Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

* Report News


Ewing Avenue bridge closed for repair

7/31 - Chicago, Ill. - The Ewing Avenue Bridge over the Calumet River on the Southeast Side will be closed for the next three to four weeks for repair, the Chicago Department of Transportation said Saturday.

The oldest bascule bridge along the Calumet River, it was built in 1914 and now needs replacement parts for one of the main gears that operate the counterweighted drawbridge, according to a CDOT release. In-house CDOT crews must make a new part, remove the old one and install a new one, which is specialized, precise and labor-intensive work requiring time to complete properly and safely on the historic bridge, according to the release.

The spans along the Calumet operate year-round to accommodate commercial shipping traffic. The posted detours for Ewing Avenue traffic use 95th Street, South Chicago Avenue and Harbor Avenue.

Chicago Tribune


OMERS buys shipping firm for $520M

7/31 - Canada's largest pension funds is close to taking over one of the world's largest shipping service firms in a deal worth more than half a billion dollars. An arm of the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System is close to a deal to buy V Group for $520 million US.

V Group operates in 34 countries and has 24,000 staff across the globe. With contracts for 700 vessels, the company is one of the world's largest in its industry servicing and maintaining the global fleet of container ships.

The deal is the first buyout by the London, England office of OMERS Private Equity since it set up shop in The City in September 2009. The seller is Exponent Private Equity, which is the current owner of V Group. OMERS expects the deal will close by early September.

RBC Capital Markets advised OMERS on the deal, and will now assist with financing, although specifics have yet to be revealed. V Group's chief executive officer Clive Richardson will continue to lead the company and V Group's senior managers will be significant equity investors.

At the end of 2010, OMERS managed $53 billion in assets on behalf of 400,000 plan members across Ontario.

CBC News


Updates -  July 31

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  July 31

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Manitoba is the new name for ex-Maritime Trader

7/30 - Canadian registry has been opened for Manitoba, formerly Maritime Trader. The vessel was purchased earlier this summer by Lower Lakes Towing and is currently fitting out at Hamilton. As of Friday, her new name appeared on her forward cowling along with the beginning of new grey hull paint. Her stack had also begun the transition to LLT colors. No departure date has been set.

Manitoba entered service in 1967 for the N.M. Paterson & Sons fleet, under the name Mantadoc. In early 2002 Paterson sold its three remaining operating vessels to Canada Steamship Lines. Mantadoc was renamed Teakglen. Remaining laid up in Montreal through most of the 2002 navigation season, Teakglen was chartered from CSL in the early fall of 2002 by Goderich Elevators Ltd., Goderich, Ont., for use as a storage barge. Teakglen departed Montreal on September 29, 2002 to load wheat in Quebec City for Goderich. She made a one-way trip up the Seaway arriving in Goderich on October 5. After arriving in Goderich, Teakglen laid up beside Willowglen to begin her new role in the grain storage business.

In 2005, the bulker was sold and rechristened Maritime Trader for her owner, Voyageur Maritime Trading, Inc., Ridgeville, Ont. On April 9, 2011, it was announced that Voyageur Maritime Trading had gone into receivership and that the Maritime Trader was being offered for sale by a Canadian bankruptcy court.

Ted Wilush, George Wharton


GATX report: Possible labor dispute looms

7/30 - Chicago, Ill. - GATX Corporations second-quarter report, released this week, includes the following comment. According to Brian A. Kenney, president and chief executive officer of GATX, "American Steamship Company is seeing solid demand from its customer base, although weather-related delays did negatively impact volumes during the quarter. ASC is trying to negotiate a new labor agreement with the American Maritime Officers union. While ASC is focused on reaching agreement, contingency plans have been developed to minimize the impact of a potential labor dispute."

Condensed from BusinessWire


Port Reports -  July 30

Twin Ports
Preparations were underway Friday off Duluth-Superior Harbor for a cargo transfer from American Spirit into Edwin H. Gott. The Spirit completed loading in Two Harbors Friday morning and the Gott was scheduled to load after she cleared. Gott, according to local observers, was ready to back into port when things changed and the two vessels headed down toward the Twin Ports where by midday they were positioned starboard side to starboard side, with the Gott just a bit further offshore than the Spirit. Both ships had their booms extended, but at 5 p.m., no cargo was seen being transferred. The two boats were a little more than three miles off Minnesota Point beach. The unusual move may have had something to do with a possible labor dispute looming at American Steamship Co., which owns the Spirit.

St. Marys River
No vessels passed upbound between mid-morning and midnight Friday. Downbound traffic included Edgar B. Speer, American Integrity, Ojibway, Robert S. Pierson, Adam E. Cornelius, Joseph L. Block and Roger Blough.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Sunrise on Friday at the Upper Harbor found Paul R. Tregurtha unloading coal into the hopper, John J. Boland loading ore, and Michipicoten at anchor waiting to load ore. Overall, traffic at Marquette's harbors was steady in July.

Saginaw, Mich. - Todd Shorkey
The tug Undaunted, with barge Pere Marquette 41, was inbound on the Saginaw River Wednesday afternoon, headed for the Wirt Stone dock in Saginaw to unload. The pair was followed a few hours later by the Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber, which were also headed up to the Saginaw area to unload at the Lafarge Stone Dock in Saginaw. The Moore-Kuber finished unloading overnight and were outbound for the lake Thursday morning. Undaunted - PM41 were outbound for the lake Thursday evening after taking on a cargo of sand at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. It is very rare for a vessel to load a cargo here on the Saginaw River.

Buffalo - Brian W.
The Rebecca Lynn departed Noco at about 1 p.m. Friday afternoon with her barge A-397, locked through upbound at Black Rock, and then moored at the Upper Guide Wall around 2:45 p.m.


Coast Guard roundup ends in Cleveland

7/30 - Cleveland, Ohio - Eight of the nine U.S. Coast Guard cutters assigned to the Great Lakes region departed Cleveland Friday after spending a week in the city for the 9th Coast Guard District's Cutter Roundup.

The roundup was an opportunity for crews aboard the Coast Guard Cutters Alder, Biscayne Bay, Bristol Bay, Hollyhock, Katmai Bay, Mackinaw, Mobile Bay, and Neah Bay to train with each other. The crews only come together once every few years for the roundup.

The only 9th District cutter not present was cutter Buckthorn, a 100-foot class inland buoy tender homeported in Sault Ste. Marie.


Great Lakes Shipyard christens the largest Marine Travelift on lakes, 3rd largest in world

7/30 - Cleveland, Ohio - The Great Lakes Towing Company and its Great Lakes Shipyard christened its new 770-ton Marine Travelift in a ceremony at its yard at 4500 Division Ave. in Cleveland at 11 a.m. on Friday. The Travelift was christened by Dr. Rebecca N. Starck, wife of Joseph P. Starck, Jr. President of The Great Lakes Towing Company.

The 770-ton Travelift was manufactured by the Marine Travelift, Inc. of Sturgeon Bay, Wis. It was shipped to Cleveland on 25 trucks and assembled on site by shipyard personnel with Marine Travelift providing supervision and training.

The acquisition and installation of the Travelift completes the third of four planned phases of the $24.0 million Shipyard Expansion Project. The Shipyard Expansion Project, including the Travelift, to date has created many new local jobs.

The completion of the last phase of the Shipyard Expansion Project, will include the construction of a two-acre, year-round, covered manufacturing facility with the ability to accommodate the Travelift.

The Shipyard Travelift is not just any mobile vessel hoist – it is the largest on the Great Lakes in the United States and Canada; second largest in the Western hemisphere, and the third largest in the world. The name “America” was selected to commemorate a company tugboat of the same name which was acquired in 1899 at the company’s founding.

The new Travelift will substantially increase production in the shipyard. The Travelift can accommodate the simultaneous repair and construction of 10 or more vessels including US Coast Guard, US Geological Survey and other government vessels, tugs, barges, ferries, workboats, dinner boats, yachts and an entire array of truckable barges and platforms of every sort. The Mobile Vessel Hoist allows for rapid emergency response for repairs and timely return to service and also permits longer-term projects to remain drydocked on land. The Hoist will add a new dimension to the capabilities of the Port of Cleveland.

Great Lakes Shipyard


Updates -  July 30

News Photo Gallery


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.


Canadian submarine arrives on her final voyage

7/29 - Hamilton, Ont. - A Canadian Navy submarine has sailed into Hamilton on her final voyage. The diesel-electric powered Oberon-Class sub HMCS Olympus was towed into Hamilton harbour atop a barge just after 8 a.m. behind the tug Evans McKeil.

The 2,500-ton sub is on its final journey, heading for the scrap yard at Port Maitland after a long haul from Halifax. The next leg of its trip will be from Hamilton through the Welland Canal and into Lake Erie. Her sister ship HMCS Okanagan will make the same trip next month

The 90-metre, decommissioned Olympus looks forlorn, having been stripped of various equipment including its periscope apparatus The sub was built in Britain in 1962 and sold to the Canadian Navy in 1989. The Department of Defence announced in 1995 that the navy’s four Oberon-Class subs would be sold for scrap for about $50,000 each.

One has already gone to a museum in Pointe-au-Pere,Que.

Hamilton Spectator


Group plans for Buffalo fireboat improvements

7/29 - Buffalo, N.Y. - The Buffalo fireboat Edward M. Cotter was built in the early months of the last century and is still in service, mostly on ice breaking duties and that's the problem.

The Buffalo and Erie County Greenway Fund Standing Committee has voted to spend $60,000 to pay for repairs to the hull of the Cotter, damaged in ice breaking. The Friends of the Cotter is supposed to match that amount and have the repairs done by the end of next year.

The money comes from the $2 million a year the Power Authority puts up as part of the deal for re-licensing the Niagara Power Project.

The boat is a key part of the legacy of Buffalo waterfront, "acting as an ambassador to the city when people come into Buffalo Harbor, they use the water canons to greet them," said Alma Brown from the Friends of the Cotter. Brown says her group is putting together $700,000 to "make it into a floating history center."

The project would include a repaired ship and a landscaped firehouse on the Buffalo River. Power Authority Senior Licensing Specialist Robert Daly says more than $7 million has been allocated for Greenway projects and many have been done.



Port Reports -  July 29

Marquette, Mich. - Lee Rowe
Because of work being done on the dock, the Herbert C Jackson had to carefully maneuver at the dock, keeping her distance at the end. Four deckhands were on the dock handling the lines as she loaded.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were in port Wednesday evening taking on cement. The tug Valerie B tied up in the river Wednesday night and remained there on Thursday. The G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity are expected at Lafarge after midnight on Friday morning

Cleveland, Ohio - Jake Kniola
Barge Mckee Sons and tug Invincible were in Cleveland Thursday evening.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Tug Cleveland and barge Cleveland Rocks departed on Thursday. The tug Rebecca Lynn and her barge were still on her way up to the Noco Product Terminal in Tonawanda at 6 p.m. Thursday.


Powerboats roar on the St. Clair River this weekend

7/29 - St. Clair, Mich. - Some of the fastest powerboat racers in North America will hit the St. Clair River this weekend.

The St. Clair River Classic Offshore Powerboat Race takes place Sunday, but a slew of free music and events will be held all weekend. Riverfest runs Friday and Saturday night and features musical acts Eddie Money, Mitch Ryder and Sponge.

"The boats make a lot of noise and it's a great show," said Steve Brunner, the president of Blue Water Offshore Racing Association, which runs the event.

The races, sanctioned by the Offshore Performance Association, is the second largest powerboat race in North America. More than 50 boats are expected to participate. "Everybody likes the area," he said. "We attract boats from a lot of different racing organizations."

Brunner said the fresh water and efficient execution of the event have built the race's reputation.

The event will also see the boats themselves on display for visitors on Saturday. Drivers will be signing autographs throughout the weekend. The event is based in Palmer Park in St. Clair, Michigan. Canadian spectators can best view the races near Mooretown.

Brunner said the some of the fastest powerboats in the world will be at the event, including Miss Geico. The turbine boat can reach speeds of up to 320 km/h (200 mph). "Just the boats on display is a show in itself," he said.

For more information visit

The Sarnia Observer


Updates -  July 29

News Photo Gallery


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


Sleeping Bear cruises on hold after boat towed to Frankfort for repairs

7/28 - Empire, Mich. - The tour boat that ran into high waves and became disabled Monday on Lake Michigan, forcing a Coast Guard rescue of some of the 61 people aboard, was towed back to its Frankfort port on Tuesday.

The boat must be repaired, and then faces a Coast Guard inspection before it can operate again, said Chief Petty Officer Kyle Niemi, a Coast Guard spokesman.

With no timetable for that, Sleeping Bear Dunes Cruises are closed for now and a reopening date has not been set, company officials said.

"It's going to be a while. We've got work to do on the boat," said Richard Madigan, one of the owners of the tour boat company.

"We're not operating yet until we evaluate the boat," added manager John Madigan, the nephew of Richard Madigan.

We're just glad the crew followed proper procedures and got everybody off the boat safely," John Madigan said, adding the company had no other comment.

The accident is still being investigated by the Coast Guard, Neimi said, including the height of waves encountered by the boat. The waves were at least two to four feet but some estimates put them up to eight feet, Niemi said.

"The investigation we'll get that cleared up," he said. (Coast Guard rescue video available here, and below.)

Those high waves near Empire after 8 p.m. Monday blew out the 61-foot boat's window and caused its electronics to malfunction and the vessel to take on water.

The captain radioed for help and later told the Coast Guard he steered the boat to the beach to get the passengers off. Most of the boat's 59 passengers had to wade or swim to shore while others were rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter crew from Traverse City.

Sleeping Bear Dunes Cruises in Frankfort is affiliated with Pictured Rocks Tours Inc., which runs boats in Lake Superior

The boat that was damaged Monday, named Pictured Rocks, is the sole boat the company has in Frankfort for two daily tours of the Sleeping Bear Dunes area. The company, Pictured Rocks Tours Inc., also runs tours of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Lake Superior.

Inspectors and investigators from the Coast Guard office in Grand Haven said the boat's steel hull appears to be in good condition after the incident. The boat had about 500 gallons of fuel on board in two tanks, but there were no reported pollution issues, Coast Guard officials said.

The Grand Rapids Press


Port Reports -  July 28

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Great Republic loaded ore Wednesday evening at the Upper Harbor on one of her recent regular visits.

Green Bay, Wis. – Scott Best
On a grey and rainy tuesday the Tanker Sichem Beijing arrived in Green Bay and docked at the US Oil VT Venture Dock to load cargo. The Tug Michigan and barge Great Lakes are anchored out waiting their turn to load at the same dock. The terminal which just opened at the beginning of this season has been the busiest dock in port all season loading tankers and tug-barges.

Cleveland, Ohio - Jake Kniola
American Mariner was at the Cleveland Bulk Terminal Wednesday morning.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The tug-barge Cleveland - Cleveland Rocks arrived Wednesday afternoon for the TDX Gypsum Dock (West Shore Coal Wharf) around 5:37 p.m. They came in bow first this time to facilitate loading the barge differently than they did last week.


Port authority to receive Pacesetter Award

7/28 - Toledo, Ohio - The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority welcomes its colleagues to Toledo for the bi-annual meeting of the American Great Lakes Ports Association (AGLPA) on Thursday at the Crowne Plaza in downtown Toledo. The AGLPA is an organization representing the interests of the public port authorities on the Great Lakes. The attendees will be comprised of Port Directors and CEOs from U.S. and Canadian Great Lakes Ports.

The Port of Toledo ranked second in the U.S. in 2010 in tonnage shipped and received on the Great Lakes. The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority registered strong increases in international cargo shipments during the 2010 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 Administrator Terry Johnson will present the award Thursday to Paul Toth, President and CEO of the Port Authority at a noon luncheon meeting at the Crown Plaza.

The Port of Toledo registered nearly 4.8 million metric tons of overseas cargo through the Saint Lawrence Seaway during the 2010 navigation season, over 16 percent more than in the 2009 season, earning the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority its 11th Pacesetter award. In total, the Port of Toledo registered more than 9.8 million metric tons for the entire season via 576 vessel calls.

"The reasons for the increase in tonnage include a rebounding economy resulting in more coal, iron ore, and pig iron moving through the Seaway," said Paul Toth. "Our cargo volumes are currently outpacing the volume from our last several years. We are fully utilizing our new equipment including the recently added Mantsinen material handler - the largest Mantsinen in North America - to handle additional cargo, particularly wind components."

The Pacesetter Award is presented annually to U.S. Great Lakes Seaway ports that register increases in international 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.


Missing pilot found alive, in good condition

7/28 - Cleveland, Ohio - The pilot who went missing after making a distress call to the Federal Aviation Administration while flying over Lake Huron Tuesday afternoon was found alive and in good condition Wednesday morning. Rescued was Michael W. Trapp, 42, of Gouverneur, N.Y.

Trapp reported his Cessna 150 crashed 17 miles east of Harbor Beach, Mich., and he swam 15 miles toward lights he saw on the horizon until the crew of the fishing vessel Eagle’s Nest rescued him at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday.

A good samaritan on the fishing vessel Eagle’s Nest spotted the pilot in the water about one half mile off Forestville, Mich., and brought him aboard. He was transported to Harbor Beach, Mich., Marina where he was met by emergency medical technicians and further transferred to Harbor Beach Community Hospital as a precaution.


Lake Superior boat tours on a former Navy Seal vessel

7/28 - Munising, Mi. - Many tourists know of the majestic beauty of the Pictured Rocks in Munising, but one business is adding an extreme element to that beauty.

The Riptide Ride is a picturesque view of the Munising Bay aboard the Island Girl, twin engine Navy Seal vessel with a combined 700 horse power, that spins 360 degrees and travels 45 miles an hour. Riptide Rides is operated by Tim Flynn and his family as an alternative to the usual tours in the area.

"We move extremely fast and we have a good time, we do some 360s," said Riptide Rides owner Tim Flynn. "The whole idea is to have a fun and great time with the family." Riptide rides provides two tours, the 30-minute Rip Around the Bay and an hour and a half tour around Grand Island.

For more information or reservations, call (906) 387-8888.



Take the helm of a Great Lakes ship at Canal Days celebration

7/28 - Port Colborne, Ont. - Ever think you could pilot one of the ships that pass through the Welland Canal? Well, you'll get a chance to try during Canal Days, as a ship simulator will be set up inside the L.R. Wilson Heritage Archives building at Port Colborne Historical and Marine Museum.

Assistant curator Michelle Mason says a captain from Georgian College, which has a marine training program, will be on hand with the simulator during the long weekend.

"It's like being on the bridge of a ship," she says, adding the simulator can throw all sorts of weather conditions and other variables at people who take the helm. "A few people have gotten seasick on it."

The simulator has three large LCD screens that show outside locations, like ports, lakes and canals, and controls that are representative of a ship's bridge.

Mason says there are no ship simulators close by to Niagara, so if people just want to see what one looks like, they should stop by the museum on Canal Days. The last time a simulator was at the museum was a couple of years ago.

"It's a good fit with the museum. We're really excited to have it here."

Visitors can also see radio-controlled boats on the museum grounds as the Great Lakes Model Boating Association returns. Members will have their boats running around a pool on the museum grounds.

Visitors can keep the nautical theme going while checking out the Ancient Mariners, who perform maritime-style music on Saturday. On Sunday the band Against the Grain performs Celtic music.

The museum is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturda and Sunday during Canal Days. It is located at 280 King St.

Niagara Falls Review


Historic tug Urger on its way to Oswego Harborfest

7/28 - Oswego, N.Y. - The tug Urger is making its way to Oswego, having left Lysander this morning at about 9. The tug, the oldest in the state Canal Corp. fleet at 110 years old, will be a featured attraction at Harborfest. Attendees can tour the tug and ask questions of the three-man crew from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. all four days of Harborfest. The tug will be docked near Lock 8 in Oswego.

The Urger served more than 60 years hauling machinery, dredges and scows on the Erie and Champlain Canals until she was retired from service in the 1984. In 1991, she became a teaching tug. In the spring, the Urger and its crew - Capt. Chuck Podgers, chief engineer Rick Marcellus and boatswain Mike Byrnes - welcome aboard thousands of fourth-graders from throughout the state who are studying New York state history.

During the summer, the Urger visits festivals throughout the state, such as Harborfest.


Updates -  July 28

News Photo Gallery


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.


Dozens wade to shore after tour boat damaged near Sleeping Bear Dunes

7/27 - Empire, Mich. - Dozens of people waded to shore and two were rescued by helicopter from the 60-foot tour boat named Pictured Rocks that was damaged by a wave in Lake Michigan near Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, authorities said.

The operator of the tour boat called for help shortly before 8:30 p.m. Monday after a wave reportedly went over the boat's bow, smashing a window and causing the boat's electronics to malfunction, the Coast Guard said. The boat had 61 people aboard.

No major injuries were reported. Waves in the area were 2- to 4-feet high at the time, the Coast Guard said. "Rough weather and night operations can make for a challenging response," Cmdr. Chris Chase, operations officer at Air Station Traverse City, said in a statement. The boat's operator told the Coast Guard he grounded the boat near the shore in Empire, about 25 miles west of Traverse City, to prevent further damage and keep more water from getting into the boat. All but two of the passengers waded to shore from the boat.

Two passengers with apparent shoulder injuries were lifted from the boat to shore by the Coast Guard helicopter from Air Station Traverse City. They were evaluated by emergency medical technicians and taken to an area hospital for further treatment. Other passengers reported minor cuts and scrapes as a result of the broken window. There were no major injuries reported. Due to the remote location where the Pictured Rocks ended up, a local kayak rental company assisted with the transport of the passengers. They were shuttled back to the tour boat's departure location in the company's van.

Crew members from U.S. Coast Guard Station Frankfort surveyed the damage and could not sight any resulting pollution, but the Coast Guard continued to monitor the situation.

Inspectors and investigators from Coast Guard Sector Field Office Grand Haven, Mich., assessed the damage to the boat Tuesday and reported that the steel hull appears to be in good condition with no reported pollution issues. There is an estimated 500 gallons of fuel onboard in two independent fuel tanks.

A salvage plan, site safety plan and communications plan have been developed in collaboration between the Coast Guard, the vessel owner, commercial salvage companies, and federal and local agencies, including the Department of the Interior.

In preparation for the salvage, fuel vents were being plugged, water was being pumped out of forward compartments and all moving equipment was being secured. Once the Pictured Rocks has been re-floated and removed from the beach, it will be towed to Frankfort, Mich., for repairs.

The cause of accident is under investigation by the Coast Guard. The Pictured Rocks was built in 1972 and is registered to Pictured Rocks Cruises Inc., Munising, Mich.

AP and U.S. Coast Guard


Final voyage brings Canadian submarine past Cornwall

7/27 - Summerstown, Ont. - A piece of maritime history has passed through Cornwall. One of Canada's four Oberon-Class Navy submarines passed through the locks at Massena late Tuesday afternoon. The 90 meter (295') Oberon was on a barge being pulled by the tug boat Evans McKeil. The event attracted a small crowd outside Summerstown, where the St. Lawrence Seaway shipping channel is visible from the shoreline. One couple had followed the submarine all the way from Montreal.

In 2005, the Department of Defence announced that Canada's four Oberon-class submarines would be sold for scrap for about $50,000 each. One of the subs has already ended up at a museum in Pointe-au-Pere, Quebec while another one will be stationed in Ontario. The submarine, which passed through Cornwall today, is one of two that are on their way to Hamilton to be scrapped.

Cornwall Daily


Port Reports -  July 27

St. Marys River
Traffic Tuesday included the downbound tall ships Pride of Baltimore and Lynx, which took advantage of a brisk NW wind to spread their sails once they left the dock in Soo Harbor. In other traffic, the Birchglen, CCGS Limnos, Great Republic and Federal Weser were upbound, while James R. Barker, American Courage, Algolake, Canadian Olympic and Indiana Harbor were downbound.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Wilfred Sykes came in with a load for Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg at 10 p.m. Sunday night. Algoway was due at the same dock at 4:30 in the morning on Wednesday.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber finished unloading at Bay City Wirt overnight, then traveled upriver through Bay City, to the Airport Turning Basin. They were outbound for the lake early Tuesday morning. The tug Karl Luedtke was also outbound for the lake, departing from the Essroc dock Tuesday morning. Tuesday evening saw the arrival of the Manitowoc. She called on the Lafarge Stone Dock in Essexville to unload sugar stone. Manitowoc was expected to be outbound Wednesday morning.


Federal court rejects challenge to EPA ballast permit

7/27 - Traverse City, Mich. - A federal appeals court has refused to prohibit states from being tougher than the federal government on ships that discharge ballast water, a leading culprit in the spread of invasive species such as zebra and quagga mussels in U.S. coastal waterways and the Great Lakes.

The ruling by the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., escalates a battle between the shipping industry, regulators and environmentalists over dumping ballast water and other substances from vessels. Legislation pending in Congress would strip funding for any Environmental Protection Agency programs from states whose rules exceed those on the federal level.

Cargo ships often carry millions of gallons of water and sediments in ballast tanks to help keep vessels upright in rough seas. The soupy mixtures teem with fish, bacteria and other organisms released as freight is taken on in port. Many of the foreign species spread rapidly, starve out native competitors and upset the ecological balance. Invaders such as zebra mussels cause billions of dollars each year in economic losses.

The EPA issued a permit regulating ship discharges in 2008. It incorporates at least 100 provisions tacked on by more than a dozen states with their own policies - some more stringent than the EPA's.

Groups representing shipping companies and ports asked the federal appeals court to strip the state-specific rules from the permit, saying they were creating a regulatory hodgepodge. But in its ruling Friday, the court said the federal Clean Water Act allows states to protect their waters.

"EPA is pleased that the court upheld the agency's common-sense step to protect water quality in communities across the country," agency spokesman Brendan Gilfillan said Monday.

Thom Cmar, attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, described the ruling as "a states' rights decision."

"We agree the ideal situation would be a strong national standard for ballast water to prevent introduction of invasive species," Cmar said. "But the federal government hasn't created that standard, so the states had to act."

The American Waterways Operators, a trade group representing owners and operators of tugboats, towboats and barges, said Congress should amend the Clean Water Act to require a uniform nationwide policy.

"A tow moving from Pittsburgh to New Orleans travels through the waters of 11 states," said Jennifer Carpenter, the group's senior vice president. "The court decision implies that even if those 11 states impose conflicting, overlapping or infeasible conditions applicable while the tow is in their waters, and even if EPA knows that those conditions are unworkable, the agency has no authority ... to reject or modify the state conditions."

The U.S. Coast Guard has promised to release long-awaited ballast discharge rules this year. The EPA is updating its permit under a settlement with environmental groups that claimed in a lawsuit it was too weak. The 2008 permit required shippers to exchange their ballast water at sea or rinse the tanks with salt water before entering U.S. territory. The new version will limit the number of live organisms in ballast water, a step that will require shippers to install sterilization equipment.

This month, the U.S. House amended a spending bill to deny EPA funds to any state that goes beyond the federal ballast standards. Rep. Steven LaTourette, an Ohio Republican who proposed the measure, said the patchwork of state and federal rules was damaging companies that haul coal, limestone, grain and other commodities on the Great Lakes.

"This cargo drives our region's electric power, steel, automotive manufacturing and construction industries," LaTourette said. "These misguided state regulations are threatening to bring these industries and our treaties with Canada to their knees."

The industry is particularly unhappy about New York standards that set live-organism limits 100 times tougher for existing ships than those in an early draft of the Coast Guard rules. For newly built ships, New York's standards would be 1,000 times stronger. State officials have postponed the requirement's effective date to 2013, giving shippers more time to comply.

LaTourette also singled out Michigan, which requires vessels that discharge ballast water in its ports to use one of several approved sterilization methods. The industry says it's working on those technologies but need more time to perfect them and retrofit its ships.

Patricia Birkholz, a former Republican state senator who now directs Michigan's Office of the Great Lakes, said the states imposed their own rules because federal agencies and the industry dragged their feet for years.

"To punish states for doing what we think and know is the right thing is not the way to go," said Birkholz, who sponsored Michigan's ballast water legislation.


Coast Guard searching Lake Huron after report of possible plane crash

7/27 - Cleveland, Ohio - A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew from Air Station Detroit is en route to search Lake Huron for one or two people who were in a Cessna that may have crashed into the lake Tuesday evening.

The Federal Aviation Administration reported to Coast Guard personnel in the Ninth District command center just after 5 p.m. that they had received a call from a pilot who said he was located 29 miles east of Bad Axe, Mich., and his aircraft was experiencing engine problems. They lost communication with him shortly after.

An MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter crew from Air Station Detroit is en route to search the area as well as a Canadian coast guard C-130 Hercules airplane and a fixed-wing airplane from the Sanilac County, Mich., Sheriff‚s Department.

The Cessna 150 reportedly departed from Gouverneur, N.Y., about noon Tuesday en route Eau Claire, Wis. The plane is a two-seater, and it is currently unknown if more than one person was aboard.


Divers battle Great Lakes shipwreck pirates

7/27 - It’s all part of the job for some Michigan State Police troopers — writing tickets, investigating crimes and combating loot-stealing shipwreck pirates. Seventeen Michigan troopers are officers on the road and also divers in the water as part of the department’s Underwater Recovery Unit.

“We dive year-round in all types of environments,” said Trooper Randy Parros, a member since 2002.

The unit receives about 60 to 70 calls each year that range from actual dives to public relations events. Divers recover bodies and crime weapons. But they also document artifacts and features of Great Lakes shipwrecks.

“A lot of times artifacts get moved around a wreck after divers start visiting,” said Wayne Lusardi, an archaeologist with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Troopers get dive practice while providing the help Lusardi needs to document newly discovered shipwrecks, sometimes before recreational divers have ever touched them.

“Our unit would assist the [Department of Natural Resources] with checking shipwrecks in the Great Lakes, videotaping them, making sure to check to see if artifacts are still being left there or if they have the belief that someone has stolen artifacts,” Parros said.

Lusardi has worked with the unit on a dozen projects. Recreational divers often discover undisturbed shipwrecks. The first such project Lusardi and the unit tackled together was in August 2005—they explored the 40-foot schooner May Queen.

Lusardi draws a detailed map—a scaled drawing of the wreck and also the location of objects like pumps, anchors, ceramic objects, cargo materials, personal items and other artifacts.

He evaluates the wreck for deterioration. Waves and sand increase deterioration in wrecks near the shore. Vessels in deeper waters are damaged by organisms like zebra mussels.

The unit takes photographs and video footage and catalogs artifacts based on their condition.

Documentation not only helps identify when artifacts have been moved or gone missing—measurements from the May Queen helped historians to identify it.

The May Queen was built in Marinette, a suburb of Menekaunee, Wisc. in 1875. It sprung a leak and sunk with a cargo of salted fish near Menomonee, Wisc. in December 1882, according to a Wisconsin Underwater Archaeology Association publication.

“It was a really neat project to be able to be one of the first divers to this site and report the artifacts,” Lusardi said.

Other times, the team dives to find new wreckage. The underwater recovery unit is credited with discovery of the schooner William Young under 120 feet of water in the Straits of Mackinac. The team was using sonar to search for a body and found the shipwreck by accident, Parros said.

Stolen artifacts are often reported by diving charters, said Trooper Jeff Miazga, a 12-year unit member. Ship wheels and capstans, which bear the ship’s name, are prized items.

“That’s what these shipwreck pirates are looking for…it definitely adds value,” he said.

Bells, lanterns, ceramic pieces, glass bottles and parts of the ship’s rigging, such as deadeyes and pulleys, have also gone missing, Lusardi said.

Stiff fines and jail time accompany removal of shipwreck artifacts within the state of Michigan. Punishment ranges from 93 days to 10 years in jail or $500 to $15,000 in fines, depending on the value of the artifact and if it is a repeat violation, said Tiffany Brown, a Michigan State Police public affairs specialist.

But shipwreck thefts are uncommon now that laws prohibit the taking of artifacts, Lusardi said.

“It used to be back in the early days of scuba diving around the Great Lakes, it wasn’t really clear to divers who owned what so they were more apt to take things from shipwrecks,” he said.

New technology is changing the game. “Now we can use electronics,” Mizaga said. “We’re doing more now with less divers than we’ve ever done.”

Better camera equipment, underwater robotic vehicles and sonar help the team look for shipwrecks or accidents and increase their success at finding them.

Sonar was used to more quickly locate the underwater site of a summer 2010 plane crash in Lake Michigan that claimed four lives, Parros said. Crew members dove 173 feet to recover two victims.

Technology also lowers the risk to divers. Deep water diving is dangerous. Remotely operated vehicles are used to videotape shipwrecks at around 500 feet.

Troopers work two years on the road before applying for specialty training. In underwater recovery training they learn scuba diving basics in a pool or swim tank in Lansing, Mich. for one week. They undergo an additional one-month training course with dives in different water types, including water with low to no visibility – a common quality of sites like the Saginaw and Flint rivers.

Diving gives troopers diverse experiences, from giving families closure when a body is found to solving crimes and identifying shipwrecks.

“It’s a break from my everyday job,” Miazga said.

Great Lakes Echo


Updates -  July 27

News Photo Gallery


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

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Michipicoten and American Courage arrived Monday afternoon at the Upper Harbor to load ore. Courage's visit was only her second in ASC colors.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Monday was a busy day in the area with three vessels in port. The tug G.L. Ostrander and barge Integrity departed Lafarge during the early morning hours heading for Detroit, Mich. Manitowoc tied up in the river around 10 a.m. to unload coal from Toledo for the DPI Plant. The Alpena wasn't far behind Manitowoc in the bay, as it headed into Lafarge to load cement for Superior. Manitowoc finished unloading and backed out of the river by 2 p.m.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber called on the Bay City Wirt stone dock Monday evening to unload.

Welland Canal
Trouble in the Flight Locks had traffic backed up in the Welland Canal Monday. The west side of the flight locks was opened about 4 p.m. with the Algosteel upbound. Other upbound traffic included Anglian Lady and her barge below Lock 4, Capt. Henry Jackman below Lock 3, John D. Leitch in Lock 2, Spruceglen, Algocanada and Canadian Enterprise waiting below Lock 1. Downbound included English River in Lock 1 while the Tim S. Dool and Algobay were tied up above Lock 7.


CSL announces new vessels will be known as “Trillium Class”

7/26 - Monday Canada Steamship Lines released new information on their vessels under construction in China. This includes two lakers for CSL's domestic fleet, and three Panamax vessels for CSLI.

“I'm happy to announce that the next-generation of CSL self-unloaders will be known as Trillium Class vessels.“ said Tom Brodeur, Vice-President of Marketing and Customer Service.

"I'm also pleased to inform you that the construction of the vessels both the lakers for the Canada Steamship Lines fleet and the Panamaxes for the CSL International fleet is progressing very well, and we remain on target for our first deliveries in 2012" Brodeur added. The brand, including name and logo, is borrowed from the beautiful trillium flower, and symbolizes CSL's corporate goals and objectives. Visit for more information



Engine replacement to postpone Lake Express service until August

7/26 - Service on the Lake Express Ferry will be delayed for up to 10 days as the ship undergoes an engine replacement. A return to service has been set for August 4, although it is possible service will resume earlier depending on work progress.

The Lake Express is configured with four engines producing a total of 12,000 horsepower, allowing it to reach a speed of 40 mph. While it is possible to continue service for a limited time on only three engines, the decision was made on July 23rd to pull the ship from service in order to undergo the engine replacement. A midseason engine replacement will return the ship to maximum levels of speed and schedule reliability for the balance of the 2011 travel season.

Preparations for the engine replacement are already underway with the engine replacement to take place in Milwaukee.

We regret the inconvenience that this service interruption has created for affected passengers and are working with urgency to return the ship to 3-round trips-daily service. Passengers who purchased tickets for travel over the next 10 days are being contacted and will be provided an opportunity to reschedule or to receive a full refund.

Lake Express


U.S. court rejects challenge to EPA ballast permit

7/26 - Port Huron, Mich. - A federal court has rejected a shipping industry challenge to a government permitting system designed to prevent the spread of invasive species that have disrupted ecosystems and cost billions in the Great Lakes and elsewhere.

The permit issued by the Environmental Protection Agency regulates discharges of ballast water and other substances such as bilge water from vessels in U.S. waters. Many species that have invaded the Great Lakes in recent decades arrived from other countries in ballast water. Among them are zebra and quagga mussels.

The EPA permit sets rules for ship discharges and lets state governments add provisions to protect their own waters. Shipping groups asked the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., to throw out the additional state requirements. In a ruling Friday, the court refused.

Port Huron Times Herald


Replicas of Columbus’ ships Pinta and Nina open for tours in Toledo

7/26 - Toledo, Ohio - On Friday, the Pinta and the Nina, replicas of Christopher Columbus’ ships, will open to the public in Toledo. The ships will be docked at the Skyway Marina, 1701 Front St., until their departure early on Wednesday Aug. 3.

The Nina was built completely by hand and without the use of power tools. Archaeology magazine called the ship "the most historically correct Columbus replica ever built." The Pinta was recently built in Brazil to accompany the Nina on all of her travels. She is a larger version of the archetypal caravel. Historians consider the caravel the Space Shuttle of the 15th century.

Both ships tour together as a new and enhanced sailing museum for the purpose of educating the public and school children on the caravel, a Portuguese ship Columbus and many early explorers used to discover the new world.

While in port, the general public is invited to visit the ships for a walk-aboard, self-guided tour. Visit for more information.


Historic Ohio Lake Erie lighthouse up for auction

7/26 - Conneaut, Ohio - An Ohio Lake Erie lighthouse is on the auction block for anyone looking for a distinctive property that includes a lamp visible for 11 miles. The federal General Services Administration has set a Wednesday deadline for bids on the 1936 lighthouse in Conneaut in the state's far northeast corner.

The minimum bid is $5,000.

The GSA's John Smith tells The Plain Dealer of Cleveland old lighthouses tend to attract interest both for the novelty and for the history.

What's formally called the Conneaut Harbor West Breakwater Light is 60 feet high and features four floors and 20 round windows. The Star-Beacon of Ashtabula reports the Conneaut Port Authority turned down an offer to take over the lighthouse for free because officials said there were too many federal regulations.

The Associated Press


BoatNerd Detroit River cruise coming August 6

7/26 - The annual Detroit River Cruise aboard the Friendship, with Captain Sam Buchanan is scheduled for August 6. 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 26

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery


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.


Port Reports -  July 25

Green Bay – Scott Best and Wendell Wilke
On Sunday morning, the Alpena departed the Lafarge terminal in Green Bay. By Sunday evening the John G. Munson was arriving with a load of coke loaded in Duluth for the C Reiss Dock. At the same time the Munson was arriving, the tug Michigan and barge Great Lakes were preparing to depart the US Oil VT Venture dock once the Munson passed up river. Monday evening the Cason J. Callaway is also due at C Reiss.

Midland, Ont. - Andre Blanchard
The cruise vessel Grande Mariner arrived at the town docks in Midland Saturday. Frontenac was also in port and departed Sunday.

Panama Canal -
Algoma Mariner entered the Panama Canal Saturday on her delivery trip from China.


Shipping industry sees calmer waters

7/25 - Toronto, Ont. - For shipping companies, the most significant commodity to move across the Great Lakes this summer may be optimism.

Three years ago, the global recession plunged the industry into an abyss. As world markets imploded, the very business of transporting bulk cargo seemed lost at sea. Nothing was immune to the meltdown. Cargo volumes evaporated by 30 to 40 per cent. Fleets shrunk. Companies vanished. Pessimism bobbed in the chop. But in 2011, the industry has resurfaced in calmer waters, under sunnier skies.

“We're seeing a return to better times,” says Ray Johnston, president of the Chamber of Marine Commerce. “We're not back to where we were several years ago, but things are on the uptake.”

Algoma Central Corp., which owns the country's largest fleet operating on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway, has all of its vessels sailing this summer — the first time since the financial crisis.

“Full employment used to be the norm,” says Greg Wight, Algoma's president and chief executive. “We're getting back toward that. We're not there yet but it's going in the right direction.”

The right direction also includes a new detour.

The Canadian government recently dropped a 25 per cent import duty that was levied on the purchase of ships built abroad. In theory, the tax existed to protect Canadian shipbuilders from foreign competition. In reality, there was a problem: The specialized vessels used for shipping on the Great Lakes now tend to be built in Japan, South Korea and China.

“So all the tax was doing was inhibiting the recapitalization and the reinvestment in the fleet,” says Johnston, who is also the former president of Canada Steamship Lines. “Ships still were not being built in Canada.”

After the tax was killed, the industry was reborn with a new long-term plan: fleet renewal. Algoma, for example, has already placed orders for eight new vessels, which will enter service beginning in 2013, at a cost of $400 million. Other companies are also revamping their fleets of bulk carriers and product tankers.

“There have been virtually no ships built since 1985 to service the Great Lakes and seaway market,” says Johnston. “But in the last year or so, we've seen orders now — both from domestic and international owners — approaching $1 billion.”

“We have a major initiative underway to replace the older ships in the fleet with new vessels that are more efficient and more responsive to the environmental challenges we face,” says Bruce Bowie, president of the Canadian Shipowners Association.

“Although marine transportation is already the safest and most environmentally friendly bulk-cargo transportation option, a greener fleet will make it even more so.”

Last year, 1,537,363 tonnes of cargo — primarily sugar (35 per cent), cement (32 per cent) and road salt (22 per cent) — moved through the Port of Toronto.

Suzanna Birchwood, the Toronto Port Authority's director of public affairs, points out an astonishing figure: “By utilizing water transport, this took 38,000 40-tonne trucks off the already busy highways.”

Trumpeting this message has always been a challenge for an industry that rarely enters public consciousness. Ships may be the oldest and largest transporters of raw materials, but we rarely see them in action.

“Shipping touches on just about every facet of our daily lives and very few people appreciate that,” says Johnston. “It's sort of out of sight, out of mind. People see trucks. They wait at crossings to let trains pass. They get on airplanes to travel. But ships are sort of an invisible service. . . Just about everything you can point to in your home or office, part of it or all of it has been in a ship at some point.”

The key for shipping companies on the Great Lakes is to decipher and abide by the increasing number of government regulations that ricochet from multiple jurisdictions and agencies: an international body (International Marine Organization), two federal governments, two provinces and eight states.

“It's like a patchwork quilt of regulations,” says Tom Anderson, Algoma's director of ports and harbours, referring to the laws that cover everything from air emissions to ballast water, which has been blamed for the raft of invasive species entering the Great Lakes over the last few decades (see sidebar).

Beyond ecology and sustainability, the environment can also affect operations and the bottom line. A decline in water levels can mean less cargo is transported per trip.

“For every inch of draft we lose, that's 100-150 tonnes of cargo that has to stay on the dock,” says Anderson.

Shipping companies are also dealing with a rise in security regulations after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, more user fees from the coast guard and port authorities, a decline in government subsidies and, perhaps most troubling, an aging workforce.

Luring young people into the industry will be critical in the years ahead. Recruitment efforts are underway as companies attempt to overcome a number of obvious barriers.

“The perception of shipping is not as glamorous as technology and some other fields,” concedes Johnston. “It's something the industry is working on.”

Peter Schultz, captain of the M/V Peter R. Cresswell, a 740-foot self-unloading bulk carrier on the Great Lakes, says life at sea has changed dramatically since he entered the profession nearly 40 years ago after leaving high school to join the British Shipping Federation in England, where he was born.

Sailors now have satellite TV, their own cabins, cell phones and just about everything else you'd find inside a terrestrial office, including access to Facebook. But one thing that has not changed is the hours.

“It's long days and long nights,” says Schultz, 55, as he's docked in Bowmanville and loading cement. “It's long periods away from home.”

The work is seasonal, cyclical and dependent on a number of external variables. But for the most part, global recessions aside, it is also dependable.

The Port of Hamilton alone handled 11,472,831 tonnes of cargo last year, valued at more than $2 billion. This included both the domestic ships and foreign-flagged vessels entering through the St. Lawrence Seaway from countries such as Belgium, Brazil, Egypt, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Venezuela, among others.

“The Great Lakes shipping industry follows the economy and as long as the economy is robust and people are buying tires and washing machines and building houses, then the product we carry will need to be carried somewhere,” says Schultz.

The Toronto Star


ArcelorMittal Cleveland works moves up maintenance of C5 blast furnace

7/25 - Cleveland, Ohio - ArcelorMittal Cleveland Works has moved up maintenance of their C-5 blast furnace to mid-August according to Steel Market Update sources. The furnace is projected to be down approximately 40 days.

The C-5 furnace is rated at 4350 tons per day at peak capacity and is one of two operating furnaces at the AMUSA Cleveland facility. The second furnace – C-6 – is rated by the AIST at 4150 tons per day. The expected loss of production will be between 130,000-195,000 tons using peak capacity numbers.

It is believed the furnace is being taken off-line at this time due to a poorer than anticipated flat rolled order book (Cleveland is a fully integrated flat rolled mill).

Earlier this past week U.S. Steel Fairfield had an issue with their blast furnace that took it out of operation for a few days. U.S. Steel lead times out of Fairfield on coated were said to be in late August (which is quite short for USS).

Steel Market Update


Cheekee Monkee, Windquest wrap Port Huron-Mackinac

7/25 - Mackinac Island, Mich. - Cheekee Monkee and Windquest have made it across the finish line, the first of 215 competitors to complete the Port Huron to Mackinac Island sailboat race on Lake Huron.

Race director Charlie Elmer says the trimaran Cheekee Monkee finished at 3:33 p.m. Sunday on the shore course. The single-hull 86-foot Windquest finished on the Cove Island course at 4:55 p.m. Elmer says three others were in by 6:45 p.m., while one withdrew with a broken rudder.

The 87th annual race began Saturday with little wind, but Elmer says winds picked up considerably Sunday. The boats compete in multiple divisions, with winners determined based on a handicapping system.



Updates -  July 25

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  July 25

In 1991 the 16-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. She sails now as J.W. SHELLEY.

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. 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.


Plan focuses on Cuyahoga River, attracting maritime business

7/24 - Cleveland, Ohio - The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority unveiled a strategic plan Friday that calls for sprucing up the Cuyahoga River, keeping shipping channels open and attracting new business to the port.

Absent from the plan is any talk of relocation, a strategic flop proposed by the port's prior administration. Authority President William Friedman called the new vision "rational and doable."

The plan was presented to the authority board. If approved it will set priorities and provide the foundation for any debate over whether to ask voters for more money. The port's property tax issue is up for renewal next year, but whether the authority will seek an increase depends on funding needs that have yet to be determined.

For instance, the authority expects to take the lead on stabilizing the hillside along Riverbed Road at a section of the river called Irishtown Bend. It's unclear where the money for the project would come from and the only cost estimate Friedman is aware of pegs the job at as much as $219 million.

The authority's property tax issue collects $3.2 million to $3.3 million annually since 1999. Property owners pay about $3.50 for every $100,000 of assessed value.

An encouraging aspect of the strategic plan is the increased likelihood that the authority will be able to find beneficial uses for Cuyahoga River sediment dislodged by the dredging necessary to keep shipping channels open. The sediment is now probably cleaner than soil found in most urban back yards, Friedman said, which could solve the nagging and expensive problem of where to put it.

If it can be used as landfill or other commercial or industrial uses there may be no need to construct a new containment area, estimated to cost more than $300 million with only 75 percent coming from federal coffers. Existing dikes along Lake Erie will reach capacity by 2014 and a new dike cannot be built until at least 2017.

The U.S. Corps of Engineers has scaled back its dredging to conserve dike space, but if a solution cannot be found in time, river traffic could potentially grind to a halt.

The biggest user of the river is the Arcelor-Mittal steel mill, which is supplied by iron ore boats that thread their way up the winding Cuyahoga.

Friedman said ideally the port authority would stockpile sediment for sale. Such an operation may not be a moneymaker, but the port would be happy if the income covered its costs, said authority Chairman Bob Smith.

The focus on the river also includes replacing the steel and concrete walls along the banks with ecologically friendly material that will allow for fish habitat. The cost to fix or replace bulkheads on both public and private property is estimated at $215 million.

On the maritime side of the port, Friedman said major shipping line Maersk has shown interest in using Cleveland as a port for container cargo from Europe. Denmark-based Maersk is looking at off-loading containers in Montreal along the St. Lawrence River and then loading them on smaller ships that can navigate the river and pass through the Welland Canal between lakes Ontario and Erie.

"They wouldn't be talking with us if they hadn't done their own homework," Friedman said.

The port also is seeking "expressions of interest" in operating a ferry service from Cleveland to Port Stanley, Ontario. The ferry would carry people, cars, tour buses and a limited number of trucks, Friedman said.

The crossing would take 3½ hours and the boat would have various amenities for the passengers, such as food and movies. The earliest such a service could begin is next year, but "that's aggressive," Friedman said.

The Port Authority paid $436,000 for the strategic plan, which involved a number of studies and reports over the past year.

The plan includes some infrastructure improvements such as a new rail loop on port property to connect the major CSX and Norfolk Southern railroad lines. The authority also would continue helping businesses with development financing with an emphasis on manufacturing and owner-occupied buildings.

The authority has little debt and a strong balance sheet with $11 million in cash on hand, according to the plan.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer


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
Sunset on Friday at the Upper Harbor found Michipicoten and Herbert C. Jackson waiting to load ore after arriving early in the day.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation loaded cement on Thursday, and the Alpena arrived at Lafarge Friday afternoon.

Panama Canal - Rick Essex
Friday the Algoma Mariner was about 50 miles off the coast of Panama Canal on her delivery trip from China.
The crew onboard had this report on their blog Friday:
Tomorrow morning bright and early we transit the Panama Canal. We will pass underneath the Bridge of Americas as day breaks and be at the Miraflores locks shortly after. You can follow us on the webcams from The Panama Canal Website at this link


Great Lakes Towing appoints Robert Jones

7/23 - Cleveland, Ohio - The Great Lakes Towing Company, a shipyard, marine services, and harbor towing provider based in Cleveland, Ohio, has named Robert Jones as Purchasing Manager. Jones will oversee the daily purchasing activities for the operation including delivery logistics, inventory management, and project budget controls.

Jones has more than 24 years of experience in the marine industry working in purchasing, warehousing, and logistics. He most recently worked in the private sector and also has 20 years of experience in the United States Navy where he had been promoted to Senior Enlisted Leader on the USNS Lewis and Clark. Robert has a BA and an MBA from Saint Leo University in St. Leo, Florida.


Lower Lakes Towing seeks engineers

7/23 - We are looking for competent, practically skilled Marine Engineers with 3rd or 4th Class Motor TCMS certification to join our team. Canadian Great Lakes dry bulk experience or related experience, a good work ethic and the ability to work in a fast paced environment are considered prerequisites for this position . Strong interpersonal and communication skills are a must, as is a leadership style based on mutual respect of all Officers and Crew within a proactive, team oriented work environment. Candidates must be bondable, possess a valid passport and will have all applicable certificates and Transport Canada medical in good order.

If you are a leader or potential leader that is looking for a change, we offer a very competitive wage and benefit package, positive work environment and an industry leading leave system with a Month On, Month Off work rotation on a year round basis.

Applicants who meet the job requirements for this position are encouraged to send a resume and cover letter to: Personnel Manager, Lower Lakes Towing Ltd. PO Box 1149 – 517 Main Street, Port Dover, ON Ph: (519) 583-0982 Fx: (519) 583-1946, email:


Today in Great Lakes History -  July 23

On this day in 1908, 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.


New registry opened for Maritime Trader

7/21 - Maritime Trader was registered in Port Dover, Ont., July 21 with Lower Lakes Towing of Port Dover as owner. Reports indicate that the Lower Lakes stack markings are being applied to the vessel at Hamilton. The date of her first trip, as well as a possible new name, are unknown at this time.

Mac Mackay


Port Reports -  July 21

Twin Ports – Al Miller
American Integrity departed Duluth about 7:30 a.m. Thursday after loading at Midwest Energy Terminal. American Century immediately took its place at the coal dock to begin loading. Paul R. Tregurtha was expected to arrive later in the day for the same dock. Elsewhere, John G. Munson was unloading stone at Hallett Dock 5. Following that it was expected to load petroleum coke at the same dock for delivery to Green Bay. The Munson arrived on the heels of Cason J. Callaway, which loaded sinter at Hallett 5 on Wednesday.

Stoneport, Calcite and Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Vessels due to load at Stoneport are the Joseph H. Thompson on Friday, Great Republic Saturday, Algorail, July 24 and on July 26 three vessels are scheduled to load – Lewis J. Kuber, Philip R. Clarke and Cason J. Callaway. At Calcite, the John J. Boland loaded on a very hot Thursday with a noon departure. James L. Kuber was to load next after the Boland's departure, with the Calumet due after the Kuber. Due next to load at Calcite is the McKee Sons on Friday, John G. Munson along with Manitowoc on July 25 and the H. Lee White on July 26. At Cedarville, the Adam E. Cornelius is due Friday, Arthur M. Anderson Sunday along with the Joseph L. Block, also on Sunday. Wilfred Sykes will load Monday.

Toledo, Ohio - Denny Dushane
Philip R. Clarke unloaded taconite from Marquette at the Torco Dock on July 21. Other vessels due to unload at the Torco Dock are Great Republic July 22 along with both the Algoma Progress and American Courage on July 27. Vessels due to arrive at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock are Mississagi July 25, Algomarine July 26 and the Algosteel July 31. The CSX Coal Dock will have a busy schedule in the next few days as well. Due to load coal is the Pathfinder July 21 with several vessels expected on July 24. In order are Manitowoc, John J. Boland, James L. Kuber, Kaye E. Barker, Manistee and Catherine Desgagnes. Due to load coal at CSX on July 25 are Algosoo, Pathfinder, Herbert C. Jackson and the Saginaw.

Cleveland, Ohio - Jake Kniola
American Steamship's Buffalo has taken the place of fleetmate Sam Laud in the Cleveland steel mill shuttle runs

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The USCG cutter Bristol Bay departed at 4 p.m., heading upriver from the visiting ship's dock to the Watson Basin, where they turned and headed out to the lake for Cleveland.

Welland Canal – Brad Washington
The Welland Canal shut down on Thursday due to a reported valve problem in Lock 4. About 11 a.m. traffic was stopped as divers entered the lock to make repairs. Delayed traffic included the upbound Karen Andrie and barge, Mapleglen and Canadian Enterprise. At 10 p.m. traffic remained stuck below Lock 4, Petite Forte and her barge were upbound through Lock 1 and the Algoma Navigator was entering the Port Weller Piers. There was no downbound traffic in the canal until the Peter R. Cresswell arrived at Port Colborne shortly after 10 p.m., repairs to Lock 4 were originally estimated to take a few hours. At 10:30 p.m. temporary repairs had been made and the waiting Karen Andrie locked through followed by the Mapleglen.

St. Lawrence Seaway
Pineglen has been deadship since Wednesday 8 p.m. at Baie des Milles Vaches Anchorage, between Les Escoumins and Forestville. The tug Ocean Raymond Lemay arrived from Quebec City and on Thursday at 11 a.m. both left anchorage in direction of Baie-Comeau. Pineglen was on a trip from Port-Cartier to Ashtabula.


Familiar cruise ship Clelia II renamed Orion II

7/21 - The cruise ship Clelia II, a familiar visitor to the Great Lakes, has been renamed Orion II. However the vessel may be remembered more for her encounter with an early December 2010 storm which caused her to lose an engine and other power while the ship was cruising from Buenos Aires, Argentina, to the port of Ushuaia. There were 160 passengers aboard Clelia II during the storm, which had 35 foot waves and winds at 55 m.p.h. with gusts close to 100 m.p.h.

Denny Dushane


Shipyard sale approved by Court

7/21 - Quebec, Que. - A Quebec Superior Court judge approved Thursday morning the sale of Davie Shipyard to Upper Lakes Group, giving the new owner the green light to enter the race to bid on potentially lucrative federal shipbuilding contracts.

The deadline for bidding on the largest chunk of the federal government work in the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy (NSPS), worth $33 billion, was 2 p.m. ET Thursday.

Public Works and Government Services, the department organizing the bid process, confirmed Thursday afternoon that an application for a change of bidder "was received prior to bid closing in accordance with the request for proposals."

It said NSPS is reviewing the application "in accordance with the established process. A decision will be made and communicated in due course."

Judge Étienne Parent sanctioned the deal to sell the insolvent shipyard for $26.7 million after hearing the parties for several hours late into the night Wednesday as details of a last-minute deal were still being negotiated.

"We have deployed tremendous efforts to close a deal under enormous pressure, and we are happy that we have been able to sell the yard to a credible buyer who, together with its partners, can ensure a viable future for the yard'' said the president and CEO of Davie, Gustav Johan Nydal.

"This is good news for our workers and for Quebec since an active yard will ensure significant employment and will have a positive economic impact which will be further enhanced if the yard is selected under the NSPS.''

The Upper Lakes Group, which owns shipyards in Ontario, has bought Davie as part of a joint venture with SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. and Daewoo of South Korea.

"We are very pleased with the judgment of the court," said John Dewar, Upper Lakes vice-president of strategic services. He added the consortium is set to file a bid Thursday.

Jonathan Whitworth, CEO of Seaspan Marine, owner of Vancouver Shipyards, Vancouver Drydock and Victoria Shipyards, said he had "no reaction" to the court approval of the sale of Davie.

Montreal Gazette


Lower Lakes Towing hangs out the “Help Wanted” sign

7/21 - Great Lakes Ships Masters
We are looking for competent, practically skilled Ships Masters with a minimum certification of Master Local Voyage for Inland waters Class 1 to join our team. Thorough knowledge of the Great Lakes system of harbours, rivers and pilotage requirements west of St. Lambert is a must. Applicants must possess a good work ethic and the ability to work in a fast paced environment. Strong interpersonal and communication skills are a prerequisite, as is a leadership style based on mutual respect of all Officers and Crew within a proactive, team oriented work environment. Candidates must be bondable, possess a valid passport and will have all applicable certificates and Transport Canada medical in good order. The candidate will demonstrate strong managerial and leadership skills.

If you are a leader that is looking for a change, we offer a very competitive wage and benefit package, positive work environment and an industry-leading leave system. Consideration will also be given to candidates that are looking for part time or training work.

Applicants who meet the job requirements for this position are encouraged to send a resume and cover letter to: Personnel Manager, Lower Lakes Towing Ltd. PO Box 1149 517 Main Street, Port Dover, ON Ph: (519) 583-0982 Fx: (519) 583-1946, email both: &

Marine Engineers
We are looking for competent, practically skilled Marine Engineers with 2nd Class Motor TCMS certification to join our team. Canadian Great Lakes dry bulk experience or related experience, a good work ethic and the ability to work in a fast paced environment are considered prerequisites for this position. Strong interpersonal and communication skills are a must, as is a leadership style based on mutual respect of all Officers and Crew within a proactive, team oriented work environment. Candidates must be bondable, possess a valid passport and will have all applicable certificates and Transport Canada medical in good order.

If you are a leader or potential leader that is looking for a change, we offer a very competitive wage and benefit package, positive work environment and an industry leading leave system with a Month On, Month Off work rotation on a year round basis.

Applicants who meet the job requirements for this position are encouraged to send a resume and cover letter to: Personnel Manager, Lower Lakes Towing Ltd. PO Box 1149 517 Main Street, Port Dover, ON Ph: (519) 583-0982 Fx: (519) 583-1946, email:


Call for entries, Duluth Seaway Port Authority 2012 calendar

7/21 - The Duluth Seaway Port Authority is seeking a striking photo, painting or illustration to feature on its 2012 wall calendar. We’re looking for captivating images of vessels or vistas that highlight the working Port of Duluth-Superior – salties or lakers moving cargo in any season – from unique perspectives that tell a story at a single glance.

The winning image will be featured prominently on over 10,000 calendars, distributed locally and around the world. A prize of $250 will be awarded. Photographs, paintings and/or illustrations are eligible for consideration. You may submit up to three hi-res images on a CD/DVD. Entries must be received by August 31, 2011.

Please label your images and your disc with titles and your name. Due to file sizes, do NOT send images via email; they will not be considered. Winning image will be printed approx. 19” w x 14” h on a calendar measuring 22” w x 34” h.

All photos/artwork must be original in design and execution – taken/created within the past two years and not published elsewhere prior to submission.

The Port Authority will want exclusive rights to the winning image until Dec. 31, 2012. Submit entries to Adele Yorde, PR Manager, Duluth Seaway Port Authority, 1200 Port Terminal Drive, Duluth, MN 55802


Updates -  July 21

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  July 21

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.


Port Reports -  July 21

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
After arriving Tuesday morning and having a delay, Great Republic loaded ore and departed the Upper Harbor Wednesday morning. Saginaw arrived to load ore on a hot Wednesday afternoon. During Saginaw's load, workers removed the oil containment boom that was placed north of the ore dock early Monday morning.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The tug Cleveland and barge Cleveland Rocks was anchor off Buffalo Harbor Wednesday morning. They were waiting for the American Mariner to depart General Mills before heading in. The Mariner backed out around 12:30 p.m. The Cleveland-Cleveland Rocks came in after the Mariner departed. Cleveland and Cleveland Rocks departed Wednesday evening passing the inbound cutter Bristol Bay out near the traffic buoy. The tug and barge loaded high clay content sand from the Sand Supply operation.

Rochester, N.Y. - Tom Brewer
Essroc's barge Metis arrived in Rochester Wednesday morning. The tugs Jarrett M. and Ecosse brought her in.


Toledo Port Authority reports 14.7 percent increase in cargo

7/21 - Toledo, Ohio – Toward one end of the Port of Toledo's international cargo dock one day last week was old-school energy, in the form of a huge pile of Wyoming coal that Midwest Terminals of Toledo International has been storing until it's needed at a power plant.

Near the other end was what some consider the future's energy: wind-turbine components imported from Spain awaiting delivery to a wind-power development site in Paulding and Van Wert counties.

Throughout the rest of the facility was evidence of the 14.7 percent cargo increase the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority has reported for the 2011 shipping season through June, at the international cargo docks and at other terminals along the Maumee River: piles of mill scale and synthetic gypsum, both new to the Toledo port, plus coke breeze, pig iron, and various metal ingots.

"We've got a lot of stuff going on down here, that's for sure," said Jason Lowery, director of business development for Midwest Terminals.

This week, he said, four more vessels were expected to arrive at the dock: barges loaded with aluminum and liquid asphalt, and ships with more mill scale, a by-product of steel making, and synthetic gypsum, otherwise known as spent "scrubber" stone from power-plant smokestacks.

The Midwest-managed international cargo dock isn't the only part of Toledo's port where cargo activity has increased so far this year. Coal and iron ore, handled by CSX Transportation at docks near the Maumee's mouth, have both increased this year, and the largest percentage increase has been in the bulk liquids sector, which includes petroleum.

Mr. Lowery said the liquid-bulk growth was driven by local refinery traffic, and an increase in dry-bulk cargo was a result both of Midwest's business development and road salt deliveries following a busy winter for area highway departments.

The only port sector showing a decline through June is grain, off nearly 10 percent to 204,829 tons. The port's total shipments of 4,298,200 tons through June are better than in any of the past three years.

Traffic at the international cargo dock includes "general and miscellaneous cargo" as well as dry bulk material.

While representing the smallest cargo sector by weight, the "general and miscellaneous cargo" sector includes the wind turbine components -- blades, rotors, and parts housings -- that have arrived on several ships this spring and represent high-value cargo for both the port and its workers. Just unloading each ship keeps a team of 15 longshoremen busy for a 50-hour week. The stevedore gets money for storing the parts, and then there is work for riggers and truckers when the Blue Creek Wind Farm is ready to erect them.

Mr. Lowery said he and Joe Cappel, the port authority's director of cargo development, began pursuing wind-turbine cargoes for Toledo's port five years ago by attending industry conferences and placing ads in trade publications. Tower components came across the local docks in 2009 and 2010, and this year brought the first local shipments of the parts that go atop the towers.

"The geography of the project also weighed a lot into it," Mr. Lowery said, but the Toledo port also is burnishing a reputation of being fast and efficient, thanks to the two mobile harbor cranes and modern material handler, bought by the port authority with federal grants, that arrived last year.

A 21,000-ton shipment of pig iron, headed for North Star Steel in Delta, was unloaded in less than two days using the new machines, Mr. Lowery said. That was a significant improvement over the port's past capability using the older Big and Little Lucas cranes.

But the 1950s-vintage Lucas cranes aren't completely out to pasture. Notably, Big Lucas'100-metric-ton capacity makes it best suited for hoisting the heaviest wind-turbine parts out of ships' holds, Mr. Lowery said.

Some of the other commodities passing through, or stored at, the facility don't require cranes for handling, and those will be candidates to move to the Ironville Dock once that facility opens, he said.

Ironville Dock is the former Gulf Oil refinery site upriver from the general cargo dock upon which the port authority plans to build a bulk-material terminal and storage facilities.

The port authority last month awarded a $1.7 million contract for rail construction there and holds a $7.5 million state loan to build bulk-storage and conveyor facilities there.

The port authority and Midwest also have invested in the existing dock's rail capabilities. In recent months, 17,000 feet of track has been either built or rebuilt to create two loops for moving railcars throughout the international cargo docks. The synthetic gypsum that arrives this week by vessel will be shipped out by train, and Mr. Lowery said there are "other projects in the works" that he expects will use the port's rail capability.

Said Mr. Cappel, "We've got a lot of flexibility here now, with the new equipment and additional rail capability. Word is spreading through the industry."

Toledo Blade


Rochester businessman floats idea to restart ferry service

7/21 - Rochester, N.Y. –  Rochester businessman floats idea to restart ferry service Rochester, N.Y. – An idea to restart a Lake Ontario ferry service is being floated both in Rochester and Toronto by a descendant of the prominent Sibley family, who manages a Bahamas beach resort. Harper Sibley said Wednesday that he hopes to have a passenger-only ferry operational in mid-May 2012, and wants to add a second ship the following year.

He is seeking investors, claims to have commitments for about half the $3 million he needs to raise in addition to his own unspecified outlay, and already has identified at least two potential ships for purchase.

“We have to do it right this time,” said Sibley, 56. “The city can’t afford for us not to do it right.”

Ferry service had a brief but unforgettable run in Rochester in 2004 and 2005, first as a private venture then as a city-backed endeavor. Both efforts failed and lost millions in taxpayer dollars.

Those familiar with the Sibley discussions, including Rochester Mayor Thomas Richards, say talks remain preliminary. The operation envisioned would be substantially smaller than the prior, high-speed ferry, with a heavy focus on excursions. Sibley said he is looking at 150-passenger ships, whereas the fast ferry had room for 774 people plus vehicles.

“We have met with him twice, and we have asked him to come back with more information,” said Angus Armstrong, harbor master and chief of security for the Toronto Port Authority.

When it comes to legitimate inquiries, he added, “this is one of the first ones. But, certainly, what I think he is looking at is more of a package deal that would consist of coming over and going to a show.”

What’s next? “We are just waiting on him,” Armstrong said.

Sibley said the next step is to identify the vessel, as that impacts staffing, customs and expenses, if more than one daily roundtrip is possible. He has a self-imposed 90-day deadline, giving himself until mid-October to raise remaining funds and buy the first ship, he said, or else wait another year to launch operations.

Former Mayor Robert Duffy, now the state’s lieutenant governor, shut down the former fast ferry in 2006 and placed Richards, the city’s corporation counsel at the time, in charge of selling the high-speed ship.

“Our attitude about (restarting ferry service) is the same as it’s been all along,” Richards said in a recent interview. “If somebody comes along that does not require substantial investment, public funds or our taking an operational role, we’d be open to it.”

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle


Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority earns Pacesetter award

7/21 - The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority posted significant increases in international cargo during the 2010 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 Administrator Terry Johnson presented the award today to Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority Board Chair Robert Smith at a ceremony in Cleveland.

“This is a strong economic performance by an important member of the Seaway System,” said Administrator Johnson. “Through its ongoing infrastructure improvements and marketing strategy, the port is well positioned for further growth in 2011 and beyond.”

During the 2010 navigation season, the Port of Cleveland shipped 273,280 metric tons (mt) of cargo through the Seaway, a 64 percent increase over the 2009 season, earning the Port its 9th Pacesetter award. The Port of Cleveland reached 80 percent growth in its handling of project cargo business in 2010 compared to 2009.

“We are honored to receive this award and value our long-standing partnership with the SLSDC,” said Will Friedman, President and CEO of the Port. “We credit the growth in tonnage to both the rebound in the economy and our work to more aggressively market our assets and capabilities. One important result of our efforts is an increase in project cargo movement through the Port of Cleveland.”

The Port of Cleveland has been awarded a $3 million grant from the Ohio Department of Development, matched by $1 million of its own funds, that will be used to construct over a mile of new railroad track on the Port, enabling important intermodal connections for their supply chain. The Port is also seeking new services including a cross-lake ferry and a container feeder service.

The Pacesetter Award is presented annually to U.S. Great Lakes Seaway ports 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.


Public meeting on lake levels planned in Sarnia

7/21 - Sarnia, Ont. - The folks behind an international study floating the idea of multi-million-dollar water-flow "speed bumps" in the St. Clair River want to hear what Sarnia-Lambton residents think.

A four-week consultation tour by officials carrying out the International Upper Great Lakes Study is holding a public meeting in Sarnia Aug. 2, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., at Lambton College, Room A223.

The study is expected to submit recommendations on options for regulating water levels in the upper lakes by March to the International Joint Commission (IJC), a body created by the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty to prevent and resolve disputes on inland waterways shared by Canada and the U.S.

The meeting will provide the public with information about the causes of water level fluctuations, including precipitation and climate change, "and what things we can change and what things can't be changed," said commission spokesperson John Nevin.

The forum also will gather public responses to the question, "Should we be doing anything more, or differently, to regulate water levels?"

Nevin said some people, particularly in the Georgian Bay area where the impact of low lake levels is being felt, "believe very strongly that there should be some sort of structure in the St. Clair River to hold water back to raise levels in Lake Huron," Nevin said.

The study looked at what could be done, including building a series of underwater concrete "speed bumps" on the bottom of the river, he said. The report doesn't recommend for or against the idea, but said it could cost as much as $225 million and take decades to get approved, funded and built.

"There would be very serious ecological impacts along the river," Nevin said, "especially to threatened and endangered species, like the lake sturgeon."

Proposals like that are a concern for Sarnia, said Mayor Mike Bradley. "Even though they didn't make a recommendation to the IJC," he said, "the information is out there and we should be very careful about not letting it build any more momentum."

Bradley said dredging done in the 1960s in the St. Clair River is considered a factor in today's lower lake levels. "There's example all around the world where governments have not let nature be nature," he said.

Bradley said the greater risk is the impact any new control would have on Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie. "The report acknowledges there could be significant damage done to those lakes. So, who would want to play that Russian roulette game?"

Along with the Aug. 2 meeting, the public can go online to to learn about the study and submit comments.

London Free Press


Tiny light, whistle led to Lake Michigan rescue

7/21 - Milwaukee, Wis. – Minutes after a 50-knot squall raced through the flotilla of sailboats headed for Mackinac Island late Sunday night on Lake Michigan, Robert Arzbaecher's crew on the Sociable heard a whistle somewhere out on the open water.

"It sounded like it came from a different direction," Arzbaecher said. "It heightened our sensitivity. We said, 'Let's keep our eyes open.' And then we catch a small, faint light. A needle in the haystack. If you don't have a light on the life jacket, we would have never seen that."

Arzbaecher spoke by phone Tuesday morning, a day after he and the crew of his Milwaukee sailboat were hailed for saving the lives of six members of another boat that capsized late Sunday during the annual Race to Mackinac. Two members of the other boat died.

"We had just come out of the squall where there was no visibility. Big rain," said Arzbaecher, who is chairman, president and CEO of Actuant Corp., an industrial company in Menomonee Falls. "At that time, it was kind of clear with leftover seas from the squall. Reasonably good visibility. That light was intermittent because the seas were blocking it a lot."

But that light was a sign of life and hope. Arzbaecher, skipper of the Sociable - which sails out of the Milwaukee Yacht Club - steered his vessel in the direction of the light in the darkness of Lake Michigan. He didn't know what he would find.

As they got closer, Arzbaecher and his crew saw the WingNuts, another boat in the Chicago Yacht Club's annual race. There were five sailors on top of the capsized vessel and another in the water.

"At that time we took our sails down and started retrieving people," Arzbaecher said from his hotel room on Mackinac Island. His crew got all six aboard safely in an operation Arzbaecher estimated took 10 to 15 minutes.

"They were in good shape," he said of the rescued sailors. "I think they were scared. I don't know how to answer how they felt. I think they were ready to be recovered. They were happy. They were grateful."

But there were two sailors missing, the survivors told him. Arzbaecher had already contacted the U.S. Coast Guard. "Their instruction to us was to try to look for the other two sailors. We were just kind of circling in the area, looking for spotlights, looking and waiting for the Coast Guard to come with a boat and a helicopter."

Arzbaecher said there were no other boats in the immediate vicinity of the WingNuts when his boat arrived. "Everybody was a half-mile, quarter-mile away. Probably within a half-hour, it was up to six or seven boats . . . maybe 15 boats," he said.

Coast Guard officers recovered the bodies of Mark Morley, 51, a veteran sailor, and Suzanne Bickel, 41, both from Saginaw, Mich. The rescued sailors were identified as Christopher Cummings, 16; John Dent, 50; Stan Dent, 51; Peter Morley, 47; Stewart Morley, 15; and Lee Purcell, 46. All of those rescued were believed to be from Michigan.

The Chicago Yacht Club said it would review the deaths. The Coast Guard has no such plans.

The Coast Guard, the Chicago Yacht Club and others involved in the rescue effort have credited Arzbaecher and his crew for their heroic actions. It was the Sociable crew that was first on the scene. They rescued the surviving sailors, then directed others in the search until the Coast Guard arrived.

Arzbaecher says he and his crew were simply doing what they had been trained to do when something unexpected happens on the water.

"If there is a take-away, it's probably boater safety," Arzbaecher said. "A life jacket, a whistle and a light. My God, how simple it can be. But that's what it was."

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Michigan wants to expand recreation uses on idyllic Drummond Island

7/21 - Drummond Island, Mich. – It's the post-long weekend parade: In early morning fog on a recent July day, cars and trucks roll off a ferry to return to the state's mainland from Drummond Island — the easternmost part of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The toys they're towing: horse trailers, ATVs and boats.

Vehicles headed back to the island from nearby DeTour Village are more run-of-the-mill: pickups carrying building contractors, sedans returning residents now that the island is clear of tourists, and a beer truck that'll restock Drummond's few watering holes.

These are the two identities of Michigan's largest island. And both are undergoing changes as the state tries to accommodate shifting outdoor recreation trends, while locals try to co-exist and provide services for people driving those trends.

Michigan owns 65 percent of the 83,000 acres on this vacation/sportsman's paradise. Most of the land is undeveloped, and this summer the Department of Natural Resources is mapping out future plans for its outdoor recreation usage.

But there's a catch: A 70-year-old purchase agreement limits potential uses for the land, but the public is increasingly demanding other uses, such as ATV and off-road vehicle trails.

Those decisions will likely have a direct impact on Drummond Island's future — something that is regularly debated by the island's 800 year-round residents. In recent years, local business owners have pushed to expand the community's tourist appeal to support the dozens of operations that capitalize on sportsman and vacationer interests. People arrive here via ferry or airplane or, when it's cold enough, by snowmobile. The flow of their dollars into the local economy is welcome, but as with any popular community, sometimes the added congestion is less so.

State officials hosted a public hearing in June to gather input about the types of recreation opportunities people want on the land DNR oversees and came away with a lengthy list. On Monday, the DNR will host another meeting on the island where representatives will start assigning parcels of state land to various activities and accept additional public input.

Any expansion of the island's recreation offerings is likely to bring more people. That's either good or bad depending on who you talk to. There has been no organized opposition to expanding tourism, but the impact of the island's growing popularity has been an issue for years, said resident Betty Bailey, 78.

She told the story of a Lions Club meeting several years ago, where a member who had lived on Drummond Island for 15 years stood up and said it would be nice if no new people moved in.

The response from an even longer-tenured resident was: "That's what we said when you moved in here."

That dilemma is further summed up in the story of Sherry Pieknik. Twelve years ago, she, her husband and their two boys moved in from the Grand Blanc area. It was a chance for the family to grow closer and also to escape the bustle of the city.

"I like the smaller community, and my husband has always liked the woods," said the 55-year-old, as she walked her property. "But it does get a little monotonous around holidays like the Fourth of July with all of the tourists. You can put up with it a select few times a year, but I wouldn't want it to get any more cramped here."

The license plates outside the Drummond Island TeePee ice cream shop come from all over the Midwest: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana and Ohio on a recent summer day. It's a long way to go for ice cream, so it's likely one of Drummond Island's other attractions brought them here. And there are plenty of them.

The island offers everything from scuba diving around off-shore shipwrecks to plowing through mud on off-road vehicles. In the winter, there are trails for cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and ice skating. Livonia resident Mark Lewallen and his wife left the island last week after spending the week at a friend's cabin.

"No doubt in my mind we'll be back," said the 49-year-old, who works as weld inspector at Ford's Focus plant in Wayne. "We barely even touched what the island has to offer."

Michigan acquired the land in the 1940s with money from a federal excise tax on hunting equipment.

That tax — established by the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act of 1937 — is paid by hunters nationwide and redistributed to states for the purpose of buying and maintaining public hunting land. So Michigan is required to maintain the land primarily for deer hunting. The island is home to roughly 3,000 deer, or 30 per square mile.

But in the decades since the original purchase, the variety of outdoor sporting interests has expanded and state officials want to manage the land in a way that services more than just whitetail hunters.

"New forms of recreation have come into play, like off-road vehicles," said Terry Minzey, the DNR Upper Peninsula wildlife manager. "What we're trying to do with our comprehensive resource management plan is find a way to accommodate the variety of interests out there without violating our (purchase) agreement."

Betty Bailey's husband, Gerry, has spent a half-century on the island at one time or another. He was born and raised here, left for 35 years to work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Pittsburgh, but returned more than a decade ago as a retiree.

In that time, he and Betty have volunteered their time helping to build the Drummond Island Tourism Association. When they started, the operation worked out of unused space at the island's airport hangar.

The association has a website ( and an office at the place the locals refer to as Four Corners — the island's main commercial intersection.

Like most places in Michigan, the last four years have been a struggle for many of the island's businesses.

But before the state and national economic downturn, there were 30 new homes under construction in one year, putting 16 contractors to work at the time. And the island saw roughly 2,500 visitors per year during its summer season.

"The people that operate the businesses here want (the increased visitation)," said Bailey. "They'd like to have the tourist season run through at least October if they could."

But on an island this size, it's impossible to please everybody, and Bailey knows many don't want to see that happen.

It's a problem the state has to take into consideration.

"Now we have folks whose families have been out there for generations that are feeling pushed off from the land because they came for the remoteness of it and the quiet aspect," Minzey said.

"What we need to do with these meetings is come together collectively and make sure we're optimizing the land use for the good of all of the resources."

Detroit News


Boat Week in Port Huron affirms city's uniqueness

7/21 - Port Huron, Mich. – It's difficult to overstate Port Huron's ties to things nautical. The city is on the shores of Lake Huron, and was a key part of the shipbuilding industry in the 19th industry.

For several years, Port Huron's leaders have been promoting the city as "The Maritime Capital of the Great Lakes." Some might dispute that identity, but few doubt the city's commitment to its nautical heritage. Nothing illustrates that better than Boat Week. The days precede Saturday's 87th Mackinac Race, when more than 220 sailboats will compete to reach the island with the fastest time.

Port Huron will do its best to entertain the sailors, race fans and other visitors who converge on the city for its many pre-race attractions.

Traditionally, the festivities begin with the Rotary International Day Parade. The march starts 6:30 p.m. today at Military and Griswold streets and proceeds north through downtown Port Huron to Huron and Glenwood avenues.

If Saturday's race is about sailing, the parade is about the community. Organizers expect 20,000 people to line the parade route and delight in the spectacle of high school marching bands, floats and other entries that salute the uniqueness of the Blue Water Area.

It is a fitting prelude to Blue Water Fest. The three-day downtown festival, which starts Thursday, is designed to showcase the central business district with a variety of musical groups, family activities, a carnival, food and beverage vendors and the people who will fill its streets.

Boat Night, the eve of race, brings the week's events to a crescendo with tens of thousands of people reveling in a downtown party.

These festivities and the Black River's lighted boat parade following Saturday's race affirm Port Huron's devotion to the Mackinac Race and to its status as a waterfront community. From the Rotary International Day Parade through the boat parade, the city has much to share with the many visitors who join its annual summer celebration.

Boat Week is a story that deserves to be told throughout Michigan, the nation and beyond. It is a unique event that should command greater attention.

Few cities blend hometown character with a signature tourism event aimed at drawing tens, if not hundreds of thousands. Few cities can boast a tradition that does more to celebrate the wonder of sailing and its attraction to sailors and landlubbers alike.

The Mackinac Race is a sight to see. But the bigger story lies with the celebration it brings.

Boat Week is a tribute to a city of hardworking Port Huron residents who dedicate themselves each year to making the most of their city's nautical tradition and share it with valued visitors from near and far.

Port Huron Times Herald


Updates -  July 21

News Photo Gallery
Special BoatNerd Keweenaw Star Lighthouse & Freighter Cruise gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  July 21

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

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

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

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

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

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


Port Reports -  July 20

Green Bay, Wis. – Wendell Wilke and Scott Best
Sarah Desgagnes arrived early Monday morning at the V.T. Venture Dock in Green Bay on her first voyage into this port. By late afternoon, there still remained a line of tanker trucks waiting on her.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Alpena was in port at Lafarge on Monday morning loading cement for Superior,Wis.. Tuesday evening the barge McKee Sons and tug Invincible arrived at Lafarge to unload coal. The G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity are expected in port on Wednesday morning.

St Clair River - Dennis Hart
Mississagi went to anchor Monday after a large cloud of black smoke came out of the stack. They anchored just north of St. Clair Power Plant in the St. Clair River. Engines repairs were started immediately as the crew waited on a part to be delivered. They were expected to complete repairs on Tuesday.

Erie, Pa. - Jeffrey Benson
Cuyahoga was in Erie unloading sand at the North Pier for the ongoing sand replenishment project on Presque Isle State Park.

Halifax - Mac Mackay
Contrary to yesterday's report, the first submarine to leave Halifax on the barge HM Dock 1 will be the Olympus. It was purchased from the Royal Navy in 1989 for static training only, and never operated for the RCN. It will be going to Port Maitland for scrap.


Gordon C. Leitch grounds Tuesday in St. Marys River

7/20 - Gordon C. Leitch lost steering in the West Neebish Channel Tuesday afternoon and ran aground at Lighted Buoy 48. She eventually freed herself, backed up river and dropped her hook in the Nine Mine anchorage area to await U.S. Coast Guard inspection. The reason for the grounding, and the extent of the damage, were unknown Tuesday evening. The tug John Spence and her barge, Niagara Spirit, tied up on lower locks pier until the channel was clear.

Greg Barber, Ben Perry


Great Lakes water levels to be topic of meeting

7/20 - Toledo, Ohio - The second and final phase of one of the Great Lakes region’s water-level studies will be discussed at a public meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. July 27 at the University of Toledo’s Lake Erie Center, 6200 Bayshore Road, Oregon.

The International Upper Great Lakes Study examines natural and man-made influences on water levels, including a plan to better regulate the Lake Superior outflows at Sault Ste. Marie. Flow rates from the upper lakes affect the levels of lower lakes such as Lake Erie.

An International Joint Commission study board has been developing the report with help from shoreline property owners, boaters, anglers, government agencies, Native Americans, hydroelectric power producers, environmental activists and shipping organizations.

Toledo Blade


Remote sensing finished at possible shipwreck site in Michigan

7/20 - Traverse City, Mich. - A team of explorers and technicians said it has completed the second phase of remote sensing work at the site of what may be the Griffin, a 17th century French ship that sank in Lake Michigan.

The Michigan-based Center for Maritime and Underwater Resource Management used high-resolution sonar to map the lake bottom where explorer Steve Libert in 2001 discovered what may be the Griffin's gravesite. The center's project manager, Ken Vrana, said Monday that it still isn't clear whether the scan has identified the remains of a ship.

He said data is being processed and his team will confer with Michigan Tech University experts. The center will issue a technical report within a few weeks. The explorers then will confer with Michigan and French officials about what to do next.

The Griffin sailed from Green Bay in 1679 — loaded with 12,000 pounds of fur and headed for Lake Erie — and was never heard from again.

The Associated Press and Green Bay Press-Gazette


Updates -  July 20

News Photo Gallery
Special BoatNerd Keweenaw Star Lighthouse & Freighter Cruise gallery


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
Monday morning at the Upper Harbor, Herbert C. Jackson was secured on the south side of the ore dock waiting to load ore. An oil containment boom placed north of the ore dock prevented Philip R. Clarke from docking as she was at anchor waiting for the Jackson to load. The source of the leak is uniknown. An oil boom has been placed along the part of the harbor after the Coast Guard observed an oil sheen Sunday night. So far, no oil had been captured Monday. Authorities will keep the boom in place overnight as a precaution for any leakage.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
McKee Sons and Invincible came in very early Saturday morning with a load for the D & M Dock, next to the power plant on Harbor Island in Grand Haven. Late Saturday evening Algorail made its first visit in several years with a load for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg. Manitowoc and Algoway are due at the same dock late Monday evening and early Tuesday morning respectively.


New dock expected to draw cruise ships to rejuvenated Detroit waterfront

7/19 - Detroit, Mich. - City officials are hoping Monday’s opening of a $22 million new dock on the river will attract Great Lakes cruise ships to downtown Detroit as it used to in the 19th and early 20th century.

Mayor Dave Bing, U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano and other dignitaries were on hand for the ribbon cutting at the new Port Detroit Public Dock and Terminal, located on Atwater Street between the Renaissance Center and Hart Plaza.

As a spectacular backdrop, the sleek, sparkling white 184-foot Grand Mariner cruise ship was berthed at the dock while a Detroit Fire Department fireboat arced its water cannons into the air in celebration.

"This is a great day for Detroit and the continued development of the waterfront," said Faye Nelson, president and CEO of the Detroit RiverFront Conservancy. "Everyone is excited and pleased that the development is complete."

Groundbreaking for the 21,000-square-foot terminal began in 2004, with the finished structure offering meeting rooms with a view of the river, high-end maritime technology and a command room for ships. The port is part of the revitalization of the downtown Detroit, including the $220 million modernization of Cobo Center, the enlargement of Hart Plaza and the extension of the Detroit RiverWalk.

Detroit News


Two sailors die when boat capsizes during Mackinac Race‎

7/19 - Cleveland, Ohio - Having completed notifications of the next of kin, as well as debriefing immediate family members regarding the details of the search, the Coast Guard has released the names of those boaters who died and those who were rescued Monday morning in Lake Michigan.

Deceased are: Suzanne Bickel, age 41; and Mark Morley, 51, both of Saginaw, Mich. Rescued were: Christopher Cummings, age 16; John Dent, 50; Stan Dent, 51; Peter Morley, 47; Stewart Morley, 15; and Lee Purcell, 46.

The U.S. Coast Guard received initial notification from a private company that monitors personal locator beacons, reporting that two PLBs aboard the sailing vessel Wingnuts had been activated.

Radio watchstanders at Coast Guard Station Charlevoix, Mich., established communications with the sailing vessel Sociable, which was assisting with the coordination of a search by other responding sailing vessels in the vicinity. The crew of the Sociable pulled six of the eight crewmembers from the Wingnuts out of the water.

A rescue crew aboard a 41-foot utility boat from Coast Guard Station Charlevoix, Mich., arrived on scene and located the capsized sailing vessel. Crewmembers knocked on the hull of the vessel in an attempt to discern whether or not people were trapped inside. Receiving no response from inside the vessel, the rescue crew began its initial search pattern.

A crew aboard an MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Mich., also began searching.

The Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw arrived on scene to assume the role of on-scene commander and coordinate ongoing search efforts. Search and rescue coordinators at Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie contacted Charlevoix County to request dive team support. The Air Station Traverse City helicopter crew transported the dive team to cutter Mackinaw, which was used as the dive platform.

At 8:44 a.m., the dive team located the two boaters unresponsive in the vicinity of the capsized boat. They were transported to shore and turned over to a medical examiner. They were pronounced dead at 12:30 p.m.

U.S. Coast Guard


Updates -  July 19

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Video on our YouTube Channel


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.


Port Reports -  July 18

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Saturday morning at the Upper Harbor, Mesabi Miner unloaded coal and John B. Aird waited to load ore on her second visit of the season.

Green Bay, Wis. – Jeff Harris, Scott Best and Wendell Wilke
Sunday afternoon Great Republic arrived with a load of stone for the Great Lakes Calcium Dock; just a few hours behind the Republic was her fleetmate, John G. Munson, with another cargo of stone. The Munson was expected to anchor out until the Republic unloaded and cleared the channel; the Munson should arrive early Monday morning to unload her stone. Other traffic expected this week includes the tanker Sarah Desgagnes and the tug Victory and her barge.

Cleveland, Ohio - Jake Kniola
St. Clair was inbound to the Cleveland Bulk Terminal Saturday. Algoma Transfer was also inbound.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
American Mariner materialized out of the haze covering Lake Erie at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, headed inbound for the General Mills Frontier Elevator on the Buffalo Ship Canal. Manistee made it in overnight to unload sand on the City Ship Canal. She backed herself out of the Buffalo Ship Canal at 10 a.m., headed up the lake. Rebecca Lynn departed with her barge around 5 a.m. Sunday.

Toronto, Ont. - Andre Blanchard
On Thursday the USCGC Bristol Bay arrived in Toronto and was still in port on July 17. Also on Sunday, Capt. Henry Jackman arrived, but went to anchor outside of the port for a short time before entering port.


New Public Dock and Terminal opens today in Detroit

7/18 - Detroit, Mich. - Detroit's mayor and Michigan's senior senator are taking part in the dedication Monday of a new dock on the Detroit River capable of handling cruise ships.

The event marks the opening of the $22 million Public Dock and Terminal on the Detroit River. Participants in the 10 a.m. ceremony include Mayor Dave Bing. U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, U.S. Rep. Hansen Clark and Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano. The Detroit based U.S. Mailboat J.W. Westcott II will also be on hand for the ceremony.

The event includes a ringing of a bell bearing the names of the 29 men who died in the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior on Nov. 10, 1975.

The first cruise ship using the new terminal docked on Sunday. The 184-foot Grande Mariner traveled from Cleveland and was scheduled to dock overnight in Detroit before leaving Monday for Windsor.


Canadian pension fund OMERS to buy V. Ships

7/18 - Canadian pension fund Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement Scheme (OMERS) is set to buy V. Ships, one of the world's biggest ship managers, for about $500 million, a person familiar with the matter said. Private equity firm Exponent agreed the sale to OMERS, which could be completed by the end of next week, after talks with Charterhouse Capital Partners broke down, the person said.

OMERS was not immediately available for comment. The Canadian pension fund was in the original auction for V.ships along with Cinven, Permira and Charterhouse. Charterhouse and Exponent failed to agree the sale after Charterhouse revised its offer and linked part of the payment to the future performance of V.Ships by adding an 'earn out' clause. Exponent preferred an all-cash offer, the person said.

OMERS' purchase of V.Ships is expected to be financed with leveraged loans. Royal Bank of Canada is close to the deal, banking sources said. Lazard is advising Exponent. HSBC and Citigroup were leading the financing backing Charterhouse's bid, several sources said.

Exponent bought V.Ships with management in 2007 backed by $267 million of debt according to Thomson Reuters LPC data. Under Exponent's ownership, V.Ships has completed three acquisitions including Norway-based engineering consultancy business RC Consulting in 2007, Dubai-based International Tanker Management in 2009 and Singapore-based underwater engineering company Maritime Underwater Maintenance and Services in 2010.

Formed in 1984, V.Ships is a leading supplier of independent management and related marine services to the global shipping industry. The Glasgow-headquartered company supplies services to a fleet of over 1000 vessels and manages a crew roster of 24,000 staff.



Updates -  July 18

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery


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.


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.



Lower Lakes fleet expands again with Maritime Trader

7/16 - New York, N.Y. - Rand Logistics, Inc. announced Thursday that it has signed a binding asset purchase agreement whereby its designated subsidiary, Lower Lakes Towing Ltd. ("Lower Lakes") will acquire the Maritime Trader, a Canadian-flagged dry bulk carrier, subject only to final approval by the Federal Court of Canada.

Concurrent with final court approval, Lower Lakes will enter into a long-term contract of affreightment for substantially all of the sailing days related to the acquired vessel. It is anticipated that the closing of the transaction will occur prior to the end of the month. The new vessel, which increases the company's fleet size to 15 dry bulk carriers, including 12 self-unloading and three bulk carriers, is projected to be accretive to Rand's free cash flow per share for the year ending March 31, 2012.

"We are pleased to announce the addition of the Maritime Trader to our fleet,” Scott Bravener, President of Lower Lakes commented. “It is a vessel that we are very familiar with, having marketed it for the last four years on behalf of an unaffiliated third party on terms that generated no profit for Rand. I am also pleased that we will enter into a long term contract of affreightment to meet the growth needs of an important existing customer, further solidifying this relationship."


Port Reports -  July 16

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Adam E. Cornelius departed Fraser Shipyards in Superior overnight Thursday. The vessel had been laid up there since January 2010. Elsewhere in port, Stewart J. Cort departed the Duluth Port Authority’s Garfield Dock early Friday. She docked there Thursday after suffering an engine room fire after leaving Superior. American Century was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal.

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Marquette's harbors hosted four vessels on Friday. At the Lower Harbor, Kaye E. Barker unloaded stone at the Shiras Dock. At the Upper Harbor, Algosoo continued loading ore after arriving Thursday. Also at the ore dock, Michipcoten waited to load. John B. Aird arrived to load ore and went to anchor off the Upper Harbor.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
Algoway was inbound the Saginaw River, Friday evening, calling on the North Star dock in Essexville to unload. She is expected to be outbound Saturday morning.


Schooner shipwreck discovered on Lake Ontario

7/16 - Vermilion, Ohio – After 105 years, the three masts of the Queen of the Lakes still stand erect — all the more remarkable because the 19th-century Canadian schooner has sat in the dark depths of Lake Ontario since it wrecked in 1906. And a local museum deserves a part of the credit.

“We think it hit bow first because the bowsprit is broken off, but the rest of the ship looks pretty nice,” undersea explorer Jim Kennard said Friday.

Kennard and fellow shipwreck enthusiasts Dan Scoville and Roland Stevens located the 129-foot-long vessel using side-scan sonar in 2009. They confirmed the find and captured images of it in early July using a remotely operated submersible.

The Great Lakes Historical Society, which is based in Vermilion until a planned move to Toledo comes to fruition, provided financial assistance in the search. Loaded with 480 tons of coal, the 53-year-old ship ran into a stiff gale in November 1906, sprung a leak and sank rapidly some 10 miles off Sodus Bay on the lake’s southern shore. The crew of six clambered aboard a yawl and rowed to safety.

The ship sits on the lakebed at a depth of 200 to 300 feet. Its masts extend as much as 100 feet upward in calm, frigid waters deprived of oxygen, conditions that account for how well it’s preserved.

“When you have a temperature of, like, 39 degrees and you’re at a depth where there’s no wave action or current, the only thing that can damage the wood would be zebra or quagga mussels as they collect and grow in big clumps and fall off,” Kennard said.

The invasive mussels were not introduced to the lake system until the past 15 years or so, he said. “Years ago, all you would see on the ship was just a dusting of silt,” he added.

Its rigging and sails have long since disintegrated and the large, tapered spar extending forward from the bow is gone. But both anchors and the mussel-coated wheel are firmly in place. Cables that held the masts in place lie in coils on the deck and a steam-powered winch that might have been added in the early 1900s is visible in the bow section.

The ship was sailing from Rochester to Kingston, Canada, when it began taking on water.

“I’ve read the most important item on such ships was the bilge pump,” Kennard said. “A vessel that old was pushing its limits. In a Northeast storm, things are really getting jostled around and, all of a sudden, the bottom fell out. The crewmen were only within 50 feet of the boat when it sank. It went down really quickly.”

In 2008 in Lake Ontario, Kennard’s team located the wreck of the HMS Ontario, the oldest shipwreck ever found in the Great Lakes. During the American Revolution in 1780, the 22-gun British warship was lost in a gale with barely a trace and as many as 130 people aboard.

Since 1970, Kennard has helped find more than 20 wrecks in the Great Lakes and about 180 others in Lake Champlain, New York’s Finger Lakes and the Mississippi and Ohio rivers.

The Associated Press


Public comment set for St. Clair River structure proposal

7/16 - Milwaukee, Wis. - A U.S. and Canadian-funded report released last month says a structure could be built on the St. Clair to restore the lakes to levels that are closer to their historic norms. However, slowing the outflow on the river would come with costs, both environmental and economic.

Wisconsin residents will get a chance to tell the authors of the report what they think at public hearings Monday night in Sturgeon Bay and Tuesday night in Milwaukee. That input will be folded into a final report that will be forwarded next spring to the International Joint Commission, a binational board that oversees U.S. and Canadian boundary waters issues.

The draft report, prompted in part by grumbles from a Canadian shorefront property owners group about persistently low water levels during the past decade, says the cost of constructing some type of water-slowing sills in the St. Clair ranges from $71 million to more than $200 million. The report also looks at installing an adjustable gate that would allow the governments to manipulate water levels. Its price ranges from $134 million to $171 million.

Both types of structures could raise the lakes by as much as 10 inches. That could prove beneficial to some on Lakes Michigan and Huron, including property owners and the navigation industry, but it could also cause harm to the river systems below Lake Huron and the downstream Lakes Ontario and Erie, the report says.

The report also looks at the feasibility of installing electricity-producing turbines in the river to slow the flows and raise lake levels. Any of these structures, the report says, would likely take decades to build due to regulatory and engineering challenges inherent to a project that likely would be jointly owned and operated by two countries.

The report is part of an ongoing controversial $17 million study the Joint Commission ordered after Canadian property owners released their own report in 2004. Their report essentially alleged uncontrollable and ongoing erosion on the St. Clair had drained about a foot of water from the lakes since the 1960s, and the problem was getting worse.

The Joint Commission-funded study, released in 2009, concluded that erosion had indeed occurred in the river bottom since a 1962 dredging project, but that it had cost the lakes only 3 to 5 inches from their long-term average and was not ongoing. The study authors recommended not exploring any fix on the river at the time they released their study, but they were overruled by the Joint Commission and told to produce the river remediation report released last month.

Some of the Canadian property owners behind the privately funded 2004 study have also been critical of the most recent report, contending it overstates the potential negative impacts to raising lake levels and underplays the potential benefits.

But Mike Murray, a staff scientist for the National Wildlife Federation, said the report "does appear to be a pretty thorough assessment, and considers a reasonable range of alternative restoration/remediation measures."

But he said it didn't contain enough information to make a final decision on the issue.

"We would argue that further investigation is still warranted," he said.

Tim Eder, executive director of the eight-state Great Lakes Commission that seeks projects and policies to promote the economy and environment of the Great Lakes region, said he is glad the Joint Commission decided to order the remediation report, but he agreed much more work still needs to be done before a final decision is made.

And public input at the upcoming hearings, he said, is part of that process.

The hearings are also an opportunity for the public to comment on the "regulation plan" that guides releases of water from Lake Superior through a system of hydropower plants, locks and a dam into Lakes Michigan and Huron. The input gathered on both the St. Clair issue and Lake Superior regulation will be included in a final report that will be forwarded to the Joint Commission in the spring.

Public hearings Monday 7-9 p.m. at the Third Avenue Playhouse, 239 N. Third Ave., Sturgeon Bay Tuesday 7-9 p.m. at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Great Lakes WATER Institute, 600 E. Greenfield Ave.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Davie shipyards gets new lifeline after firm pulls takeover bid

7/16 - The famous Davie Yards Inc. shipbuilder in Levis, Que., was taking on water Thursday after a deep-pocketed international firm pulled its takeover bid, but Montreal's SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., an Ontario partner and South Korea's Daewoo are ready to throw it another lifeline.

The Davie saga - it has five large offshore support vessels worth $500 million unfinished on its slipways -moved swiftly after Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, part of the global defence-electronics giant Finmeccanica, dropped its offer of last spring.

Fincantieri said the July 21 deadline for submissions for $35 billion of federal shipbuilding contracts was too tight. It had wanted Davie shipyard, modernized at taxpayers' expense, to finish construction of the specialized oil and gas supply vessels and take a shot at the federal contracts.

Other shortlisted bidders are North Vancouver-based Seaspan, owner of Victoria Shipyards, Vancouver Shipyards and Vancouver Drydock; Irving Shipbuilding with its yard in Halifax; and Upper Lake's Marine and Industrial with a shipyard in St. Catharines, Ont.cDavie has been under court protection from creditors for more than a year.

Court monitor Pierre Laporte went to Superior Court to win an extension of protection - leaving just a week for Davie to find another buyer and allow it to compete for the federal work.

SNC-Lavalin, with plenty of experience in managing shipbuilding contracts, said Davie "would be acquired by a new entity held jointly by Upper Lakes Group and Daewoo of South Korea, with the aim of putting the shipyard back into operation as quickly as possible." SNC added it has formed a joint-venture with the ULG-Daewoo group to bid on the federal contracts. ULG is an Ontario shipbuilder and Daewoo is a world leader in tanker and bulk carrier construction.

The Quebec government is now in discussions with the new potential buyers, said Jolyane Pronovost, spokeswoman for Quebec's minister of economic development.

No information is being released at this time on any potential financial support for the new owners, Pronovost said. Quebec has loaned more than $6 million to Davie in recent months to help it prepare a bid and to cover expenses at its yard, which is not operating at the moment.

"Davie Yards is the only yard that was pre-selected [for federal work] so of course, it is our only chance," Pronovost said.

Seaspan CEO Jonathan Whitworth said the news about Davie has no impact on his company's bid preparation. "We are not changing our bid process and we are focusing on putting our best bid forward."

Even if Davie can't bid, that leaves three yards in the running, he said. "You are still always striving to be one of those fortunate two winners."

The Vancouver Sun


Toledo Marine Mart scheduled for August

7/16 - This year’s marine mart at the Toledo Antique & Classic Boat Show will take place August 27 and 28.  This year’s event will mark the official reopening of the completed S.S. Col James M. Schoonmaker to the public in her entirety, as well as feature boats of the Dart Boat Co. Registered vendors will attend both days of the show to promote a better experience for Sunday visitors. Tables will be $45 each for the weekend.

Click here for more information


Updates -  July 16

News Photo Gallery


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.


Beaver Island ferry delayed following minor collision

7/15 - Charlevoix, Mich. – The Beaver Island ferry Emerald Isle was delayed about four hours in departing for its last trip to the island for the day Thursday following a minor collision with a private pleasure craft as it arrived in Charlevoix.

A U.S. Coast Guard crew and a Charlevoix County Sheriff’s office marine patrol deputy were called to the area of the Beaver Island Boat Company’s dock on Round Lake at about 2:15 p.m. to a report of the collision between the Emerald Isle and another vessel.

At the dock, the captain of the approximately 30-foot pleasure boat Northern Benefits told Coast Guard crews that his vessel struck the side of the ferry in the Pine River Channel as the ferry was arriving around 2 p.m. The captain told Coast Guard crews that there were no injuries about his boat. Damage, if any, to the smaller vessel was very minimal. There were no reports of injuries aboard, or damage to the Emerald Isle.

Barbara Schwartzfisher, executive director of the Beaver Island Transportation Authority, which owns the Emerald Isle, said the ferry’s 2:30 p.m. departure from Charlevoix was delayed until about 6:45 p.m. while Coast Guard officials conducted their investigation.

Schwartzfisher said the ferry was expected to make a return trip from the island later Thursday to bring passengers and freight that had been scheduled to leave the island at 5:20 p.m. back to the mainland. She said ferry service is expected to be back to its normal schedule Friday morning.

Petoskey News Review


Great Lakes iron ore trade up 6.4 percent in June

7/15 - Cleveland, Ohio - Iron ore shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 6.3 million tons in June, an increase of 2.7 percent over May, and an increase of 6.4 percent compared to a year ago. June loadings were up 10 percent compared to the month’s five-year average. Shipments from U.S. ports totaled 5,559,796 tons, an increase of 6.3 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings at Canadian ports rose 11.7 percent to 644,579 tons.

Through June, the iron ore trade stands at 23.1 million tons, an increase of 6.7 percent compared to a year ago and 8.7 percent better than the 5-year average for the first half of the year.

Shipments from U.S. ports are up 6.1 percent compared to a year ago and 12.2 percent ahead of their 5-year average. Loadings at Canadian ports are 12.2 percent ahead of last year’s pace, but 14.4 percent below the five-year average for the January-June timeframe.

Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports -  July 15

Duluth - Jake Heffernan
The Stewart J. Cort suffered an engine fire and minor explosion on the starboard inboard engine early Thursday morning shortly after departing Superior, fully loaded. The crew brought the fire under control and the ship navigated back to Duluth. If the engine is repairable and the parts are accessible, the repairs can be done while underway.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Tug Dorothy Ann and Barge Pathfinder spent most of Thursday at the Upper Harbor. The pair unloaded stone into the hopper during the morning and early afternoon and then loaded ore into the evening and departed. Algosoo arrived during the afternoon to load ore. The visit was her second of the season.


Canadian Ranger scrap tow arrives at in Turkey

7/15 - After a 30-day uneventful trip from Montreal, Canada, the tug Pantodynamos and her tow, the  former laker Canadian Ranger, arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, on July 13 to be broken up.

Selim San and Kent Malo


Updates -  July 15

News Photo Gallery


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.


Great Lakes coal trade down almost 22 percent in June

7/14 - Cleveland, Ohio - Shipments of coal on the Great Lakes totaled 3 million tons in June, an increase of 2.8 percent over May, but a decrease of 21.8 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings fell even more 25.6 percent when compared to June’s five-year average.

Loadings at Lake Superior ports fell 35 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments from Lake Michigan terminals increased almost 32 percent. Loadings at Lake Erie docks dipped 8.8 percent.

Year-to-date, the coal trade stands at 9.6 million tons, a decrease of 10 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments are nearly 30 percent off the five-year average for the first half of the year.

Lake Carriers' Association


St. Lawrence Seaway grain shipments up 20 percent

7/14 - The latest statistics from the St. Lawrence Seaway show that grain shipments are up more than 20 percent as the marine highway benefits from international demand for American and Canadian wheat.

Year-to-date grain shipments from March 22 to June 30 totaled 2.6 million metric tons, compared to 2.1 million metric tons during the same period last year. While Canadian grain shipments were up three percent for the period to 1.9 million metric tons, the surge was predominantly fuelled by a 127 percent increase in U.S. shipments of 400,000 metric tons heading through the Seaway to overseas markets.

Rebecca McGill, director of trade development for the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, noted that the 2011 navigation season continues to reflect respectable gains in general cargo and agriculture products. The Seaway has experienced a competitive advantage through June due to a Russian grain export ban, however, with its lifting, the U.S. could expect grain exports to level out in the months to come.

Year-to-date total cargo shipments remain steady with a 3.5 percent rise to 12.8 million metric tons over last year, largely bolstered by demand for grain, salt and construction materials.

“Shipments through June at the Port of Toledo have totaled almost 4.3 million short tons. While it is still early in the shipping season, we are surpassing the past five years of cargo records including 4.1 million short tons handled during the same period in 2008 prior to the economic downturn. With the exception of grain, all product categories were up over 2010, led in volume by over 1.7 million tons of coal,” said Paul Toth, president and CEO of the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority.

There is one market, however, that is booming the transportation of wind turbine components. Year-to-date general cargo shipments, which includes wind turbines, has increased by 404 percent. “Shippers carrying wind component cargoes continue to send vessels into Great Lakes ports. These oversized pieces move economically by water to ports where rail or, more commonly, trucks move them to their destinations. One port experiencing this influx is the Port of Oswego,” McGill said. In June, the M/V Flinterstream arrived with nacelles and hubs that were manufactured in Germany and loaded at the Port of Brake. The 72.5 metric ton nacelles and hubs are destined for a project located in Howard, New York, about two hours from the Port of Oswego, explained port executive director, Jonathan Daniels. In addition to the 25 nacelles, 25 hubs and 11 containers on board the Dutch vessel, the ship longshoremen discharged blades and tower sections for a windmill project in Euclid, Ohio.

“We have had a busy start to the shipping season and anticipate that trend continuing. The Port has had six aluminum shipments with McKeil Marine thus far, with an additional 11shipments scheduled through the end of the season. Grain shipments remain strong too, with the Port receiving wheat for shipments into the Mediterranean,” added Toth.

Marine Delivers


Port Reports -  July 14

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Herbert C. Jackson and tug Victory and Barge James L. Kuber arrived early Wednesday morning at the Upper Harbor to load ore.

Green Bay, Wis. - Scott Best On a perfect summer afternoon, Manistee arrived in Green Bay late Wednesday and headed all the way up river to Georgia Pacific to unload a cargo of coal. Alpena is in temporary layup at the Lafarge slip; other traffic due this week includes the tug Michigan-Great Lakes and Great Republic.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber called on the Saginaw River Tuesday evening, stopping at the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City to unload. They departed the Bay Wednesday morning after unloading there overnight.


Port of Green Bay tonnage down 6 percent from 2010

7/14 - Green Bay, Wis. - Through June, tonnages at the Port of Green Bay are trailing 2010 levels by about 6 percent, according to a monthly report on port activity.

Last month, 166,735 tons of cargo passed through the port, bringing the year-to-date total to 567,948 tons, according to the report. The year-to-date figure was 601,126 tons at the same point in the 2010 season.

Figures for the major products passing through the port were down last month compared with June 2010. For example, coal shipments last month totaled 41,259 tons compared with 90,959 the previous June. Limestone and U.S. salt showed year-over-year declines in June, while shipments of gypsum, foreign salt and cement were up.

Port Manager Dean Haen said he's not yet concerned about the numbers, pointing to a fast start to the 2010 season that cooled off during the summer.

"The fact we're a little down in June isn't any point of concern," he said. "I think you'll see us end up doing better than last year because we tailed off mid-year (2010) so much." Haen said some port terminals still are waiting to see a few key products arrive en masse.

"We haven't received much of the coal we're expecting, that's still coming … and we've received some salt, but that will happen over the course of the year, and we've got petroleum products moving outbound from U.S. Venture, which is new," he said. "The fact we slowed down is disappointing because it seemed like we had real good ship numbers; it just didn't correlate into tons."

Shipping on the Great Lakes has been a bit of a mixed bag so far this year.

Despite some of the dips region wide, Great Lakes Calcium in Green Bay is holding steady on the amount of product it received through the port.

Dave Nelson, the company's chief financial officer, said Great Lakes Calcium handles about 280,000 tons of product a year from ship.

"Our shipments have been pretty consistent with last year and we have not seen a drop at all," he said Monday. "For the year, we're projected to up about 10 percent over last year."

Nelson said the company has worked hard in recent years to make inroads to the plastics industry where calcium carbonate can be used to as extenders and fillers in the production process.

"We've been looking at trying to expand our product offering and service other customers in the upper Midwest," he said. "We added a shift in the plant earlier this year, which we were projecting to do, so we've been taking deliberate steps to grow in this resin area, and we've found some success there."

The agricultural sector continues to be a stable market for Great Lakes Calcium — as it has been for many years.

Green Bay Press Gazette


Russian steel company to invest millions In Dearborn

7/14 - Dearborn, Mich. – Russia's largest steel company plans to invest millions of dollars in modernizing its Dearborn steel plant. Severstal is expected to announce Wednesday its plan to use a $730 million federal government loan to update the Dearborn plant, which is serviced by Great Lakes vessels.

The company said the project will employ 2,500 construction workers and create 260 factory jobs. The money comes from a $25 billion low interest loan program created in 2007 that is intended to help automotive companies retool older factories to build "green" cars.



Hamilton’s grain terminal to get a major upgrade

7/14 - Hamilton, Ont. - One of Canada’s largest grain handling firms is expanding its Hamilton operation.

Richardson International announced Wednesday it will spend $5.5 million to expand its port terminal facility here to increase handling and shipping capacity.

“We have been using the port of Hamilton a lot and demand is rising steadily,” said company spokesperson Tracey Thompson. “Hamilton is emerging as an important port for us.”

The Hamilton project includes the addition of a third receiving pit and elevation leg with two new truck beam scales. This will increase truck receiving and handling capacity by one-third to meet the demand for grain deliveries. Richardson will also be adding a second vessel-shipping tower to increase shipping capacity.

Farmers bring their grain directly to the Hamilton terminal and off-load it into the receiving pits. The elevation leg then moves it into the shipping tower so it can be poured directly into the hold of a ship.

“This will increase both our capacity for farmers bringing grain into Hamilton and for ships taking it out,” Thompson said. “This is going to enhance what we have and make us that much more efficient.”

The expansion likely won’t mean any additional employment, she added.

Richardson is also adding a 2,000-square-foot office to its Hamilton port terminal. The expanded facility will be operational in time for the fall corn and bean harvest, while the new shipping tower will be finished in 2012.

Thompson added more investments are planned for the Hamilton facility.

“We have plans in place for further announcements in the future,” she said. “We have a very positive outlook for shipping through Hamilton.”

Richardson International is Canada’s largest privately owned agribusiness and has served farmers across the country for more than 150 years. Based in Winnipeg, Richardson has over 1,600 employees across Canada and is a worldwide handler and merchandiser of all major Canadian-grown grains and oilseeds. Richardson is one of Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies and is recognized as a global leader in agriculture and food processing.

“This expansion is the latest in a number of investments we have made at Hamilton to keep pace with growing demand,” Richardson agribusiness vice-president Darwin Sobkow said in a news release. “Richardson was the first to invest in a grain vessel loading facility in the port of Hamilton over a decade ago and we are well positioned to capture increasing demand.”

The company last upgraded its Hamilton facilities in 2008 when it added 15,000 metric tonnes of storage space, a 55 per cent capacity increase. It now has storage capacity of 43,500 metric tonnes. The port of Hamilton handles about 1.5 million tonnes of grain a year.

In a related release Wednesday the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation reported grain shipments through the waterway are up more than 20 per cent, as the marine highway benefits from international demand for American and Canadian wheat.

Year-to-date grain shipments from March 22 to June 30 totalled 2.6 million tonnes, compared to 2.1 million tonnes during the same period last year. While Canadian grain shipments were up three per cent for the period to 1.9 million tonnes, the surge was predominantly fuelled by an increase in United States shipments of 400,000 tonnes heading through the Seaway to the Atlantic Ocean and overseas markets.

Bruce Hodgson, director of market development for the corporation said in a news release grain traffic had increased beyond expectations partially due to diversions from the Mississippi River corridor because of flooding and sediment buildups.

Meanwhile, year-to-date total cargo shipments remain steady with a 3.5 per cent rise to 12.8 million tonnes over last year, largely bolstered by demand for grain, salt and construction materials.

Hamilton Spectator


Tall ships set sail toward Twin Ports

7/14 - Duluth, Minn. – Imagine climbing 100 feet up a pole. Now imagine that the pole is the mast of a ship, and you’re on Lake Superior, with heavy waves shaking ship, mast and you.

“It’s really rocking and really windy,” said Carrie Ronstrom as she pointed at a picture of herself doing just that. “And so they send me up there, and while you’re climbing up … there’s really room for one foot and one hand by the time you get up there. It’s really scary … especially when it’s that rocky. I thought the ship was going to throw me off.”

It was last summer, and Ronstrom, a pre-med student at the College of St. Scholastica, was an apprentice on the U.S. Brig Niagara dispatched to take in the sails with a storm brewing. It was the third straight year that Ronstrom, 22, spent part of the summer on the tall ship Niagara.

This summer, taking classes and prepping for her senior year and her Medical College Admission Test, Ronstrom stayed ashore.

But the Marshall School graduate, who lives with her grandmother in Duluth, will be in the Canal Park crowd this weekend, when the Niagara, the Lynx and the Pride of Baltimore II are in town for the Duluth Music and Maritime Festival.

The Lynx could arrive as soon as today, said Gene Shaw, spokesman for Visit Duluth, the sponsoring organization. It will be the first visit to the Twin Ports for the California-based Lynx. The Niagara and the Pride of Baltimore, which appear likely to arrive sometime on Thursday, are getting to be regulars.

“Excitement for arriving to Duluth builds among the crew,” Jamie Trost, the Baltimore’s captain, wrote in a blog on Sunday. “This is probably in no small part because in my four consecutive years of sailing there — three aboard Pride II and once with the schooner Denis Sullivan — I have come to like the city and its unique status as the inland-most port in the world.”

If crews of the tall ships like Duluth, the feeling must be mutual. Last summer’s armada of nine tall ships brought an estimated 250,000 people to town. But any number of tall ships seems to draw a big crowd.

“I still remember in 2008 when the ships sailed in, and one of the crew members on board the Pride looked at me, and he said, ‘Does anybody in Duluth work?’ ” Shaw related with a chuckle.

“And he said, ‘You have more people here welcoming us than we got when we were in New York City for the Fourth of July.’ ”

Ronstrom was in the crowd that weekend, waiting five hours on a hot day to get on board the Niagara. By the time she got on the ship, her mind was made up. She approached a crew member, the crew member introduced her to the captain, and she filled out an application.

A few days later, she was a trainee aboard the Niagara, shelling out a little more than $1,000 for two weeks of hauling sails, working four-hour shifts in the middle of the night and sleeping — or trying to sleep — in a hammock in such close quarters she could have rolled into the hammock next to her.

She adapted to the hammock, and the night shift had its rewards.

“Even though you’re not getting any sleep, you’re looking at the stars and the shooting stars, and sometimes you’re looking at the northern lights — things that you can’t see when you’re stuck in a city,” Ronstrom said.

She came back in 2009 as an apprentice for a six-week voyage from the Niagara’s home port in Erie, Pa., to Montreal via the St. Lawrence Seaway. Last year, she sailed for another six weeks from Erie to Duluth and Chicago. Ronstrom still had to pay to sail, but only about $200 each summer, she said.

Ronstrom has tickets for the Music & Maritime Festival and hopes to link up with friends on the Niagara and even take a day trip or two. She knows she’ll feel pangs for the sailing lifestyle.

“I wish I was on the ship,” Ronstrom said. “But you can’t live a fairy tale forever.”

Festival facts • The Duluth Music & Maritime Festival is Friday through Monday in Canal Park. All three ships are offering Sail Aways, taking passengers on Lake Superior for about two hours. As of Tuesday, a small number of tickets remained for Sail Aways, said Gene Shaw of Visit Duluth. Prices range from $95 to $125. Tickets can be ordered at (877) 435-9849. If any spots remain, passengers will be able to purchase tickets at the ships. Sail Away gates will be open at 8 a.m. all four days.
• This year’s festival will not include on-board tours.
The festival grounds behind Grandma’s Sports Garden and the Paulucci Building in Canal Park will open at noon on Friday, 9 a.m. on Saturday and 10 a.m. on Sunday, with evening concerts on Friday and Saturday. Festival grounds will be closed on Monday.
• Tickets can be purchased in advance or at the gate and at the Electric Fetus, 12 E. Superior St. A Multi-Day Festival Pass is available for $40, including all evening concerts; $20 for daily passes including evening concerts; family weekend passes for $25, daily family passes for $15 (evening concerts not included); individual daily passes for $10 (evening concerts not included). • Click here for more information.

Duluth News Tribune


BoatNerd Detroit River cruise coming August 6

7/14 - The annual Detroit River Cruise aboard the Friendship, with Captain Sam Buchanan is scheduled for August 6. 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 14

News Photo Gallery


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. She was renamed b) GREAT REPUBLIC in 2011.

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.


U.S.-flag cargos down 3.3 percent in June

7/13 - Cleveland, Ohio – U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters carried 10 million tons of dry-bulk cargo in June, an increase of 5.2 percent compared to May, but a decrease of 3.3 percent compared to a year ago. The June float was also 3.9 percent below the month’s 5-year average.

Iron ore cargos for the steel industry increased 12.2 percent compared to a year ago. Coal for power generation and steel production fell by 25.3 percent. Aggregate and fluxstone for the construction and steel industries slipped by 7.2 percent.

Through June, U.S.-flag cargos stand at 33.7 million tons, an increase of 2.4 percent compared to the same point in 2010. Iron ore has increased 7.6 percent, but coal and limestone are down by 2.8 percent and 4.9 percent respectively.

Compared to the five-year average for the first half of the year, U.S.-flag cargos are down 3.5 percent.

Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports -  July 13

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Philip R. Clarke departed Duluth early Tuesday bound for Two Harbors to load pellets. John G. Munson loaded pellets Tuesday at the CN ore dock. Quebecois arrived in Duluth on Monday afternoon and spent Tuesday unloading at St. Lawrence Cement. Federal Nakagawa remained anchored off Duluth. American Integrity arrived to load coal at Midwest Energy Terminal. Adam E. Cornelius is out of drydock at Fraser Shipyards. The vessel was painted below the waterline.

South Chicago, Ill. – Brian Z.
Canadian Enterprise was loading petcoke very early Tuesday at the Beemsterboer dock on the Calumet River. Over at KCBX Terminals, Manistee loaded a coal blend cargo for Green Bay. As soon as the Manistee finished loading, H. Lee White took its place under the loader after returning from Muskegon, Mich., to load coal.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Rebecca Lynn and her barge departed Tuesday about 11:30 a.m. English River departed LaFarge Cement later in the day; on her way out the North Entrance they had to blow the horn a few times to get all the pleasure craft out of way as they cleared the harbor piers.


Lake Michigan sloshing around, thanks to Monday’s storms

7/13 - Chicago, Ill. – The hurricane-speed winds over Lake Michigan Monday actually dragged a lot of water to the Michigan side of the lake, causing a phenomenon called a seiche, where water in a contained body like a lake or pool sloshes back and forth, pushing abnormally high waves onto either shore as the wave keeps crossing. Think of the sloshing on a trip from stove to sink when you're draining a pot of boiling pasta, or a very pronounced tide in a body of water that doesn't experience tides.

Eventually the lake settles back down, but it can be a bumpy ride. According to the Encyclopedia of Chicago, eight people drowned from a particularly vicious seiche in 1954; seven were swept off Montrose Beach and one off North Avenue Bridge. Monday's seiche wasn't too bad in Chicago—two feet, per the National Weather Service.

Chicago Reader


Feds auctioning off several Great Lakes lighthouses

7/13 - If you have always wanted the tallest house in your neighborhood, here's your chance. The federal government is auctioning off decommissioned lighthouses, and the bids are still pretty low.

As of Tuesday morning, the Kenosha North Pierhead Light in Wisconsin is sitting at $13,000. In Ohio, three bids for the Fairport Harbor West Breakwater Light have risen to $39,500. The bidding ends Wednesday for both.

You have another week to bid on Ohio's Conneaut Harbor West Breakwater Light, which has drawn but one bid for $5,000, possibly because it could not easily be converted into a home or bed and breakfast.

"They're in varying states of repair or disrepair," General Services Administration official John E.B. Smith told The Washington Post. "They're not cheap to maintain."

Also available, but not to individual buyers, are 12 other lighthouses. The General Services Administration is trying to give them away to local governments or qualified agencies to be preserved as historic or educational sites. They are: San Pedro's Point Fermin Light, California; Fowey Rocks Light, Florida; Ile aux Galetts Light, Michigan; Port Austin Reef Light, Michigan; Alpena Light, Michigan; Brandywine Shoal Light, New Jersey; Ship John Shoal Light, New Jersey; Miah Maull Shoal Light, New Jersey; Race Rock Light, New York; Orient Point Light, New York; Point Tuna (Punta Tuna) Light, Puerto Rico; Milwaukee Breakwater Lighthouse, Wisconsin.

The lighthouses are outmoded by more modern means of navigation but still have historical value. The U.S. Coast Guard and National Park Service are offering them under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000.

Organizations interested in acquiring one of the lighthouses need to submit a letter expressing interest in the property and complete a rigorous application process. If no suitable steward is identified, the lighthouses will be auctioned to the general public.

To find out more information on these properties and how to submit a letter of interest, visit National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000. Lighthouses available for public sale will be listed and auctioned at For more information about GSAs Real Property Utilization and Disposal program, visit



Updates -  July 13

News Photo Gallery


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.


Great Lakes limestone trade down 7 percent in June

7/12 - Cleveland, Ohio - Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 3.6 million tons in June, an increase of 23 percent over May, but a decrease of 7 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments trailed the month’s 5-year average by 10.6 percent

Shipments from U.S. quarries fell 4.6 percent compared to a year ago and are 7.3 percent off June’s 5-year average. Loadings at Canadian quarries slipped by more than 16 percent compared to a year ago and more – 22.4 percent – when compared to the month’s 5-year average.

Through June the limestone trade stands at 8.7 million tons, a decrease of 13.1 percent compared to the same point in 2010, and a drop of 21.2 percent compared to the 5-year average for the first half of the year.

Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports -  July 12

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
Manistee arrived in Holland Monday morning a little after 10 in the midst of a short but violent thunderstorm. One wind gust was estimated at 80 mph. Dozens of trees were toppled and numerous utility poles were snapped. The vessel, however, was able to dock without incident. She unloaded her cargo of stone and departed at about 3:30 p.m.

Saginaw River- Todd Shorkey
An Interlake Steamship vessel made the company's first visit to the Saginaw River for the 2011 shipping season on Monday. The tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder called on the Bay Aggregates Dock in Bay City during the morning. They finished their unload and were outbound for the lake later in the afternoon.


Updates -  July 12

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery


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, when 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

St. Marys River - Jeff & Greg Barber
Saturday at the Soo saw Lee A. Tregurtha, Sam Laud, Algowood, Cedarglen and Montrealais downbound and Algoma Transfer, Edwin H. Gott, Indiana Harbor, Federal Nakagawa and John G. Munson upbound. Pineglen was anchored below Whitefish Point.

Erie, Pa. - Jeffrey Benson
Mississagi arrived in Erie Sunday to deliver sand at Presque Isle State Park. This sand is to be used for replenishment on Presque Isle. She departed at 3:30 p.m. amid a lot of small boat traffic.


English River to rescue

7/11 - On Friday night, the English River was outbound for Toronto after loading cement at her dock in Bath Ont.. As she made her way through the upper gap, the channel between Amherst Island and Prince Edward County, a Mayday call was heard from a trimaran in trouble somewhere to the south of Amherst Island. Responding to the call, the captain switched on his deck lights so the people in trouble could spot the ship and direct him to their area. Getting in as close as he could, the captain of the English River was reassured that everyone was safe, including a trapped passenger inside the trimaran. Relaying his position to VBR Prescott, the English River stayed in position until the Cape Hearne arrived from Kingston to help.

Brian Johnson


Familiar lakes visitors renamed

7/11 - Some familiar salties and former lake visitors have been renamed. Among the most recent renames is the Greek saltie Olympic Miracle, built in 1984 and last visited the lakes in 2010. She now sails as the Cleanthes of Panama. This leaves only three of her sisters – Calliroe Patronicola, Olympic Melody and Olympic Merit – yet to be renamed. Also, two former Spar Shipping vessels have been renamed, both of which were frequent callers to the Great Lakes and last visited the lakes in 2008. Spar Garnet, built in 1985 as Mary Anne 1985-93 and Federal Vigra 1993-97 has been renamed Jade Sky and now flies the Marshall Islands flag, while fleetmate Spar Opal, formerly the African Challenger of Panama, has also been renamed. She now sails as Pangorgo of Panama.

Denny Dushane


Updates -  July 11

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  July 11

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

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

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

The INDIANA HARBOR was christened July 11, 1979.

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

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

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

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


Port Reports -  July 10

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Great Republic and Saginaw arrived Saturday morning at the Upper Harbor to load ore.

S. Chicago - Matt M
Around 1 p.m. Saturday, the saltie Cinnamon remained at Iroquois Landing unloading, and John J. Boland was under the loader at KCBX


Coast Guard search for jet skier suspended

7/10 - Detroit, Mich. - The Coast Guard has suspended a search on the Detroit River for someone who may have been using a jet ski early Saturday morning. The incident caused a delay to the start of the Detroit APBA Gold Cup Race. The race was to begin with qualifying heats at 8 a.m., and although were late, did finally get going.

The U.S. Coast Guard was looking for a person near Belle Isle who it was believed fell into the water around 6 a.m. But after an extensive search of a seven-mile area from Belle Isle to the Ambasssador Bridge, no one was found and a decision was made to suspend the search.

A call taken by the Coast Guard this morning reported a jet ski running circles with no one on it. It's been now identified as an eight-foot Sea Doo, registration number: MC8195NW.

The search used a 33-foot boat, a 25-foot response boat and a Dolphin Helicopter. The Wayne County Sheriff's Marine division also assisted. If you saw anything that might help in the search, you are being asked to call the Coast Guard at: 313-568-9524.



Updates -  July 10

News Photo Gallery


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 (14th Masters license and 17th 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, she 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

Escanaba, Mich. – Dick Lund
St. Clair arrived at the CN Ore Dock in Escanaba around 6:30 p.m. after departing Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin earlier in the day. The ship had been at the shipyard for an extended stay undergoing structural work. This is a fairly unusual visitor for this facility.

Stoneport/Calcite - Dan McNeil
Loading at Stoneport on Friday was Joseph H. Thompson. No other boats are due until July 11, when the Arthur M. Anderson is expected to load. Pathfinder and Manitowoc are due July 12. Vessels loading at Calcite on Friday were American Mariner, John G . Munson and Cason J. Callaway. Michipicoten is due on Saturday.


Updates -  July 9

News Photo Gallery


BoatNerd Detroit River cruise coming August 6

7/9 - The annual Detroit River Cruise aboard the Friendship, with Captain Sam Buchanan is scheduled for August 6. 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


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.


Owner agrees to move sunken tug, other vessels from Cheboygan Bay

7/8 - Cheboygan, Mich. – Three boats sitting in Cheboygan County's Duncan Bay could be gone soon. Last August when one of the boats sank, it leaked diesel fuel into the bay. Then, in October, another boat leaked oil.

On Thursday, owner Scotlund Stivers pleaded no contest to charges related to water pollution and for anchoring the boats without proper approval. Stivers did not admit guilt, but was willing to accept the punishment.

As part of the deal, his sentence is expected to be delayed for six months. If he follows certain conditions during that time period, he will not go to jail and the case will be dropped. Part of the conditions would include removing all three boats from the bay. He will also likely have to reimburse agencies for clean-up costs.

9 &10 News


Port Reports -  July 8

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick and Lee Rowe
Thursday morning at the Upper Harbor, Capt. Henry Jackman waited at anchor for Mesabi Miner to finish a coal unload before loading ore. Jackman's visit follows fleet mates Algocape, Algosoo, and John B. Aird. Her visit was the first since the late 1990s. Lee A Tregurtha arrived for a load of ore, but also had a wait because of problems on the dock. She was to begin loading Thursday night.

South Chicago - Lou Gerard
As of Thursday morning the St. Marys Challenger was still tied up at North American Salt's dock at 92nd St. waiting for the NS 5 bridge repairs to be completed. Around 2 p.m. NS 5 was fully raised and the Challenger departed for Lake Calumet. She arrived at the sheds for temporary layup at about 5 p.m.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Alpena tied up at Lafarge on Wednesday, they loaded cement on Thursday morning departing by early afternoon for Whitefish, Ont. The barge McKee Sons and tug Invincible was also in port on Thursday unloading coal at Lafarge. The Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation are expected in port Friday morning followed by fleetmate G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity later in the day.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Manitowoc backed from the Lafarge Stone dock in Essexville Wednesday morning and into the Bay Aggregates slip across the river to repair a mechanical issue. Thursday morning she moved back across the river to Lafarge to finish unloading, then departed for the lake early afternoon. The Alpena was downbound from the Lafarge Cement terminal in Carrollton Wednesday morning, headed for the lake after unloading. American Century called on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville Wednesday evening to unload coal. A few hours later, they had finished and were backing out to Light 12 to turn and head for the lake


Sturgeon Bay Maritime Festival coming later this month

7/8 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – In an effort to better celebrate the area’s rich maritime heritage, the Door County Maritime Museum, Sturgeon Bay Visitor’s Center, City of Sturgeon Bay Coast Guard Committee and Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club are bringing together a collection of loosely associated events to create the first annual Sturgeon Bay Maritime Festival.

The festival includes many long-standing annual events along with new activities to help honor local Coast Guard personnel and their families for their service and many contributions to the community.

Officially titled the Sturgeon Bay Maritime Festival: Salute to the U.S. Coast Guard, the week of community events kicks off with the “Sail Thru the Avenues Sidewalk Sale” on Thursday, July 28. The Maritime Festival continues on July 30 with a picnic for active duty and retired Coast Guard personnel and their families at Sunset Park hosted by the city’s Coast Guard Committee and sponsored by local merchants and businesses.

Sunday, July 31, brings the second annual Mariner Award Dinner at the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club. Initiated in 2010 by the Door County Maritime Museum and Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club, the Mariner Award recognizes individuals, both living and deceased, who have had a significant, positive and lasting impact on the Door County maritime community. The museum is seeking nominations for the award from the community and the dinner is open to the public. This year’s dinner will also honor the local Coast Guard Person of the Year.

On Monday, August 1, the maritime museum will open the “Sufficient for Life Saving” exhibit. Created by the U.S. Life-Saving Heritage Association, the exhibit chronicles the work of the Board of Life-Saving Appliances and the many outlandish life-saving tools they reviewed in the late 1800s. Imagine a gun designed to shoot manned lifeboats as projectiles!

The “Harmony by the Bay” Summer Concert Series continues the festival on Wednesday, August 3, with the blues and rock of Duke Tumatoe & The Power Trio. The concert kicks off at 7 p.m. in Martin Park.

The Coast Guard Day Golf Tournament highlights festival activities on Thursday, August 4. This public golf event celebrates the Coast Guard’s birthday with a four-person scramble format at the Idlewild Golf Course. Cost is $50 per player and includes cart and lunch along with a host prices and special events. Other Thursday activities include the TGIT Sail Racing and dinner buffet at the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club that evening.

Friday, August 5, see young sailors taking to the water for the Sail Training Foundation youth sail racing and games at the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The weekend is packed with maritime activities on Sturgeon Bay’s working waterfront. Saturday, August 6, opens with the first day of the Door County Classic and Wooden Boat Festival on the grounds of the Door County Maritime Museum and concludes with a host of Evening on the Bay events at the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club. In addition to the always popular Sikaflex Challenge boat building completion, the Boat Festival annually features a remarkable assortment of power, sail, and rowing vessels. The Paint the Bay plein air painting event returns this year and a Maritime Mart nautical flea market and craft fair has been added for 2011. The Coast Guard Auxiliary’s robot boat Coastie is sure to delight kids of all ages. Boat owners, boat building teams, nautical vendors, and those just interested in having some maritime fun should visit for details.

Evening on the Bay events at the Yacht Club include a dinghy poker run, kids games, live music and the annual Venetian Night boat parade followed by fireworks. All events are open to the public. The boat parade will feature vessels from the Coast Guard and the Sturgeon Bay Police & Fire Departments. The Yacht Club is actively seeking mariners interested in decorating and entering a boat in this fun parade. Contact the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club at (920) 743-6934 for details on all the Evening on the Bay events.

The Classic and Wooden Boat Festival continues on Sunday and the day’s activities are highlighted by sea trials of the often wild and wacky boats constructed by the Sikaflex Challenge teams. Tickets for the event cover both days and include admission to the maritime museum, deck tours of the restored tug John Purves as well as all Boat Festival activities.


Hallett Dock Co. steps into national spotlight with YouTube video, award

7/8 - Duluth, Minn. – Hallett Dock Company is putting its best foot forward in a video produced by Red Wing Shoes and posted on YouTube.

A creative team for Red Wing Shoes visited the Port of Duluth-Superior’s Hallett Dock Co. last September, spending two days onsite shooting photos for a print advertising campaign about work boots (tagline: Work is our work). The ads feature real workers wearing Red Wing work boots as they load ships, move industrial equipment and do other big, dirty jobs.

The segment posted on YouTube features Jerry Fryberger, the company’s chairman, who has been with Hallett for 47 years. He explains how Hallett works on its feet.

That boots-on-the-ground approach also helped Hallett earn a Service Excellence Award from Compass Minerals, a leading producer of highway deicing salt and specialty fertilizers. Compass works with more than 500 supply chain providers around the world, yet Hallett was among just 28 companies from the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom selected to receive the award for consistently providing excellent service, innovation and supply chain solutions, according to Compass President and CEO Angelo Brisimitzakis.

"This award belongs to our scale operator and front-end loader operators for their openness to problem-solving and flawless service to customers, said Mike McCoshen, Hallett president and COO. These dedicated employees were willing to work through breaks and adjust their hours to meet the high demand for salt this past season. January 2011 was a record for salt six times greater than January 2010."


Pere Marquette Shipping seeks excavator operator - mechanic

7/8 - PMSCO seeks experienced excavator operators with mechanical skills to work aboard Great Lakes ships. Competitive wages and benefit package. Extensive travel with scheduled time off. No criminal history. Only experienced operators need apply. EOE.

Send or fax resume to:
Attn: Personnel
PO Box 708
Ludington, MI 49431


Updates -  July 8

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new pictures in the George M. Carl gallery


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.


Port Reports -  July 7

Menominee Marinette – Scott Best
Over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, Algomarine delivered the fourth load of salt this season to Marinette Fuel & Dock. The vessel arrived off Marinette Friday evening and went to anchor, backing into the river stern first at first light Saturday morning. By 11:30 a.m. they were unloaded and departed the Menominee River. Also in port was BBC Arizona, which had unloaded wind turbine towers at K&K in Menominee and was arranging bulkheads for several days before departing to Duluth to load grain.

South Chicago - Lou Gerard, Steve Bauer
The NS 5 bridge once again malfunctioned Wednesday morning. After Federal Mass passed through around 10 a.m. heading out to the lake, the bridge jammed several feet from being completely lowered. This time it disrupted rail traffic on NS and Amtrak, forcing at least two Amtrak trains to back up to the Hammond Station to unload their passengers, who were bused to Union Station in downtown Chicago. St. Marys Challenger showed up around noon heading to the sheds at Lake Calumet for temporary layup. She was only able to get through 92nd Street and had to tie up at the North American Salt dock to wait out bridge repairs. The NS 5 bridge was finally lowered after 2 p.m. and rail traffic resumed. As of 8 p.m. the Challenger was still tied up at 92nd Street.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
Manitowoc made her first visit of the season to the Saginaw River, stopping Tuesday afternoon at the Lafarge Stone Dock in Essexville. She was followed by the Alpena, also making her first visit of the season, traveling upriver to unload at the Lafarge Cement terminal in Carrollton. Both vessels were expected to be outbound Wednesday.


Dredging: Shipping industry declares state of emergency

7/7 - Chicago, Ill. – The Great Lakes form a sprawling ecosystem of nature and industry. In a strong economy, ships can transport up to 200 million tons of cargo across these waters each year. But now the shipping industry has declared a state of emergency. The cause is a region-wide dredging backlog. Shippers worry that sediment buildup threatens to choke some navigation channels.

In one year 5 -6 feet of sediment can build up in the mouths of harbors around the Great Lakes. That’s when you call for a dredge.

“Basically it’s a vacuum that chews up the bottom of the sand,” said engineer Tom O’Bryan. “Sucks up the sand with water. And then we pipe that material 5,000 feet down the shoreline.” O’Bryan is with the Army Corps of Engineers in Grand Haven, Michigan. On one side of this dredge lies Lake Michigan. On the other, the inner harbor and one of its shipping targets: the city’s coal-fired power plant. The deeper this passage, the more coal each ship can carry without getting stuck. O’Bryan feels that efficiency helps consumers like him.

“If I can get coal to that plant cheaper, then I’m going to get cheaper electricity to my house and therefore my bill’s gonna be less,” he said.

But because of the dredging backlog, between 15 and 18 million cubic yards of excess sediment have built up in Great Lakes channels, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. That’s like pouring in a bag of mulch … 200 million times. Add in low water levels and many ships have to light load, meaning carry less. So costs go up.

At the port in Marblehead, Ohio, a long conveyer belt rumbled steadily, carrying limestone from a quarry to one of Mark Barker’s ships below. Barker is president of The Interlake Steamship Company.

He’s also a man who measures revenue with a ruler. For every inch of draft – that’s how deep a boat sits in the water –this 700 foot ship holds 110 tons of cargo.

“Our thousand-foot vessel, the largest vessel on the lakes, can lose over 250 tons per inch,” he said.

Barker said “lose” because he’s loading between six and ten inches less than he did last year. He said that could subtract millions of dollars from his bottom line.

Glen Nekvasil is vice president of a trade group called the Lake Carriers’ Association. He said early in the season, before a lot of snowmelt, some ships left behind as much as 12,000 tons of iron ore or coal.

“That much iron ore will make the steel that’s used in 10,000 automobiles,” he said, “And that much coal will keep a couple big power plants going for 13 hours. So that’s the impact of light loading.”

But light loading on the Great Lakes is already common. Nekvasil said the outlook for next year makes it worse.

Under President Obama’s budget proposal, only 11 of the 60 federal commercial harbors on the Great Lakes would get dredged next year. That’s because of a proposed 30 percent funding reduction for the region. Officials with the Army Corps of Engineers say if that stands, some commercial harbors could essentially close to big ships. In other words, channels might silt in too much to remain economical.

Under the current proposal, no port that sees less than a million tons of cargo transport would get dredged next year.

All this is happening despite the fact that billions of dollars have been collected over the years precisely for harbor maintenance and dredging. Commercial shippers pay taxes on their cargo and that money goes into something called the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund. But that fund has been plundered by pirates … or in this case, the federal government. Just ask Candice Miller.

“They are raiding this fund,” she said. “They’re raiding it for other kinds of things.”

Miller is a Republican congresswoman from a Michigan district on Lake Huron. She’s also co-sponsor of a bill that would require every penny of the fund be spent on harbor maintenance, instead of being used to reduce the federal deficit.

“Think about your gasoline tax, those taxes go into the Highway Trust Fund,” Miller said. “And that money can’t be siphoned off for anything other than highway projects. We pay the tax, it fixes your roads.”

The idea of putting a firewall around the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund has bipartisan support in both chambers of Congress. As for shippers, they say remember the many thousands of jobs they support – in mining, in steel mills, in manufacturing, in construction. They say those jobs demand that Great Lakes shipping remains efficient.



Announcement planned Thursday on future of Inland Seas’ museum land

7/7 - Vermilion, Ohio - Even as the Inland Seas Maritime Museum looks to make a big announcement this week regarding its coveted lakefront property, officials have confirmed the opening of its new museum in Toledo won’t be for another year.

The fate of the Main Street property that has been home to the museum for 56 years will be made known during a 9:30 a.m. press conference set for Thursday at the museum.

Developers have eyed the prime spot since plans were announced in August 2009 to relocate to the banks of the Maumee River in downtown Toledo, citing weak attendance, shrinking revenue and not enough room to display artifacts in the 4,400-square-foot building.

Few details regarding the announcement were given by Christopher Gillcrist, executive director of the Great Lakes Historical Society, which owns and operates the museum that is dedicated to telling the story and history of Great Lakes shipping.

“That status of the property will be announced at that time, and we think it is incredibly big news,” Gillchrist said.

But Gillcrist acknowledged that “extensive talks have been under way with multiple parties. We’ve had a lot of people interested in the property. I can say we have settled on an entity that we feel everyone involved, including the community, will be most comfortable with.”

Due to the generally high value of waterfront property, the museum site at the foot of Main Street and adjacent to Main Street Beach has drawn interest from developers wanting to convert it for commercial uses or private housing, such as condos. A recent appraisal of the property estimated its value at $2.2 million, according to Gillcrist.

City and museum officials, as well as Main Street Vermilion, have said they do not want to see the prime land occupied by the museum building, which is on the National Historic Register, end up as a condo development or some type of commercial venture.

Calls to Mayor Eileen Bulan about the museum’s plans were not returned.

There had been some talk of a venture with Western Reserve Land Conservancy, a nonprofit agency that works with Northeast Ohio communities to protect natural areas and farmland.

“This is a community treasure, and we’re always around to help in whatever capacity we can,” McDowell said.

Gillcrist acknowledged last week that the historical society and Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, which are partnering on the new 16,000-square-foot National Great Lakes Maritime Museum, had decided to push back its Toledo opening to May 2013. Gillcrist cited time needed to complete work including a $1 million-plus dredging of a 16-foot-deep slip to accommodate the Col. James M. Schoonmaker, a 617-foot vessel that was once the world’s biggest bulk carrier.

“Our timeline has been set back about 12 months, and it was a very aggressive timeline to start with,” said Paul LaMarre III, director of the Schoonmaker museum ship and manager of maritime affairs for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. “We are implementing a design-construction-installation process now.” The price tag for the new museum is put at $6.1 million, which includes $4.9 million from the Ohio Cultural Facilities Commission, and $1.2 million from the city of Toledo, LaMarre said.

This summer will remain the final season for the museum to operate in Vermilion, Gillcrist said.

Lorain Chronicle-Telegram


Commemorative ceremony set at the Hamilton & Scourge Naval Memorial

7/7 - Hamilton, Ont. – On Sunday, Aug. 7, at 11 a.m., commemorative ceremony will be held at the Hamilton & Scourge National Historic Site marking the loss of the 53 American sailors who gave their lives in service to their country in the early morning hours of Aug. 8, 1813. Join the City of Hamilton and the Hamilton & Scourge Society for the inaugural raising of the flags of Canada, Ontario, the United States and Great Britain on the newly-installed nautical flagpole. The Garden is located at the foot of Centennial Parkway (Highway 20) near the QEW.


Updates -  July 7

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History -  July 7

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

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

JEAN PARISIEN (Hull#684) was launched July 7, 1977, at Lauzon, Quebec, by Davie Shipbuilding Company Ltd. for Canada Steamship Lines. Port Weller 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. She now sails as d.) CALUMET.

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

Twin Ports Report – Al Miller
Twin Ports vessel traffic on Tuesday included John G. Munson departing early in the morning. Herbert C. Jackson arrived at Hallett Dock 5 to unload coal. Adam E. Cornelius remains in drydock at Fraser Shipyards undergoing inspection and painting.


Great Lakes Coast Guardsmen save 16 lives, respond to 227 distress calls

7/6 - Cleveland, Ohio - U.S. Coast Guard boat crews throughout the Great Lakes region saw thousands of vessels on the water during the Independence Day weekend and responded to several hundred distress calls.

The large number of Coast Guard responses, at least 227 from Friday morning to approximately 12 a.m. Tuesday, is significantly higher than the same time frames during the previous four years, but may be because Independence Day fell on a Monday this year and weather was favorable for boaters throughout the Great Lakes the majority of the long weekend.

Coast Guardsmen in small boats, cutters and aircraft, as well as members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, saved 16 lives, assisted 379 people, saved or assisted $2.3 million worth of property, and conducted 591 recreational vessel safety boardings. Of those 591 boardings, nine vessel operators were cited for boating under the influence, and the voyages of 22 recreational vessels were terminated due to various safety violations.

The most common safety violation was vessels underway without enough life jackets for everyone aboard or lacking a required throwable floatation device. Other common violations included mariners who weren’t carrying visual distress signals or who had expired flares on board, vessels lacking sound-producing devices, vessels lacking navigation lights, and unregistered or improperly registered vessels underway.

“Safety regulations are in place because they work and they’re proven to help prevent accidents on the water or drastically increase survivability following accidents,” said Rear Adm. Michael N. Parks, commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District. “Anyone who enjoys water-related activities on the Great Lakes should understand the risks involved and take necessary steps to ensure they will enjoy their outing and return home safely."

Despite the sizeable number of responses, Coast Guardsmen did report they saw many boaters wearing their life jackets.

“We can never stress enough the importance of wearing a life jacket while underway so we were thrilled to learn a large number of boaters made the decision to wear one,” said Frank Jennings Jr., recreational boating safety program manager for the Ninth Coast Guard District. “A life jacket is one of the most important pieces of life-saving equipment available to the boating community.”

Coast Guardsmen are also appreciative for assistance from numerous good samaritans and other federal, state and local response agencies during the busy weekend.

“The sheer number of vessels out on the Great Lakes and surrounding waterways this holiday weekend could have easily overwhelmed a single agency so we are extremely grateful for the help provided by our partner agencies and other response organizations, as well as the good samaritans who kept a keen eye on fellow boaters to ensure everyone made it home safely,” said Parks.


Charles H. Truscott Jr. Memorial Thursday on Mackinac Island

7/6 - On June 30, 2010 fellow Boatnerd Charles H. Truscott Jr. was lost to lung cancer. Chuck was a lover of ships and all things Great Lakes, especially passenger ships. He was one of the noted authorities people turned to with questions about Great Lakes passenger ships. He especially loved the Milwaukee Clipper. Chuck was in charge of the Clipper when it was at Navy Pier and was heavily involved when it came to Muskegon, volunteering on the ship and being a member of the Preservation Society board for many years.

Chuck was a fourth generation resident of Mackinac Island and often regaled fellow Boatnerds with many stories about growing up and living on the island.

Thursday July 7, 2011 would have been Chuck's 66th birthday, and on that day, family and friends are bringing him home to his beloved island. At 3 p.m. there will be a funeral service at the Truscott family plot in the Protestant Cemetery on Mackinac Island. All are welcome to attend. There will be a small reception following the service at the Market Street Inn, formerly the Truscott House where Chuck was raised.


Updates -  July 6

News Photo Gallery


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

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Former fleet mates Great Republic and American Mariner arrived Monday morning, Independence Day, at the Upper Harbor to load ore.

Green Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
The tug Michigan and barge Great Lakes were inbound Green Bay late day Saturday for the U.S. Venture Dock. The barge was loading most of the day Sunday.

Milwaukee, Wis.
St. Marys Challenger was at its dock unloading cement Monday. Algoma Transfer was unloading salt.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Coast Guard vessel Biscayne Bay has been seen the past few days out in the bay. Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were in port at Lafarge on Sunday. On the Fourth of July, Manitowoc was unloading coal at Lafarge and departed around noon. A few hours later, G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived to load cement.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber called on the Saginaw River Sunday evening, backing into the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. After unloading, the pair was expected to be outbound Monday morning. After dropping part of her cargo at Bay Aggregates overnight, the Moore-Kuber ended up continuing upriver to finish at the Buena Vista dock in Saginaw early Monday morning. The pair was outbound for the lake Monday afternoon.

Sorel, Quebec - Normand Daneau & Kent Malo
High winds Sunday night at Sorel caused the single cable that holds and moves the unloading gantries at the Richardson Terminal sec 14 Port of Sorel, Quebec, to snap. The unloading gantries were pushed by the strong gale force winds while the unloading legs were lowered in the holds of the Kaminisitiqua, carrying cereal product. There was damage to the unloading legs as well as to Kaministiqua's forward hatches. This happened during a fierce storm that swept through the area of the Richelieu Valley July 3.

Aliaga,Turkey – Kent Malo & Selim San
The scrap tow of the Sauniere arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, July 2.


Updates -  July 5

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery updates are delayed until tomorrow's news, please continue to send your pictures.


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.


Mississagi refloated near Brevort

7/4 - 3 p.m. update
Mississagi departed about 2:30 p.m. after lightering into the Saginaw. Saginaw moved into the loading dock after the Cleveland Rocks departed.

Original report
The self-unloader Mississagi has been reported aground outside small sand port of Brevort, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula west of St. Ignace. The tug Olive L. Moore left its barge, the Lewis J. Kuber in Cedarville, Mich., to head to the grounded vessel, however her efforts to release the Mississagi have so far been unsuccessful. Both the Mississagi and the Moore are part of the Lower Lakes Towing fleet. The Mississagi went aground Friday.

Monday about 2 a.m. the Cleveland and Cleveland Rocks slid past the Mississagi and docked at Brevort. Later that morning the Saginaw was on scene taking on cargo from the Mississagi in an effort to lighten the vessel.



Great Lakes water levels on the rise

7/4 - Grand Rapids, Mich. – The water level of Lake Michigan/Huron was up an inch in the past week. The lake was up three inches in the past month, one inch higher than a year ago. The lake remains 13 inches below the long-term average for July. Normally, the lake peaks around this time and starts a slow fall until early March when the snow starts melting.

Lake Superior has gained four inches in the last month and is also an inch above the level of one year ago. The biggest of the Great Lakes is 12 inches below its long-term July average. Lakes Erie and Ontario, on the other hand, are well above average levels. Both lakes are losing water now and should continue to fall back closer to average in the coming months. Lake Erie is nine inches above last year at this time and it’s nine inches above the long-term average for July. Lake Ontario is 12 inches above the level of one year ago and 11 inches above the July average.

Wood TV


Funding for Port of Goderich

7/4 - Goderich, Ont. – The port of Goderich is receiving a big boost from the Ontario provincial government, receiving 15.7 million dollars to go towards harbour upgrades and expansion. Mayor Deb Shewfelt said that the upgrades will create 15 acres of new land, develop two new spaces for boats to load and unload salt, construct a wharf and make repairs to current port infrastructure.

Shewfelt said the funding will extend the Sifto Mine and allow for more storage. He called the harbour a gateway to Southwest Ontario and believes it's the future of transportation, adding that in the future more product will be shipped by vessel and less by truck The total value of the project is $47 million.

Bayshore Broadcasting


St. Lawrence Seaway's economic potential blocked

7/4 - Detroit, Mich. – The St. Lawrence Seaway, linking Michigan waters to the Atlantic Ocean, has never lived up to its promise to be an economic catalyst for the Great Lakes region. And now it probably never will.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has ruled out an expansion of the Seaway -- a system of locks that are too small for many of today's oceangoing container ships. Without a substantial shift to a European-style system called Short Sea Shipping, the seaway will be forever limited.

And critics point out that the waterway also has brought expensive trouble our way -- destructive sea creatures and plants dumped into the Great Lakes from the ballast of oceangoing ships.

"But the concept is still sound -- having deep draft access to the center of the continent," insists David Knight, transportation specialist for the Great Lakes Commission. "It allows direct shipment from Duluth, (Minn.), Cleveland and Detroit to Antwerp, (Belgium), and other major ports in Europe.

"My feeling is it has never lived up to its potential, for a lot of reasons," he said. And one of them was the politics of half-a-century ago.

By its legal definition, the 52-year-old St. Lawrence Seaway includes only seven locks in the upper St. Lawrence River between Montreal and the eastern end of Lake Ontario and eight locks on the 27-mile Welland Canal between the western end of Lake Ontario and the eastern end of Lake Erie.

But when most people think of the seaway, they envision the entire 2,300-mile route from the mouth of the St. Lawrence on the Atlantic Ocean to Duluth, Minn., at the western end of Lake Superior, since the ostensible reason for building the locks was to give saltwater ships access to the heart of North America.

Trouble is, they built them too small. And today, the oceangoing ships that Great Lakes sailors call "salties" carry 10 percent or less of the 170 million-180 million tons of cargo that cross the five Great Lakes during a nine-month shipping season, bringing in finished products like steel and wind turbines and carrying out grain. The other 90 percent of that cargo is grain, coal, iron ore, limestone, salt, cement and other bulk materials that freighters called "lakers" carry between ports within the Great Lakes.

Those same salties have brought in most of the trouble blamed on the seaway, a host of invasive plants and animals that arrived in their ballast water and have caused incalculable damage and cost hundreds of millions of dollars to control. The question is whether the benefits of bringing saltwater ships to the Great Lakes outweigh those costs to date and projected into the future. The few studies that have been done suggest the answer is no.

Increased shipping and related economic activity might offset some criticism, but there are practical difficulties.

Ten years ago, the corporation that manages the seaway began touting a project called Highway H20 to double the system's size. The idea was finally shelved last year when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers concluded a study showing it was not economically viable.

"Increasing the size of the seaway is off the table," said Bruce Sanders, a Corps spokesman in Buffalo, N.Y., and someone who has studied the seaway for 37 years. "The truth is, it's a dinosaur and will never live up to its potential."

David Knight, a maritime transportation specialist for the Great Lakes Commission, an Ann Arbor-based agency that promotes economic development and conservation in the Great Lakes region and along the seaway, said environmental issues may actually increase shipping.

"Seasonality continues to be a great obstacle when we're looking at new business," said David Knight. "Logistics people don't want to use a port only in summer. But a lot of logistical decisions now are being affected by corporate desires to increase environmental responsibility, and the water mode of transportation is much more fuel efficient than rail or truck."

If you visit Duluth, there's a good chance you'll drive over the John A. Blatnik Bridge on I-535, named for the longtime congressman from northeast Minnesota who chaired the U.S. House Public Works Committee and, as a champion of Great Lakes shipping, was instrumental in construction of the seaway project.

The bridge lies 1,400 sea miles from the locks on the St. Lawrence, one of the world's major engineering works and a project that was both Blatnik's dream and biggest disappointment. Blatnik, who retired in 1974 and died in 1991, knew the system needed bigger locks. But he was blocked by East Coast politicians who didn't want the shipping traffic of their port cities going to Great Lakes ports.

"Anybody who is familiar with the history will tell you that the seaway was built with a darned-near fatal flaw," said Glen Nekvasil, a spokesman for the Great Lakes Carriers Association in Cleveland.

The companies Nekvasil represents sail 55 U.S. lakers. Many are too big for the locks on the St. Lawrence or the Welland Canal.

"The seaway was built just as the shipping industry was switching from bulk cargo to containerization. Ships were getting bigger, and the seaway locks were too small for the new ships," said Nekvasil. "It meant that (Blatnik's) dream of connecting dozens of Great Lakes ports to the world oceans wasn't going to happen. People tell me he was devastated by what Congress finally approved."

Container ships are 1,000 feet long and 130 feet wide. They carry 5,000-15,000 trailer-truck-size containers that are off-loaded directly onto trucks or trains, greatly reducing shipping costs and guaranteeing on-time delivery. The seaway locks can only handle vessels up to 740 feet long and 76 feet wide, carrying fewer than 1,000 containers. (The larger ore boats seen on the Detroit River are bulk carriers that can't go below Lake Erie because of the locks.)

But even with the seaway the size it is, its boosters say it could be more economically vital with a system routinely used in Europe called Short Sea Shipping. Under that system, the big container ships that now go to Halifax, Nova Scotia, and unload their cargo onto trains and trucks would put some of them onto smaller ships that would move the cargo into the Great Lakes.

That would also keep out the salties and their unintentional cargoes, the foreign plants and animals first detected in the 1980s that now cost the Great Lakes states an estimated $200 million a year in cleanup and control costs. Invaders such as zebra and quagga mussels have also spread to inland waters and been found as far away as Lake Meade, Nev., 1,500 miles from the Great Lakes.

But seaway officials must convince both shippers and the companies who rely on them that they can make money and count on getting goods through a system that closes for three or four months at the whims of winter. Most knowledgeable observers think that's a tough proposition, although a couple of companies that operate seaway freighters reportedly are considering it.

Nancy Alcalde, a spokeswoman for the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. that runs the American part of the system, said the seaway's annual operating expenses are about $87 million. Ships using the American locks pay a fee based on the value of their cargoes. That money goes into a national Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund that pays part of it back for seaway operations and maintenance.

Alcalde said the best measurement of the waterway's impact is "the value of the cargo shipped" -- $375 billion worth since the seaway opened in 1959.

"The economic benefits of the seaway have been measured and indicate that maritime commerce overall on the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System annually sustains 150,000 jobs, $4.3 billion in personal income, $3.4 billion in business revenues, and $1.3 billion in federal, state, and local taxes in the U.S. Great Lakes region," she said.

And despite the problems they deliver, the oceangoing ships generate more jobs in the region's ports.

The 800- to 1,000-foot Great Lakes ore boats built in recent years are mostly self-unloaders that can dump 50,000-70,000 tons of iron ore, the equivalent of 500-600 railroad cars, in eight to 10 hours using only a handful of dock workers. The salties still require 70-80 people to unload their cargoes.

John Baker of Cleveland, president emeritus and district director of the Great Lakes branch of the International Longshoremen's Union, said salties keep most of his 5,000 members employed on the lakes.

"When a 1,000-footer unloads ore, it only needs nine, 10 of our guys. A salty needs four or five gangs, 70-80 people," he said. "People ask, 'Did the seaway ever pay for itself?' All I know is that it sure employed a lot of people, and they paid a lot of taxes. The green people want to close it down, but that doesn't make any sense."

Angler Will LaGrange of Saginaw uses another yardstick, the nearly total disappearance of salmon from Lake Huron after zebra mussels collapsed the food chain from the bottom up five years ago.

"Ten years ago, I used to fish out of Oscoda two days a week for most of the summer, and along with all the private boat owners, there were maybe 50 charter boats in Oscoda then," he said. "Now I think there are a half-dozen charter boats there and only a handful of the individual guys who used to fish chinooks. Fishermen just don't go there anymore.

"What price do you put on that?"

Detroit Free Press


Museum auction offers a laker trip aboard the Saginaw

7/4 - The Port Colborne Historical & Marine Museum is auctioning off a trip on the Saginaw. This is a rare opportunity to take a trip on a working laker. Great Lakes ships are not certified to carry passengers for hire, so it is impossible to buy a ticket. The only chance for the general public to enjoy a once-in-a-life-time cruise is through non-profit raffles donated to the various groups by the shipping companies. Click here for more information


Updates -  July 4

Weekly Website Updates


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 and COL. JAMES M. SCHOONMAKER in 2011.

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

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
H. Lee White arrived Saturday morning at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock to unload western coal from Superior. Also at the Lower Harbor, USCG Mackinaw was secured at Mattson Park for the 4th of July weekend.

Milwaukee, Wis.
The steamer Alpena was at its dock unloading cement. She departed about 8 a.m.

South Chicago - Steve B, Lou Gerard
Things are once again at a standstill for boats trying to transit the Calumet River due to bridge problems on the NS. Saginaw and Federal Maas arrived early Saturday morning and went to anchor. Manitowoc, at KCBX, departed south for the turning basin at 122nd Street and then came back north and tied up again at the KCBX dock. Alpena arrived late afternoon and also anchored in the harbor. The only vessel to make it to its destination was the Vancouverborg, which went to the North American dock at the entrance to the Calumet River. St. Marys Challenger is also expected in around midnight. Traffic appeared to be moving early Sunday morning.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Dredge equipment for the Buffalo River Remediation Project started to arrive at the Cargill Pool Elevator Pier on the Outer Harbor on Friday. The tug Krista S. came in with two scows that afternoon and then departed to go get more equipment. The dredging operation will ramp up during July with an expected completion of sometime in the fall. Vessel traffic seems to have been in a summer slump by early June. This down period usually starts about a month later as cargo orders drop off until the fall rush.


St. Clair turns down opportunity to become home port to Bramble

7/3 - St. Clair, Mich. – The St. Clair City Council has "respectfully declined" to become the new port of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bramble. The cutter is currently moored at the Seaway Terminal in Port Huron, a joint project of the Port Huron Museum and Acheson Ventures.

"Acheson Ventures spearhead the efforts to have the ship remain in Port Huron when it was decommissioned in 2003," according to the museum literature about the ship. "They provided the applications, dockage and financial support."

The museum, in turn, operated the vessel as a historical attraction. Acheson, however, has pulled back its support of the ship. A deal to sell the Bramble to a private investor collapsed earlier this year.

"I received a phone call last Wednesday asking about whether St. Clair would be interested in docking the Bramble in the city," explained Dan Lockwood to the city council on June 20. Lockwood is chairman of the city's Downtown Development Authority.

The Bramble, Lockwood said, could possibly be moored along the city's seawall in Palmer Park, which borders the St. Clair River, or on the north seawall of the public harbor on the Pine River.

The 180-foot cutter is famous for its participation in the 1947 atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, which were conducted, in part, to study the effects of atomic blasts on surface ships. In 1957, it was one of three U.S.C.G. ships to circumnavigate the North American continent via the Arctic Circle.

As part of the Port Huron Museum, the ship has been a relatively popular destination, attracting about 2,300 paying visitors in fiscal year 2010 and 1,100 unpaid visitors; 1,260 of the visitors, nearly all from outside St. Clair County, participated in the cutter's overnight program, paying $20-25 per person for groups larger than 20 to spend the night on the ship. Still, the cutter ran a deficit of nearly $61,000 on revenues of $16,900.

The St. Clair Harbor Commission recommended against bringing the cutter to the city for three reasons, said City Councilmember Tom McCartney, who sits on the commission.

"First, we didn't think that St. Clair residents would want 180 feet of the view from the boardwalk view blocked by the ship," said McCartney. "Second, if the cutter was moored on the north wall of the harbor, it would block nearly the entire view of the Pine River from St. Clair Rotary Park. Third was the cost."

The most logical spot for the cutter in Palmer Park would be in front of the city's raw water intake, which already obstructs the view of the river, said City Superintendent Scott Adkins. But the intake building is only 67 feet wide.

The council voted 5-1 to decline the offer of the ship, with Councilmember Butch Kindsvater casting the lone "no" vote.

Voice News


Celebration to commemorate Perry's 1813 victory on Lake Erie

7/3 - Erie, Pa. – Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, who led a fleet of ships from Erie, refused to give up on Sept. 10, 1813, and beat the British in the Battle of Lake Erie. Present-day leaders here will honor Perry's spirit and that American victory with a two-year, million-dollar celebration of the battle and the War of 1812.

Organizers said Thursday that they have half the $1 million for the Perry 200 Commemoration, which will go beyond the 100- and 150-year celebrations of the battle and Erie's role in it.

"It's our great challenge to outdo the other two," said William Garvey, general chairman of the Perry 200 Bicentennial Commemorative Commission.

Commemoration details were shared at a luncheon at the Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel, near where the fleet was built. About 150 community leaders and members attended.

Erie Mayor Joe Sinnott, Erie County Executive Barry Grossman and Erie Insurance Chairman Tom Hagen are honorary chairmen of the commission.

Sinnott said the celebration will create opportunities to remember history, provide education and showcase Erie. "It's a great tourism and economic opportunity," he said.

Fireworks celebrations will return to Erie's waterfront on the Fourth of July in 2012 and 2013, and the bicentennial celebration will include retro events reminiscent of the centennial and sesquicentennial, such as a parade and pageant, said Joyce Savocchio, the commission's general chairwoman. The commemoration will also build on events already taking place, such as the annual Roar on the Shore. And new events are being organized, she said.

The first phase, scheduled to begin in late spring 2012, will be educational, including lectures in local schools. A July 4, 2012, Erie Philharmonic concert and fireworks also are in the works.

Those events will build up to the crescendo in 2013, Savocchio said. A parade with 20 bands and floats will be held for Memorial Day, followed by a multicultural dramatic pageant at a local stadium, and a concluding event just days before the anniversary.

Sept. 10, 2013, will mark 200 years since Perry's fleet, which included the U.S. Brig Niagara and the U.S. Brig Lawrence, won the battle near Put-in-Bay, Ohio.

Erie Times-News


Updates -  July 3

News Photo Gallery
New Video on our YouTube Channel


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 ALGOMA 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 completed 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.


Ceremony marks rechristening of ship to S.S. Col. James M. Schoonmaker

7/2 - Toledo, Ohio - With a single blow of a well-wrapped champagne bottle, Treecie Schoonmaker rechristened Toledo’s Great Lakes museum freighter to its original name Friday morning – that of her husband’s grandfather.

Several hundred watched from shore, while ship’s volunteers and workers from P&W Painting Contractors stood by on board as the former S.S. Willis B. Boyer once again became the S.S. Col. James M. Schoonmaker, 100 years almost to the minute from its original launch in Toledo.

“It was just wonderful to turn around and see the volunteers and the painters who made all this happen. It was special for both of us,” said Mrs. Schoonmaker, whose mother-in-law, Gretchen Schoonmaker, was a child when she did the ship’s original christening honors a century before.

The wife of James M. Schoonmaker II said that when she was actually swinging the bottle Friday morning, her main concern was to make sure it hit hard enough, because there’s a lot of superstition about the bottle not breaking.

Mr. Schoonmaker said he was absolutely amazed by the freighter’s appearance, as the last time he had seen it was in 2007, when he visited Toledo and agreed to donate toward its restoration. At the time, the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority had just agreed to take over responsibility for the Boyer, which had been on the verge of abandonment by the city of Toledo.

“Now,” he said, “She probably looks the same way she looked when she came down the ways. I was just so pleased.”

The rechristening was followed immediately by a cannon blast from the schooner Lynx, docked nearby in International Park for the freighter’s centennial celebration, and then by whistle signals, powered by a steam tractor, representing the calls of famous Great Lakes steamships.

The Schoonmaker is open through Sunday for public tours, after which it will be again closed until later this summer so that its cosmetic restoration can be finished.

Toledo Blade


Port Reports -  July 2

Marquette, Mich. – Lee Rowe
The tugs Billmaier and Hammond Bay were docked at Marquette's lower harbor while the Hon. James L Oberstar loaded ore and departed. Michipicoten also arrived for ore and departed on a very hot and steamy day.

South Chicago - Brian Z.
It was a busy day for the coal trade on Friday at KCBX Terminals in Chicago. American Mariner loaded coal for Muskegon, Mich., with Lower Lakes' Calumet following the Mariner, destined for Green Bay. Early evening found the Calumet's fleetmate Manitowoc arriving to load coal for Lafarge in Alpena, Mich.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore, with the barge Lewis J. Kuber, called on the Saginaw River late Thursday evening. The pair stopped at the Wirt Stone Dock in Bay City to unload.
For June, there were 19 commercial vessel passages on the Saginaw River, which is up one from the same period last year. For the year to date, there have been 13 fewer passages with a total of 36 so far in 2011. Looking at long-term averages for the month of June, vessel passages are 12 below average for the month, while the year to date number is 42 passages below the average of 78.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Dorothy Ann, arrived in Lorain sometime overnight and left about 8 a.m. Friday morning, heading back west.


Lynx sails into Toledo for public tours, cruises

7/2 - Toledo, Ohio - The restored privateer Lynx arrived in Toledo at lunchtime Thursday to participate in the centennial restoration of the S.S. Col. James M. Schoonmaker and will be open for tours and cruises through Monday.

The vessel tours will be offered from 1 to 5 p.m. Thursday, from 10 to 11 a.m. and noon to 2 p.m. Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Admission is $5, with accompanied children 12 and younger allowed on board for free.

Two-hour “Sailaway” cruises will be offered at 2:30 p.m. Friday through Monday, plus an additional sailing at 5:30 p.m. Monday, with fares of $55 for adults, $45 for seniors and military, and $30 for children 12 and younger.

To purchase tickets online, visit

The clipper schooner will be docked in International Park, 26 Main St., near the restored Schoonmaker, which was rechristened from its former name, S.S. Willis B. Boyer, during a ceremony Friday morning.

Toledo Blade


Updates -  July 2

News Photo Gallery
New Video on our YouTube Channel


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

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Paul R. Tregurtha arrived Thursday afternoon at the Upper Harbor to unload western coal into the WE hopper. The visit was her first of the season.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Calumet delivered a load of coal over night to the Board of Light and Power Plant on Harbor Island. The Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 came in at 11 a.m. Thursday with a load of stone for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg.

Oshawa, Ont. - Andre Blanchard
Federal Mackinac (Marshall Islands registry) was expected to arrive in Oshawa early on Friday. She will be assisted into port by Jerry G and Omni-Richelieu.


Schoonmaker museum ship rechristening set for this morning in Toledo

7/1 - Toledo, Ohio – The Museum Ship Col. James M. Schoonmaker will get her second christening in 100 years Friday in Toledo. At 11 a.m., history will repeat itself as friends and benefactors who comprise the vessel’s past, present, and future will stand in the shadow of a newly-restored steamship bearing the original fleet livery of the Shenango Furnace Co. At 11:30 a.m., at the exact moment that his mother broke a bottle of champagne across the bow of the same vessel 100 years prior, James M. Schoonmaker II and his wife Treecie will do the same, thus rechristening it in his grandfather’s name.

Also in attendance will be William P. Snyder III, grandson of the Shenango Furnace Co. founder, a man who loved nothing more than his Great Lakes vessels.

Following the rechristening, the ship will be open for tours and reception will be held in the Centennial Room of the Toledo Club.

Festivities will continue both on and off the ship on Saturday and Sunday.

For the duration of the weekend, guests will not only be able to tour the Schoonmaker, which has been extensively restored and repainted, but will also be able to experience more maritime history while touring and sailing aboard the War of 1812 privateer schooner Lynx, visiting for the weekend’s festivities. In addition, visitors will also have the opportunity to hear the voices of historic ships that have long since met their demise, saluting the Schoonmaker during a live steam-whistle event held on the grounds next to the ship over the course of the weekend.

At 10 p.m. Sunday, the Toledo Club and Toledo Blade will host the annual fireworks in Toledo to conclude the weekend.

After the weekend-long festivities, the Schoonmaker will close to the public so that restoration work – behind schedule due to this spring’s rainy weather – can be completed on deck. The Schoonmaker will reopen for the remainder of the season August 1 and will eventually take her place up river as the centerpiece of the National Great Lakes Maritime Museum to be established in Toledo in conjunction with the Great Lakes Historical Society and scheduled to open May 1, 2013.


Lake Superior rising faster than normal

7/1 - Duluth, Minn. - The level of Lake Superior rose four inches in June, a month the big lake usually goes up three inches, according to the International Lake Superior Board of Control.

The lake continued inching back toward a normal level thanks to higher than average inflow from rain across the entire basin. Lake Superior now sits an inch higher than the July 1 level in 2010 but 11 inches below the long-term normal for this time of year.

The level of Lakes Huron and Michigan rose three inches in June, also above their usual two-inch rise for the month. The lakes now sit one inch higher than this time last year and 12 inches below the long-term average.

Duluth News Tribune


Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority appoints executive director

7/1 - Detroit, Mich. - The Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority (DWCPA) Board of Directors announced Wednesday they have appointed John Jamian to be Executive Director of the Port Authority.

Jamian will be responsible for business management and political affairs for the DWCPA and work with federal, state and local officials for development projects in the Port of Detroit. This is a second term as executive director for Jamian, who also served in the position from 1997 to 2001.

The appointment comes as the authority is preparing to open its most high-profile project in years with the grand opening next month of the DWCPA’s new $22 million public dock and terminal facility located at 130 E. Atwater Street between the GM Renaissance Center and Hart Plaza.

“John brings extensive maritime experience to the job and we are fortunate that he was available at this important moment in the authority’s history,” said Chairman Arthur Blackwell. “The port authority is preparing to play a more prominent role in developing the Detroit riverfront and the City of Detroit and John’s skills provide a perfect match for the job.”

Jamian was appointed by President George W. Bush in 2003 to serve as Deputy Administer for the U.S. Maritime Administration under the U.S. Department of Transportation where he oversaw the administration’s $205 million budget and managed more than 900 employees. Jamian successfully led procurement and grant projects funding ports, highways and rails, helped negotiate international bi-lateral maritime treaties with Vietnam, China and Mexico and worked to strengthen transportation systems to meet the economic and maritime related security needs of the United States. Jamian was the first appointee from the Great Lakes region to serve in this role, a position he held for three years.

During his previous tenure as executive director for the DWCPA, Jamian helped reestablish the presence of the Great Lakes cruise ship industry, bringing the first cruise ship to back to Detroit since 1967. He also led the Detroit River Seawall improvement study project and other environmental mitigation programs with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Maritime Executive


Lime Island in Upper Peninsula designated newest state recreation area

7/1 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - The Michigan Department of Natural Resources announced that it has designated Lime Island, a 980-acre, state-owned island in the Upper Peninsula, as its newest state recreation area.

The island, located in the St. Marys River Navigation Channel at the eastern end of the Upper Peninsula, was previously managed and administered by the Forest Management Division of the DNR. The Natural Resources Commission recently transferred Lime Island to the Parks and Recreation Division to be maintained and managed by Parks and Recreation Division.

The new designation also includes renaming it the Lime Island State Recreation Area, and makes it the 99th facility within the Michigan state park system.

“The island has been used as a recreational area, and it made sense that it should be managed as a state recreation area,” said Ron Olson, chief of the DNRParks and Recreation Division.

Lime Island has rental cabins, platform tent sites, a small harbor of refuge, historical structures and boat access. These facilities have received various improvements over the years. Fees and details can be found on the DNR website under 'camping and recreation'.

The island was gifted to the State of Michigan for $1 by the Consolidated Company in 1982.

Accessible only by boat, the island is one of Michigans most remote and pristine recreational areas. The cabin and campsites on the island will soon be available to rent through the DNRs camping reservation system on the same terms as state park and recreation areas campsites and cabins.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural and cultural resources for current and future generations.

For more information, go to


Tall ship adds touch of majesty to Fourth festivities

7/1 - Buffalo, N.Y. - A majestic tall ship sailed into Buffalo’s waterfront Wednesday, escorted by a flotilla that included the Spirit of Buffalo and the Edward M. Cotter, and greeted by a cannon fire salute.

The Pride of Baltimore II is traveling throughout the Great Lakes region this summer to promote next year’s Bicentennial of the War of 1812. It will be docked at the Central Wharf through the Fourth of July.

“I think going out on open water 200 years ago on a boat that small in the ocean would take a lot of guts,” said Larry Thomas, who came out to see the ship. “And I’m always in awe of how they’re rigged. It seems like some very intelligent people were building boats.”

The vessel is a reproduction of 1812- era topsail schooners that were used as privateers. It was commissioned in 1988 after its predecessor, the original Pride of Baltimore, sank in a squall off Puerto Rico, killing the captain and three crew members.

It measures 157 feet long, 26 feet wide and 107 feet tall.

The ship has visited more than 200 ports in 40 countries, last visiting Buffalo in 1993.

“It’s a pleasure to be in a city that really appreciates its waterfront, appreciates its history and has such a great tie

to the events that took place nearly 200 years ago, which established the independence America had fought so hard for in 1776,” said Jamie Trost, the ship’s captain. The Erie, Pa., native leads a crew of 12.

Trost said there are about 150 tall ships of different types in the U. S. and 2,000 worldwide.

“It is a true honor that [the Pride of Baltimore II] has elected to spend the Fourth of July, Independence Day, here in Buffalo at Canal Side,” said Jordan Levy, chairman of Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp.

The ship’s name commemorates the defense of Baltimore during the Battle of Fort Mc- Henry in the War of 1812. After Francis Scott Key saw the fort’s bombardment by British Royal Navy ships, he wrote the poem, “Defence of Fort McHenry,” which later would become the lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Tours aboard the Pride of Baltimore II are available for $5 from 10 a. m. to 2 p. m. through Monday. Three-hour sails will be offered for $55 from 3 p.m. to 6 p. m. through Sunday, and 10 a. m. to 1 p. m. on Monday.

Buffalo News


Lake Erie lighthouse closes because of cracks

7/1 - Marblehead, Ohio - One of the oldest lighthouses along the Great Lakes is being temporarily closed to tourists after Ohio officials found cracks in the tower. Ohio's parks department says they want an engineer to take a closer look at the Marblehead Lighthouse to determine what to do next.

The lighthouse built in 1819 is part of a state park along Lake Erie between Cleveland and Toledo. The state says it's the oldest lighthouse in continuous operation on the Great Lakes. No tours will be given during the upcoming July 4th holiday.

Chicago Tribune


Updates -  July 1

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  July 1

July 1, 1991 - The automobile/passenger ferry DALDEAN celebrated its 40th year in operation between Sombra, Ontario and Marine City, Michigan. She was built by Erieau Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company, Erieau, Ontario, for Bluewater Ferry Ltd. Service started between the two communities on July 1, 1951. On this day in 1943, the nine loading docks on Lake Superior loaded a combined 567,000 tons of iron ore into the holds of waiting freighters.

At 16:00 hours on July 1, 2005, an explosion hit the Cargill elevator in Toledo, Ohio, which collapsed on one of the silos and fire was found in five of the silos.

On July 1, 1940, the HARRY COULBY became the first Great Lakes vessel to load in excess of 16,000 tons of iron ore when it loaded 16,067 tons of iron ore in Ashland, Wisconsin. Renamed b.) KINSMAN ENTERPRISE in 1989. She was scrapped at Port Colborne, Ontario in 2002.

On 1 July 1927, ROBERT C. WENTE (wooden, propeller, bulk freighter, 141 foot, 336 gross tons, built in 1888, at Gibraltar, Michigan) burned to a total loss in the St. Clair River. In 1911, she sank in Lake Michigan, but was raised and refurbished.

July, 1983 - The C&O sold its remaining 3 car ferries to Glen Bowden and George Towns. They begin operating cross-lake service between Ludington and Kewaunee under the name Michigan-Wisconsin Transportation Co. (MWT)

On 1 July 1852, CASPIAN (wooden side-wheeler, 252 foot, 921 tons, built in 1851, at Newport, Michigan) foundered a short distance off Cleveland's piers. Some of her gear and structural material were salvaged in the Spring of 1853, and the wreck was then flattened with dynamite.

July 1, 1900, the new wooden steam barge ALFRED MITCHELL started her maiden voyage from St. Clair, Michigan for Cleveland, Ohio, to load coal. She was owned by Langell & Sons.

On 1 July 1869, the wooden schooner GARROWEN was carrying coal from Cleveland to Toronto when she sprang a leak and sank in 60 feet of water about 10 miles from shore off Geneva, Ohio. The crew escaped in the yawl. She was only 19 years old and some of the crew claimed that she was scuttled as an insurance scam. However, a number of divers visited the wreck on the bottom of the Lake at the time and that claim was refuted.

On 1 July 1875, the iron carferry HURON (238 foot, 1052 gross tons, built at Point Edward, Ontario, with iron plates prefabricated in Scotland) made her trial voyage between Fort Gratiot, Michigan, and Point Edward, Ontario, across the St. Clair River. This vessel served the Grand Trunk Railway and ran between Windsor and Detroit for over a century.

In 1876, a 25-square-mile ice field was still floating at the head of Lake Superior in northwest Wisconsin.

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