass under. But the bridge didn't come back down. So people in their cars and on bikes waited for two hours or more.

Bridge crews at first manually lowered the bridge inch-by-inch but then, at 7:20 p.m., fixed the electrical problem and had the bridge operating again.

The Aerial bridge is the only land route on and off Park Point, and tourists and residents alike were stranded on both sides.

Duluth News Tribune


Updates - July 30

Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - July 30

July 30, 1996 - CSL's self-unloader H.M. GRIFFITH, which was off Whitefish Bay in Lake Superior, and bound for Nanticoke, Ontario, with a load of 22,775 tons of western coal, 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

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
American Mariner unloaded western coal at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock Wednesday morning and was expected at the Upper Harbor Ore Dock in the afternoon.

Green Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
Mississagi was unloading at the Fox River Dock and the tug Prentiss Brown / barge St. Marys Conquest were unloading at St. Marys Cement.

Milwaukee, Wis. - Jason Heindel
Iryda was berthed at the general freight pier in the Port of Milwaukee Wednesday.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
On Wednesday, CSL Assiniboine arrived at 10:30 a.m. with iron ore pellets for US Steel from Superior. She departed at 8 p.m. in ballast for Ashtabula. Flinterstream arrived at 8:15 p.m.


Turbines to be submerged in St. Lawrence River this week

7/29 - Montreal, Que. - Imagine if every time you flipped on the light, the energy could be traced back to a giant underwater fan propelled by the current in the St. Lawrence River.

The federal and provincial governments have invested nearly $6 million to test just that - a new subaquatic turbine that converts river currents into electricity.

The two turbines are to be submerged this week.

Georges Dick, lead engineer of the project for Quebec based green energy company RSW RER Ltee, said each 18-tonne, cylindrical turbine can power an estimated 375 homes.

"We know ahead of time how much energy we will get each and every day of the year because the water flow in the river is something that is very well known," Dick said. "We know exactly how much energy we will get from those turbines ahead of time, which is not the case with wind energy, which fluctuates from hour to hour sometimes."

The federal government invested $2.8 million and the Quebec government anted up $3 million to help fund the installation of two turbines northeast of Montreal harbour's Clock Tower Pier for a pilot project that will run until June 2011. Groupe RSW Inc., the parent company of RSW RER, will fund the rest of the $18-million project.

The turbines are designed specifically for shallow, high-flow waterways and, according to Dick, will be able to function despite the St. Lawrence River's historically low water levels this summer.

He said the turbines, each 3.5 metres in diameter, need to be submerged in at least five metres of water, and the river is nine metres deep, on average. The turbines will rest on the bottom of the river, so ice is not expected to interfere with the technology.

Water flows through the turbine's three layers of blades and causes them to spin, which send energy to the rotor. From there, energy is moved to a local energy grid.

"There's no sucking of the water and there will be no sucking of the fish either," Dick said, adding that an underwater video camera will be installed to monitor fish during the pilot project to confirm that hypothesis.

But while the technology sounds promising, the company ought to guarantee it will not interfere with recreational use of the river, said Helene Godmaire, Quebec director of the environmental group Great Lakes United.

"We need to be sensitive to fauna and flora but also to human beings who appreciate and make use of the river," she said.

The technology was developed in Quebec, and Dick said the company expects to launch the turbines commercially by 2012, with the potential for 4,000 turbines in Quebec alone -and another 36,000 in the rest of Canada.

Nathalie Normandeau, Quebec's minister of natural resources and wildlife, said investing in the pilot project is part of a long-term goal to diversify the province's production of green energy and generate jobs.

Federal Natural Resources Minister Christian Paradis said he is hopeful the turbines will help Canada meet its 2020 goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17 per cent below 2005 levels.

The Montreal Gazette


Re-created 19th-century schooner teaches science

7/29 - Houghton, Mich. - Students from Michigan, Connecticut and Illinois did cutting edge science aboard a re-creation of a 19th-century three-masted Great Lakes schooner recently. The students spent a week earlier this month aboard the sailing vessel Denis Sullivan for an adventure.

The excursion was one of 70 "hands-on career and adventure explorations" for students in grades six through 11 offered through Michigan Technological University's Summer Youth Programs.

Other offerings included a backpacking trip to Isle Royale to study moose and wolf populations, a blacksmithing course and a class on three-dimensional computer modeling, university spokeswoman Jennifer Donovan said in a statement.

During their week on the Sullivan, the 10 students gathered water and mud samples from Lake Superior and analyzed them at an environmental engineering lab at Michigan Tech.

The trip wasn't all hard science, though, Donovan said. It included a dose of adventure. The students were able to take turns helping to navigate the Sullivan through Lake Huron, she said.

The Sullivan, owned by Milwaukee-based Discovery World, was built in 2000 and has contemporary touches that include two 180-horsepower diesel engines and a science lab, as well as "computer workstations and a modern communication and navigation equipment," the museum said on its website.

The Sullivan is a participant in the Tall Ships Celebration that brought a fleet of tall ships to Bay City as part of an effort to draw attention to Great Lakes conservation. Other summer stops include Toronto; Cleveland; Duluth, Minn.; Green Bay and Chicago.

The Green Bay Press Gazette


Keweenaw Star offering fall lighthouse and color cruise Sept. 25

7/29 - The passenger vessel Keweenaw Star, operating out of Charlevoix, Mich., will run a special fall lighthouse and color tour on Sept. 25. The cruise will pass lighthouses at Ile Aux Galets, Grays Reef, St James Harbor, Beaver Head, South Fox Island, South Manitou Island, North Manitou Island, Grand Traverse Point and Charlevoix. This is a great opportunity to see some remote lights as well as some splendid fall colors, and maybe some ships in Grays Reef Passage and Manitou Passage.

The cruise will take 10 hours, depart at 8 a.m. and cost $140 per person. The price includes continental breakfast, lunch and hors d' oeuvres. For more information visit


Updates - July 29

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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 pilothouse 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


Steamer Michipicoten to be converted to diesel power this winter

7/28 - New York, N.Y. - Rand Logistics Inc. announced Tuesday the planned repowering of one of its Canadian-flagged vessels with a new, highly-automated, emissions compliant power plant.

Rand will be converting its last steam-powered vessel, the Michipicoten, to diesel power, consistent with the engine replacement completed on the fleet’s Saginaw in 2008. The company expects to take the vessel out of service in December 2010 and have it fully operational in the spring of 2011.

Based on the actual results from the Saginaw repowering, which was completed in June 2008, the project, which is estimated to cost approximately U.S. $15 million, is expected to generate an annual return on invested funds in the mid teens. The benefits of the conversion include increased revenues from higher speeds and lower costs from reduced fuel consumption, labor, maintenance and other operating expenses.

Michipicoten was built in 1952 and sailed until 2003 as Elton Hoyt 2nd for the Interlake fleet.

Rand has received a commitment from its lenders to amend its existing credit agreement to provide for an additional CDN $20 million of term debt to complete the engine repowering project and other capital expenditures. Including this project, since the acquisition of Lower Lakes by Rand, the company has invested more than U.S. $100 million in fleet expansion, life extension and operating improvement projects.

"The Michipicoten upgrade will significantly improve the vessel's performance and boost its margin contribution to our overall results,” said Laurence S. Levy, Chairman and CEO of Rand. “This project demonstrates our continued commitment to making investments in our fleet to provide the best available service to our customers. Based on the actions announced today, we believe that commencing with the launch of the repowered Michipicoten in the spring of 2011, Rand should generate approximately $0.90 to $1.00 of free cash flow per share per year, assuming no drastic deterioration in economic conditions."


Port Reports - July 28

Lorain, Ohio - Jim Bobel and Phil Leon
Cedarglen departed the Black River in Lorain with a load of taconite Tuesday evening with the aid of Great Lakes Towing tugs Rhode Island on the bow and Iowa on the stern.

Hamilton / Bronte - Eric Holmes
Tuesday CSL Niagara arrived at 11:30 a.m. with iron ore pellets from Superior for US Steel. The tug LaPrairie departed at 5:30 p.m. The tanker Glen departed the Petro Canada Pier in Bronte at 7 p.m.


Duluth ready to greet the tall-ship fleet

7/28 - Duluth, Minn. - Thousands of people crowded the Duluth waterfront two years ago to see a sight not seen in decades — three stately tall ships sailing into harbor.

It turns out that spectacle was a dress rehearsal for an even larger event — this week’s Tall Ships Duluth festival, with nine vessels from around North America and Europe.

“In 2008 it was a spectacular sight with just three ships. This time it is going to be unreal, with nine,” said Gene Shaw, director of public relations for Visit Duluth, which is helping sponsor the festival. “If history is correct, the last time we had eight, nine ships sailing into Duluth would probably be back in the late 1800s.”

Duluth’s 2008 festival drew 125,000 people to the waterfront, city officials say. Promoters say this year’s festival — a day longer and with three times the ships — could draw even larger crowds.

But organizers feel that they are better prepared to handle the popularity of tall ships than they were two years ago, when first-day bugs resulted in long lines and delays. Organizers are limiting boarding passes to 25,000 — the same as in 2008.

At least some of the ships should arrive in Duluth on Wednesday. All nine should take part in Thursday’s Grand Parade of Sail under the Lift Bridge and into the harbor. Thursday’s parade and opening ceremonies will be followed by three days of ship tours and public entertainment.

Visiting ships include the US Brig Niagara and Pride of Baltimore II, replicas of ships from the War of 1812 and stars of the 2008 festival; the barque Europa and Roald Amundsen, both from European homeports; the schooners S/V Denis Sullivan and Zeeto, both of which would have been at home on the Great Lakes in the 1850s; and the popular HMS Bounty, launched in 1961 for MGM film “Mutiny on the Bounty” and whose decks have been trod by Marlon Brando as Fletcher Christian, Charlton Heston as Long John Silver in “Treasure Island” and Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow in “Pirates of the Caribbean — Dead Man’s Chest.”

And speaking of treasure and pirates, Ashland-based International Explorations Inc. is displaying more than $8 million in treasure and artifacts at Treasure Adventure, a two-week event featuring hands-on exploration and pirate-themed entertainment that opened at the former Lafarge cement terminal Saturday and runs through Aug. 8. Though it isn’t part of the tall ship festival, the event’s proximity and schedule offers visitors more entertainment options.

Between Treasure Adventure, the Tall Ships festival’s nightly performances of “Pirates of Penzance,” and pirate fanatics of all ages wearing eye patches and waving plastic cutlasses, “I’m sure we will see more people dressed as pirates than we have ever seen in one place before in our lives,” Shaw said.

There was a time on the Lakes when the sight of several sailing ship was anything but special. In 1870, there were 2,000 sailing ships on the Great Lakes. Ports such as Chicago and Milwaukee could see 100 sailing ships arrive in a day seeking shelter when storms threatened. The Twin Ports probably saw days with 60 to 70 sails in harbor. Advancing technology, however, doomed sailing ships, with clouds of black smoke replacing billowing white sails.

A romanticized view of the age of sail and their novelty makes tall ships popular attractions. Crowds have flocked to see the ships during the American Sail Training Association’s Great Lakes United Tall Ships Challenge’s stops in Toronto, Ont., Cleveland, Ohio, and Bay City, Mich., this summer. The challenge will make Duluth its fourth stop and go from here to Green Bay (Aug. 12-15) and Chicago (Aug. 24-30).

About 600,000 people came out to see the ships in Toronto and 125,000 turned out in Bay City — a number nearly four times the community’s population.

“The reception has been phenomenal,” said Tall Ships Challenge director Patricia Lock. “I think we live vicariously through the crews. We just want to touch it, feel it, see what it’s like. People would love to sail away with us.”

One indication of the popularity of tall ships is that 1,200 tickets for two-hour trips aboard the Sullivan and Roseway while they are in Duluth sold out in fewer than three days.

Shaw recommends that people use the shuttles serving the festival and parking lots and to allow themselves extra time if they are on a schedule.

While having more ships will probably draw more people, the greater number of large ships will absorb crowds better, Lock said.

“And you have a lot more festival built into your event than you did in ’08,” she said. “So it sounds like a great event for Duluth.”

Duluth News Tribune


Updates - July 28

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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
After unloading coal at Essar Algoma, Kaye E. Barker arrived at the Upper Harbor Monday afternoon and loaded ore into the night.

Cheboygan, Mich. - Fred Stone
Nordic Stockholm arrived in Cheboygan Monday morning to off-load at the U.S. Oil terminal. This is the first visit by this Denmark-flagged vessel.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey and Daniel McNeil
On Monday, Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber called on the Saginaw River with a split load. The pair lightered at the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City before continuing upriver to finish unloading at the Wirt stone dock in Saginaw. On July 24th, Manitowoc called on the Wirt stone dock in Saginaw to unload. Manitowoc was back again on Monday morning, arriving with a split load for the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee and the GM dock in Saginaw. She completed her unload and was outbound through Bay City during the evening. Indiana Harbor was also inbound Monday morning, calling on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville to unload. Once finished, she backed from the dock and headed out for the Saginaw Bay to turned around and make way for the lake.

Lorain, Ohio - Jim Bobel and Phil Leon
Cedarglen arrived in Lorain to load taconite from the Jonick dock.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
CSL Laurentian was backed into the Bethlehem Slip at the Gateway Metroport in Lackawanna Monday afternoon.


Updates - July 27

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery (check back Tuesday for updates)
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.


Port Reports - July 26

Soo - Jeff & Greg Barber
A cloudy rainy Saturday saw the CSL Tadoussac, Lee A. Tregurtha, Stewart J. Cort, Algosar, American Spirit and St. Clair upbound and the Edgar B. Speer, Burns Harbor, Indiana Harbor, Frontenac, Charles M. Beeghly, Algocape, Algomarine, John J. Boland, CSL Niagara and Cason J. Callaway downbound. Sunday morning the sun returned and the Arthur M. Anderson, Paul R. Tregurtha, Roger Blough and Tim S. Dool were downbound and the American Mariner, Kaye E. Barker and the Canadian Olympic were upbound.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
English River was in at Essroc on Saturday.


Coast Guard evacuates man during Chicago to Mackinac race

7/26 - Cleveland, Ohio - The U.S. Coast Guard evacuated an injured man during the Chicago to Mackinaw race late Sunday morning.

Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock, homeported in Port Huron, Michigan, received a report of an injured man aboard a sailing vessel approximately three miles west of Muskegon, Michigan, around 8:30 a.m.

Hollyhock crews responded by launching their small boat and returning the man to the cutter, where he was soon airlifted to a Grand Rapids, Michigan, hospital by an HH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City.


Great Lakes warm up, could hit record highs

7/26 - Lake Superior's normally cool waters are an estimated 10 to 15 degrees warmer than usual and well on their way to record-breaking levels.

Each of the Great Lakes is registering temperatures that are well above normal for this time of year, the result of a shortened winter season and a hot spring. And those warmer waters are impacting the region in a variety of ways -- from throwing off the spawning of native fish species to hurting some businesses that make a living off the waters. In other instances, the temperatures are seen as a welcome change.

It all depends on where you are.

"All of the lakes are either at or approaching their normal temperatures for late August," said Jay Austin, a physics professor at the University of Minnesota's Large Lakes Observatory in Duluth, Minn. "They're already at what we would have expected to be their peak temperatures for the summer, and we have several more weeks of warming to go."

His observations come from 30 years of data collected from buoys throughout the Great Lakes. Data from satellites measuring surface temperatures also indicate a record-breaking summer for the waters.

Austin said this year's higher readings are the result of a winter season that saw little ice cover on the lakes coupled with recent trends in warming temperatures throughout the region.

Bill Deedler, a historian and forecaster with the National Weather Service, wouldn't go so far as saying the changes are the result of global warming. But conditions hitting the lake this year are combining for unusual effects.

"We have seen more extremes in our weather in the last 10 years -- snowier winters and hotter summers -- because of the overall patterns in the hemisphere," Deedler said.

He declined, however, to say whether those patterns are evidence of global warming trends espoused by many researchers.

"This isn't out of the ordinary, but it can be seen as an anomaly," he said.

Hot water no good for fish

Among the Great Lakes, Superior is the most sensitive to temperature changes, according to meteorologists. Warmer waters are making the whitefish much harder to come by. Ralph Wilcox of the Wilcox Fish House & Restaurant in Brimley usually catches them closer to shore, but those fishing grounds are now warmer than usual.

"It chases them out deeper," the 68-year-old said. "They get out into the water column and you can't catch them. They usually don't do that until mid-August or so.

Farther west along the shore of Lake Superior -- almost to the end of Michigan's Upper Peninsula -- Nancy Auer is encountering temperature-related troubles in her efforts to restore lake sturgeon in the Ontonagon River. For the past three years, researchers at Michigan Tech have been introducing young sturgeon into the river, which feeds into Lake Superior.

"We've just had a heck of a time this year (keeping the new sturgeon alive) because of the hot waters," said Auer, a biology professor at the university.

It's unclear how the higher water temperatures will affect Lake Superior's fish populations in the long run, but few are predicting it will be a good thing. Species like the coaster brook trout, herring and whitefish that spawn in the fall could see their routines delayed for weeks or months. That could mean drastic changes for those who make a living off the lake.

"Right now it's too soon to know what will happen," said Tom Gorenflo, tribal fisheries manager for the Chippewa-Ottawa Resource Authority based in Sault Ste. Marie. "But if it continues to warm like this, we may see some changes in the fish ecology."

Algae in abundance

In recent years, the Great Lakes haven't needed any help producing the thick blooms of green algae that cover miles of surface water. But the temperatures in play this summer may be spurring growth of the unwanted muck.

Algae blooms arrived earlier than normal this year along Lake Erie and in larger masses than usual. David Baker, a professor at Heidelberg University in Tiffin, Ohio, has been studying algae growth in the lake for years.

"With everything else being equal, I'm sure the warmer temperatures have helped the algae grow more quickly this year," Baker said.

Baker isn't the only researcher studying the waters this summer. Should the temperature trends from this summer continue into the late fall, it could impact lake levels in 2011.

"A mild December followed by a frigid cold January could lead to a high evaporation rate early next year," said Keith Kompoltowicz, a meteorologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "That takes water directly from the lake surfaces and deposits it in other areas in the form of precipitation... leading to lower lake levels."

Detroit News


Salties off the lakes slow to the speed of the sailing clippers

7/26 - The world's largest cargo ships are travelling at lower speeds today than sailing clippers such as the Cutty Sark did more than 130 years ago.

A combination of the recession and growing awareness in the shipping industry about climate change emissions encouraged many ship owners to adopt "slow steaming" to save fuel two years ago. This lowered speeds from the standard 25 knots to 20 knots, but many major companies have now taken this a stage further by adopting "super-slow steaming" at speeds of 12 knots (about 14mph).

Travel times between the US and China, or between Australia and Europe, are now comparable to those of the great age of sail in the 19th century. American clippers reached 14 to 17 knots in the 1850s, with the fastest recording speeds of 22 knots or more.

Maersk, the world's largest shipping line, with more than 600 ships, has adapted its giant marine diesel engines to travel at super-slow speeds without suffering damage. This reduces fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 30%. It is believed that the company has saved more than £65m on fuel since it began its go-slow.

Ship engines are traditionally profligate and polluting. Designed to run at high speeds, they burn the cheapest "bunker" oil and are not subject to the same air quality rules as cars. In the boom before 2007, the Emma Maersk, one of the world's largest container ships, would burn around 300 tonnes of fuel a day, emitting as much as 1,000 tonnes of CO2 a day – roughly as much as the 30 lowest emitting countries in the world.

Maersk spokesman Bo Cerup-Simonsen said: "The cost benefits are clear. When speed is reduced by 20%, fuel consumption is reduced by 40% per nautical mile. Slow steaming is here to stay. Its introduction has been the most important factor in reducing our CO2 emissions in recent years, and we have not yet realised the full potential. Our goal is to reducing CO2 emissions by 25%."

The Royal Navy and BP, meanwhile, are among those adopting different ways to reduce fuel use and cut carbon emissions. The Ark Royal light aircraft carrier, the new Queen Mary 2 cruise liner and 350 other large commercial ships have had their hulls coated with special anti-fouling paint. This has been shown to cut around 9% from CO2 emissions by keeping their bottoms free from barnacles and other sea life.

Some ships have been fitted with kite-like "skysails", or systems that force compressed air out of hulls to allow them to "ride" on a cushion of bubbles. These measures can cut fuel consumption by up to 20%.

Environmentalists say that a reduction in speeds makes sense but warn that there is no guarantee that ships would not revert back to full throttle once economic conditions improve.

Guardian News


Updates - July 26

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery update 1
News Photo Gallery update 2
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.


Welland Canal feels the heat

7/25 - Thorold firefighters were called to Lock 7 twice Thursday to extinguish wooden fenders in the Welland canal.

The fenders are like bumpers for ships. Vessels come into the lock and rub against the wood to lower friction between the hull and concrete.

Andrew Bogora, a communications officer for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, said occasionally during high temperatures, the friction between the hull and fender causes flames.

Firefighters were called to the west side of the canal just after 10 a.m. and again just before 11 a.m., fire chief Chris Halliday said.

The fires were quickly put out by firefighters donning life jackets and using a penetrating foam solution mixed with water.

Wooden fenders are replaced by the Seaway as they age, but Bogora said the principle reason for replacement is deterioration from hulls eating into the wood over time.

St. Catharines Standard


Port Reports - July 25

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick and Lee Rowe
After a quick turn around trip from Essar Algoma at the Soo, Robert S. Pierson was back at the Upper Harbor Saturday morning to load ore.

Soo - Jeff & Greg Barber
Thursday saw the Michipicoten, St. Clair, American Century and Presque Isle downbound with the Tim S. Dool, Canadian Progress, Kroonborg, Paul R. Tregurtha, Roger Blough, Algomarine and Great Lakes Trader upbound. Friday had the Algolake, Saginaw (to Essar) American Republic, Orla, Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin, Pineglen and the American Integrity upbound and the Kaministiqua, H. Lee White, Saginaw (from Essar) and James R. Barker downbound.

Holland, Mich. - Paul Dalman
The Lewis J. Kuber brought a load of stone to the Brewer dock in Holland Saturday evening.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Under overcast and rainy skies the Algoway arrived at Lafarge around 3 p.m. on Saturday. It tied up at the coal dock and unloaded bauxite into the storage hopper.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Mississagi arrived off Lorain about 8 p.m. Saturday. By 9 p.m. she was docked on the west side of Black River at 9th Street, boom moving into position to unload at Amcor.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Algosteel departed Redpath Sugar Friday afternoon.


Updates - July 25

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


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 in 1875.

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.


Port Reports - July 24

South Chicago, Ill. - Lou Gerard
The St. Marys Challenger entered Calumet Harbor Friday morning around 5:30 and headed up the Calumet River to temporary layup at the "sheds" in Lake Calumet. She arrived there about 8:45 and is fully loaded.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
Wilfred Sykes arrived Friday for repairs to her self-unloading boom, which partially collapsed at Port Inland Wednesday.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived at Lafarge Wednesday night and tied up under the silos. Around 11 p.m. on a rainy Thursday night the Manitowoc made its way into the Thunder Bay River. It unloaded coal from Sandusky, Ohio for the DPI Plant. Friday afternoon, the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation took on a load of cement at Lafarge and was outbound in the bay after 8 p.m. Alpena is in temporary lay-up in Toledo, Ohio.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
Herbert C. Jackson entered the Buffalo River at 8:26 p.m. Thursday. She was still unloading at midnight.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Friday, the tug Ecosse arrived at 2 p.m. Hamilton Energy arrived at 3:30 p.m. after bunkering Atlantic Erie in Port Weller. The tug John Spence and barge Niagara Spirit arrived at 4 p.m. J.W. Shelley departed Pier 25 at 4:30 p.m. The saltie Arctic Sea arrived at 5:30 p.m. Montrealais arrived at 7:30 p.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco.


Bulk carrier Algoma Guardian hoists Canadian flag

7/24 - Algoma Guardian became a Canadian-registered ship on Friday. Her old port of registry, Nassau, was painted over and her new port of registry, St. Catharines, was painted on during the day. The ship arrived in Halifax on July 20 and moved alongside pier 25 for the changeover.

Mac Mackay


Seaway increases maximum draft between Montreal to Lake Ontario

7/24 - Thanks to significant precipitation in June and almost average precipitations over the Lake Ontario basin in July, the outflows have been increasing gradually and the water levels have improved on Lake St-Louis to above Cote Ste Catherine Lock. Effective July 24 the maximum permissible draft in the Montreal-Lake Ontario section will be increased to 26’-6’’ for all vessels.


Federal ballast rule: Making progress

7/24 - Duluth, Minn. - The United States Coast Guard is a year into working on its proposed rule for ballast water discharge. The goal of the ballast regulations is to prevent the spread of invasive species.

The Coast Guard has received 3000 public comments on the proposed rule.

The next step is a feasibility study, to focus on the challenges lakers face when it comes to ballast rules. However, the research and development group that will work on this has been busy for the past few months because of the Gulf oil spill.

The Chief of Environmental Standards for the USCG presented an update at the Duluth Seaway Port Authority meeting in Duluth on Thursday.

"It's frustrating, because we are trying to balance the shipping industry and the environmental needs. Ship builders tell us they are waiting until there is one federal standard," Commander Gary Croot said.

Right now, different states have different regulations. For example, Minnesota's ballast water discharge permit follows the International Maritime Organization's standards, and requires compliance by 2016.

Wisconsin's permit is 100 times more stringent, but exempts lakers, and requires compliance by 2014.

Even when the federal rule is put into place, the states' permits could still overrule it. Unless the President and Congress change the law, and make it so the federal standard is the only one to follow.



Port of Montreal lockout to end Saturday

7/24 - Montreal, Que. - Longshoremen are returning to work Saturday at the Port of Montreal, ending a lockout that has idled Canada's second largest port since Monday. Union president Daniel Tremblay said his members voted unanimously Friday to accept a back-to-work protocol negotiated with the help of a federal mediator Thursday night.

Both the union, representing about 850 longshoremen and women, and the employer have agreed to stop pressure tactics and to begin intensive contract negotiations Monday. The Longshoremen's' Union, Local 375 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, has been without a contract since Dec. 31, 2008.

The longshoremen earn an average of $80,000 annually in a job that demands shift work and being on call.

The Maritime Employers Association, which represents shipping companies and negotiates with port workers in various Canadian ports, locked out the workers because union pressure tactics, they said, were causing an unacceptable level of uncertainty at the port.

It has agreed to reinstate a revenue guarantee program for about 169 of its most recent hires, resolving an issue that had triggered the longshoremen's refusal to work overtime.

The backlog of containers — about 1,400 — is not worrisome, Gilles Corriveau, spokesman for the employers' association, said Friday.

The Port of Montreal handled 1.25-million, 20-foot equivalent units, or containers, last year.

On Wednesday, Federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt referred the dispute to the Canadian Industrial Relations Board, citing her desire to "ensure that the health and safety of the public are not jeopardized."

Raitt said the action was taken in part in response to concerns raised about the supply of goods to Newfoundland and Labrador, about half of which are said to go through Montreal's port.

Quebec's largest employers group, the Conseil du patronat du Quebec, had also urged Raitt to intervene for "the health" of Quebec's economy.

The Montreal Gazette


Coast Guard searches for passengers from small aircraft crash in Lake Michigan

7/24 - Cleveland, Ohio - U.S. Coast Guard search crews from multiple units are searching Lake Michigan in the vicinity of Ludington, Mich., today for a small plane that was reportedly carrying five people. One person has been rescued, while four are reportedly still missing.

The Coast Guard was notified by an air traffic controller, who reported losing contact with the aircraft at about 10 a.m., CST.

The Cessna 206 aircraft took off from Alma, Mich., heading to Rochester, Minn., but reported having problems to the air traffic controller. The search is focused in the vicinity of Ludington, where the aircraft dropped off radar.

The Coast Guard dispatched search crews aboard a 25-foot response boat from Station Ludington and a 47-foot motor lifeboat from Station Manistee, Mich. Also dispatched was an HH-65C Dolphin rescue helicopter from Air Station Traverse City, Mich.


Updates - July 24

Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Thursday evening at the Upper Harbor, Robert S. Pierson arrived to load ore for the first time this shipping season. A bright moon rose as she loaded into the night.

Soo - Jeff & Greg Barber
A sunny and busy Wednesday on the St. Marys River saw Herbert C. Jackson, Canadian Olympic, Edwin H. Gott, American Integrity, Kaye E. Barker, Quebecois, Walter J. McCarthy Jr. and American Spirit downbound and Cason J. Callaway, Indiana Harbor, Algocape, Edgar B. Speer, Burns Harbor, Arthur M. Anderson, CSL Niagara, CSL Assiniboine, John J. Boland, Frontenac, Robert S. Pierson and Charles M. Beeghly upbound.


Rising level of Lake Ontario good news

7/23 - Rochester, N.Y. - Six weeks ago, experts said the heavens would have to open in order to overcome extreme low water levels in Lake Ontario.

Thus it has come to pass: Double the normal rainfall fell in the lake basin in June and early July, causing water levels to shoot up again.

"We've been very fortunate in getting lots of rain in June. We're getting a lot better levels than we had expected," said John Kangas, a senior hydraulic engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Chicago. "We're still below average, but most people are a lot happier than they were in early- and mid-May."

Boaters, marina operators and others had been grumbling that water a foot lower than normal made some docks unusable and threatened to force boat owners to haul their craft out of the lake much earlier than usual. Lack of spring rain and a low supply in the other Great Lakes, whose flow winds up in Lake Ontario, explained the situation in May.

Kangas, who is the United States secretary to the international board that oversees regulation of water levels in the lake and St. Lawrence River, said about 6.6 inches of rain fell in June in the Lake Ontario basin. The long-term average is 3.1 inches.

Rochester had about 6 inches in June, as did Watertown, Jefferson County. Toronto recorded a whopping 7.5 inches, more than 4.6 inches above normal.

The lake level rose accordingly. "We'll get roughly a half-inch rise in June, on average. This year we had 8½ inches, which is extraordinary," said Kangas.

If normal conditions prevail, the lake level will soon begin a gradual decline that should last into the fall.

Some attribute the unexpected increase in water levels to action by regulators, who control outflow from the lake into the St. Lawrence at dams on the river.

"Lake Ontario is like a saucepan. You have to raise that handle and get it to tip," said Bill Mayer of Mayer's Marina in Webster.

He noted that low water hits hardest at the eastern end of the lake and the Thousand Islands region of the river, and figured business owners there made a stink. "Apparently they got ahold of the board of control and it's up 8 to 12 inches in just a few weeks."

Kangas said the plan followed by the International St. Lawrence River Board of Control specifies that outflows at the dams be slowed when levels are low in early summer, and that's just what was done.

But the board didn't order any major departures from the plan, which can be done if conditions merit. "We haven't taken any extraordinary measures to increase or decrease flows," he said.

He said the extra rain and slower releases combined to return Lake Ontario to near normal. Said Kangas: "I have not heard any water-level complaints in probably three or four weeks myself."

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle


Tall ship Lynx arrives in port of Toledo

7/23 - Toledo, Ohio - Thursday the 122-foot, square top sail schooner Lynx arrived in downtown Toledo, docking beside the Willis B. Boyer Museum Ship. The vessel will be firing a salute from her main battery of six-pounder carronades at 3 p.m. on Friday.

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

“We are very excited for our visit to Toledo Harbor, and want to thank wholeheartedly our hosts Boyer/Riverfront Inc. which serves to operate and preserve the S.S. Willis B. Boyer Museum Ship,” said Jeffrey Woods, Director Operations for Lynx Educational Foundation. “It is through their generous support that Toledo residents will have the chance to walk the decks and step back in time aboard Lynx, our national treasure.”

The 114-ton Lynx is an interpretation of a privateer or naval schooner from the War of 1812. She is fitted with period ordnance and flies pennants and flags from the 1812 era making her one of the first ships to defend our freedom. The Lynx crew wears period dress and operates the ship in keeping with the maritime traditions of early 19th-century America. Lynx represents a Letter of Marque Baltimore Clipper, considered to be among the finest privateer schooners ever built. Because of their swiftness and maneuverability, these ships were most effective as blockade runners and offensive weapons of war. Students and adults will recognize the War of 1812 as a significant element of American heritage and as a turning point in the development of our national identity. The educational early American history and science programs that are aboard Lynx meet specific state standards.

On decks and below Lynx evokes the life, spirit and atmosphere of a vanished age of sail. Lynx is also available for school field trips, private charters, team building, and receptions. The vessel will offer public dockside tours Friday from 4-5 p.m., and on Saturday from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

The Public Adventure Sail is sold out. Port-to-port passages are available for the voyage between Toledo, Ohio and Port Colborne, Ontario. For information, visit

Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority


Institute awarded clean diesel initiative grant to repower Edwin H. Gott

7/23 - Superior, Wis. and Duluth, Minn. – The Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute (GLMRI) has been awarded a $750,000 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 5 Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative Grant to help reduce air emissions from a 1,000-foot Great Lakes ore carrier.

Dr. Richard Stewart, GLMRI co-director, said the grant enables Key Lakes I, Inc., a major Great Lakes vessel operator, to repower the Edwin H. Gott during the year-long project. The main engine installation will take place at Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., concurrent with the vessel’s winter layup and drydocking.

GLMRI and Key Lakes I, Inc., are partners in the project that will significantly reduce the air emissions for the Gott and help improve the air quality in the Great Lakes region, particularly in non-attainment areas where the vessel operates. The EPA grant will leverage more than $14 million of private investment supporting employment in Wisconsin and Minnesota.

“GLMRI believes this is a great opportunity to continue to improve the environmental footprint of the Great Lakes marine transportation system,” Stewart said. “The grant would not have been possible without the support of the EPA, Key Lakes I, Inc., Congressman David Obey, Congressman James Oberstar, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.”

The Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute is a consortium of the University of Wisconsin-Superior and the University of Minnesota Duluth, with 11 affiliate universities in the Great Lakes region. GLMRI is dedicated to developing and improving economically and environmentally sustainable maritime commerce on the Great Lakes through applied research.

Great Lakes Maritime Research Institute


Willis B. Boyer museum receives federal stimulus money

7/23 - Toledo, Ohio - Ohio Department of Development Director Lisa Patt-McDaniel announced Thursday $597,500 in Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund grants to four Ohio projects through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Last August, the State of Ohio received $1.8 million in funding through the Recovery Act from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for Brownfield Revitalization efforts. Up to $200,000 in Recovery Act funding is available to eligible nonprofit and local government entities for remediating asbestos in historic buildings.

The City of Toledo (Lucas County) will receive $200,000 to conduct remediation on the S.S. Willis B. Boyer Museum in Toledo. The $203,000 project will include the removal of asbestos from the docked ship, which dates back to 1911 and sees an average of 6,000 visitors a year while hosting multiple port security exercises. It opened as a museum in 1987.


Coffer dam installation begins at Canadian Sault lock

7/23 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. - The first pieces of a coffer dam that will allow the Sault recreational lock to be completely cleared of water went in Wednesday.

"Over the next two weeks, the coffer dam will be constructed (from pieces reminiscent of a huge yellow Meccano set) on the lower canal floor to prevent water from entering the lock from the low side of the St. Marys River," says Manon Cuthbertson, visitor services/ heritage presentation person for Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site of Canada. "Once the coffer dam is in place, the lock can be completely unwatered using portable pumps."

The Canadian recreational lock is closed to marine traffic for the season for inspection, repair, maintenance and upgrades.

Cuthbertson anticipates Parks Canada staff will find many unusual items once the lock is fully drained since the bottom has not been inspected since the present recreational lock was constructed within the historic lock in 1998.

In earlier times, the lock was drained yearly for maintenance and upgrades and part of that maintenance included picking up all the items boaters and visitors to the lock have dropped in the water.

Cuthbertson also anticipates staff will be rescuing a few fish that may have been trapped when the gates were closed and the lock was drained to the downstream level a few weeks ago.

The Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site remains open to the public during the project this season.

“The lock is closed to marine traffic, which is being rerouted through the American locks, but the site itself is still very much open to visitors,” Cuthbertson said. Staff is also continuing daily tours of the site including information on the new construction project daily at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and by appointment by calling 941-6205.

Access to South St. Marys Island and the Attikamek trails will remain available throughout the project.

Soo Today


Tall ship HMS Bounty at Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

7/23 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. - The tall ship HMS Bounty will dock in Sault Ste. Marie two extra days to accommodate the overwhelming community interest in the vessel.

A public showing of the ship will take place on Friday and Saturday between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Spectators can view the historic sailing vessel from the boardwalk at Roberta Bondar Park.

Soo Today


Maritime museum hosting tall ship cannon salute and breakfast

7/23 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - The Door County Maritime Museum will host Cannon Salute and Breakfast Under the Big Top in conjunction with the Baylake Bank Tall Ship Parade of Sail in Sturgeon Bay on the morning of Aug. 12.

Ships escorted by U.S. Coast Guard and Sturgeon Bay Police Department boats will parade through Sturgeon Bay in groups of about four as they travel to Green Bay from Lake Michigan. The vessels are bound for the Baylake Bank Tall Ship Festival Aug. 13-15 in Green Bay. Foreign ships slated to participate in the parade are the Roald Amundsen from Germany and Europa from the Netherlands. In addition the Lynx, Appledore IV, Friends Good Will, Unicorn, Wisconsin’s flagship Denis Sullivan, Pride of Baltimore, Roseway, Le Revenante, Royaliste and movie favorite H.M.S. Bounty are expected to participate in the parade. Each ship will be afforded a cannon salute from the museum’s 10-guage yacht gun originally owned by Capt. John Cap Roen.

Those attending the breakfast at the museum will enjoy prime viewing of the parade from the museum’s waterfront grounds, including the deck of tug John Purves, the museum’s balcony, and the windows of the Reddin Bridge Room.

Visit for details


Updates - July 23

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.


Port Reports - July 22

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Wednesday the tug LaPrairie departed at 11:30 p.m. for Clarkson and returned to port at 3:30 p.m. Canadian Enterprise departed at 12:30 ballast for Windsor. J.W. Shelley arrived in ballast at 3 p.m. for Pier 25. CSL Tadoussac departed at 4 p.m. from U.S. Steel for Superior in ballast.

Halifax, N.S. - Mac Mackay
Algoma Guardian arrived in Halifax July 20 and tied up at pier 25 for repairs and maintenance. She is still registered in the Bahamas, but has had her cranes removed to facilitate loading and unloading bulk cargoes.


Foreign tankers to be used in Canadian waters

7/22 - There have been two more applications to the Canadian Transportation Agency to use foreign tankers in Canadian waters.

Suncor has applied to use Sidsel Knutsen to transport 30,000 tonnes of high temperature feed stock from Sarnia and Montreal to various ports, including Windsor, Tracy Contrecouer and Sept Iles and the east coast, between the dates of July 21 and August 20.

PetroNav has applied to use Glen to transport clean product between Levis and Oakville July 19 to 25. This is in addition to the current trip she is making on the Lakes. Both these applications were made because no suitable Canadian tankers are available.

Freighter traffic in the Great Lakes region - including the St. Clair River - is increasing and might signal an economic rebound, officials are saying. More freighter traffic may signal a rebound Port Huron, Mich. – U.S. freighters in the Great Lakes carried 10.3 million net tons of cargo in June, according to the Lake Carriers' Association, a trade group that represents 55 ships.

That is an increase of 5 percent compared with May's traffic and 39 percent more than traffic in June 2009.

"Everything is up this year, especially the iron ore," said Glen Nekvasil, vice president of corporate communications for the association.

Capt. Dan Gallagher, president of the Lakes Pilots Association in Port Huron, said his pilots control foreign ships in local waterways. He said traffic of those vessels also is up, by about 60 percent from last year.

"I think it is just the economy picking up," he said.

Gallagher said it's likely many industries allowed their inventories to drop off during the economic doldrums.

"I think they are replenishing inventories," he said.

Steve Conner, the district director in Detroit for the United States Great Lakes Shipping Association, said he believes traffic on the water is up because the dollar is gaining in value on the euro, the unit of currency in Europe.

He predicted a 40 percent increase in traffic of salt-water vessels -- those traveling into the continent from the ocean.

"I think the economy is picking up a little bit," Conner said.

Frank Frisk said the traffic in the St. Clair River is much higher than last year, "which was a really terrible year."

He said the main products floating by on the St. Clair River are iron ore, coal, taconite and aggregate -- gravel and other material used for road construction.

Iron-ore cargo has doubled since last year, coal traffic is up 5.3 percent and limestone cargo increased by 50 percent, according to the Lake Carriers' Association.

Frisk said the increased traffic also is packing the Great Lakes Maritime Center at Vantage Point in Port Huron. The building monitors traffic on the river and offers a great view of the waterway.

He said many people are visiting from Toledo, Ohio, Royal Oak and other places south of Port Huron to watch the ships pass.

"We've been swamped every day; ever since the shipping season started," he said. "The building is just full to the max."

Port Huron Time Herald


George Steinbrenner’s connection to Soo’s maritime history recalled

7/22 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - In 1968, Gil Cowan, then the president of the Sault Area Chamber of Commerce, called a young shipping executive from the American Shipbuilding Co. to inform him he had been named the Marine Man of the Year.

“It can’t be me,” the executive said. “It’s got to be my father, Henry.”

Indeed, Cowan was looking for the young man’s father, the chief of Kinsman Marine Transit.

But while Kinsman Marine Transit and American Shipbuilding have faded into history, the young man Cowan called did not. His name was George Steinbrenner, the former principal owner of the New York Yankees who died last week at the age of 80.

Henry Steinbrenner came to the Sault on Sept. 26, 1968, to accept the award in front of what The Evening News reported to be 250 people from across the shipping industry. Cowan said George was present as Henry received a silver bowl from Evening News Marine Editor E.J. “Shine” Sundstrom, the chairman of the Chamber of Commerce’s marine committee.

Sundstrom, at the banquet honoring Henry, “told how Henry G. had carried on a fine family tradition. It was pointed out that in carrying on this tradition, Henry’s son, George, as head of American Shipbuilding, is helping to construct one the lakes’ first super vessels in the near 1,000-foot class and carrying more than 20 times the cargo hauled by the old steamer Onoko, the first iron freighter on the lakes and owned by his great-great-grandfather Philip Minch,” The Evening News said in its edition from Sept. 27, 1968.

That boat can still be seen today. The Roger Blough, according to, was built by the American Shipbuilding Co. for the USS Great Lakes Fleet, launching on June 15, 1972 after numerous setbacks. The 858-foot freighter last went through the Soo Locks on Monday, carrying taconite from Two Harbors, Minn., to Gary, Ind.

The Evening News


Updates - July 22

News Photo Gallery page 1
News Photo Gallery page 2
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - July 22

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

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

One hundred years ago on 22 July 1900, the tug MATT HESSER 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.


Duluth Seaway Port Authority earns award

7/21 - Duluth, Minn. - The Duluth Seaway Port Authority posted significant increases in international cargo over the 2009 navigation season, earning it the prestigious Robert J. Lewis Pacesetter Award from the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC), an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation. SLSDC Deputy Administrator Craig Middlebrook presented the award today to Adolph Ojard, Executive Director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority at a ceremony in Duluth.

“This is a strong economic performance by an important member of the Seaway System,” said Middlebrook. “Historically a tonnage leader, the Duluth Port Authority generated the kind of international business that kept its bragging rights intact.”

The Duluth Seaway Port shipped 1.9 million metric tons (mt) of cargo, a 16 percent increase, through the Seaway in the 2009 navigation season earning them their 10th Pacesetter award.

Grain shipments to the Port of Duluth totaled 1.6 million short tons, up 32 percent from 2008. “We are pleased to see the gains made in grain cargoes last year,” said Ojard. “We’re off to a strong start this season, and with an economic recovery under way, we look forward to significant improvement in overall maritime activity in 2010.”

The Duluth Port also expects to expand. The Port Authority Board of Commissioners approved a purchase agreement in January 2010 to acquire a section of the former Duluth Works site from U.S. Steel Corporation.

The Pacesetter Award is presented annually to U.S. Great Lakes Seaway ports and terminals that register increases in international overseas cargo tonnage shipped through the Seaway during the navigation season. Originally known simply as the Pacesetter Award, the name change honors long-time Seaway trade analyst Bob Lewis who passed away in 2001.


Port Reports - July 21

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick and Lee Rowe
The Interlake "Barkers" were at the Upper Harbor ore dock Tuesday evening. James R. Barker unloaded coal into the hopper on the south side of the dock while Kaye E. Barker loaded ore on the north side.

Soo - Jeff & Greg Barber
Another slow day on the St. Marys River, with H. Lee White and Kaye E. Barker upbound before daylight and Mesabi Miner upbound just after noon. Calumet was downbound during the night while Lee A. Tregurtha and Stewart J. Cort passed down during the day and the American Mariner downbound after dark.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Saginaw River quieted down on Tuesday after a busy long weekend. The fleet of tall ships, which had visited Bay City for the four-day Tall Ships Festival, formed an outbound convoy Monday on the Saginaw Bay. Most of the sailing vessels had arrived last Thursday.
Calling at commercial docks on Monday was the Olive L. Moore-Lewis J. Kuber. The vessel stopped first at the Bay Aggregates dock, then continued up the river to the Saginaw Wirt dock. The Moore-Kuber was outbound late Monday evening.

Cleveland, Ohio - Bill Kloss
Alpena was in Cleveland unloading at Lafarge on Monday.

Hamilton and Bronte, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Monday the tug Anglian Lady and barge departed at 11 a.m. for the canal. Canadian Navigator arrived at 6:30 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Duluth for Dofasco. Tim S. Dool departed at 7 p.m. Tuesday, while the tug LaPrairie departed at 1 p.m. to help Sidsel Knutsen dock in Clarkson. She returned to port at 6 p.m. Glen departed the Petro Canada Pier in Bronte at 1:15 p.m. for Quebec City. Canadian Navigator departed Pier 26 at 2 p.m. for Marblehead. Vega Desgagnes arrived at the Petro Canada Pier in Bronte at 2:30 p.m. Algosoo departed Dofasco at 6:30 p.m. for Ashtabula. Canadian Enterprise arrived at 7:30 p.m. with coal for Dofasco from Thunder Bay.


Erie's Brig Niagara sickness blamed on salmonella

7/21 - Erie, Pa. - The Erie County Health Department says salmonella was to blame for sickening 26 of 42 crew members aboard the U.S. Brig Niagara, a historic sailing ship based on Lake Erie.

Health department officials say it's unclear how the ship's crew contracted the bacteria, which often is found in spoiled or undercooked food.

The sickness forced the ship to cancel two fundraising events over the weekend and to cut short a visit to a tall ships festival in Cleveland. The crew has recovered, however, and set sail Monday for a Great Lakes tour that will include stops in Duluth, Minn., Green Bay, Wis., and Chicago.

The Niagara is a replica of the ship that Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry used to defeat the British at the Battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812.

Erie Times-News


Help wanted

7/21 - Lower Lakes Towing Ltd., a Great Lakes dry bulk shipping company, is seeking qualified candidates for the position of Second Engineer.
To be considered for the position, candidates shall have the following minimum credentials:

2nd Engineer Motor Certificate, issued by Transport Canada
Valid Transport Canada endorsement of proficiency
Valid professional related documents – Marine Advanced First Aid, Transport Canada Medical, Passport, Discharge book
Bondable for entry into the United States

We offer an excellent leave system with competitive pay, benefits and a positive workplace environment; managed by marine professionals. If you are interested in learning about us and joining our team, please address inquiries to:

Casey Fitzpatrick
Personnel Manager
Lower Lakes Towing Ltd.
517 Main St. PO Box 1149
Port Dover, ON N0A 1N0
(t) 519-583-0982 ext. 240 (f) 519-583-1946


Updates - July 21

News Photo Gallery (check back later today)
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.


Great Lakes coal trade up 7.2 percent in June

7/20 - Cleveland, Ohio - Coal shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 3,874,216 net tons in June, an increase of 21.5 percent over May, and an increase of 7.2 percent compared to a year ago. However, loadings were down 9.6 percent compared to the month’s 5-year average.

Shipments from Lake Superior ports were essentially on par with both a year ago and the month’s 5-year average. Loadings in Chicago increased by 45 percent compared to a year ago and basically mirrored the month’s 5-year average. The coal trade on Lake Erie increased 15.5 percent compared to a year ago, but was 26 percent off the 5-year average.

Year-to-date coal shipments stand at 10.7 million tons, a decrease of 2 percent compared to a year ago. However, a year ago the total was depressed by the recession. A better measure is the 5-year average for the first half; in that regard, 2010 loadings are 28 percent off the pace.

Lake Carriers' Association


Effects felt from Port of Montreal lockout

7/20 - Montreal, Que. - The impact of a lockout that has shut down most activity at the Port of Montreal is already being felt by businesses dealing directly with the facility, while others, such as retailers, say they can hold out for now.

“This is very serious for us,” said Diane Sirois, owner of Nova Containers Ltd., a La Prairie, Que.-based company that offers marine container, logistics and distribution services to customers.

“All of our activities have stopped,” Ms. Sirois said. “This has whipsawed us just as we were starting to come out of the recession.”

Customers are seeking alternative transit routes, such as through ports in Halifax and Vancouver, she said. “That means a lot of extra costs for them.”

Canadian National Railway Co. has suspended rail service to the port, spokeswoman Julie Sénécal said.

Some customers will be rerouting their shipments to such distant ports as New York and Norfolk, Va., said Gilles Corriveau, the spokesman for the Maritime Employers Association, the group representing companies such as ship owners and terminal operators that use the Port of Montreal’s facilities.

It was the MEA that locked out about 850 dock workers as of Monday morning, in a labour conflict over pay guarantees and job security.

The port, one of North America’s largest container facilities, handles between 70 and 80 per cent of the consumer goods destined for Ontario and Quebec, Mr. Corriveau said.

Everything from French wine and imported furniture to exports of Canadian manufactured products is affected by a lockout, he added.

All commercial operations at the port except for grain handling have been halted as a result of the lockout.

The lockout will cost “millions of dollars a day,” Mr. Corriveau said.

Alex Roberton, a spokesman for the Quebec operations of Wal-Mart Canada said: “We don’t expect events at the Port of Montreal to affect our customers. We have enough in stock at this point.”

Montreal, the second-largest Canadian port after Vancouver, is a key transit hub for goods destined for the U.S. northeast and Midwest.

Mr. Corriveau said the MEA had no choice but to begin a lockout because pressure tactics used by the unionized dock workers, such as working less overtime, had begun to disrupt operations at the port.

Michel Murray, an adviser to the Longshoremen’s Union, CUPE Local 375, said the MEA’s move is “needless and unjustified,” given the positive framework of talks that had been taking place as recently as Sunday.

The unionized workers have been without a contract for about 18 months. A key issue is the union’s demand that longshoremen retain guaranteed payments when they are on call but not actually working.

The MEA says it simply can’t afford to keep paying longshoremen when they aren’t working.

Federal Labour Minister Lisa Raitt urged both sides to get back to the bargaining table and said Ottawa will closely monitor the situation.

The Globe and Mail


Port Reports - July 20

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Twin Ports vessel traffic Monday morning included Edwin H. Gott inbound at the Duluth piers for the DMIR ore dock, James R. Barker outbound in Duluth harbor from Midwest Energy Terminal, Canadian Olympic waiting in Duluth harbor for Midwest Energy Terminal, Diezeborg at CHS 2 grain terminal and Herbert C. Jackson at CHS 1 grain terminal.

Ludington, Mich. - Nancy Keith
Sunday the tug Zeus and barge Robert F. Deegan came in to the Ludington Harbor during the evening, headed for the OxyChem (formerly Dow Chemical) dock. Shortly afterward, the tug Salvor and barge Lambert Spirit came in through the harbor, also headed for the Dow dock. Zeus docked the Deegan, and Salvor made a U-turn in Pere Marquette Lake to dock its barge in front of the Deegan, only a few feet away.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
John J. Boland departed Lorain Harbor about 2 p.m. after leaving the dock south of the Henderson Bridge.


Tall ships HMS Bounty and Pride of Baltimore II visit the Soo

7/20 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. - Wednesday evening a mini Parade of Sail will arrive off Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. when two tall ships float down St. Mary’s River, fire off a few cannons and dock at the Roberta Bondar Marina. The historical sailing vessels, HMS Bounty and Pride of Baltimore II, are scheduled to arrive sometime between 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.

Spectators and photographers can line the boardwalk, from the Bondar tent to Art Gallery of Algoma, to catch the best view.

The following day, Thursday, July 22, people are invited to board the ships from around 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Also during that time, there will be no shortage of activities to do on land, as a variety of sponsor booths and exhibits will be set up under the Bondar tent, adjacent to the moored vessels. War of 1812 re-enactors and the winners of last week’s “Castaway Call - Best Pirate Contest” will be present as well.

The Bounty was featured in the movies Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest and Mutiny on the Bounty. Entrance to board either tall ship will be by donation

Other tall ships will be passing through the river over the next week, heading to Duluth for the Tall Ships event July 28 - August 3


Brig Niagara sails from Erie in order to raise revenue

7/20 - Erie, Pa. - The U.S. Brig Niagara, a reconstructed 19th century ship recovered from Lake Erie in 1913, marks the 20th anniversary of its first trip serving as a replica of the vessel that played a major role in the War of 1812.

That first voyage wasn't long — just a seven-hour sea trial on the lake. Since then, the Niagara has sailed throughout the Great Lakes and to ports along the East Coast.

"I don't think 20 years ago, that anybody thought the ship would be sailing as extensively as it is," said Senior Capt. Walter Rybka.

The current Niagara is the third reconstruction of the ship that was left to rot in the Erie harbor after the War of 1812. Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry sailed the ship to victory against the British during the Battle of Lake Erie. The replica ship includes a few beams and other parts of the original Niagara.

In 1992, the Niagara made a nine-port East Coast voyage and drew 38,659 visitors, the first of three East Coast trips. The most recent one was in 2000, when the ship attracted 70,204 visitors in 11 ports from Norfolk, Va., to Montreal.

Since then, the Niagara has stayed in the Great Lakes. The vessel is scheduled to leave today for Duluth, Minn., where 12,000 people visited the Niagara in 2008 and where officials hope to raise $30,000 in appearance fees as well as revenue from day sails. The visit will match the Niagara's farthest trip west.

A sailing ship requires more maintenance than one that stays in port, but Rybka said the visits raise necessary income and help to keep volunteers and professionals who have the skills and dedication to take care of the ship.

"What I always tell people is: 'The difference between owning an historical building and an historical ship is you own the horse instead of the stable,' " he said.

The ship hasn't always had smooth sailing, with the state's financial woes. A year ago, the state cut funding from about $800,000 to what turned out to be about $200,000, said Rybka, who's the administrator for the ship and the Erie Maritime Museum.

The Flagship Niagara League had negotiated a commitment of $350,000 from the state, but the 2009-10 budget wasn't approved until 101 days into the fiscal year. The state is to provide $350,000 for the fiscal year that started July 1, but most of the vessel's $1 million budget comes from donations and from day sails, port visits and other earned income.

"The ship is earning more money than it ever did before, but it's a big gap to close," Rybka said.



Final 70 boats nearing end of Lake Huron race

7/20 - Mackinac Island, Mich. - The final 70 boats - helped along with steady winds - were nearing the end of the annual Port Huron to Mackinac sailboat race. A spokesman said 134 boats had finished the race by about 3:30 p.m. and that the remaining vessels were expected to finish later Monday.

The Natalie J currently still is the winner. It finished just before midnight Sunday, about six hours after the Beau Geste, but wins the largest boat class based on a handicapping system.

Final and official results will be determined when all boats have finished.

Race chairman Tom Burleson says the last of the big boats finished around 8:10 a.m. Monday.

The 86th annual race started Saturday at Port Huron and takes the boats north and northwest to Mackinac Island.

Associated Press


Updates - July 20

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


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.


Port Reports - July 19

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Sunday evening at the Upper Harbor, Michipicoten loaded ore for the sixth time in a week and departed at sunset.

Soo - Jeff & Greg Barber
On a very wet Sunday, Canadian Olympic, Edwin H. Gott, American Integrity, Walter J. McCarthy Jr. and American Spirit were upbound. Edgar B. Speer, Algolake, Canadian Enterprise, CSL Tadoussac, Indiana Harbor, Great Lakes Trader, Pathfinder and Charles M. Beeghly were downbound.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Wilfred Sykes backed in at about 10 last evening, blowing salutes and warning blasts as she made her way to Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg. She departed before 8 a.m.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore, with the barge Lewis J. Kuber, called on the Saginaw River Friday evening, stopping at the Wirt Sand and Stone dock in Essexville to unload. The pair was outbound for the lake Saturday morning.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
The Canadian Coast Guard Ship Griffon was on Lake Erie, just off Lackawanna, at 9:10 a.m. Sunday.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Saturday, Hamilton Energy departed at 5:45 a.m. and returned to port at 1:30 p.m. CSL Laurentien departed at 3 p.m. for the canal. Sunday, the saltie Federal Pioneer arrived at 5 a.m. Algocape also arrived at 5 a.m. with iron ore pellets from Port Cartier for Doafsco. Tim S. Dool arrived at noon with iron ore pellets from Point Noire for Dofasco. The tug Anglian Lady and barge arrived at 1 p.m. Robert S Pierson arrived at 3 p.m. with canola from Thunder Bay. Their next port will be Toledo.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Clelia II departed Sunday at 3 a.m., bound for the Welland Canal.

Cote Ste Catherine - Kent Malo
Saturday, Camilla Desgagnes left the lower lock wall at Cote Ste. Catherine in the St. Lawrence Seaway upbound, destination unknown. Problems beset the vessel and she had to go to anchor at Pointe Fortier anchorage, located below the locks at Beauharnois. Group Ocean was called to assist the vessel back to the Cote Ste. Catherine wharf. The tugs Ocean Hercule and Ocean Georgie Bain were sent to bring the Desgagnes back to the Cote Ste Catherine wharf, which was done during the early hours of Saturday morning.
Ocean Hercule departed Saturday night, escorting Richelieu to Quebec City; the pair was expected to arrive around 2:30 p.m. Sunday.


Updates - July 19

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


Today in Great Lakes History - July 19

On this day in 1970, 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 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.


U.S. Coast Guard evacuates woman from Beaver Island

7/18 - Cleveland, Ohio – A rescue helicopter crew from U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Mich., medically evacuated an 89-year-old woman reportedly experiencing arrhythmia from Beaver Island, Mich., at about 8 p.m., July 16, 2010.

Beaver Island Emergency Medical Services requested assistance from the Coast Guard at about 6:45 p.m. Air Station Traverse City immediately dispatched an HH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter crew.

An emergency medical technician from Beaver Island EMS accompanied the patient onboard the helicopter for the duration of the transport.

The crew transferred the Beaver Island resident safely to Traverse City, where an emergency medical crew was standing by to transport her to a local hospital.

The Coast Guard works closely with other first responders to provide efficient and expedient life saving services.

This rescue comes exactly one week after Traverse City, home to the Coast Guard air station since 1946, was proclaimed a "Coast Guard City" to recognize their tremendous support to local Coast Guard members.


Port Reports - July 18

Manitowoc, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
Friday afternoon the St. Marys Challenger was inbound Manitowoc heading to unload at the silos up river. Also dockside at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum (forward of the submarine Cobia) was the training ship Manatra. At Green Bay in the morning, Prentiss Brown and St. Marys Conquest remained at the St. Mary's Cement dock off loading. The Conquest was recently repainted and looking grand.

American Republic departed the Carbide Dock Saturday night after spending the day undergoing unspecified repairs. Other traffic Saturday included Stewart J. Cort, James R. Barker and Lee A. Tregurtha upbound, with Burns Harbor, Canadian Olympic, Medemborg, Saginaw and Edgar B. Speer downbound.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
CSL Niagara was loading coal at the Gateway Metroport in Lackawanna at 1 p.m. Saturday.


Sailors get underway in annual Mackinac boat race

7/18 - Port Huron, Mich. - Better than expected winds greeted 205 boats today as they left the bottom of Lake Huron for the 86th sailing of the Pure Michigan Bayview Mackinac race.

Throngs of onlookers dotted the shoreline.

“Look at it, it’s beautiful,” said Delores Kalis of Port Huron, sweeping her arm to indicate the boats. She always has out-of-town guests this time of year, just to show them the Mackinac boats.

Port Huron’s Black River was busy with boats, some leaving for their start, some still loading crew and supplies. Family and friends stood nearby. An announcer named each boat and its crew as they headed out of the river to the race.

A bagpipe band continued the long tradition of piping the sailors out to sea. The St. Andrews band has been piping sailors for this race for 40 years. The crew of Parlay was loading beer, pop, fruit drinks, a case of snacks, lasagna and city chicken for their race.

Andrew Guidotti, 11, of Lake Orion, sat on Parlay’s bow. He crews on Parlay for local races, but his parents have told him he’s got to wait until he’s 14 to do the Mackinac race.

Four boats dropped out before the start: Night Moves, Camelot, Walloon and Micjay. The U.S. Cost Guard cutter Hollyhock will follow the fleet up to Mackinac Island, ready to lend assistance if needed.

Aboard Sundance, the talk was of the ever changing weather report and the wind. Sundance has never missed a Mackinac race since 1979. Half their crew is a pair of father and son teams.

“Everybody’s got to keep an eye out for pockets of storms,” said crew member David Tyler of Plymouth. “Making the right guess and the right decisions, taking advantage of what you’ve got out there” will help them win the race.

This was the first time Connie Kumpula of Livonia watched the boats depart. Her husband is crewing aboard George. Is she worried?

“Well, he has his own boat, but it’s a distance race,” Kumpala said. “He’s confident but I’m a little nervous. I’ll be happy when he walks off the boat.”

George is one of the boats being sponsored this year by one of Detroit’s professional sports teams, and had a visit this morning from the Piston’s dancers.

Surprise was visited by the voice of the Red Wings, Ken Kal, and Lions Quarterback Club president Jim Rein came to wish Rebel 3 good luck. The teams also gave the boats they are sponsoring team flags, shirts and hats.

Blue Water Festival organizers said attendance is up 30% this year due to expanded activities. The festival continues through tonight and boasts a fair, music and a parade of lights later in the evening.

Detroit Free Press


Kayaker's Detroit stop part of 5,000-mile journey

7/18 - Detroit, Mich. - One of Jake Stachovak's seafaring mantras is, "The river is waiting." And he doesn't keep it waiting long.

The 35-year-old from Wassau, Wis., landed on the shores of Belle Isle, Detroit, on Friday, the 223rd day of his solo kayaking trip that began in Portage, Wis., in December. On Saturday morning, Stachovak, put his boat back in the water at the island's northern shore, and continued paddling up the Detroit River. By evening, his kayak is expected to reach Algonac State Park, and by Sunday, Port Huron.

The journey, named the Portage to Portage Paddling Project, has followed a 5,000 mile route: down the Mississippi River, along the Gulf Coast, up the East Coast, through the New York Canal Systems, and back to where he began in Portage. The trip has drawn more than 600 followers who track his daily travails and real time location on his website:

In an interview with The Detroit News, Stachovak said he craved the challenge of such an arduous journey, but what also drove him was a "compulsion" to "see what's around the bend."

"What I've discovered is what's behind the bend is another bend," Stachovak said. He added that he hoped to inspire other would-be adventurers to take to the waters.

Since Stachovak began, he has faced frozen waters, had his gear stolen, had his gear recovered by police, and been pepper-sprayed by pranksters.

Earlier this week, on a paddling stretch from Ohio to Woodtick Peninsula, Mich., his mango-colored boat drew suspicion from authorities.

"I found myself stuck in the glare of a patrol boat spotlight as it approached me from behind," he wrote in his entry for Wednesday. "Being so close to Canada the local authorities are always on the lookout for suspicious boating activity coming from across the lake. A lone kayaker heading straight west away from land at 4:15 AM tipped the scales toward the suspicious side and the officers had to check me out."

Two months ago, Ed Webber, 48, of Canton Township, began following Stachovak's journey online. Webber, a self-described beginner at kayaking, was then surprised to get a phone call days ago from a fellow member of the Great Lakes Paddlers. Stachovak would be landing on Detroit's shore, he was told. Could Webber feed and bed the weary traveler before he continued on his way?

Webber couldn't refuse. Before he helped push the kayak back into the water Saturday morning, Webber gave him a place to sleep, and sent him off in the morning with a homemade waffle breakfast.

"We just talked about life," Webber said.

Detroit News


Updates - July 18

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.


Port Reports - July 17

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Kaye E. Barker moved to the Upper Harbor early in the afternoon, loaded ore, and departed before sunset. She arrived Friday morning at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock to unload limestone from Meldrum Bay. At the Upper Harbor, Michipicoten was back for another load of ore and departed.

St. Marys River
Traffic Friday included the downbound Mapleglen, McKee Sons, St. Clair and Sam Laud. Upbounders included Calumet and Herbert C. Jackson.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Saginaw River was chaotic on Thursday. Between the arrival of the tall ship fleet and two commercial vessel passages, it was a stressful day for many vessel masters. The Tall Ship Celebration "Parade of Sail" began out in Saginaw Bay early in the afternoon Thursday. During the fleet's parade into the river, Algoway was outbound from the Sixth Street turning basin after unloading at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee overnight. She started meeting tall ships between Veteran's Memorial and Liberty bridges and passed her last ones near the Dow Chemical dock downriver. Inbound Thursday evening was the tug Zeus and tank barge Robert F. Deegan, calling on the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City to unload. The pair were expected to be outbound early on Friday. The tall ships in port for the Tall Ship Challenge are Madeline, Pathfinder, Playfair, Lynx, Denis Sullivan, Pride of Baltimore II, Roseway, Roald Amundsen, HMS Bounty, Europa, Appledore IV, and the Appledore V. The tall ships will remain in Bay City through Sunday.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
U.S. Coast Guard icebreaker Neah Bay was inbound at the mouth of Lorain Harbor at 7 p.m. Friday. She is in port for the Lorain Port Fest and will be open for tours Saturday 1-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
Bluebill left Redpath sugar during the day on Thursday.


Start of annual Lake Huron boat race Saturday

7/17 - Port Huron, Mich. - Wind, waves, fog and even kitchen fires are some potential obstacles that could pop up as some of the Great Lakes most experienced sailors race from Port Huron to Michigan's Mackinac Island. There have been a number of close calls over the 86 years of the Pure Michigan Bayview Mackinac Race, which resumes Saturday in Port Huron and typically spans three days.

Only four of the 12 boats starting the 1926 race finished the course because of storms. One boat sank in 1985, another barely avoided capsizing eight years later and a gust of wind knocked a sailor overboard in 2008, according to a story Thursday in the Detroit Free Press. A boat owned by singer Gordon Lightfoot was struck by lightning in one race. But no sailor ever has died, something organizers chalk up to crew experience.

"They are the top 10-15 percent of sailors in the Great Lakes," 2010 Race Chairman Tom Burleson told the newspaper.

More than 200 sailboats are expected to participate in the 86th annual version of the race, which starts about 55 miles northeast of Detroit and takes the boats north and northwest to Mackinac Island, in the straits between Michigan's Upper and Lower peninsulas. Some of the larger and faster vessels will take on the race's Cove Island course which takes them across the deepest part of the lake -- 750 feet. In that area, large waves and heavy winds can spell disaster.

Eight- to 12-foot seas pounded the Tomahawk in 1985, crew member Frank Couzens said.

About a half-hour after the lake began pouring into the boat's cabin, the vessel's owner told the crew to abandon ship. The eight people on board piled into a raft meant for six. They watched as the Tomahawk sank. It was surreal, in the sense that I think I was so stunned throughout the whole thing," Couzens said. "I was just grateful to be in the raft."

Fog tormented sailors on one boat in the 2000 race. They heard but could not see a passing freighter. The freighter continued on without a collision. Then there was a 2007 blaze in the kitchen of Burden IV that filled the boat's cabin with flames and smoke. A crew member used a fire extinguisher to put it out.

Detroit Free Press


Updates - July 17

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.

The Canada Steamship Line's HAMONIC burned at her pier at Point Edward bear Sarnia, Ont., on July 17, 1945. A warehouse next to the Hamonic's pier burst into flames from a fire which began from a gasoline motor for conveyor equipment which was being repaired by workmen. The flames and smoke were carried by a breeze to the Hamonic. Almost in the matter of minutes the Hamonic was doomed. She was aflame at dockside. The Capt. and the Engr. were able to move the ship down the dock from the raging flames from the warehouse. Many of the passengers were able to get ashore. Some passengers went ashore by climbing into the bucket of a crane which hoisted them on shore to safety. Everyone of the passengers and crew were saved.

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.


St. Lawrence Seaway reopens after oil leak, vessel backlog at 16

7/16 - Montreal, Que. - A closed section of the St. Lawrence Seaway was reopened to commercial traffic late Thursday afternoon, allowing boats to pass through the area for the first time in nearly three days.

The portion of seaway near the Ste. Catherine Lock, south of Montreal, was shut down on Monday night after a Canada Steamship Lines vessel ran aground, leaking around 20 tonnes of diesel fuel into the surrounding waters.

By Thursday morning, the backlog of ships in the seaway had reached a critical mass, with 16 vessels stuck on either side of the closed lock.

"The damaged vessel will be ready to be moved in a few hours," predicted Guy Yelle, vice-president for the St. Lawrence Seaway Corp., at a news conference during the morning. "There is a way to move it away from the wall so that it's possible to navigate around it."

The first vessel to pass through the newly-reopened portion of the seaway was expected to be one docked in St.-Lambert, south of Montreal — the Camilia Desgagnes.

The closure of the seaway posed a big operational and financial headache, suggested Suzanne Lafleche, of Groupe Desgagnes Inc., which specializes in marine transport. "But unfortunately we (couldn't) do much about it," she said.

The Desgagnes was expected to be followed by several ships coming from the other direction.

Environment Canada officials remained on the scene all day Thursday monitoring the ecological impact of the spill, but called the damage to the surrounding ecosystem, "minor."

"We now have 11 birds that were covered in oil that have been brought to the emergency veterinary clinic in St.-Hyacinthe," said Environment Canada spokeswoman Sonia Laforest. "We will remain here the rest of the day to keep an eye out for more."

Laforest said there have also been a handful of fish and two dead muskrats recovered from the stagnant water, but it's unclear if they were killed by the fuel spill or the recent hot weather.

She added that Environment Canada feels the reaction to the incident was measured and appropriate.

"It's good to have that reaction phase, so we get everyone concerned involved right away . . . and then you can move into the cleanup phase," she explained. "So no, I don't think we over-reacted."

Officials said now that the seaway has been reopened, boats will be required to reduce their speeds significantly to avoid churning up the water and any fuel it may still contain.

However, according to Laforest, most of the diesel has now washed up onto the rocky shoreline, where it is being mopped up by a private company brought in by Canada Steamship Lines.

The Montreal Gazette


Port Reports - July 16

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Twin Ports vessel traffic Thursday morning included Canadian Navigator arriving for the DMIR ore dock, Medemborg loading at CHS 1 and Diezeborg loading at CHS 2, Mapleglen at Midwest Energy Terminal completing its load of coal for Belledune, Nova Scotia, and Mesabi Miner waiting nearby to take the Midwest Energy Terminal berth. Federal Manitou was anchored on the lake waiting for a berth at CHS grain elevator.

Green Bay, Wis.  - Scott Best
St Marys Conquest and tug Prentiss Brown arrived in Green Bay for the St Marys Cement terminal on the Fox River. They arrived at the dock around 8 p.m. Both the Conquest and Prentiss Brown are sporting fresh paint and looking sharp.

Milwaukee, Wis. - Jason Heindel
Thursday, American Mariner was unloading at WE coal dock. St. Marys Challenger was at the St. Marys Cement pier discharging cement and puffing steam.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Thursday the saltie Federal Agno departed at 6 p.m. for Montreal where it will bunker before heading to Baie Comeau Que. John D Leitch arrived at 8 p.m. with a cargo of coal for Dofasco.

Seaway - Ron Walsh
Esta Desgagnes has departed Prince Edward Bay westbound. She gave an ETA for Sodus Point as 2115.


Ludington Coast Guard Station now owned by city

7/16 - Ludington, Mich. - The transfer of property ownership of the old U.S. Coast Guard Station Ludington from the federal government to the City of Ludington is now complete.

The city received the signed deed from the General Services Administration, the real estate arm of the federal government. The city is planning a dedication ceremony, but no details have been decided regarding a date.

The city intends to lease the station to the Mason County Historical Society, which plans to transform it into a maritime museum.


Coast Guard lists Sturgeon Bay's pierhead light as excess

7/16 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Someone other than the Coast Guard will soon own the red Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal pierhead lighthouse after it was deemed "excess property" on June 28.

The Coast Guard's decision to tag the pierhead light as no longer needed, along with 10 other lighthouses, took Door County Maritime Museum Executive Director Bob Desh by surprise.

"We thought we would have heard some rumblings before this became official. We're interested but our committee just found out about it today," Desh said Wednesday.

Any nonprofit, federal, state or local agency or group has 60 days to send a letter of interest for the pierhead light and is then given an application to fill out by the National Park Service along with an opportunity to inspect the light station. There is no cost to the nonprofits or public bodies who take ownership under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000.

Any number of groups could be interested in the light that first was established at the canal entrance of Lake Michigan in 1882. The light station has a 39-foot cylindrical cast iron tower attached to a square, steel, fog signal house that sits at the end of a break wall owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The light is offered "as is" and can be used for educational, park, recreational, cultural or historic preservation purposes. The Door County Maritime Museum already manages one lighthouse - the Cana Island Lighthouse - that is owned by the county.

A group such as the Friends of Plum and Pilot Islands could make a similar mutual arrangement for the pierhead light, he said. That group partnered with the U.S. Wildlife Service when it took ownership of the Plum and Pilot Island lights. Or a completely new group could form, such as Friends of the Pierhead Light, he said, or any other number of preservation groups could vie for it.

Groups have 90 days from the date of their site inspection to apply. The National Park Service will review applications and select an eligible entity. The U.S. General Services Administration will deed the light station to the selected steward.

Both the light and foghorn will continue to operate, regardless who takes ownership of the pierhead light. The sixth order Fresnel lens that flashes a red light every two and half seconds and the fog horn that sounds two two-second blasts every 30 seconds, remain the property of the U.S. Coast Guard.

The light station is eligible for listing on the national Register of Historic Places and historic covenants are incorporated into the Quitclaim Deed. The structure must be maintained according to the Secretary of Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation.

If no nonprofit or public group shows interest, Desh said, as is sometimes the case when rehabilitation proves too costly, the lighthouse would be put up for public auction. Commercial buyers sometimes step forward if no letters of interest are sent, he said, but their activities must be approved by the Secretary of the Interior.

In Michigan, three lighthouses were also put on the list: the Frankfort north breakwater light, the Middle Island light and the South Haven South pierhead light.

For more information go to Lighthouses available for public sale will be auctioned at

Door County Advocate


Updates - July 16

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


Today in Great Lakes History - July 16

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

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

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

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

Keel laying of the CHI-CHEEMAUN (Hull#205) was on July 16, 1973, at Collingwood, Ontario by 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.


Seaway reopened

7/15 - Montreal, Que. - 5 p.m. update - Vessel traffic on the South Shore Canal fully resumed about 4:40 p.m. Thursday. The canal, closed since Monday at 7:30 p.m. due to a fuel spill, has been cleared to resume operation after a successful effort to cleanup the navigation channel.

The only vessel moving was the tug Ocean Intrepid, she had entered the Seaway at St Lambert and is proceeding up to assist the Camilla Desgagnes.

A total of 17 vessels will be queued to transit the canal. The backlog of vessels should be cleared during the day on Friday. A series of booms continue to isolate the banks of the canal from the navigation channel which, combined with a reduced rate of speed (5  knots) imposed temporarily on all traffic, ensures that efforts to remediate the banks continue to advance smoothly. 

On Monday at approximately 7:30 p.m. the Canada Steamship Lines bulker Richelieu lost engine power. Efforts to bring the vessel to a halt resulted in a fuel tank being punctured, triggering the release of a quantity of fuel into the canal. Prompt action by the vessel’s crew in the initial deployment of booms and by Seaway operating staff in sealing the lock at Cote Ste. Catharine, thus halting the current within the canal, ensured that the spill remained in the immediate vicinity of the vessel. Federal agencies and the clean up contractor, ECRC, attended the scene and initiated a rapid remedial action plan.

Environmental impact from the spill has been limited. Waterborne oil has been removed through pumping and vacuuming operations; oil washed to the banks has for the most part not been absorbed, since the banks of the canal consist of man-made rock termed “rip-rap”, and remains accessible for cleanup. A small number of birds were soiled, and were attended to by specialists. Efforts are underway to remediate and restore the local environment.

“We are satisfied with the actions carried out by our emergency response team” said SLSMC President and CEO Richard Corfe. “We regularly engage in emergency response exercises with stakeholder agencies, and the effective response to this incident provides tangible proof that collectively, we were up to the challenge. We commend the Canadian Coast Guard, Environment Canada, Transport Canada and all of the other federal, provincial and civil authorities engaged at the scene for their efforts.”

2 p.m. update - Officials now say they could reopen a closed section of the St. Lawrence Seaway as early as Thursday afternoon, allowing commercial traffic to flow through the area for the first time in nearly three days.

The portion of seaway near the Ste. Catherine Lock, south of Montreal, was shut down late Monday night after a Canada Steamship Lines vessel ran aground, leaking diesel fuel into the surrounding waters.

By Thursday morning the backlog of ships in the seaway was reaching a critical mass, with 16 vessels stuck on either side of the closed lock.

"Later this afternoon, we'll have 20," Guy Yelle, vice-president for the St. Lawrence Seaway Corp., said at a news conference Thursday.

"The damaged vessel will be ready to be moved in a few hours. There is a way to move it away from the wall so that it's possible to navigate around it."

The first vessel to pass through likely will be one docked in Saint-Lambert, south of Montreal. It will be followed by several ships coming from the other side of the lock.

The Canadian Coast Guard, which gets final say on when traffic can resume, was expected to make an announcement mid-afternoon Thursday.

Environment Canada officials are still on the scene monitoring the ecological impact of the fuel spill, but they are calling the damage to the surrounding ecosystem "minor."

Original Report - The St. Lawrence Seaway, which was partially closed due to an oil leak after a Canadian freighter ran aground Monday night near Montreal, was expected to reopen Wednesday. As of Thursday morning the section affected by the spill remained closed as crews continued the clean up.

Estimates range from a day to a week for clean up efforts to be completed.

Vessels were held up at the south shore canal system due to cleanup efforts Tuesday, but the shipping channel west of the Montreal canal remained open. By Wednesday afternoon, 10 ships were waiting to go through the corridor. The backlog was expected to increase to 18 vessels by Wednesday night. On average, between eight and 10 ships go through the seaway each day.

Boats equipped with special filters will push the fuel (a hybrid of diesel and heavy oil) onto the shore where it will then be collected manually and disposed of. Much of the fuel has already been carried to shore by waves and wind.

"The wind helped (on Tuesday), pushing fuel into specific areas," said Jack Meloche, operations manager for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation.

Meloche, who was on site at Ste. Catherine Wednesday morning, said nearly all the fuel has been confined to parts of the north side of the canal, and behind floating boom on the south side.

More than 30 staff of Eastern Canada Response Corporation, a certified oil spill cleanup company, will be at work on the canal.

Canada Steamship Lines vessel Richelieu lost power about 7:30 p.m. near the Côte-Sainte-Catherine lock, south of Montreal. The cause of the vessel's engine failure is unclear, and the investigation is ongoing. Strong winds caused the ship to roll over its anchor and puncture a reserve fuel tank, leaking fuel into the canal.

The ship, which was carrying a load of wheat, leaked 50 to 200 tons of bunker fuel — a heavy oil, which covered an area of about 5,381 square feet — for several hours.

“We do not foresee any negative impacts to the environment,” Mr. Bogora said, adding that the spill is not expected to affect drinking water.

Richelieu was the second cargo ship to lose power and run aground on the Seaway this month. On July 4, the Algobay, a 740-foot Canadian cargo ship, drifted onto the shoals of Chippewa Bay, where it was trapped for almost three days.

The ship held 14,500 gallons of diesel and 173,000 gallons of bunker fuel, but the accident did not lead to an oil spill.

Mr. Bogora said that the Richelieu's crew, the Seaway Corp. and the Canadian Coast Guard responded to the oil spill promptly Monday night to minimize the damage and that the Côte-Sainte-Catherine lock was almost immediately sealed to contain the spill.

Immediately after the Richelieu ran aground, emergency booms were deployed by the ship's crew, and Eastern Canada Response Corp., a private environmental remediation company headquartered in Ottawa, was brought in to clean up the oil.

A steel plate will be welded over the 10-metre gash in the side of the Richelieu. It is expected to sail to Quebec City at the end of the week to unload its cargo and undergo repairs.

Kent Malo, The Montreal Gazette and Watertown Daily News


Port Reports - July 15

Marquette. Mich. - Rod Burdick
Lee A. Tregurtha arrived Wednesday morning at the Upper Harbor to load ore.

St. Marys River
Upbound traffic Wednesday included American Republic, Burns Harbor, Algolake, Edgar B. Speer, Saginaw and Quebecois. Federal Shimanto, Alpena, Orsula, Canadian Provider, Grande Mariner, Edwin H. Gott, Algowood and American Century passed downbound. Fluctuating water levels during the evening – at 10:15 p.m. the upper pool fell to minus 26 before the water began to return to normal – caused some anxious moments for the American Century, headed into the Poe Lock.

South Chicago, Ill. - Lou Gerard
St. Marys Challenger passed through the five bridges complex on the Calumet River en route to Lake Michigan around 6 a.m. She cleared the Calumet Harbor breakwall at 6:40 with Milwaukee as her destination. Also, at this time, American Mariner was loading at KCBX.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The usual vessels have been calling at Lafarge throughout the week. The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity were in port Monday morning taking on cement. Tuesday afternoon Manitowoc was unloading coal at Lafarge. The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation also came in Tuesday evening and tied up under the silos. Alpena was seen out in the bay and headed into port before dark on Wednesday.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Indiana Harbor was inbound Wednesday morning calling on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville to unload coal. She completed her unload Wednesday evening, backed out into the Saginaw Bay to turn and headed for the lake. Algoway was inbound Wednesday evening, passing Indiana Harbor near Lights 11 & 12, on her way upriver to unload at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. She was expected to be outbound on Thursday.
The tall ship fleet began to arrive in the Downtown Bay City Area on Wednesday, with Lynx and Dennis Sullivan both tying up at the docks. Out in the Saginaw Bay were Bounty, Pride of Baltimore 2, and Europa, who were on the move toward the Saginaw River. The forecast of severe weather for this area played a part in the decision of some of the tall ship fleet to dock in Bay City early.

Prince Edward Bay - Ron Walsh
Esta Desgagnes has been waiting in Prince Edward Bay for over three days. It is unknown why she is there.


Ludington will help S.S. Badger with grant application

7/15 - Ludington, Mich. – Lake Michigan Carferry is considering replacing its coal-fired steam engines with diesel engines in order to meet a 2012 deadline from the EPA order to quit discharging ash from the SS Badger into Lake Michigan.

The Ludington City Council Monday evening approved pursuing a pre-application for a $16 million Tiger II Grant which would assist the carferry in that conversion to diesel.

The carferry company has to submit a pre-application for the grant, which is due by July 26, before it can submit a final application, which is due Aug. 23.

Ludington Daily News


Lower water levels pose future problems for Seaway

7/15 - Montreal, Que. - While the weather was largely responsible for running a Canadian Steamship Lines vessel aground in the St. Lawrence Seaway on Monday evening, another environmental problem - lower water levels - could present future challenges for the Seaway.

According to the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway Study, done in 2007 by seven Canadian and U.S. departments and agencies, scientists estimate that water levels in the Great Lakes, which feed the St. Lawrence River, will drop as much as three feet by the 2050s.

"All of the Great Lakes are below their levels of a year ago and have been so since April. The lakes range from six to eight inches below last year's levels," according to the Great Lakes Information Network.

"Historically, the shipping industry has been favored when it comes to water regulations in the seaway," said Jennifer Caddick, executive director of Save the River, a nonprofit organization and leading environmental advocate working to protect and preserve the Upper St. Lawrence River.

"The rules and guidelines set up for the shared water resources between the U.S. and Canada are narrowly focused and don't take environmental impact into consideration."

Water levels of the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario are managed by the International Joint Commission (IJC). Its original water-level management plan was implemented in the 1950s to address shipping, hydroelectricity, drinking water and sewer systems.

"The current plan has been pretty damaging to the ecosystem of the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario," Caddick said.

"Part of the issue is that the old plan tried to keep water levels as stable as possible for shipping and didn't allow for a lot of the natural fluctuations that occurred before the big dam was built, which is particularly damaging to wetland habitats throughout the system."

The state of New York, Ontario, Quebec and both the U.S. and Canadian federal governments are negotiating a new plan for the region's water level management. New guidelines, taking environmental issues and recreational boating into consideration, are expected to be completed by December.

"The seaway is a very deep trench, and outside of that navigation channel the St. Lawrence is actually very shallow," said Marc Hudon, Great Lakes and St. Lawrence program director at Nature Quebec. "So when the water levels go down, they recede toward the centre of the channel where it's deepest and so the water is being collected in the trench."

When this occurs, spawning areas for fish are immediately impacted.

And is there a chance low water levels could cause more ships to run aground?

Andrew Bogora, communications officer for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp., said measures are in place to avoid such incidents.

"There are well-established guidelines for seaway navigation," Bogora said. "The situation is monitored and if levels are dropping an advisory is put out for vessels to carry lighter loads so they don't bottom out."

Many vessels are also equipped with technology to monitor depths and avoid being dangerously close to the bottom, he added.

The Montreal Gazette


Boy Scout Troop 4 restores St. Helena lighthouse station to ship shape

7/15 - Ann Arbor, Mich. - During the last week in June, the usually uninhabited St. Helena Island in the Mackinac Straits was bustling with activity. More than 40 Boy Scouts, leaders and siblings were hauling, washing, weeding, building and renovating the historic lighthouse, buildings and nature area with a decidedly youthful spirit.

At the first group meeting at the foot of the lighthouse tower, adult leader Ron McCready asked, "What are we here to do?"

After a brief pause, a veteran St. Helena scout answered, Cheerful service!

Since 1989, the Boy Scouts from Ann Arbor's Troop 4 have journeyed to St. Helena Island at the beginning of summer vacation to restore and maintain the historic lighthouse. Troop 4, with more than 50 members ages 10- to 18-year-old, holds its meetings at First United Methodist Church of Ann Arbor.

The venture began as a glimmer in the eye of Dick Moehl, a national advocate for lighthouse preservation, in the early 80s. The St. Helena lighthouse station, a beacon that has helped ships traverse the Straits of Mackinac since 1873, had deteriorated badly after decades of neglect, weather and vandalism. The keeper's house roof was reduced to rafters, fires had destroyed multiple levels of flooring, and the lantern had been smashed to the ground, among other problems. A 1980 Coast Guard survey recommended razing all but the lighthouse tower.

That's when Moehl took action to preserve the historic property. He helped create the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keeper's Association (GLLKA) with a mission calling for "the preservation of lighthouses, the stories of those who kept them, and developing a new generation of preservationists."

GLLKA obtained a license to restore the light station from the Coast Guard in 1986. The group then lobbied Congress and fellow lighthouse advocates to update legislation and create the $3 million National Bicentennial Lighthouse Fund to provide matching grants for over 160 lighthouse preservation projects. The matching could be designated through financial pledges and in-kind contributions. Enter Boy Scout Troop 4. In 1989 the Ann Arbor troop jumped to the opportunity to adopt the St. Helena Lighthouse Station as its primary service project and has been sending work teams to the island for 21 consecutive years. More than 1,000 scouts and their parents and siblings have participated in the restoration of the light station.

The results have earned Troop 4 the designation of "Lighthouse Troop," highlighted on each scouts uniform along with numerous national preservation awards. Moehl fondly refers to Troop 4's accomplishments as "the Miracle at St. Helena," and the successful partnership has inspired other lighthouse preservation partnerships around the country.

The most prestigious award that a Boy Scout can earn is that of the rank of Eagle Scout. Only about two in 100 scouts earn this rank. A requirement to obtain this rank is the carrying out of a Eagle leadership project. To date, 26 Eagle projects have been completed at St. Helena. The first project in 1989 provided a suitable home for displaced Ospreys who had taken up residence atop the lighthouse tower prior to the rebuild of the lantern room. The project involved the construction of two nesting platforms, 20 feet-tall, for the Ospreys, signifying respect for the island's natural environment.

Other Eagle projects include restoration of the tower, the lantern room and the keeper's house, complete with period antique furnishings. The troop has restored or reconstructed historic replications of the boathouse, the assistant keeper's dwelling, the privy building and many other property improvements. Each project must be authenticated according to historic guidelines to represent the station's late 19th century construction.

This summer, two Scouts completed projects integral to the stations historic preservation on their path to earning Eagle awards. Nicholas Wardner, 16, replicated a large built-in corner storage cabinet in the boathouse. He re-created the cabinet based upon the Point Betsie lighthouse north of Frankfort, Michigan, which was built around the same time as the St. Helena station. Wardner and his team custom fitted each piece to the boathouse walls using flathead brass screws and latch handles to keep it historically accurate.

Jake Levine, 15, rebuilt four window frames and three cabinets in the lighthouse tower. The original window frames, badly dilapidated, had to be completely replaced. Because of the towers sloped and circular walls, each piece was custom cut to fit significant curves and bumps. Levine and his team worked on the steep iron spiral staircase as they installed each piece.

The rest of the troop helped with the Eagle projects as well as power washing, painting, maintaining, landscaping or working on scout advancement tasks. In one week in June, a total of 55 family members contributed more than 1,965 labor hours toward historic preservation of the lighthouse station and its surroundings.

The island's isolation and minor hardships instill a sense of camaraderie for those who work on the island. True to its history, the island is reachable only by boat and still has hand-dug latrines, water from a hand-pumped well, and no electricity. Schedules follow the rhythm of nature and weather, not manageable by human technology. GLLKA has made use of this nostalgic setting by offering tours and volunteer experiences for those who would like to spend a day or a week going "back in time" on St. Helena Island.

The Scouts have engineered simple conveniences to make the island stay a little bit easier, such as a propane system providing hot outdoor showers. Food is cooked in a propane oven in the "summer kitchen" of the keeper's house. Guests are called to meals via the toll of an old iron bell heard easily throughout the camping area.

For the boys, St. Helena is a rich tradition they look forward to year after year. Nicholas Wardner has spent eight seasons on the island. According to Wardner, the week at St. Helena is a great time to get to know people without the distractions of modern life. "Even though there isn't that much to do during free time," he said, "everything here is a novelty. You can sit on the dock, skip rocks. . . or just learn to whistle."

A favorite tradition is the giant bonfire held on the last night of the week. The boys build a tall pyre of scrub and old trees several stories tall, then roast marshmallows with ten-foot roasting sticks. The Eagle scouts are granted the privilege of maintaining the fire and sleeping nearby to make sure the fire goes out safely.

Eleven-year-old Eli Levine, the youngest brother of four Troop 4 scouts, was enjoying his first year this summer as an "official" boy scout--after coming with his family for five consecutive years. "It's the best time of my life," he said. "I love it here."

It's a mutually beneficial partnership: the Scouts breathe life into historic St. Helena, and St. Helena provides these boys the opportunity to learn about the preservation of national treasures, what it is like to be a part of that effort and know that they make a difference.


Updates - July 15

News Photo Gallery
Loss of the Algoport feature updated with video of the loss
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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 ship’s owners, decided it would be cheaper to tow 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.


Fuel oil spilled from Richelieu contained; Seaway traffic stalled

7/14 - Montreal, Que. - Officials say they believe they have contained most of the bunker oil spill that has blocked a section of the St. Lawrence Seaway since Monday night.

The fuel tank of the Canada Steamship Lines vessel Richelieu was punctured when it ran aground at around 7:30 p.m. Monday after losing power during a flash storm and running aground near the Côte-Sainte-Catherine lock, south of Montreal, officials said Tuesday.

Richelieu was experiencing propulsion problems and dropped anchors to regain control, the CSL Group said in a statement. However, a sudden squall may have caused it to shift position and strike one of the anchors, puncturing a fuel tank. The effect of water entering the tank caused fuel to vent onto the main deck, which could not be contained because of high winds and rain, CSL said. Divers have confirmed the fuel tank is not leaking, the company added.

CSL keeps emergency booms aboard all its ships, and deployed them immediately after the Richelieu ran aground, said Andrew Bogora, a spokesman for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp.

The breach was fixed just after 11 p.m., but an unknown amount of fuel escaped, possibly as much as 200 tonnes, according to SIMEC, a company handling the containment and cleanup. The spill initially covered approximately 500 square metres, forcing emergency crews to shut the seaway and lock as a precaution.

On Tuesday morning, the South Shore Canal and the lock remained closed while containment efforts continued around the ship, tied up on the lock's approach wall.

The cleanup was expected to take about two days, and the affected section of the seaway will remain closed during that time.

The lock acted as a funnel for the spilled fuel, explained Quebec public security services spokesman Yvan Tremblay. "And if you close the funnel, we have a very nice element that will limit any containment spread," he told CBC's French-language service.

Canada Steamship Lines said Tuesday that it will take full responsibility for the incident and the cleanup.

The company cannot yet pinpoint the cause of the accident, Claude Dumais, vice-president of technical operations, told a news conference. "It's under evaluation right now, but it is a mechanical failure at this point in time, more than human error."

A warning about the spill was issued to nearby towns, including Candiac, Sainte-Catherine and La Prairie, where public health authorities will monitor the water filtration systems for any sign of fuel.

Divers examining the ship's reservoir found a hole the size of a basketball. A helicopter surveyed the area to measure the spill of the heavy fuel oil.

The CSL vessel was carrying wheat. The Richelieu usually operates with a crew of 23. No one was hurt.

About a dozen other ships were affected by the canal closure. Vessels in the vicinity of the Richelieu were J.W. Shelley, bound for Port Cartier; John B Aird, bound for Quebec City; Aivik, bound for Sept Iles; the tug Reliance at the St. Zotique, Que., anchorage (destination unknown); the Seaway sounding vessel VMS Maisonneuve at Valleyfield, Que. and Camilla Desgagnes, waiting at the St. Lambert upper lock wall bound for Cote Ste Catherine to load for the lower Arctic communities.

Federal Transport Minister John Baird said he's monitoring the situation closely. "We have our officials on hand. We'll do everything we can to assist local officials," said Baird. "Obviously there'll be an investigation. The first priority, obviously, is to contain the spill."

Kent Malo, Montreal Gazette, CBC


George Steinbrenner, former Great Lakes shipping magnate, dies

7/14 (Corrected)- George Steinbrenner, who turned the New York Yankees into America's most powerful sports franchise, died Tuesday in Tampa after suffering a heart attack. Although known primarily as the colorful owner of the Yankees, Steinbrenner - who was born in Rocky River, Ohio – had his roots in the Great Lakes shipping industry.

He was the great grandson of Henry Steinbrenner, the founder of the Kinsman fleet in 1901. Confusion often came from the family’s practice of using the same names for their children. George M. Steinbrenner III, born in 1930, was the son of Henry G. Steinbrenner born about 1906. Henry G. Steinbrenner was the son of George M. Steinbrenner II, born in 1880, who in turn was the son of Kinsman's founder Henry Steinbrenner, born in 1849 and died in 1929.

Some background: Henry Steinbrenner born in 1849 married Sophia Minch in 1876, the daughter of Philip J. Minch (1820-1887) and Anna C. Minch (1818-1905). Her father and mother were active in Great Lakes shipping starting in 1842 from a very small beginning. It was not until the mid-1850s the Minch's started building a fleet of schooners and steamers. The most notable ships from the Minch business were the iron hulled Onoko of 1882, built by Sophia's father, and the 1890 built Western Reserve constructed by her brother, Peter G. Minch. Peter G. Minch, his wife and two young children along with all but one of the crew, were lost in the sinking of the Western Reserve in 1892.

In this backdrop, Henry Steinbrenner at age 52, began the Kinsman fleet in 1901. It was always a fleet of only four to six ships for over the next 50 years. Six ships were built for the fleet between 1901 and 1927, with two more under George M. Steinbrenner III in 1973 and 1974. In 1944 they first bought ships from other fleets. In the 1950s, after the loss of the Henry Steinbrenner (1) in 1953, and for the next 30 years they bought many ships from other companies, and it grew to almost twenty in the 1970s under George M. Steinbrenner III. Through the 1990s until the end in 2004 and 2005, the fleet decreased. Still serving on the Lakes and built for Kinsman are the Manitowoc (ex-Paul Thayer) and Calumet (William R. Roesch). The fleet at one time also owned Cuyahoga (as J. Burton Ayers), Ojibway (Kinsman Independent) and the venerable J. B. Ford (ex-E.C. Collins).

Steinbrenner later became chairman of the Cleveland-based American Shipbuilding Company. The firm's Lorain, Ohio, year closed in 1984.

Though ridiculed earlier in his sports career for his tirades and knee-jerk firing and hirings, he grew into a widely respected figure in the game later in his career, said a story Tuesday in USA Today.

USA Today, Dick Wicklund


Lakes limestone trade up 29 percent in June

7/14 - Cleveland, Ohio - Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 3,865,782 net tons in June, an increase of 6.2 percent compared to May, and an increase of 29 percent compared to a year ago. The trade was, however, down 8 percent when compared to the month’s 5-year average.

Loadings at U.S. ports were up 44.2 percent compared to a year ago, but shipments from Canadian docks dipped slightly, about 60,000 tons.

Year-to-date, the Lakes limestone trade stands at 9,987,042 net tons, an increase of 34.6 percent compared to a year ago, but a decrease of 16.6 percent compared to the 5-year average for the first half of the year. Loadings at U.S. ports are up 40.2 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments from Canadian docks are 17.6 percent ahead of last years pace.

Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports - July 14

Green Bay, Wis. - Scott Best
The Mississagi arrived in Green Bay Tuesday afternoon with a cargo of salt from Goderich for the Fox River Dock. It is only the third load of salt this year with the other two delivered by the Mississagi's fleet mate, the Maumee in June. Roen Salvage has moved dredging operations from the lower Bay to the East River turning basin where Derrick #3 is now working along with the Stephan Asher and several spoils barges.

Milwaukee, Wis. - Jason Heindel
Irma was docked at Milwaukee's general cargo pier.

South Chicago, Ill. - Dan Fletcher
Maumee arrive in port at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. St. Marys Challenger cleared the Calumet River breakwater at 8:15 p.m. and was headed up the river to discharge a partial load of cement. She was slated to be in town only about three hours before heading to Milwaukee to unload the other half.


Green Bay cargo shipments increase

7/14 - Green Bay, Wis. - So far this year, the Port of Green Bay has handled 601,127 tons compared with 463,693 at the same time last year. That's a 30 percent increase in overall tonnage, according to its monthly tonnage report.
Total tonnage numbers for Green Bay reported domestic cargos up —217,445 tons in June versus 189,564 in June 2009 — but a decrease in foreign imports due largely to 50,218 tons of foreign salt shipped into the port in June 2009.
No foreign salt had been shipped to the port this year, according to the report.  For the month, 2010 tonnage was reported as 221,818 tons compared with 239,782 tons at the same time last year.
Green Bay Press Gazette


Interlake Steamship receives clean diesel leadership award

7/14 - The Interlake Steamship Company has received the Midwest Clean Diesel Initiative (MCDI) Leadership Award. Interlake President Mark W. Barker accepted the award on June 30 at a ceremony in Chicago.
Interlake Steamship received the award “for demonstrating outstanding leadership by making significant measurable improvements in air quality through the development and implementation of clean diesel actions.”

During the 2009-2010 winter, Interlake repowered the main propulsion engines of Paul R. Tregurtha. The new engines and energy efficiency improvements will significantly reduce the ship’s emissions of nitrogen oxides, particulate matter, and carbon dioxide. The Tregurtha’s two original 16-cylinder Pielstick diesels were replaced with two (2) medium-speed, 6-cylinder MAK model 6M43C diesel engines, each producing 6000 bkw, or 8040 bhp, for a total installed horsepower of 16,080 bhp. The ship returned to service in April 2010.

“We are appreciative of this recognition of our efforts to repower and re-engine our fleet,” said Interlake’s President Mark W. Barker. “These projects, of which the Tregurtha repowering was the third, reduce our fleet’s emissions and increase our fleet’s reliability so that we can maintain dependable service for our customers. We are pleased that organizations such as MCDI are taking note of the many ongoing efforts by Great Lakes vessel operators to reduce emissions.”

Interlake Steamship Co.


Bay City to welcome tall ships in style for 2010 celebration

7/14 - Bay City, Mich. - Bay City officials are rolling out the red carpet for this year’s Tall Ship Celebration. The goal: Convince visitors and voters that nobody does it better when it comes to hosting a fleet of seafaring vessels.

If all goes according to plan, Bay City will be named Port of the Year for a third time and will secure a spot as a port city when the tall ships return to the Great Lakes in 2013.

It’s important for Bay City to lock in its bid this year by winning Port of the Year honors because the 2013 theme is the War of 1812 — a topic that Event Coordinator Shirley Roberts says Bay City lacks in history.

“We have a lot of history,” she said, “but not anything we can connect to the War of 1812. Maybe we’ll learn something — our fingers are crossed.”

Patti Lock, director of the Great Lakes United Tall Ships Challenge — a race across the Great Lakes sponsored by the American Sail Training Association — says Bay City always contends for the title.

“Bay City is always a good candidate,” said Lock, of Chicago. “They have great participation and a beautiful venue. I’ve heard great things about their event.”

Bay City was honored as ASTA’s Port of the Year in 2001 and 2006. All top ports are guaranteed a spot as a port city in the next Tall Ships Challenge, Roberts said.

The panel in charge of choosing port cities in 2013 will look at historic demand, as well as port support, said Lock.

This will be Lock’s first time visiting Bay City’s festival. Bay City is the only official port city in Michigan. Other port stops are in Toronto, Cleveland, Duluth, Minn., Green Bay, Wis., and Chicago.

Twelve tall ships are scheduled to arrive in Bay City on Thursday. Of the 12, six will be making their first trip to Bay City — Pathfinder, Playfair, Roseway, Lynx, Roald Amundsen and the Denis Sullivan — this year’s flagship of the tour.

Kevin Dykema, chairman of the Tall Ship Celebration Board of Directors, said seeing a ship for the first time is special, but he also encourages visitors to check out ships they may have seen before, like the HMS Bounty, which visited Bay City in 2003.

“The Bounty … is totally refit. It was a little rough when it was here last time, but it really looks nice now,” Dykema said.

The Pride of Baltimore II is making its fourth visit.

“The Pride of Baltimore … is always a crowd favorite,” Dykema said.

Other ships taking part are Europa, Madeline, Appledore IV and Appledore V.

The ships, of course, are the main attraction. But the events Bay City coordinates to support the ships put Bay City’s celebration above the rest, Roberts said.

“The tall ships themselves are magnetic,” said Roberts. “People are drawn to them because they are so beautiful and awe inspiring. But what makes our event stand apart from other events is we have so much more to offer by way of entertainment, crafts and music.

“It’s an event that can keep a family entertained all weekend.”

This year’s highlights include the Ring of Steel Action Theatre and Pirate School — a performing troupe from the University of Michigan that will perform daily shows featuring battles with expert swordplay and special effects.

Other must-see attractions include a sail-raising station, a knot-tying station, a lighthouse craft area, an Art in the Park tent, a small craft symposium, a Storyteller’s Corner, a Maritime Music Festival and a tall ship craft area for children.

Bay City Times


Updates - July 14

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.


Richelieu grounds in Seaway

7/13 - Montreal - 3 p.m. update - Public security officials say they will be able to contain a bunker fuel spill that shut down the St. Lawrence River Seaway for several hours on Monday night.

The Canada Steamship Lines Richelieu's fuel tank was punctured when it ran aground around 7:30 p.m. after it lost power near the Côte-Sainte-Catherine lock, south of Montreal. After losing power the Richelieu dropped her anchors and overan one of the anchors holing her fuel tank sending water into the tank. The inflow of water was reported to have sent the fuel overboard via a breather pipe. She was able to approach the wall of the upper lock on her own, and secured there about 8:18 p.m.

CSL keeps emergency booms aboard all its ships, and deployed them immediately after the incident, said Andrew Bogora, a spokesperson for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp.

The breach was fixed just after 11 p.m., but an unknown amount of fuel escaped, possibly as much as 200 tonnes, according to SIMEC, another company handling the containment and cleanup.

Richelieu was loaded with 25,000,metric tons of grain, for a St Lawrence river port. meanwhile, the Seaway at the Cote St Catherine lock is closed until the spill is recovered. Ships are being sent to anchor above the Cote and Beauharnois locks.

The spill covered an approximate 500 square metres, forcing emergency crews to shut the seaway and lock as a precaution.

On Tuesday morning, the South Shore Canal and the lock remained closed to support containment efforts around the ship, which is currently tied up on the lock's approach wall.

The lock acts as a funnel for the fuel, explained Quebec public security services spokesman Yvan Tremblay.

"And if you close the funnel, we have a very nice element that will limit any containment spread," he said in an interview with CBC's French-language service. Divers dispatched

A warning about the spill was issued to neighboring towns, including Candiac, Sainte-Catherine and La Prairie, where public health authorities will monitor their water filtration systems for any sign of fuel.

Divers have been dispatched to the site to examine the boat's reservoir and determine the extent of the damage. A helicopter is also surveying the area to measure the spill.

The vessel was loaded with 25,000 metric tons of wheat for a St Lawrence river port at the time of the incident. It's not clear how many people were on board, but the Richelieu usually operates with a crew of 23 workers. No one was hurt in the incident.

The Seaway at the Cote St Catherine lock is closed until the spill is recovered. Ships are being sent to anchor above the Cote and Beauharnois locks.

The cleanup could take several days.

CSL is the country's largest maritime company. Former prime minister Paul Martin bought CSL in 1981, and handed operations over to his sons in 2003.

Original Report: Monday night the Richelieu ran aground near Montreal, forcing the Seaway to close.

The ship's fuel tank was punctured when it ran aground at about 7:30 p.m. near the Côte-Sainte-Catherine lock, south of Montreal. The leak was stopped around 11 p.m. ET, but not before an unknown amount of fuel escaped.

A large slick could be seen around the ship, which is owned by Canada Steamship Lines. It was loaded with wheat. Emergency crews have installed booms to try to contain the spill and recover the fuel. The cleanup could take several days.

Environment Canada officials were on the scene Tuesday morning, and nearby communities were advised to check their water filtration facilities for any signs of oil contamination.

The Montreal Gazette and CBC News


U.S.-Flag lakes cargos up 30 percent in June

7/13 - U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters carried 10,356,598 net tons of cargo in June, an increase of 5 percent compared to May, and an increase of 39 percent compared to a year ago. This Junes total was, however, down 3.7 percent from the month’s 5-year average.

Iron ore cargos in June essentially doubled the volume of a year ago. Coal loadings were up 5.3 percent. Limestone cargos increased 50 percent.

Year-to-date U.S.-flag cargos stand at 32,887,389 net tons, an increase of 57.5 percent compared to a year ago, but 10.2 percent behind the 5-year average for the first half of the year. Iron ore cargos are up 138 percent. Coal is marginally ahead of a year ago. Limestone cargos are up 38 percent.

Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports - July 13

Twin Ports - Al Miller
The Twin Ports were busy early Monday, with American Spirit inbound under the Blatnik Bridge heading to the DMIR ore dock. John G. Munson was unloading at C. Reiss Inland dock on the St. Louis River, Paul R. Tregurtha departed with coal from Midwest Energy Terminal and was replaced by Canadian Olympic. CSL Assiniboine cleared with taconite pellets from BNSF and was replaced by the Stewart J. Cort.
Alpena delivered a load of cement to Lafarge in Superior Monday, meaning for most of the day a one-mile stretch of the eastern Superior waterfront boasted an impressive array of classic larkers including J.A.W. Iglehart, Alpena, J.B. Ford, American Victory, and Edward L. Ryerson, not to mention the nearby Meteor. Dutch-owned fleetmates Medemborg and Diezeborg started the morning anchored together off the Duluth Entry. Both are due to load at CHS grain terminals berth 2, with Medemborg first in line; she weighed anchor and arrived midday. CHS announced last year that they were handling a new cargo called dried distillers grain at that berth; it's possible that's the cargo being loaded aboard both vessels.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Monday at sunrise, Michipicoten arrived at the Upper Harbor to load ore. Later in the morning, Charles M. Beeghly also arrived to load ore.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
With no commercial traffic on the Saginaw River since July 4th, the streak was snapped at seven days, when the tug Barbara Andrie and her tank barge called on the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City. Arriving on Sunday, the pair completed their unload and were outbound Monday afternoon, headed for the lake.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Hamilton Energy came in Monday morning to bunker the saltie Bluebill, which is unloading at Redpath.


Critics oppose proposal to ship nuclear waste through Great Lakes

7/13 - Toronto, Ont. – The Bruce Nuclear Generating Station plans to ship 1,760 tonnes of radiation-laced steel through Lake Ontario — a precedent-setting project that has officials worried on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border.

On April 1, Bruce Power asked the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, Canada’s nuclear regulator, for a license to ship low-level radioactive generators from its power plant on Lake Huron to Sweden, where 90 per cent of the metals inside the generators are to be cleansed and resold. The remaining materials that are too radioactive to be recycled will then return to the Bruce plant to be contained for the rest of their radioactive lives.

But the planned journey, which would have 16 decommissioned steam generators travel through the Great Lakes, down the St. Lawrence River and then to Sweden this fall, has municipal officials concerned because they haven’t been given the chance to vet the proposal. If approved, this would be the first time a license has been issued by the commission to ship nuclear waste through the Great Lakes.

Mike Bradley, mayor of Sarnia, has signed a petition to stop the shipment, which would see the waste travel through his city in September. His signature is joined by two Michigan state representatives and by a number of native leaders and environmental groups who are concerned about the risk to public safety and angry at the lack of transparency.

“The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is a public tribunal that is required to give notice to the public and the affected parties and allow them to comment,” said Mark Mattson, president of the Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, a Toronto-based charity working to protect the lake. “That’s sort of the legal process called fairness and transparency.”

Though the shipment would go through the jurisdictions of two countries and multiple states and provinces, the commission, which generally holds public consultations before granting licenses, has designated just one person — the director of the commission’s Transport Licensing and Strategic Support Division — to decide whether the shipment will proceed.

In a statement to the Star, Bruce Power said it has not done an environmental assessment for the shipment, but added: “The important thing to remember is this is low-level radiation (exposed or otherwise) that is well within regulatory limits to ship. . .

“If the very unlikely scenario occurred where the ship sank and the vessels were somehow breached, the very low levels of radiation would be diluted even further by the large volume of water and would result in a level of radiation that we believe would not even be measurable.”

Aurele Gervais, a Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission spokesman, also downplayed any threat to public safety, saying that “those with anti-nuclear views have a tendency to fear monger.”

In fact, Gervais added, hazardous materials — including some that are radioactive — have been shipped through the Great Lakes before. This shipment, however, requires a license because of its size and its level of radioactivity.

Each generator, which weighs 110 tonnes and is the size of a school bus, has a 5-centimetre steel shell and any holes in those shells would be welded shut and coated with a protective substance before transport.

“If a person stood within a couple of metres of one of the generators for a two-hour period they would have received (radiation levels) similar to a chest X-ray,” said Murray Elston, vice-president of corporate affairs at Bruce Power.

Traditionally, Canada’s nuclear waste is stored in warehouses and underground repositories. Though recycling such materials is done in parts of Europe, the practice is controversial because the metals cannot be traced once they enter the market.

The decommissioned generators, which are more than 30 years old and being replaced as part of a refurbishment project at the Bruce plant, are currently housed in a concrete warehouse. Workers are allowed near them for short periods of time due to their radioactivity.

Gordon Edwards, president of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility, a watchdog group, says each generator contains thousands of small tubes through which the primary coolant flows. Those tubes have the same type of contamination that all the other pipes in the primary cooling system have — fission products that emit beta and gamma radiation and transuranic elements such as plutonium, which emit alpha radiation.

“They are harmless inside the steam generator, but once outside in the environment they are very dangerous and remain so for a very long time,” says Edwards.

The plan is to have the generators trucked in September from the Bruce plant to Owen Sound, where they will be loaded onto an ocean-going ship and sailed over three of the five Great Lakes passing by Toronto, Sarnia, Windsor, Detroit, St. Catharines, Montreal and Quebec City.

Once the radioactive waste is boarded onto the ship, Bruce Power says it assumes no responsibility for the safety or integrity of the generators or for any possible cleanup in the event of an accident during transport. That, Elston says, is the responsibility of Studsvik, the Swedish company that will recycle the material once it arrives in Sweden.

Johan Hahnel, a spokesperson for Studsvik, says his company will make sure all necessary authorities approve of the transport and that the personnel handling the equipment will be able to ensure full security of the radioactive waste.

Garry Linsey, director of maritime services for the division of the Canadian Coast Guard that oversees cleanups of hazardous materials on the Great Lakes, said in an interview Friday that he was unaware of the planned shipment.

Elston says Bruce Power, which is paying Studsvik roughly about $1 million per shipped generator, deserves some credit for the plan because it will reduce the company’s environmental footprint by ridding it and Canada of the nuclear waste.

“When people get it right there should be an ability of the citizens of this country to be informed that it is being done well that it’s being done right and, you know, you should get some accolades for reducing the environmental footprint,” he says.

Toronto Star


Researchers place weather buoys in Lake Superior

7/13 - Houghton, Mich. - A collaborative research team from Michigan Tech is taking a 1.4 million dollar grant to the waters of Lake Superior.

Friday morning, the first of three coastal monitoring buoys was towed out to its summer location about two miles north of the Keweenaw Waterway entry.

The 600-pound buoy was developed at the University of Michigan and is a part of the Great Lakes observing system. It'll be used to measure about 20 variables above and below the water including weather conditions and surface temperature.

"It's near the shore, and that region is much more sensitive to variables, such as water temperature, that is associated with global climate change. That's one thing we'll use it to monitor in detail; to test whether or not we're experiencing the effects of global climate change," said principal investigator, Charles Kerfoot.

Information from the buoys will be stored in an online database that can be accessed by the public.



Lighthouses for sale; U.S. Coast Guard says they're not needed

7/13 - For sale: historic waterfront property with unusual winding staircase and a great view of Lake Michigan or Lake Huron. May need work.

The public may get a chance to buy a Michigan lighthouse if no government or nonprofit organization steps forward to preserve three that the U.S. Coast Guard no longer needs. They are the Frankfort North Breakwater Lighthouse; the Middle Island Lighthouse, across Thunder Bay from Alpena, and the South Haven South Pierhead Lighthouse.

Eight others are for sale across the country. The first crack at owning one will go to communities, museums or nonprofit groups with a commitment -- and the means -- to maintain them.

But if no suitable local group is found, the lighthouse will go up for auction, possibly by spring. What could it be sold for? The Granite Island Lighthouse in Lake Superior sold for $86,000 in 1999.

"These lighthouses are still an important part of our heritage," said Jennifer Radcliff, president of the Michigan Lighthouse Fund. "These lighthouses will tell us to remember that the lakes are still an important part of our economy."

Owners will need cash, dedication

Lighthouses were once a sailor's only assurance against disaster, their lights guiding many a Great Lakes ship home safely from the strongest storms.

Michigan's most famous wreck, the Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975, may have been helped to its watery grave because the Whitefish Point Lighthouse on Lake Superior was blacked out by a power failure.

With GPS and modern navigation, lighthouses are no longer needed to guide ships. Their value now lies in the role they played shaping maritime history, and in their significance as a historic symbol of their community.

"They draw tourism and economic development to the community, so they have a broader importance than just being historic monuments," said Martha MacFarlane Faes, Michigan Lighthouse project manager with the State Historic Preservation Office.

Eleven lighthouses were just made available to communities or the public through the National Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000, which allows lighthouses to be transferred from the U.S. Coast Guard to new parties with the means and commitment to maintain them.

Preference is given to public bodies and nonprofit groups and these organizations have to maintain them for educational, park, recreation, cultural or historic preservation uses.

The latest round of excess lighthouses includes 11 around the country, three of them in Michigan: The Frankfort North Breakwater Lighthouse, the Middle Island Lighthouse, across Thunder Bay from Alpena, and the South Haven South Pierhead Lighthouse.

Lighthouses can come in all shapes and sizes, but these three are all more traditional looking towers.

"I knew this day was coming," said Josh Mills, Frankfort's city superintendent. "Obviously, this structure means a lot to this community. It's a signature structure in our community and we'll do whatever is necessary to keep it."

Mills already has talked to the Friends of the Point Betsie Lighthouse, near Frankfort, about taking the breakwater lighthouse under their wings, but hadn't pressed for a commitment. He will now.

Lighthouse ownership is not an inexpensive proposition. The Frankfort lighthouse needs about $1 million in upgrades to make it a top-notch city attraction, Mills estimated, including restoring a catwalk on the breakwater, out to the lighthouse. The Point Betsie Light preservation group has so far raised $1 million for that structure's maintenance.

Grants are available for nonprofit and government-run lighthouses.

In Michigan, profits from special lighthouse license plates go to provide $40,000 grants to these groups for lighthouse preservation, as long as they have $20,000 to match the grant. So far, the state has awarded $1.5 million of these grants since 2000.

Privately owned lighthouses don't fare as well when it comes to grants.

The Granite Island Lighthouse in Lake Superior was the last privately purchased Michigan lighthouse, bought in 1999 for $86,000. The new owners won't say how much they spent to restore the lighthouse, only that it was well into six figures.

They not only had to repair a gaping hole in the roof and plenty of ruined plaster and woodwork, they also had to convince workers to live on the island in tents while the restoration was in process.

Detroit Free Press


Door County Maritime Museum hosting video premiere July 21

7/13 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - The Door County Maritime Museum will host the grand premiere of the new documentary “Lakeshore Guardians: The Story of the United States Life-Saving Service in Wisconsin” at 7 p.m., Wednesday, July 21, at its Sturgeon Bay museum.

Writer, filmmaker, and producer Daniel Larson, responsible for the popular “Keepers of the Door” series, will be on hand to present his documentary. He will discuss the 7-year process of its creation and to answer audience questions. Guitarist Dan Weaver, who composed and recorded the music score for the film, will also be in attendance.

Between 1875 and 1896, nine U.S. Life-Saving Stations were completed along Wisconsin's Lake Michigan coast, stretching from Kenosha to Plum Island in Death's Door Passage. Staffed by a keeper and a seven-man crew, these "storm warriors" saved countless mariners wrecked along the shore. Seven years in the making, this 59-minute documentary tells the story of their sacrifice and bravery.

Larson has spent the past several years traveling the Lake Michigan coast of Wisconsin shooting and documenting what remains of the United States Life-Saving Service. The result is a comprehensive video that includes such topics as the Sturgeon Bay Stations rescue of the schooner Otter’s crew, the Service’s role in the loss of the Christmas Tree ship, the 1913 winter storms impact on the Plum Island Station and more.

The premiere being held in the Reddin Bridge Room at the Door County Maritime Museum


Updates - July 13

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.


Port Reports - July 12

Manitowoc, Wis. - Scott Best
Manitowoc was busy on Sunday, with St. Marys Challenger arriving early Sunday morning, proceeding up to the St. Marys Cement dock, where the tug Prentiss Brown and barge St. Marys Conquest have been in layup for a few weeks. Conquest was rafted to the Challenger while Challenger unloaded. Also in port were the tug Gregory J. Bush and her barge STC2004, which was loading stone.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
On Saturday, Manitowoc backed in about 7:30 p.m. with a load of coal for the Board of Light and Power Plant on Harbor Island in Grand Haven. It unloaded, and left later that evening.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Algoway arrived in Lorain about 4 p.m. Sunday to unload stone at Terminal Ready-Mix on the Black River.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Saturday, Quebecois departed at 7:30 a.m. for Clarkson. Algomarine arrived at 1:30 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Duluth for Dofasco. Algolake departed at 1:45 p.m. for Ashtabula. Sunday, Canadian Navigator arrived at 7:30 a.m. with iron ore pellets from Duluth for Dofasco. Navigator departed at 4 p.m. in ballast for Duluth.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Evans McKeil and the cement barge arrived in port Saturday night to lay the barge up. Algontario was towed back into port Sunday morning by the tugs Commodore Straits and M. R. Kane after being used as a fireworks platform.

Oswego, N.Y. - Ned Goebricher
The tanker Esta Desgagnes was in Oswego Harbor Sunday unloading oil.


Updates - July 12

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


Today in Great Lakes History - July 12

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

On July 12, 2005, the DAY PECKINPAUGH, under tow of the tug BENJAMIN ELLIOT departed the lakes through the New York State Barge Canal to 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

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
After sailing light from Superior, John J. Boland arrived at the Upper Harbor early Saturday morning to load ore. The visit was her first of the season.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Sam Parker
Friday afternoon, St Marys Challenger was backing out of Grand Haven.

Cheboygan, Mich. - Brent Michaels
Cheboygan hosted a first time visitor Saturday when the Norwegian-flagged Songa Ruby was in to unload at the fuel terminal. The tug Michigan and barge Great Lakes were the usual visitors when the terminal was owned by BP. In the fall of 2009 the terminal was sold and since has been supplied by Algocanada and Algosar.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
English River departed at 5:45 p.m. Friday.

St. Catharine, Ont. - Al Howard
Algobay, damaged in a recent grounding, was drydocked at 4 p.m. Saturday, with help from the tugs Seahound, Ecosse and Vigilant 1.

Quebec City - Mac Mackay
Petro-Nav Inc has applied for a coasting license to use the Singapore tanker Glen (the former Liquid Beauty, Brovig Fjord, Songa Pearl) to carry clean petroleum from Levis to Quebec City and Montreal and gasoline from Montreal to Oakville between July 9 and 25. The Canadian Transportation Agency indicated that no Canadian tankers were available for this work.

St Georges De Cacounna, Que. - Walter Statham and Kent Malo
Birchglen was heading up bound in the St. Lawrence Seaway with what looked like windmill parts on her deck. The 730-foot freighter was built at Govan, Scotland, 1983, as Canada Marquis. Birchglen offloaded at Belledune, proceeded to St Georges De Cacounna, Que., arriving late on July 5. She departed July 7 for Burns Harbor.


Live dive broadcasts next week from the shipwreck Montana

7/11 - Alpena, Mich. – Alpena area residents and people in other predetermined locations will be able to interact with divers as they explore a shipwreck in real time next week during a series of live dives being produced by the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

The dives will be broadcast at 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Wednesday at the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center. The broadcasts also will be open to audiences on the website for Immersion Learning, a division of Sea Research Foundation Inc., at and three other venues across the country: the Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum, Milwaukee Public Museum and Mokupapapa Discovery Center, said Cathy Green, a maritime archaeologist with the sanctuary.

Through support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Preserve America Initiative grant, sanctuary archaeologists will invite the public along as they explore in real-time, the shipwreck of the Montana, a wooden freighter from the late 1800s that burned and sank in Thunder Bay. Today, the Montana is one of more than 200 well preserved submerged historical sites in "Shipwreck Alley," an area of northern Lake Huron known for extreme weather and dangerous shoals, Green said.

"The cold, fresh water of the Great Lakes has done an amazing job of preserving these historic shipwreck sites," Green said. "As archaeologists we want to share the thrill of shipwreck exploration with others and inspire them to be better stewards of these incredible sites. There is no better way than to take folks with us as we dive below the surface of Lake Huron in search of historic treasure."

According to Green, viewers will be able to interact live with divers 70 feet below the NOAA research vessel The Storm, by submitting e-mail questions. Each broadcast program will highlight different themes including underwater research techniques, diving technology and the study of Great Lakes health and ecology through NOAA observation platforms. The people who will be involved with the broadcasts from the Storm include Tane Casserley, national maritime heritage coordinator, Russ Green, sanctuary superintendent, a researcher from NOAA's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, and three youth from the National Association of Black Scuba Divers.

"We have some new equipment that allows us to speak to the divers. That's the first time we've done that kind of live component to a dive," she said.

Green said this is the first time the sanctuary has produced a live dive in-house and hopes this will be a good pilot project so the sanctuary can conduct additional live dives in the future more regularly.

Alpena News


Updates - July 11

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - July 11

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

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

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

The INDIANA HARBOR was christened July 11, 1979.

On 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.


Great Lakes iron ore trade up 109 percent in June

7/10 - Iron ore shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 5.9 million net tons in June, a decrease of 6.4 percent compared to May, but an increase of 109 percent over a year ago. Shipments were also up 3.1 percent compared to the month’s 5-year average.

June loadings at U.S. ports increased 108 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments from Canadian ports rose 112 percent.

Year-to-date the Lakes ore trade stands at 21,653,206 tons, an increase of 130 percent compared to the same point last year. The end-of-June total is also virtually tied with the 5-year average for the first half of the year. Shipments from U.S. ports are up 145 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings at Canadian ports are 49 percent ahead of last year's pace.

Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports - July 10

Twin Ports Report - Al Miller
Edgar B. Speer was fueling Friday morning at the Murphy Oil terminal in Duluth after spending Thursday tied up at the Duluth Port Terminal undergoing repairs. Later on Friday it was expected to load at the BNSF ore dock in Superior. The Speer was the third consecutive boat to load at BNSF. Mesabi Miner was loading there Thursday and was followed by Burns Harbor, which had anchored out on the lake to await its turn. That's a sharp turnaround from last season, when BNSF saw little traffic. Also Friday, Isolda was loading at CHS grain terminals berth 2. Grain hoppers were spotted on the tracks alongside berth 1, which is a pretty good indication a vessel will load there soon.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Friday morning, Manitowoc, Pere Marquette 41 and barge Undaunted and St. Marys Challenger were all docked in Ferrysburg. Manitowoc and PM 41 were at Verplank's while the Challenger was at the St. Marys Terminal. It is very rare that the port sees three boats at once, let all unloading at once.

Holland, Mich. - Kevin Hirdes
Wilfred Sykes arrived Friday night to the enjoyment of many watchers. She treated the audience at Kollen's park to a salute and then docked at the James De Young Power Plant to deliver coal. However there seemed to be an issue with the unloader as the crew appeared to be working in the area.

South Chicago, Ill. - Lou Gerard
St. Marys Challenger, which had been tied up at the sheds in Lake Calumet since Monday, shifted to the St. Marys terminal Thursday to unload about half her load. She departed about 3 p.m. bound for Grand Haven. Enroute down the river she passed Philip R. Clarke loading at KCBX. The Clarke departed after 6 p.m. Once in Calumet Harbor the Clarke met the Wilfred Sykes, which turned around and was pulled up the river to KCBX by the tug Steven Selvick.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Thursday, Canadian Provider departed at 8:30 a.m. Algowood arrived at 7 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Point Noire for Dofasco. Friday, Quebecois arrived at noon with iron ore pellets from Port Cartier for Dofasco. The tug Reliance and barge arrived at 4 p.m. with a cargo of quartz stone for Pier 12 West from Long Pond, Newfoundland.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons and Frank Hood
The saltie Redhead departed port Thursday evening. Her place at Redpath was taken a short time later by the saltie Bluebill. Groupe Ocean's tugs then returned to Hamilton. Algontario will be used as a fireworks barge in Humber Bay Saturday night as the Festival of Fire off Ontario Place wraps up.


Lake Superior’s warm up happening earlier this year

7/10 - Duluth, Minn. - It’s not at hot-tub status yet, but Lake Superior’s water has been pushed into the warm zone a month earlier than usual, thanks to a winter with little ice and a record-warm spring.

The big lake usually mixes, or turns over, when the surface waters hit 39 degrees Fahrenheit, when a shallow layer of warm water forms at the surface. That usually happens in mid-July.

But this year — in what UMD’s Large Lakes Observatory is calling “big news in the science world” — that turnover happened in early to mid-June.

UMD researcher Jay Austin is studying temperature data from three National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration buoys in the lake and says the warm-up is on par with 1998, the fastest since records have been kept starting in 1979.

“We would normally just be getting to turnover, to 39 degrees, about this time in July,” Austin said. “But it happened so early this year that we’re already at 59 degrees (at the western Lake Superior NOAA buoy). That’s 20 degrees warmer than we should be right now.”

The surface water temperature of Lake Superior probably will rise for another month or more and could reach a record high by mid-August, the typical peak for water temperature.

In 1998, a warm year, the lake peaked at 68 degrees, “and we’re well on our way to that, or higher,” Austin said. That compares to a high temperature of just 54 degrees in August 1996, a cool year.

Scientists are just starting to study what the rapidly rising water temperatures might mean for the big lake.

It could mean a more fertile lake with more organisms that thrive in warmer conditions. And it could cause “cascading biological effects to fish and other species that we can surmise but haven’t confirmed as yet,” said Steve Colman, co-researcher and director of the Large Lakes Observatory.

What the temperatures mean for beach-goers is more time in the water and less time on the sand.

Chris Chandler, 39, of Duluth said Thursday he has been coming to the beach on Park Point all his life. He was there with his three children and agreed with the researchers: “It’s definitely warmer earlier.”

He said in other years there might be a day here and there when the water felt warm, but the rest of the time it would be cold. “We’d come here, but we’d be blue,” he said.

This year, “it’s cold at first, and once you’re in it for a minute it’s very nice.”

Research by Austin and Colman in 2007 showed that summer Lake Superior water temperatures were warming twice as fast as air temperatures over the past 30 years, based on NOAA buoy data. It is one of the most graphic temperature increases on the planet.

They’ve found a self-perpetuating correlation: The higher the air and water temperatures, the less ice there is. The less ice, the warmer the water gets. Then there’s less ice the next winter.

“There’s a climate momentum going on out there,” Colman said. … “The traditional thought was that there really wasn’t any carryover from one year to the next with this kind of system. But it looks like there is.”

The warmer water not only means more swimmable water earlier this summer but also warmer breezes for people on shore. Now, even when winds are off the big lake, they’re more refreshingly cool than chillingly cold.

“If you’re dealing with water temperatures that are as warm, or nearly as warm, as the air, there is no ‘cooler by the lake,’ ” said Alex Lamers, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Duluth.

“Cooler is a relative thing. If it’s mid-80s inland and mid-70s by the lake, that’s considered pretty comfortable. We’re not seeing those huge temperature differences now that we do” when the water temperatures are lower, he said.

Duluth News Tribune


Updates - July 10

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.


Port Reports - July 9

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
After a foggy start Thursday morning, Herbert C. Jackson unloaded limestone at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock under sunny skies in the afternoon.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
English River arrived at 6 p.m. Thursday evening and was towed up to the LaFarge dock by the tug Washington.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
The Groupe Ocean tugs Omni Richelieu and LaPrairie arrived in port early Thursday to haul the saltie Redhead out from Redpath Sugar and return her into the slip facing out. The tugs then tied up at Pier 26 to await her departure.


Shipping woes at Thunder Bay as grain totals trend down

7/9 - Thunder Bay, Ont. - With Thunder Bay being a grain port, the local port authority is growing concerned with the fact that grain cargo is already down 20 per cent this season.

Despite coal jumping 40 per cent and potash up 60 per cent this year compared to 2009, on average 70 per cent of cargo arriving at the port is grain, said Thunder Bay Port Authority CEO Tim Heney, who added that the drop will affect grain elevator employees.

"Anytime you lose that much grain, you’re going to lose hours of labour," Heney said, noting there’s a combination of factors resulting in the grain decrease.

"There’s been a really wet spring and summer in the prairies and that’s affected the planting," he said. "We’re not looking for a really strong fall either."

The Canadian Wheat Board extended their rail program to May this year and grain is also being shipped to Europe from the West Coast. Heney added that ships that once commonly visited Thunder Bay have since scrapped their lake fleet and the iron ore business has picked up on the other side of Lake Superior.

"A bunch of factors come together and it’s really lowered our tonnage this year on grain," he said. "It’s not likely we’re going to make a lot of that tonnage back up."

But it’s not all doom and gloom for the port this season. There have been more ocean ships on the Great Lakes this year, which happens when the steel industry rebounds.

And the port authority has been trying to diversify the cargo entering the city, which brings in more ships to carry grain out.

"This year we’ve already done one ship so far of wind turbines," Heney said. "We have four more coming and there’s some other project cargo as well … we’re starting to see the oil sands come back a little bit. It will probably be next year before they start moving any cargo."

"That’s been a bit of a bright light for us," he added.

The port authority is optimistic about the season because of the project cargo coming through and an effort to market Thunder Bay in the west as well as the jump in coal.

The Thunder Bay Port Authority sees about 400 ships a year. They’re down 12 from this time last year but Heney said they should still see 400 by the season’s close.


Strike Continues for Local 5000

7/9 - Duluth, Minn. – "We have pride in our work, and we don't understand why they don't want us back," said Bob Pedersen, a sailor with Great Lakes Seamen Local 5000.

He and about 80 others have been on strike since September of 2009. Only about half a dozen live here in the Northland. The others work in other port towns across the Midwest.

Pedersen works for American Steamship, which is owned by GATX, a large company that leases rail, marine, and industrial equipment. The union and GATX cannot come to an agreement on labor terms.

"The other shipping companies signed on to this contract, but GATX is the only one that won't," Pedersen said. "It's about crew levels and health care. Right now they have the same crew levels but are paying scabs twice as much to do our jobs."

He and two other members stood near Midwest Energy's coal terminal on Wednesday, because an American Steamship vessel was loading coal there.

"We are sticking our ground here, because if we concede, then the other companies will want to re-negotiate with their unions. We're taking the bullet for the others, so to speak," said George Ruetschi.

GATX did not respond for a request for comment.

There are no new negotiations coming up, according to the union.



Thousands brave heat for opening of Cleveland's Tall Ships Festival

7/9 - Cleveland, Ohio - Lake breezes puffed the sails of the 11 18th and 19th century-era ships that paraded grandly across Cleveland's lakefront Wednesday.

But the gentle winds did little to cool the crowd that turned out in afternoon temperatures in the mid-90s for the opening of 2010 Cleveland Tall Ships Festival.

Still about 7,000 spectators came to see the stately procession.

Previous tall ship festivals were here in 2006, 2003 and 2001. This year, the festival had difficulty finding a sponsor, but the Rotary Club of Cleveland donated $100,000 in seed money to bring the classic ships to the city. The club celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

"This is the result of thousands and thousands of man hours," said Mikel Harding, Rotary co-chair of the event. "We want everyone to appreciate these vessels. It's a unique opportunity to see something you don't see every day."

"I think to [some] people, tall ships are something enigmatic and elusive -- kind of like unicorns," said LeeAnne Gordon, chief mate aboard Lynx, a modern version of the speedy privateers that nabbed British cargo ships during the War of 1812.

If sunny weather holds, organizers expect 125,000 visitors to come to the docks behind Cleveland Browns Stadium to see the ships. Visitors will able to board all of them through Sunday.

Cleveland Plain Dealer


Base of 1826 lighthouse unearthed in western New York

7/9 - Dunkirk, N.Y. - Archeologists are excavating the recently unearthed foundation of a western New York lighthouse believed to be one of the first built along the Lake Erie shore.

Violent storms have eroded the shoreline and exposed the circular stone and brick base of the lighthouse in Dunkirk, about 32 miles southwest of Buffalo.

The 60-foot-tall lighthouse was built in 1826 to help guide ships to Buffalo and the western terminus of the Erie Canal, which had opened a year earlier. The tower was taken down in the 1850s and moved to another location nearby. The original foundation was later covered with soil and its exact location remained a mystery until recent storms washed away an adjacent breakwall.

Archeologists have unearthed various artifacts, including porcelain plates and pottery from the 19th century.

The Canadian Press


Coast Guard evacuates man from charter vessel

7/9 - Cleveland, Ohio – A boat crew from U.S. Coast Guard Station Erie, Pa., medically evacuated a 63-year-old man who was reportedly exhibiting signs of heat stroke from a charter fishing vessel at about 11 a.m. Thursday.

The master of the charter vessel requested assistance from the Coast Guard via VHF-radio Channel 16 at about 10:40 a.m. Station Erie immediately dispatched a boat crew aboard a 25-foot response boat. "We were already onboard and refueling the boat,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class John Laughy, the coxswain of the response boat. "Since he was calling on the radio, we were able to hear it immediately and go right out and get him."

All mariners are encouraged to invest in a VHF-FM marine-band radio as their primary means of communication on the water. VHF-FM marine-band radios are far more reliable than cells phones in the marine environment. VHF-FM Channel 16, the international hailing and distress channel, is monitored by the Coast Guard and state marine patrols around the clock. In addition, distress calls broadcast over VHF-FM Channel 16 will be heard by all mariners in the vicinity. Urgent safety information and weather reports for boaters are also broadcast over marine band radio channels.

The crew transferred the man safely to shore at Dobbins Landing, where awaiting EMS transported him to Hamot Medical Center.


Updates - July 9

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
The tug Invincible and McKee Sons came in early Wednesday morning with a load for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg. They departed by 10 a.m.

St. Marys River
Fog led to the closing of the St. Marys River for several hours Wednesday morning. When it lifted, there was plenty of traffic in the river, right through to sunset. Downbound traffic included Pineglen, Michipicoten, American Century, Buffalo, Robert S. Pierson, Kaye E. Barker, Antikeri, Tim S. Dool, Manitowoc and Canadian Transport. The upbound parade included Federal Shimanto, Clelia II, Burns Harbor, Charles M. Beeghly, John Spence/Niagara Spirit, John J. Boland, St. Clair, Peter R. Cresswell, Herbert C. Jackson and Lee A. Tregurtha.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
American Mariner was outside the Lorain Harbor around 9:45 p.m. Wednesday and headed into port.

Cleveland, Ohio
The fleet of tall ships was expected to sail into the port of Cleveland Wednesday afternoon. A parade of replica historic vessels will arrive at the Cleveland Harbor, and the festival’s opening ceremonies will be held this evening. The festival at Cleveland Harbor starts Wednesday and runs through Sunday.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Wednesday, Montrealais departed at 6:30 a.m. in ballast for Thunder Bay. Canadian Enterprise arrived at 7:30 a.m. with a cargo of coke from Quebec City for US Steel. The Enterprise then departed at 6:30 p.m. in ballast for Thunder Bay. Frontenac arrived at 11:30 a.m. with iron ore pellets from Superior for US Steel. Maritime Trader arrived at 3:30 p.m. for a short layup at Pier 22.

Prescott, Ont. - Ron Beaupre
Algobay arrived at the Prescott Elevators about 11 a.m. to unload her cargo of corn from Hamilton.


Traverse City to be named Coast Guard City

7/8 - Traverse City, Mich. - A proclamation ceremony, to celebrate Traverse City's official designation as a Coast Guard City is scheduled to be held at Traverse City's Open Space (Cherry Blast Stage) during the National Cherry Festival, at 4 p.m., July 9.

U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Adm. Michael N. Parks, commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District, will preside over the ceremony.

Many cities have made extraordinary efforts to support U.S. Coast Guard families. Helping Coast Guard families feel at home in their home away from home is an invaluable contribution to morale, service excellence and mission execution. The Coast Guard City program recognizes those communities that show long-term exceptional support to the Coast Guard team.

"Traverse City does a remarkable job supporting Coast Guard families, and we are honored to host Adm. Parks for the ceremony, an official unit visit, and other public engagements," said Cmdr. Jonathan Spaner, commanding officer of Air Station Traverse City. "Designation as a Coast Guard City officially memorializes over 60 years of community support to our air station team. We are very fortunate to call Traverse City our home."

Parks will present the Coast Guard City Proclamation to Traverse City Mayor Chris Bzdok. Other distinguished guest speakers include Sen. Carl Levin, Congressman David Camp, Rep. Wayne Schmidt, Chairman Derek Bailey of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Mary Rogers from "Mary in the Morning," Terri Ray from WKLT, Jack O'Malley from WTCM, and Tino Breithaupt, Traverse City Chamber of Commerce. There will also be special performances by musicians from the Northwestern Michigan College Community Concert Band, Traverse City Area Public Schools and Interlochen. Additionally, Sen. Levin is providing a special message for the ceremony.


Tours offered of Bay City-area lighthouse

7/8 - July 16 and 17, the Saginaw River Marine Historical Society will be offering tours of the Saginaw River Rear Range Lighthouse. This will be the second time the lighthouse has been opened to the public. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.  More information


Updates - July 8

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - July 8

An apparent steering gear or engine failure caused the salty ORLA, built in 1999, to ground off Marysville on the St. Clair River on July 8, 2005. She was able to dislodge herself.

LOUIS R. DESMARAIS (Hull#212) was launched July 8,1977, at Collingwood, Ontario, by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd. for Canada Steamship Lines Ltd. Cargo hold replaced at Port Weller Drydocks Ltd., and renamed b.) CSL LAURENTIEN in 2001.

In 1918, a slip joint on the main steam line of the ANN ARBOR NO 5 let go, killing four men and badly scalding one other. The dead were: Lon Boyd, W.T. Archie Gailbraith, 1st assistant engineer Arthur R. Gilbert, coal passer William Herbert Freeman, 2nd engineer.

In 1984, the Michigan-Wisconsin Transportation Company (MWT) resumed service to Milwaukee with disappointing results.

On 8 July 1908, JAMES G. BLAINE (formerly PENSAUKEE, wooden schooner-barge, 177 foot 555 gross tons, built in 1867, at Little Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin) was being towed in Lake Ontario by the tug WILLIAM L. 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.


Algobay refloated in St. Lawrence Seaway

7/7 - Cleveland, Ohio - The Canadian vessel Algobay, which ran hard aground in the St. Lawrence Seaway Sunday, was successfully refloated at 10 p.m., July 6. The vessel proceeded to Prescott, Ontario to offload its cargo of corn.

The U.S. Coast Guard and the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation worked with Canadian officials to develop a plan which utilized two tugs, the Wilf Seymour and the Ecosse, and Algobay's own power to remove the 740-foot vessel from the shoal. No pollution or injuries were reported.

A crew from Coast Guard Station Alexandria Bay provided a 100-yard safety zone around the vessel during the operation. The grounding of the Algobay is under investigation and the cause will not be known until the investigation is complete.


Port Reports - July 7

Milwaukee- Jason Heindel
Federal Orsula was at the Port of Milwaukee general freight pier.

Muskegon - Tom Hynes
A Monday evening visit to Muskegon found the former tug Mark Hannah in the slip used by Andrie Inc. The tug is still in Hannah colors but has all markings painted out and a new wooden name board attached with the name Spartan. A check of the NOAA database confirms that the tug has been purchased and renamed by Occidental Chemical Corp. of Dallas, Texas. They have also purchased the mated barge Hannah 6301 and renamed it Spartan II. The current location of the barge is unknown. The database shows Ludington as the homeport for both. Also in Muskegon Monday evening were Pere Marquette 41/ Undaunted at Consumers Energy, the Great Lakes Dock and Materials tug Duluth, Paul H. Townsend and Alpena in layup, and the tug Susan W. Hannah, also still in Hannah colors but with stack markings for Port City Tug Inc.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Tuesday at the Upper Harbor, Manitowoc and Kaye E. Barker arrived to load ore. Manitowoc's visit was her first of the season.


SS United States salvaged from the scrap yard?

7/7 - Philadelphia, Pa. - A dramatic turn of events has saved the SS United States from what seemed like a one-way sailing to the scrap yard -- for now.

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, the SS United States Conservancy, a group dedicated to the preservation of the beloved ocean liner, will tonight announce plans to buy the SS United States for $3 million. The iconic American vessel, which is owned by Norwegian Cruise Line, has been slowly oxidizing at a Philadelphia dock since 1996.

The ship seems to have been saved in the eleventh hour by Philadelphia philanthropist H.F. Gerry Lenfest, who will contribute up to $5.8 million to fund the purchase and associated costs. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Mr. Lenfest will be covering the $60,000-a-month docking fees for the next 20 months, while the conservancy develops a restoration plan -- which may be to transform the vessel into a waterfront hotel or multi-use development, according to the Journal. The deal with NCL to buy the ship must be finalized by February.

Despite the good news, the project still faces a number of obstacles. The WSJ report says that "the proposed sale still must satisfy Environmental Protection Agency concerns related to toxins aboard the nearly 60-year-old steamship." And no one has put a price tag on how much it will cost to refurbish the ship, which has been out of service since 1969.

With no previous takers to buy the ship, NCL parent company Genting Hong Kong began taking bids from scrappers earlier this year. According to the Journal, NCL actually declined a $5.9 million bid from a scrapping company. The line was unavailable to comment on why it accepted a significantly lower offer from the SS United States Conservancy.

Built in 1952, the construction of the ship was heavily subsidized by the U.S. government, which wanted the option to use the Big U, as it's known to fans, as a military transport vessel when it wasn't sailing transatlantic pleasure cruises for United States Lines. An undeniable speed demon, the SS United States still holds the westbound transatlantic speed record, crossing the pond in some 3 days and 10 hours on its maiden voyage in 1952. Its top speed was believed to be in excess of 36 knots (over 40 miles per hour). Onboard, the ship reflected the golden age of ocean liners -- it was divided into three distinct "classes" -- first, cabin and tourist -- each with their own dining rooms and lounges. Passengers -- including movie stars (John Wayne), heads of state (Harry Truman) and immigrants -- could mix in the gymnasium and pool.


Private birthday party today honors memory of Chuck Truscott

7/7 - Charles H. Truscott Jr., 64 of Lansing, Mich., passed away early in the morning on June 30 at Ingham Regional Medical Center. He fought a brief and brave battle against cancer with dignity.

A private birthday party is being held today to honor Truscott on what would have been his 65th birthday. A private burial of his remains will be held at a later date on Mackinac Island at the Truscott family plot.

Born July 7, 1945, he was raised at the Truscott home on Market Street on Mackinac Island. A third generation resident of the island, he was always interested in the ships around and at the island and would wake up every morning looking out his window at the lighthouse of the Round Island Passage. When he was older, he went to work for the Arnold Transit Company, working there in various positions as did his father before him. This only made his interest in the boats and the island stronger.

Over the years he collected and archived many items relating to Mackinac Island, Arnold Transit Company and Great Lakes passenger ships, becoming an authority on some of those subjects.

He had a special affection for the S/S Milwaukee Clipper. He served as her curator and purser during her stay in Chicago. He was fully responsible for the shipkeeping of the boat and all the related bookkeeping as well. His love for the Clipper followed her to Muskegon where he served for many years on the board of the Great Lakes CLIPPER Preservation Association. Truscott also worked for the State of Michigan for the last 14 years, retiring in March of 2010.

He is survived by his wife Beth Poole, son Charles Truscott III (wife Nydia), 2 grandchildren, his close friends and family and his beloved animals.


Updates - July 7

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - July 7

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

The BURNS HARBOR's sea trials were conducted on July 7, 1980.

JEAN PARISIEN (Hull#684) was launched July 7, 1977, at Lauzon, Quebec, by Davie Shipbuilding Company Ltd. for Canada Steamship Lines. Port Weller 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 Milwaukee on the hull of NANCY DOUSMAN) capsized and foundered in a white squall in Lake Mich. The wreck drifted to a point about 10 miles SSE of Manitowoc, where it sank.

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


Port Reports - July 6

South Chicago - Dan F.
Diezeborg arrived in South Chicago at 11:30 a.m., mooring at the North American dock. St. Marys Challenger cleared the Calumet Harbor breakwall at 12:30 p.m. and was heading for the Sheds in Lake Calumet, due to arrive there around 3 p.m. However, as she was about to call for the Torrance Avenue bridge, they called her to inform her that they had blown all fuses when trying to lift; ETA for an operational bridge was minimum 2-3 hours. Manistee cleared the break-wall at 1:30 a.m., turned, and backed down the river, heading to CFT and clearing 100th Street at 3 p.m. Edgar B. Speer departed Gary at 12:45 p.m. and was heading back to Superior, Wis. Burns Harbor and Federal Shimanto were both moored at Burns Harbor.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Monday, Atlantic Huron arrived at 6 a.m. and departed US Steel at 6 p.m. for Ashtabula in ballast. Algosteel departed at 1 p.m. for Bruce Mines, Ont. Algosoo arrived back in port at 6 p.m. after cleaning holds in the lake, to load slag at US Steel for Bath.


Renovations to offer public a unique view of Canadian Soo lock

7/5 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. - Preparations are underway to drain the recreational lock at the Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site of Canada for the first time since 1998. The process isn’t quite as simple as pulling a plug, but the work will allow visitors an unprecedented, behind the scenes look at the inner workings of the lock.

Beginning this week, contractors will hoist five steel stop logs into place upstream of the lock to stem the flow of water through the canal. Over the coming weeks, a temporary dam will be constructed downstream of the lock to hold back the waters of the St. Marys River. Once both the stop logs and dam are in place, the water in between the two structures can be pumped out. A silt curtain will be hung downstream of the pumps to capture sediments that may have accumulated in the canal.

Areas will be identified for visitors to safely observe the various stages of work being undertaken to protect the historic machinery that helps to operate the modern lock. Visitors are encouraged to participate in site tours offered each day at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. to discover the many fascinating stories of the entire national historic site, including the last surviving emergency swing dam in the world.

Parks Canada is continually investing in infrastructure and this work is part of the long-term investment strategy for the sustainability of the recreational lock. The improvements also allow Parks Canada to offer unique and inspiring visitor experiences at this treasured heritage site. The Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site of Canada is one of 162 national historic sites operated by Parks Canada to protect and present significant examples of our nation’s heritage.

Completed in 1895, the Sault Ste. Marie Canal was the longest lock in the world when it opened and the first to be electrically operated. The construction of the Sault Ste. Marie Canal marked the completion of an all-Canadian waterway from the Atlantic Ocean to Lake Superior.

Soo Today


Pointe aux Barques festival scheduled

7/6 –Port Hope, MI - The Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse Society will be holding its annual Heritage Day Festival on Aug. 7 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Lighthouse Park, Port Hope, Mich.

Kitty Donohoe, the George Schwedler Trio and historical presentations will be the entertainment. Authors doing book signings include Jackie Howard ("Thumb Pointed Finger"), Janis Stein ("Schools of Yesteryear" and "Musings of a Country Girl"), and Erin Quinlan ("Hope for Carsonville"). Come and purchase a copy of their books or bring your copy to be signed.

Visit the new displays in the museum, tower climbing, vintage clothing and antique quilts will round out a full day.


Seaway issues Notices to Shipping

7/6 - The St. Lawrence Seaway has issued Notices to Shipping #16 and 17. Notice #16 is an update on testing at Lock 3, Maisonneuve. #17 concerning replacing of sections of fendering at the Cote Sainte Catherine Wharf.

Click here to view the notices. 


Updates - July 6

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.


Port Reports - July 5

Rochester - Tom Brewer
The Stephen B. Roman spent July 4th unloading at Essroc's terminal in Rochester, NY. She departed about 7:00 PM, in ballast for Picton, Ontario.

Holland - Bob VandeVusse
Grande Mariner spent Independence Day in Holland. It was the first visit for the year, though two earlier stops had been scheduled, but canceled. A visit on June 18 was victim of a canceled cruise and a stop on June 26 was lost when the start of the cruise was delayed due to weather and the ship sailed from Chicago to Manistee, and skipped the Holland stop.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Hamilton Energy came over from Hamilton to bunker the passenger ship Clelia II and returned to Hamilton at 11:30 a.m. Groupe Ocean's tugs also came in from Hamilton to berth the salty Redhead at Redpath early Saturday morning. Sunday afternoon a Parade of Sail will take place from 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. along Toronto's Waterfront.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Saturday, Hamilton Energy departed at 6:30 a.m. for bunkering in Toronto. Algobay departed at 5 p.m. CSL Tadoussac arrived at 9 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Duluth for US Steel. Sunday, the tug William J. Moore and barge McLeary's Spirit departed at 5 a.m. The tug John Spence and barge Niagara Spirit departed at 6:30 a.m. in ballast for Sault St. Marie, Ont. CSL Tadoussac departed at 7:30 a.m. for Duluth. Federal Asahi departed at 1:30 p.m. The tug Wilf Seymour and barge Lambert's Spirit arrived at 8 p.m. for 5 or 6 days, to fix unknown damage that occurred on Saturday.

Sarnia - Mike Cunningham
Algorail has joined the Canadian Transfer in layup in the North Slip by rafting along side on July 3. She is also pumped out, exposing a lot of algae growth

St. Marys River
Traffic on a hot, windy July 4 included the upbound J.W. Shelley and Buffalo, as well as the downbound St. Clair. As evening fell, James R. Barker, Canadian Transport and Manitowoc were upbound in the lower river and American Mariner was above the locks downbound

Silver Bay - Ben Larson
Silver Bay has been busy this week, with Mapleglen making her first appearance in Silver Bay. She came and left on Wednesday, with a load of pellets for Hamilton. Herbert C. Jackson departed Silver Bay with a load of pellets for Indiana Harbor at 6 p.m. Saturday. Two fleet mates are due in Silver Bay on the 4th of July: Sam Laud and American Republic are due in the morning, loading for Cleveland. Monday, the Buffalo is due to load for Cleveland

 Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
There was some shipping traffic on the Saginaw River over the holiday weekend. Algoway called on the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee late Thursday evening to unload. She was back outbound for the lake on Friday, passing through Bay City late in the afternoon. The tug Zeus, along with her tank barge, called on the old Dow Chemical dock, which is now being referred to as the "Oxy" dock. The pair were outbound on Saturday. Sunday saw the Calumet arrive with a split load. She lightered at the Lafarge Essexville dock before continuing upriver to finish at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee. Calumet was expected to be outbound late Sunday night or early Monday morning. USNSCS Greyfox departed Bay City at 6 a.m. Sunday after spending the past week in port giving tours.

With more boats trading on the Great lakes in 2010 than last year and increases in cargo being hauled, traffic on the Saginaw River continues to trend downward. There were only 18 commercial deliveries on the Saginaw River during the month of June. That is six less then the same period in 2009, fifteen less than the average over the past six years and 28 less than the high over that time period, June 2005. For the year to date, there have been 56 commercial cargo deliveries. This is down seven from the same time period in 2009, 36 less than the average over the past six years and 89 less than the high over that time period, June 2005.


M. June Westcott Hogan, president of J. W. Westcott Co., dies

7/5 - White Lake, Mich. - M. June Westcott Hogan, president of the J.W. Westcott Co., passed away on July 1 just a few days shy of her 91st birthday. She had been in hospice care for several months due to the effects of advancing dementia.

She was born on July 10, 1919 and was the daughter of John Ward Westcott II and Mildred (Simpson) Westcott, and the granddaughter of John Ward Westcott, who founded the J.W. Westcott Co. in 1874. The company is well-known as the operator of the mailboat J.W. Westcott II, which delivers mail to vessels transiting the Detroit River.

June attended Hillsdale College and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education. She married Joseph J. Hogan, an Irish Catholic from Detroit, in 1947. That union produced two children Joanne, who died in the late 1990s, and James, who is currently Vice President and General Manager at the J.W. Westcott Co.

June was a teacher in the Walled Lake Consolidated School District, and Oakley Park Elementary School. She retired from teaching in 1975 after an 18-year career in education. From 1976 to 1995 she was involved with the operation of the family business, but took a less active role after retiring to Gaylord in the early 1990s. Her husband, Joseph Hogan, died in 1995. Shortly thereafter June returned to the Detroit area to be closer to family.

She will lie in state at the Elton Black Funeral Home, 1233 Union Lake Road (north of Cooley Lake Road), White Lake, MI 48386. Visitation will be Wednesday, July 7, 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Rosary will be recited at 6 p.m. Funeral services will be held on Thursday, July 8, at St. Patrick Catholic Church, 9086 Hutchins Road (at Union Lake Road), White Lake, MI 48386. Mrs. Westcott will lie in state at the church at 10:00 am with the funeral Mass to follow at 11 a.m. Burial will be in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 25800 W. 10 Mile Road (west of Telegraph), Southfield, MI 48033

Condolences may be sent to the family c/o The J.W. Westcott Co., Foot of 24th Street, Detroit, MI 48222.


BoatNerd Detroit River cruise coming August 7

The annual Detroit River Cruise aboard the Friendship, with Captain Sam Buchanan is scheduled for August 7.

This year’s cruise will be 4 hours and will go up the Detroit River and, hopefully, into the Rouge River. Pizza lunch will be delivered by the J. W. Westcott mail boat. Cost is just $30 per person, same price as last year.

The boat will depart at 10 a.m. sharp from the Portofino's On The River in Wyandotte, Mich. Click here for reservation forms and details


Updates - July 5

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.


Algobay grounds

7/4 - Seaway- Evening Update - Personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard and the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation are responding to the grounding of the 740-foot Algobay, which ran aground in the St. Lawrence Seaway near Chippewa Bay, N.Y., at about 9 a.m. EST on July 4, 2010.

No pollution or injuries have been reported, and it has been determined to be safe for maritime traffic to pass the location of the grounded vessel at reduced speeds. The vessel is out of the shipping channel.

After the Coast Guard was notified, a crew from Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Massena, N.Y., arrived on scene and performed soundings and draft checks of the Canadian-flagged laker. The MSD Massena response crew found the vessel's fuel tanks to be above the water line and that they had not been punctured.

SLSDC personnel deployed a marine crew, emergency response boat and containment boom to the area.

Algobay, carrying a partial load of Canadian corn bound for Prescott, ON, is hard aground near Singer Castle, approximately 0.35 nautical miles west-northwest of Light 165.

The grounding of the Algobay is under investigation and the cause will not be known until the investigation is complete.


Port Reports - July 4

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
Thursday morning, the tug Samuel de Champlain/barge Innovation were in port loading cement for Green Bay, Wis. Calumet was out in the bay Friday evening, turning so it could back into Lafarge. By nightfall, it was tied up at the dock and began to unload coal.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
H. Lee White unloaded coal Friday evening at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock, and Charles M. Beeghly arrived at the Upper Harbor to unload coal into the hopper.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
USCG Neah Bay departed about 10 a.m. Friday. English River arrived overnight Thursday, unloaded and departed about 7 p.m. for Bath. The passenger vessel Clelia II arrived in port about 10 p.m. and will spend the night.

Lorain - Phil Leon
Buffalo was spotted leaving Lorain at 10:40 a.m. Saturday


Port Stanley submarine plan remains afloat

7/4 – Port Stanley, Ont. – Making Port Stanley a new home for a decommissioned Cold War-era submarine has moved a step closer to reality. A tiny step

Central Elgin, asked by the Elgin Military Museum to say it wants the HMCS Ojibwa to become a lakeside attraction in the port, has opted instead to continue talks while its lawyer considers the plan. “We can't just say go ahead,” Central Elgin Mayor Tom Marks said. “We have to check with our lawyer and get an opinion. We are trying to indicate, ‘Let’s talk.’ Before we can make a decision we need information. We did not say no.”

The federal government is prepared to spend $1.9 million to tow to Port Stanley the 1960s-era sub that was facing the scrap-yard in Halifax. Joe Preston, the Conservative MP for Elgin-Middlesex-London, said he secured the funds on behalf of the Elgin Military Museum and he’s excited about Port Stanley as a home for the tourist attraction.

“Certainly, 80,000 to 100,000 visitors a year is positive for whatever community it’s in,” he said, using attendance figures from Ojibwa’s sister sub, the HMCS Onondaga, which recently became the latest tourist attraction in the St. Lawrence River community of Rimouski, Que.

“At this moment, it is up to them to want it,” Preston said of Central Elgin. “We think it is the right thing to do. Tourism is another form of economic development.” He said the Oberon-class Ojibwa would be a fine addition to the harbour area the municipality is about to acquire from Transport Canada. “I think it’s a win-win,” he said.

But Marks said the municipality is looking for “a comfort level it would be a good fit. We are trying to be cautious but we are trying to send the message that we see great potential.” And he said he wants to do what’s best for all ratepayers in Central Elgin.

Dan Mc Neil, a retired Canadian rear admiral and president of the Port Stanley Village Association, described council as “timorous,” partly because port divestiture isn't yet complete. “The navy won't allow this to happen unless it’s a huge success and the risk is very, very low,” he said.

“There are other communities who will grab this wonderful opportunity if we don’t have the wherewithal to do it,” he said. Goderich, Sarnia, Windsor or Port Burwell would jump at the chance to be the new home for the Ojibwa, he said.

Ian Raven, curator of the Elgin Military Museum, said he was satisfied with the response from Central Elgin and understands it. “I think it was a step forward,” he said. “We will find if the funding body (Fed Dev Ontario) thinks it is enough.”


Updates - July 4

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - July 4

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

The WILLIS B. BOYER museum ship was opened to the public at Toledo, Ohio in 1987. She was built by Great Lakes Engineering Works (Hull#82) in 1912 as a.) COL JAMES M. SCHOONMAKER. Renamed b.) WILLIS B. BOYER in 1969.

In 1976, the SAM LAUD grounded entering Buffalo, New York. She was dry docked at Lorain, Ohio for repairs to bottom plates of No. 1, 2 and 3 port and starboard tanks.

Also on this day in 1976, the H. LEE WHITE struck the Algoma Steel plant dock at the Canadian Soo resulting in damage to her stern amounting to $108,000 at the repair yard of Sturgeon Bay.

The JOSEPH S. YOUNG, a.) ARCHERS HOPE of 1945, was commissioned July 4, 1957. She was the first of seven T-2 tanker conversions for Great Lakes service. The YOUNG was renamed c.) H. LEE WHITE in 1969 and d.) SHARON in 1974. She was 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.


Port Reports – July 3

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Friday, the tug Rebecca Lynn and barge departed at 4 a.m. for the Welland Canal. Hamilton Energy departed at 5 a.m. to bunker the Atlantic Erie in Port Weller. Algomarine arrived at 7:30 a.m. with stone for Pier 12. Algocape arrived at 8 a.m. with iron ore pellets from port Cartier for Dofasco. Diezeborg departed at 1:30 p.m. for the Welland Canal. LS Christine arrived at 3 pm. with coal tar from Ghent, Belgium, for Pier 23. Algobay arrived at 5 p.m.

Toronto – Charlie Gibbons
U.S.C.G. Neah Bay and Brig Niagara arrived in port on June 30. Peter R. Creswell was in port Thursday, departing in mid-afternoon. The Redpath Waterfront Festival featuring eight visiting tall ships got underway Friday. Fireworks shot from Algontario, anchored in Humber Bay off Ontario Place, celebrated Canada Day.

Milwaukee – Jason Heindel
Federal Shimoto was discharging freight at the general cargo terminal on Friday.

Marquette – Rod Burdick
Kaye E. Barker arrived off the Lower Harbor breakwall Friday at sunrise and backed into the Shiras Dock to unload stone from Drummond Island.


Port of Cleveland receives state grant loan for $6 million

 7/3 – Cleveland, Ohio - On July 1, Governor Ted Strickland announced the award of a $6 million dollar Logistics and Distribution Stimulus (“LDS”) Loan to The Great Lakes Towing Company and its shipyard to enable the shipyard to acquire, install and assemble the largest mobile hoist crane on the Great Lakes, with a capacity of 700 tons, to fully equip and expand its marine logistics and shipyard manufacturing businesses in Cleveland. Without the loan, the company would have been unable to move forward with the project.  The shipyard is a small business located on a former Superfund site in an underutilized area in Wards 3 and 15 in a HUB Zone in inner-city Cleveland. 

The project will create approximately 6,000 construction person hours over a construction period of 12 months.  Additionally, 25 new full-time jobs will be created after the installation and completion of the mobile hoist. 

The hoist will allow simultaneous new construction and repair of multiple boats and barges and expansion of vessel repair and marina service capabilities. The hoist will also set the stage for near and offshore wind industries permitting the company to participate in the construction logistics of offshore wind projects. 

The new mobile hoist will accommodate the simultaneous repair and construction of 10 or more vessels including US Coast Guard and other government vessels, research vessels, tugs, barges, ferries, workboats, dinner boats, yachts, and an entire array of truckable marine pontoons and platforms of every sort.  The mobile hoist allows for rapid emergency response for repairs and timely return to service and also permits longer term projects to remain efficiently drydocked.


Long time friend of BoatNerd crosses the bar

 7/3 - Lansing - Charles H. Truscott, Lansing, 64, formerly of Mackinac Island and a noted expert on Great Lakes passenger vessels, passed away June 30 in Lansing, Mich. On May 2, 2002, he married Beth A. Poole and she survives.

 In addition to his wife, he is survived by his son Charles D. Truscott III, daughter-in-law Nydia V. Truscott and his grandchildren Matthew James Truscott and Jordan Daniel Truscott. He was preceded in death by his parents, Charles H. Truscott, Sr. and Anne Truscott.

 Memorial services will be held in Lansing, Mich., and his final resting place will be in Mackinac Island Protestant Cemetery in the Truscott Family Plot.

Watch BoatNerd for a more extensive obituary in a few days.

 Lansing State Journal


Updates - July 3

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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

St. Marys River
Kaye E. Barker, American Mariner were upbound. John D. Leitch, Walter J. McCarty Jr. and Arthur M. Anderson were downbound. McKee Sons was upbound in the lower in the late evening.

Muskegon, Mich. - Mark Taylor
Thursday, Alpena arrived at the Mart Dock for temporary lay-up.

Sarnia, Ont. - Mike Cunningham
Canadian Transfer arrived the North Slip June 29 and pumped out. She's laid up for undetermined amount of time.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Wednesday evening, BBC Maine departed at 7 p.m. and headed down the lake. Thursday the CCGC Griffon departed Burlington at 9 a.m. from the Canada Centre for Inland Waters. Hamilton Energy arrived at 10:30 a.m. from Port Weller. The tug Rebecca Lynn and barge arrived at 11:30 a.m. Canadian Transport departed at 12:30 p.m. for Ashtabula. Tim S. Dool departed at 1 p.m. for Thunder Bay in ballast. The tug Vigilant 1 and barge arrived at 7 p.m. Federal Power departed at 7 p.m. with steel products for Erie.


Muskegon navigates a balance between beautiful shoreline, commercial shipping

7/2 - Muskegon, Mich. - Decades ago, Muskegon Lake was on the brink of environmental disaster. Heavy industrial use left its waters severely tainted, unsuitable for people living near its shore, for fishing or any kind of recreational activity.

Efforts to transform the lake largely prevailed, and now local officials and property owners are bent on striking the perfect balance, one that allows a healthy shoreline people can live near and enjoy, and still provide opportunities for commercial shipping and economic development.

"There's a new standard that has been set," said Chuck Canestraight, president of Sand Products Corporation, a Muskegon Lake property owner. "The old-school thought was that everything is for the plant and we don't worry about what comes out the back end later. That doesn't exist anymore."

The Muskegon Countywide Planning Commission, an informal body composed of city, village and township commissioners from across Muskegon County, met Wednesday to further discuss methods of enhancing the lakefront.

Cross-lake truck and container service to Milwaukee still is being explored as a possibility. Officials hope such a system will replace the old "Chicago loop" method of transporting goods between Wisconsin and West Michigan.

"It works for now, but there's a better way," said Karen Benson, an economic developer with Muskegon Area First. "We have people doing studies and looking for grant money to see if a truck ferry would work."

The commission also has drawn up a 90-mile radius protruding from Muskegon Lake, where it hopes to focus its marketing efforts on area businesses. Such promotional efforts are centered around the lake's billing as the largest deep-water port on Michigan's west coast.

Muskegon's port received statewide attention in May when it was paid a visit by the Michigan Port Collaborative. The two-day series of meetings included extensive tours of the port's assets.

And while it long has been considered a receiving-only site, commissioners hope to see an increase in export numbers as well.

"We want to see two-way traffic," Benson said. "We have people willing to bring stuff in and we have stuff we know that needs to get out." However, a new-and-improved commercial port would also mean the importance of implementing "environmental morals," Canestraight said. Mainly, this would be done through the careful monitoring of carbon footprints and fuel emissions produced by cargo ships.

Muskegon Chronicle


Thunder Bay Maritime Festival this weekend at Alpena

7/2 - Alpena, Mich. – Live entertainment, demonstrations, ship tours and a 25-foot inflatable slide await Alpena residents and visitors who attend the 10th annual Thunder Bay Maritime Festival this weekend.

The festival takes place 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday at the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center, 500 W. Fletcher. St in Alpena. Admission is free.

According to Deb Pardike, executive director of the Alpena Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, a cast of well-known performers including Song of the Lakes, Geoff Kaufman, Genot Picor, Grand Traverse Pipe and Drums and the Tongue Family String Band will entertain throughout the day. Song of the Lakes is an eclectic band that mixes new original folk music with a maritime flair, incorporating a wide range of genres including Celtic, Scandinavian, acoustic rock, Great Lakes, world music and other original songs.

Kaufman performs coast to coast and throughout Europe. He is most known for Music of the Sea, Pardike said.

"He has been called one of the finest and strongest tenor voices on the folk scene. We are privileged to have Geoff joining us this year at the festival," she said.

Pardike said Picor's stories, songs and dances from the time of the French voyageurs have thrilled audiences from the Great Lakes region to the east coast. The Grand Traverse Pipe and Drums, founded nearly 40 years ago, performs ancient Gaelic airs, Highland dances and marches of the British Army.

The Tongue Family String Band with former Alpena resident Steve Tongue on guitar, his wife Amy on flute, daughters Abby and Laura on fiddles and youngest daughter Emma on the cello will entertain audiences with Celtic tunes and Irish step dancing, Pardike said.

Rotary Island Mill will be the site of a living history program and demonstrations of glass bottom kayaks used for kayak viewing. Project Lakewell, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the teaching of Great Lakes awareness and maritime history, will be at the island.

A cast of five trained historical educators, dressed in 18th century regalia will introduce visitors to French voyageurs, Metis, other European characters and the Anishabe. A tent encampment, reproduction artifacts and trade items, fur hides, a replica 26-foot birch bark canoe and a flat bottomed trading bateau will be on display.

Green Planet Extreme Adventures will offer demonstrations on its inflatable tandem kayaks which feature viewing panels for getting a close look at shallow shipwrecks. Visitors also can check out the expanded Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Trail where 24 new interpretive signs have been added to the trail along the Thunder Bay River, Pardike said.

Sarah Waters, Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary visitor experience coordinator, said the festival is highlighting Great Lakes working ships this year instead of tall ships. Visitors can tour ships including the Pride of Michigan, that work on Lake Huron. They also can learn how whitefish is caught and check out the sanctuary's new bio-diesel powered research vessel, The Storm.

The festival also will feature the "Exploring the Shipwreck Century" exhibit at the heritage center, a National Hand-Jive Competition at 5 p.m. and food vendors throughout the day, Pardike said.

Alpena News


Updates - July 2

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - July 2

On July 2, 1966, the SIMCOE entered service for Canada Steamship Lines. Renamed b.) ALGOSTREAM in 1994, she was scrapped at Alang, India in 1996, as c.) SIMCOE.

The railroad carferry TRANSIT was launched at Walkerville, Ontario on 2 July 1872, at the Jenkins Brothers shipyard.

Before noon, Saturday, 2 July 1870, several attempts were made to launch the barge AGNES L POTTER at Simon Langell's yard at St. Clair, Michigan. Nothing happened until 3:00 p.m. when the vessel moved about 100 feet but still was not launched. The tug VULCAN arrived at 8:00 a.m. the following day and broke the line on the first attempt to pull the vessel off the ways. A 10 inch line was obtained in Port Huron and at 2:00 p.m. a second effort only moved the barge about 4 feet. Finally , on the third attempt, the VULCAN pulled her into the water. The POTTER's dimensions were 133 feet X 27 feet X 9 feet, 279 gross tons and she was built for the iron ore trade. She was named for the daughter of the general superintendent of Ward's Iron Works of Chicago. She lasted until 1906.

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


Port Reports - July 1

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
American Mariner passed under the Charles Berry Bridge heading out of port at 11:17 a.m. Wednesday. She came in overnight.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Tuesday, Tim S. Dool arrived at 8 a.m. with iron ore pellets from Point Noire for Dofasco. The saltie Avataq departed at 4 p.m. for Valleyfield QC. Hamilton Energy departed at 6 p.m. for bunkering services in Port Weller. Wednesday, Federal Power arrived at 4:30 a.m. with steel products for Pier 14. Hamilton Energy returned from Port Weller at 6:30 a.m. Canadian Progress arrived at 1:30 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Duluth for Dofasco. Her next port is Duluth.


Lake Superior up more than usual after rainy June

7/1 - Duluth, Minn. – After heading lower than normal for most of 2010, Lake Superior turned up during a wet June, rising four inches over the month.

The big lake usually goes up about three inches over June, but increased more thanks to above-normal rainfall across the lake’s basin. Duluth recorded 5.25 inches of rain in June, about 1.28 inches above normal. Lake Superior now sits 12 inches below normal for July 1 and seven inches below last year’s level for July 1.

Lakes Huron-Michigan rose a whopping five inches in June, a month the two lakes usually go up only 2 inches, also thanks to above normal rainfall. The lakes now sit 12 inches below the long-term July 1 average and 7 inches below July 1, 2009, level.

Duluth News Tribune


President asked to lead fight against Asian carp

7/1 - Milwaukee, Wis. – With word leaking that bighead carp may be advancing toward Lake Erie, a coalition of environmental organizations is asking President Barack Obama to take control of the Asian carp fight.

"We write today to urge you to take direct Presidential control over the federal response to the threat to the lakes presented by the Asian carp and their advance through our rivers and waterways, including the Chicago Waterway System, which the Asian carp crisis demonstrates to be a highway for invasive species into and out of the Great Lakes," the group wrote Tuesday to Obama.

The letter follows news last week that a 3-foot-long bighead carp had been found in the Chicago waterway system about six miles south of the Lake Michigan shoreline.

The find was the first confirmed specimen of an Asian carp above an electric barrier system, located about 35 miles downstream from Lake Michigan on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.

Environmental DNA tests taken since last fall have shown the presence of Asian carp above the barrier in numerous areas of the Chicago canal system.

A coalition of Great Lakes senators has introduced a bill that orders the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to expedite a study into what it will take to reconstruct the natural barrier between Lake Michigan and the Mississippi basin that the Chicago canals destroyed over 100 years ago. They also asked Obama to appoint a federal incident commander to take control of the situation.

But those canals aren't the only potential pathway for Asian carp to colonize the lakes.

A handful of adult bigheads have been plucked from Lake Erie in the past decade, though biologists don't believe a breeding population exists in the lake because they've never found any evidence of a juvenile population.

One possibility is that adult bighead carp rode floodwaters into the lake, an increasingly likely scenario after reports that bighead carp have been found in the upper reaches of the Wabash River in Indiana.

The Wabash is not in the Great Lakes basin, but the area around its headwaters has a history of flooding, and that means sometimes its waters can mix with the headwaters of the nearby Maumee River, which does flow into Lake Erie.

"The likelihood that Asian carp are moving toward the lakes through other waters connected to the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers signals the immediate need to establish clear authority, responsibility, accountability, transparency and leadership for federal action in this crisis," wrote the coalition, which included leaders of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, Great Lakes United, the National Wildlife Federation, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Sierra Club, among others.

Obama campaigned on a promise that he would have a "zero tolerance" for any new species invasions in the Great Lakes, which are now home to more than 185 non-native species.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


St. Clair River’s underwater playgrounds deserve more promotion, divers say

7/1 - Port Huron, Mich. – The bubbles appeared first. Then, the bright yellow oxygen tank strapped to Tim Brown's back. Then, finally, the 61-year-old broke the surface of the St. Clair River, his salt-and-pepper beard soaked, his head covered in a wetsuit.

Brown, of Port Huron, is an avid scuba diver, making dozens of dives a week in the river and southern Lake Huron.

"I only come up here on days that end in 'y'," he said with a laugh.

He loves diving in the area for many reasons.

"There's clear water. Wrecks. You don't have to spend all day on a boat. You just suit up and jump in."

The St. Clair River and southern Lake Huron contain dozens of underwater playgrounds. Divers contend those playgrounds -- which many consider some of the Blue Water Area's best attractions -- are not being promoted enough as various groups work to increase tourism.

"People know about us in diving (circles), but probably not as much as could be possible," said Paul Schmitt, 64, of Lakeport, who has been diving for more than four decades. "... I don't think we promote it at all."

Marci Fogal, president of the Blue Water Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, agrees and said that soon will change.

"I think it has great potential," Fogal said. "I think (scuba diving) is a sport that more people are doing today. People are really getting into the water sports and, being that we are (on Lake Huron), it is a perfect opportunity."

Fogal -- one of several community leaders working to implement the tourism arm of a new economic development plan -- said the tourism bureau in 2011 plans to roll out a brochure detailing popular dive locations and compile links to Web sites that promote diving.

The goal, Fogal said, is to get the word out about the area's diving "hot spots" and provide information about where to get supplies, hook up with charters and see shipwrecks.

"It is just one more thing we can offer our visitors," she said.

The tourism bureau's campaign slogan is Discover the Blue. Some divers would argue what lies beneath the surface is the "true blue," so to speak.

By venturing no further than the downtown Port Huron boardwalk, a dive into the water can turn up sunken steamers, schooners, tugs and freighters. More wonders await those who take a trip into the cold, dark-water depths of Lake Huron.

Each of the sunken vessels -- there are at least 100 between Port Huron and Port Sanilac -- tells a story. Some were caught in storms -- particularly a four-day storm in November 1913 that sank about a dozen ships -- and others collided.

"We have the best-preserved shipwrecks in the world," said Steve Chandler, owner of Dive Inn Watersports in Port Huron.

If ships aren't your thing, there are plenty of other wonders including wildlife, the always-morphing landscape and random souvenirs such as rivets and tools lost during the Blue Water Bridge construction. Bottles, ship anchors, tools and other items that might or might not be antiques are uncovered daily as strong currents kick up silt and dirt, Chandler said.

From a tourism perspective, that means there's reason to keep coming back.

Brown, the Port Huron diver who heads underwater dozens of times each week, said he's uncovered items ranging from a gold watch to the skull of a dead sailor.

Just last week, Brown and other divers found what they believe is a timber from the 1800s military installation Fort Gratiot, which sat roughly where the Thomas Edison Inn stands today.

Divers are in the process of confirming the timber's origin.

"Almost every day we find new things," he said.

Kathy Johnson, a longtime diver from Port Huron, tells a specific story to back up the claim that local diving is among the best.

Nick Caloyianis, a diver and photographer who has traveled the world for National Geographic and similar publications, was in the area a few years ago to shoot "Mysteries of the Great Lakes," an IMAX film. When asked to rank local waters compared to other places, including exotic locales, Caloyianis gave the area an 8 out of 10, Johnson said.

"It really is world-class diving," she added.

The area has several things in its favor, said Johnson, who with her husband, Greg Lashbrook, owns Go With the Flow Productions, an underwater photography and video business.

One of the biggest is water clarity, which Johnson called "outstanding." Add in the variety of marine life and the number of shipwrecks close together and "it really is like nowhere else," she said.

"There are at least 10 wrecks you can get to right from here," Brown said, standing along the St. Clair River in Port Huron. "You'd have to spend megabucks to go to Florida to see that."

Travel and boat charter money aside, there's at least one other benefit to the Great Lakes: Fresh water preserves better than salt water, experts said.

Schmitt, who has taught programs about local shipwrecks and writes articles about them, said wrecks here "just hold up a whole lot better" than those in the ocean.

That means, "there is more to see," Schmitt said.

On Thursday, the Wisconsin Underwater Archaeology Association announced the discovery of the L.R. Doty, a 300-foot wooden steamship that sank in 1898 in Lake Michigan off the Milwaukee-area shoreline. Divers said the vessel is extremely well preserved in the cold, fresh water typical of the Great Lakes.

In the past 40 years, diving conditions in Lake Huron have improved, thanks largely to more zebra mussels, Schmitt said. The mussels act as a filter for sediment and other particles in the water, which means visibility has increased from about 15 feet to about 30 feet.

The downside is the mussels attach to the wrecks, obstructing the view.

"They are both a blessing and a curse," Schmitt said.

Before Brown went back into the St. Clair River to dive again, he took a break to lay in a fold out chair and bask in the sun. But he was already looking forward to getting back in.

"It's nice," he said. "You don't have to climb onto a boat. You just jump in."

Port Huron Times Herald


Announcing "BoatNerd's Best Boat Picture Ever" contest

7/1 - Do you think you've shot the best boat picture ever? Here's your chance to find out.

BoatNerd is holding a photo contest users can submit their best photo (sorry, only 1 per person). The winner will receive a cash prize of $50 and the top winners may be included in a 2011 BoatNerd calendar. A calendar may be also be published, depending on interest and response. Winning photographers with photos used in the calendar (if printed) will also receive free copies.

Winners will be chosen by a combination of online voting and voting by a panel of judges. Photo subjects can range from boats to lighthouses to general maritime scenes. Entries may be submitted (electronic copies only, please) through our Discussion Board at this link on the New Information Search page.

The contest is open to all photographers


Updates - July 1

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated including Classifieds


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.


News Archive - August 1996 to present

Return to Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping

Comments, news, and suggestions to:

Copyright All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Due to frequent updates, this page will automatically reload every half hour