Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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* Report News


Port Reports -  July 31

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Mary E. Hannah and her tank barge were outbound from the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City Monday morning after unloading there overnight. The tug Champion arrived around the same time at the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville with a barge load of equipment for the power plant. Champion was outbound on Tuesday. The tug Olive L. Moore and her barge Lewis J. Kuber were inbound Tuesday morning, calling on the Lafarge Stone dock in Saginaw. The pair backed down river Tuesday evening, turned in the airport basin and was outbound for the lake.


Duluth says bon voyage to the tall ships

7/31 - Duluth, Minn. – Nine tall ships set sail from Duluth Thursday, and they continued to turn heads even as they departed.

The five-day festival drew more than 200,000 people to the city’s waterfront, according to Terry Mattson, CEO of Visit Duluth. A final tally remained unavailable Sunday, but Mattson estimated that somewhere between 200,000 and 250,000 admirers came to take in the spectacle of Duluth’s largest tall ship festival yet.

Rob and Carole Sanderson came all the way from their home in Hot Springs, Ark., to attend Tall Ships Duluth 2013 and do a bit of fishing in northern Minnesota as well.

While rainy weather kept the Sandersons away from the tall ships Saturday, they were lured out Sunday as the sun poked through the clouds.

“We’re so glad today turned out to be beautiful,” Rob Sanderson said as he waited in line to tour the SS Sørlandet, visiting all the way from its home port of Kristiansand, Norway.

Sanderson said he wasn’t put off by the lines Sunday. “We thought it would be crowded,” he said.

While Carole Sanderson said she was impressed by the ships, she expressed disappointment that all of the vessels were reproductions rather than originals.

As sailing aficionados, the Sandersons said they have visited a number of seaside and maritime communities, but Rob Sanderson remarked that he was impressed with what he’d seen of the Twin Ports. “Duluth is a really cool town,” he observed.

Visit Duluth presold tickets to visitors from all 50 states and every province in Canada, Mattson said. He predicted ticket revenue should be sufficient to cover Visit Duluth’s investment in the event. During the festival’s four days, Mattson said, he expects that more than 100,000 people will have paid for admission to the festival. He estimates that at least an equal number of people came to watch the procession of tall ships without buying a ticket.

Seven of the nine ships that took part in the festival set out at noon Tuesday, when the vessels begin the next leg of the Tall Ships Challenge, racing between Duluth and the Soo Locks.

Associated Press


Waterspouts on Lake Ontario and Lake Erie Tuesday morning

7/31 - The updrafts in the lake effect clouds Tuesday morning were strong enough to produce small waterspouts. Waterspouts were observed near Sodus and southwest of Buffalo over Lake Erie. They have since dissipated.

Waterspouts are small tornado-like vorticies that form under intense updrafts in clouds over water.

Around the Great Lakes, they are generally not damaging but can be an issue for boaters. The funnels sometimes make their way on shore and can be a problem for shoreline property owners as the winds in these small circulations can be strong enough to blow things around.

Waterspouts over the Great Lakes are most common in the late summer and early fall when the water is at its warmest and the air, especially at higher altitudes starts to cool down. Heat from the lakes causes strong rising currents of air that support the updrafts necessary to build the clouds and the waterspouts.

You can find out more about waterspouts on the Great Lakes and the research going on about them by going to the International Center for Waterspout Research website.

The Post-Standard


CCGS research icebreaker sails on 2013 Arctic mission

7/31 - The Hon. Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, wished bon voyage to Canadian Coast Guard crew members and scientists aboard the CCGS Amundsen who will participate in the 2013 research mission in the Canadian Arctic.

"This year marks the 10th anniversary of the CCGS Amundsen, a state-of-the-art multidisciplinary research icebreaker," said Minister Shea. "In addition to being the only Canadian icebreaker to have navigated the Arctic in the winter, the CCGS Amundsen has distinguished itself by supporting major international scientific missions in Canada's Far North."

The CCGS Amundsen is one of the few Canadian icebreakers to have a dual purpose. In winter, she is assigned to the CCG icebreaking program whereas every summer, she is chartered by ArcticNet, a scientific consortium. This year, the CCGS Amundsen will navigate the Labrador Sea, Baffin Bay, the Northwest Passage and the Beaufort Sea to study the impact of climate change and modernization on the arctic marine ecosystem.

Thanks to her skilled crew and highly sophisticated equipment, the CCGS Amundsen can at all times be deployed to take part in search and rescue, pollution control or any operations that support the security and the accessibility of Canadian waters.



Updates -  July 31

Saltie Gallery updated - New pictures of the BBC Scandinavia, Mississippiborg, Resko and Zealand Juliana


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

On July 31, 1974, 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 from the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.


Port Reports -  July 30

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Calumet slid alongside the wall at Marblehead's Lafarge aggregate dock Monday evening and began loading. The process of putting the cargo into the cargo holds of the 630-footer was anticipated to last into Tuesday morning.


Maiden voyage: State-of the-art laker visits the Twin Ports

7/30 - Duluth, Minn. – Two down, two to go. Brand new lakers, that is, for Canada Steamship Lines.

That’s how many new, self-unloading cargo ships the Montreal-based shipping company is adding to its Great Lakes fleet this year as it prepares for its next 100 years of working the Great Lakes.

“It positions us to run a more sustainable fleet,” said Daniel McCarthy, the company’s vice president of marketing. “It’s positioning ourselves for a better environmental footprint.”

The newly-built ships are part of the company’s new state-of-the-art, 740-foot Trillium class of vessels. The first, the award-winning Baie St. Paul, made its first stop in the Twin Ports in April. The second, the Whitefish Bay, completed its maiden voyage on the Great Lakes last week with some fanfare after it arrived in Superior for its first load of dry bulk cargo.

Before departing on Friday from the Midwest Energy Resources Co. terminal, bound for Quebec with a load of low-sulfur coal and a crew of 19, officials showed off the Whitefish Bay to visitors. They emphasized its latest engine technology and hull design that reduces air pollution and increases fuel efficiency.

“It’s amazing,” said Capt. Kent Powell as he stood in full uniform on the sleek new bridge. “It’s a wonderful opportunity. I’m enjoying it immensely. And it’s great to have all the tools to do my job to the best.”

The new technology includes an integrated bridge system with all the monitors together, including thermal imaging equipment. The technology includes electronically controlled main engine and generators, real-time exhaust gas and fuel monitoring systems and improved thrusters, pumps and fans. The 600-foot self-unloading tunnel is remotely controlled for faster and more precise operation.

“It’s a tremendous step forward in efficiency,” McCarthy said.

Added safety features include a remote camera system and a watertight door between the engine room and the self-unloading tunnel that sounds an alarm if open.

Besides Canada Steamship Lines’ expansion with four new lakers for the first time in 27 years, it also is adding two new bulk carriers by next year. It has no plans to scrap its 20 older vessels, which get routine updates.

It’s all part of a major expansion occurring among Canadian Great Lakes fleets in general. Fednav Limited, also based in Montreal, is in the process of adding 27 new ships, including 14 lakers, to its fleet.

Like the Baie St. Paul, Canada Steamship Lines’ Whitefish Bay was built in Chengxi Shipyard in Jiangyin, China. Each took about a year to build.

“Vessels like this don’t get thrown together quickly,” McCarthy said.

The repeal of Canada’s 25 percent duty on ships built abroad opened the door for the Canadian fleet expansions, he said. That coupled with a stronger Canadian dollar and lower shipbuilding costs in China to make the time right.

“It was an aligning of the stars,” he said.

But why build them in China?

“It’s a value proposition,” McCarthy explained. “We have a long relationship with a shipyard in China, and the capability exists in China to build these vessels. They have been building for more than 40 years for international and lake fleets.”

Reminders of the Whitefish Bay’s construction in China can be found in floor mats with Chinese writing on them and a plaque that hangs in the stairwell to the bridge that says “Whitefish Bay” in Chinese script.

There’s also indication of its two-month saltwater voyage from China in some peeling paint and rust already visible on the ship’s deck. McCarthy explained that’s from crossing the salty ocean, a problem vessels don’t have on the freshwater Great Lakes.

Mickael Medvedev of Montreal was part of the crew that brought the Whitefish Bay from China through the Panama Canal to Montreal. In the long, narrow engine control room on Friday, he watched as visitors took in the sight of the many shiny new controls and monitors overlooking the ship’s two-story, 8,000-horsepower low-speed diesel engine.

“It’s interesting,” he said of working with the latest technology. “There’s lot of new equipment which is interesting to work with. It’s satisfying.”

Two more Trillium-class self-unloading lakers will follow this year: the Thunder Bay and the Baie Comeau. Like Baie St. Paul and Whitefish Bay, they are named after bays and cities in the Great Lakes and along the St. Lawrence Seaway. Besides coal, the vessels will carry other dry bulk cargo, such as iron ore, salt, limestone, wheat, corn and soybeans.

Duluth News Tribune


National Great Lakes Museum in Toledo expected to open next spring

7/30 - Toledo, Ohio - The National Great Lakes Museum will open on the Maumee River in Toledo next spring, the culmination of a 10-year push to create a place where people can learn about the local and national importance of the five interconnected bodies of water.

The museum was supposed to open this summer but was delayed by several factors, including the complexity of the exhibits, said Chris Gillcrist, executive director of the Great Lakes Historical Society.

But he said visitors will be thrilled by the society’s $12-million project, which includes the museum, a park and a restored freighter, the Col. James M. Schoonmaker.

“There will be no other museum like this,” Gillcrist said. “The focus is national in that it tells stories how the Great Lakes has dramatically impacted the history of the country.”

The impact ranges from the Battle of Lake Erie, in which the United States Navy defeated and captured six vessels of the British Royal Navy, to Prohibition, when more alcohol was transported across the lakes than in any other place in the United States, he said. The 2.5-acre park opened this month and the society will add artifacts including ships' wheels and propellers, he said.

The freighter’s restoration is nearly complete but it is open only for special events until the museum is completed, he said.

The historical society had operated the Inland Seas Maritime Museum in Vermilion since 1953 but it only accommodated about one-tenth of its artifacts, officials said.

The society also publishes a quarterly journal, conducts underwater archeology, offers educational programs and maintains a maritime research library.

After considering moving to Lorain, society officials announced in 2010 that it had reached an agreement with the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority to open a museum in the Toledo Maritime Center, which was built in 2008 as a passenger ferry terminal.

The biggest obstacle was moving the S.S. Willis B. Boyer, now re-christened to its original name as the Schoonmaker, he said. The ship is owned by the city of Toledo and had been docked near the Anthony Wayne Bridge.

The river had to be dredged of thousands of cubic yards of muck to create a slip that is 16-feet deep, 650 feet long and 80 feet wide. Sheet piling also had to be installed.

The society was able to use a $4.9 million Ohio Cultural Facilities grant that had been awarded to Toledo for improvements to Toledo’s marina district for the project, he said. The ship was moved in October, 2012.

Museum exhibits will include areas on exploration and settlement, expansion and industry, safeguard and support, and shipwrecks and safety. The building can still be used for ferry service if it is established.

The costs for the project include $2.8 million to dredge and install the sheet piling, $1.2 million to build the park, $1.2 million to restore the freighter and $3 million for building renovations and exhibits, Gillcrist said. The value of the building is about $3.5 million. The society has sold its Vermilion property to that city for $1.65 million and the deal should be finalized by the end of this year, he said. The society expects to raise the money to cover the cost of the museum by the time it opens.

The museum, below the Interstate 280 bridge and near Interstate 75 and the Ohio Turnpike, will primarily draw those who live within 200 miles, he said. Tickets will average about $10 per adult, with discounts for seniors and children.

For more information visit The Cleveland Plain Dealer


Walter J. McCarthy Jr.: Ex-CEO of Detroit Edison, who led nuclear energy efforts, dies at 88

7/30 - Walter J. (Mac) McCarthy Jr. was a leader in the field of nuclear energy, taking a career path that led him to the top spot at Detroit Edison. Mr. McCarthy, also known for his philanthropic work, died Wednesday in a hospital following a fall at his home in Carmel, Calif. He was 88. His namesake, the 1,000-foot vessel Walter J. McCarthy Jr. is a familiar sight on the Great Lakes.

Mr. McCarthy was the CEO of Detroit Edison, now DTE Energy, from 1981 until his retirement in 1990. A hallmark of his tenure was overseeing the development and the beginning of commercial operation of the Fermi 2 nuclear power plant near Monroe. He guided Detroit Edison both through growth and difficult financial times, said Caren Byrd, a friend who worked with Mr. McCarthy at the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations. “He was one of the most respected CEOs in the industry” and a pioneer in the field of nuclear energy, she said. “He had a national, worldwide reputation, particularly for his strong leadership and integrity.”

Mr. McCarthy’s grandson Jordan Haedtler said his grandfather worked hard to ensure that Fermi 2 complied with stringent new standards put in place following the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster.

Mr. McCarthy was a lifelong advocate for safe nuclear power. He served as chairman of INPO, a group formed after Three Mile Island to monitor nuclear plants. Byrd said Mr. McCarthy was also instrumental in forming the World Association of Nuclear Operators.

Mr. McCarthy had a special fondness for New York City, where he was born in 1925.

“He knew every inch of New York. His father and grandfather owned the ferry that was replaced by the George Washington Bridge,” said his wife, Linda McCarthy.

Mr. McCarthy graduated from Cornell University in 1949. He married Alice Ross that same year and moved to Birmingham. Later, in 1988, he wed Linda McCarthy.

Haedtler said that in 1952, his grandfather was picked to head the nuclear and analytic division of the Enrico Fermi Breeder Reactor Project, which explored nuclear energy’s potential. Mr. McCarthy was also involved with the development of Fermi 1 nuclear power plant and helped manage a partial core meltdown there. He joined Detroit Edison in 1963.

Mr. McCarthy was chair of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra from 1980 to 1987. In the early 1980s, he was one of the founders of the Distinguished Clown Corps, a group of corporate and community leaders who donate money to march down Woodward Avenue in clown suits during America’s Thanksgiving Parade.

Mr. McCarthy moved to Carmel when he retired. He served as president of the Monterey Symphony.

Along with his wife, Mr. McCarthy is survived by daughter Sharon; sons Walter, Dave, Jim and Bill; stepdaughters Carrielynn, Laura and Lisa, and 14 grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra or Youth Orchestra Salinas. A memorial service is planned for Aug. 10 at the Church in the Forest in Pebble Beach, Calif.

Detroit Free Press


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


Port Reports -  July 29

Muskegon Mich. - Tyler Fairfield
About 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning the Sam Laud paid a visit to Muskegon, unloading stone at the Verplanks Cobb dock. She left about 2 or 3 hours later for Grand Haven. At 6 a.m. the G.L. Ostrander and Integrity were observed lining up with the Lafarge cement dock in Muskegon. Saturday the Samuel De Champlain and Innovation were still at the Mart Dock after almost a week of repairs.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber were inbound on the Saginaw River, early Saturday morning, calling on the Lafarge Stone dock in Saginaw. The pair were outbound later in the day. Sunday saw the arrival of the tug Mary E. Hannah and a tank barge, with the pair calling on the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City. The pair were still there late Sunday night.

Stoneport, Mich. - Dan McNeil
Loading at Stoneport on Sunday was the Great Lakes Trader, Arthur M. Anderson, Pathfinder, and the Lewis J. Kuber. No boats are due to load on Monday. Due to load on Tuesday is the Arthur M. Anderson, Phillip R. Clarke, Lewis J. Kuber, and Kaye E. Barker.

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Algomarine loaded throughout the day Sunday at the Lafarge aggregate dock.

Kingston, Ont. - Ron Walsh
The Stephen B. Roman was due at False Duck Islands at 8:55 p.m., inbound for Picton, to load cement. At 6:30 p.m. Saturday the tug Margot arrived in Kingston with two "Big" grain barges. She left one barge and departed with the Big 543 at 7 p.m. for Oswego. The barge had a depth of 9-feet from a load of corn.


Hornbeck Offshore Services Sells Tank Barge Fleet to Genesis Marine

7/29 - Hornbeck Offshore Services announced on July 22 that they are selling their "downstream" fleet of nine tugs and nine double-hull tank barges to Genesis Marine for $230 million. Genesis Marine is an affiliate of Genesis Energy, which owns a fleet if inland river tank barges. Hornbeck will continue to operate its "upstream" fleet of offshore drilling supply vessels.

Hornbeck's tank barges have been a common site on the Lakes over the past 8 or so years, although none of their vessels has traded on the Lakes so far in 2013. The tug Huron Service and barge Energy 6506 spent most of the 2011 and 2012 seasons trading on the Lakes. Three of Hornbeck's tank barges (Energy 11103, Energy 11104 and Energy 11105) were built at the Toledo and Sturgeon Bay yards of Marinette Marine and fitted out at Marinette. And four of their tugs were named in honor of the Great Lakes (Erie Service, Huron Service, Michigan Service and Superior Service.)

Reported by Tom Hynes, with information from Tim Colton's Maritime Memos


Great Lakes Ports Association elects new leadership

7/29 - Washington, D.C. – Members of the American Great Lakes Ports Association (AGLPA) elected new leadership at their annual summer meeting held this year in Oswego, New York.

The new president is William Friedman, President & CEO of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority. Dean Haen, director of the Brown County Port & Solid Waste Department in Green Bay, will serve as vice president. The secretary-treasurer position will be held by Paul C. LaMarre III, port director at the Port of Monroe (Michigan). The term of office is two years.

Friedman became president and CEO of the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority in June 2010. He has more than 25 years of experience in port management, real estate development, international supply chain and multimodal distribution. He served as vice president of ports and logistics for Duke Realty Corp. from 2004 to 2009. Friedman was CEO of the Ports of Indiana from 2000 to 2004. Prior to that position, he served 10 years with the Port of Seattle in a variety of management roles. Friedman holds two degrees from Indiana University a bachelor’s degree in history, and a masters degree in public administration with a concentration in urban and regional planning.


Marine operations manager to retire

7/29 - After nearly 12 years of service to both Fettes Shipping Inc. and Great Lakes and International Towing & Salvage Company Inc., Gerald (Bud) Johnson is getting ready to set sail on his journey to retirement and spending more time with his wife and family.

Johnson began work with Fettes and Glits in 2000 and 2004 as marine operations manager and was instrumental in the day-to-day operations and maintenance programs of the vessels. During his years of work, he also took on the role of company security officer and was a great liaison between the companies and the many vendors, technicians, agencies and governing officials he associated with. The marine community benefited from his leadership and dedication.

Gerald will formally retire on July 31st 2013.


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.

1912 – REPUBLIC stranded at Point Louise in the St. Marys River and sustained bottom damage.

1930 – The sandsucker GEORGE J. WHALEN capsized and sank off Dunkirk, N.Y., in heavy seas and 15 sailors perished. Only 6 were rescued and taken aboard the AMASA STONE.

1942 – The first PRESCODOC was torpedoed and sunk by U-160 off Georgetown, British Guiana, with the loss of 15 lives. The bauxite-laden steamer went down quickly, bow first, while enroute to Trinidad and only 5 were saved.

1943 – LOCKWELL and KEYBELL collided above Bridge 11 of the Welland Canal. The former was repaired at Port Dalhousie with $13,450 in damages.

1946 – TEAKBAY went aground on Featherbed Shoal off Carleton Island in the St. Lawrence while bound for Montreal with a load of coal. This member of the C.S.L. fleet was released, with the aid of tugs, the next day and proceeded to Kingston for repairs.

1971 – While undergoing a major refit at Manitowoc, fire broke out aboard the CITY OF SAGINAW 31 destroying the top deck and accommodation area. The damage was listed as between $450,000 and $700,000 and the vessel became a total loss. It was towed to Castellon, Spain, for scrapping.

1979 – The Cayman Islands registered QUIDNET came through the Seaway in 1978 but sank, in a collision with the SEA TIDE at Mamei Curve in the Panama Canal while enroute from Callao, Peru, to Trinidad. The hull was abandoned as a total loss and had to be cut in two before being towed away to a dumping ground. The ship had also been a Great Lakes visitor as b) LUDMILLA C. in 1968.

1993 – The second FEDERAL SCHELDE to visit the Great Lakes was built in 1977 and came inland that year on its maiden voyage with sugar for Montreal and Toronto. The ship received major bow damage after striking the ARARAT in the Orinoco River of Venezuela. It went to Hamburg, Germany, for repairs and resumed service. It became b) TRIAS in 1994 and continued Seaway service until 1999. The ship arrived at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, for scrapping on December 12, 2000.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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


Boblo boats Columbia, Ste. Claire land role in “Transformers 4” movie

7/28 - Detroit, Mich. – Two Boblo boats have landed a role in “Transformers 4” movie. The S.S. Columbia and her sister the S.S. Ste. Claire, both docked in River Rouge, Mich., are being used as props.

The Columbia ferried people to the island amusement park from 1902 to 1991. The Ste. Clair did so from 1910 to 1991.

The Columbia's shi keeper, Sam Buchanan, said the St. Clair has "a prominent role" in the movie while the Columbia's appearance is "minor."

"When the movie folks are in town, they’re always looking for unique place to shoot so these boats came into play," Buchanan said. "They’re moving right along. They’ve been shooting primarily at night. I don’t know how much more is going to be going on there but they’re not nearly finished."

The City of River Rouge confirmed filming took place Wednesday and Thursday night.

"There were a lot of helicopters flying around," city clerk Sue Joseph said.

The steamships were put on the U.S. List of National Historic Landmarks in 1992. Producers have added a second smokestack to the Ste. Clair.

"It was unique looking because both Boblo boats only had one smoke stack. They added a second one for some sort of explosion in the movie," Buchanan said. "It won’t harm the boat any. The boats won’t be harmed in any way, but they’re making their big Hollywood debut."

The S.S. Columbia was put into service in 1902 and cruised the Detroit River until 1991.The S.S. Columbia was put into service in 1902 and cruised the Detroit River until 1991. (S.S. Columbia Project/Facebook)

Both are scheduled to be restored. The Columbia is owned by a not-for-profit group, the S.S. Columbia Project. The end goal is to have the ship eventually give tours along the Hudson River in New York.

Richard Anderson was the man behind the group. He died in January. But according to the organization's website and Buchanan, his dream is still alive.

"The board has undertaken a thorough review of the condition of the SS Columbia, the challenges involved in bringing her to N.Y. and the Hudson River, the adventure of restoring her, and the practicality of her operating up and down the Hudson," the organization posted on its Facebook page last month. "We expect to have announcements shortly about the next steps for the SS Columbia Project, who will be taking those steps, and how you can help."

Buchanan said complete restoration could cost "more than $10 million." In 2011, Anderson estimated a bill of $13 million The Ste. Clair, meanwhile, is owned by a Michigan doctor who wants it restored. It was most recently used as a dockside haunted house.

An added bonus about the filming is that the Ste. Clair had to have its decks replaced for safety's sake. "It’s looking pretty good and at least it’s safe," Buchanan said.

Although he's seen some of the work done, Buchanan hasn't watched any of the filming.

"I'm going to wait for the film. I think Detroiters and folks from Windsor will like seeing their boats [in the movie]. Everybody in this area were very close or have a very good memory or experience going to Boblo riding on those boats," Buchanan said.

"Boblo is one of those things that everyone in this area misses." Boblo ran as an amusement park from 1898 to 1993. It's now a residential development.

CBC News Windsor


Port Reports -  July 28

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Sam Laud came in Saturday morning with a load for Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg. It unloaded and was heading out at 11:30.


Duluth woman wins trip of a lifetime on Great Lakes freighter

7/28 - Superior, Wis. - It's a call nobody expects to get. The phone call was to Shirley Swapinski, letting her know that she has just won a unique cruise on an Interlake Steamship freighter.

Raffle tickets to enter the drawing for the cruise went on sale in January. Since then, nearly $5,000 has been raised. The money will go toward helping aspiring mariners with their education expenses and also towards the International Shipmasters Association Convention being held in Superior in February of 20-15.

Captain Joe Walters, President of the International Shipmasters Association, says the trip is really a once-in-a-lifetime experience. "Unless you're working in the business, this is something that you're just not going to be able to do," said Walters.

Another winner was drawn for a round trip ride on the Badger car ferry that runs between Manitowoc, Wisconsin and Ludington, Michigan.

The shipmaster's association plans to hold another raffle in November for a trip to take place next year.

Northland News Center


Remembering Chicago’s killer seiche of 1954

7/28 - Chicago, Ill. – Chicagoans love their lake. It cools the hot summer winds, and it provides a watery playground for swimmers, fishermen and boaters. But last week's warnings of rogue waves reminded residents that Lake Michigan can be a dangerous neighbor, even in the warm months.

Deadly rip currents, boating accidents and drownings take numerous lives every year. There's also another danger – the seiche.

A seiche (pronounced saysh) is formed when a high-pressure system pushes lake water ahead of it, much like a storm surge. When the storm front passes through, the water rushes back into place. On June 26, 1954, those atmospheric ingredients resulted in a deadly tragedy.

Chicago was suffering through a stifling heat wave that June. Friday, June 25, saw a record high of 100.3 degrees, but Saturday broke a bit cooler. Many fishermen headed for the lakefront that morning but the lower temps and an ominous line of clouds on the horizon kept most of the beach crowd at home — the only break the city would get that day.

Though the squall line swept in from the north, the rain never came. The fishermen, some of whom had packed up and started leaving as the storm advanced, returned to their favorite spots at the North Avenue jetty and the Montrose Avenue harbor when the clouds passed on to the south and the skies began to clear. The lake was calm.

About 9:25 a.m., the seiche hit. A 1985 Tribune reconstruction described it as a "monstrous, hump-backed sea beast." The surge first lapped over the edge of the Montrose Avenue pier and wetted shoes, but immediately after — so fast that few who ran were able to make it to shore — a wave towering an estimated 8 feet high swept up the shoreline from North Avenue to Wilmette. About 50 people at Montrose Harbor were caught on the breakwater.

It would take more than a week to find all the bodies, eight in all, including a husband and wife who had planned to renew their marriage vows at their son's upcoming wedding, A 16-year-old boy lost his father in the wave but survived because he just happened to be at a nearby boathouse.

Such sudden, violent waves have hit Chicago before and since, though the 1954 incident was the deadliest reported by the Tribune, possibly because the offending storm failed to scare off the beach-goers and fishermen enjoying a respite from the heat. While an August 1960 storm produced a seiche, heavy rain, high winds and a seiche warning from officials cleared the area. One elderly man still was killed.

In July 1980, a "seichelike wave" threatened Chicago's beaches. Luckily, while 10 people had to be rescued, nobody was injured or killed. An Oak Street Beach lifeguard described what he felt when the lake showed its dark side: "It was just like the water was attacking you."

Chicago Tribune


Plan to ship radioactive material to Sweden cancelled

7/28 - A plan to ship 16 radioactive steam generators through the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River for recycling in Sweden has been cancelled after delays caused by public opposition.

An agreement was reached in 2009 between Bruce Power in Tiverton, Ont., and Swedish company Studsvik but company president Duncan Hawthorne said they delayed the plans to allow further discussion with First Nations, Metis and other groups.

The move has been strongly opposed by aboriginal groups, the Bloc Quebecois, the NDP and a number of community organizations over the past two years.

Emma Lui of the Council of Canadians says there are many concerns but the “big one” is the possible threat to the Great Lakes if something went wrong with the shipment.

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission had issued a transport licence and certificate to Bruce Power after determining the risk to the health and safety of the public and the environment was negligible.

Bruce Power spokesman James Scongack said the nuclear facility “did not seek to renew” the licence after it expired early in 2012 but that the company remains committed to finding a way to recycle its waste.

“This is by no means an indication that our position has changed on the importance of the reduce, reuse and recycle principle related to managing our waste,” he said.

Back in 2011, Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said shipping the used generators through the Great Lakes was not the right thing to do. “We think it’s an unnecessary environmental and health risk to transport them,” she said at the time.

Lui says she would prefer for the radioactive material to stay on site so it could be monitored instead of shipping it overseas.

Bruce Power has said about 90 per cent of the metal in the steam generators can be decontaminated, melted down and sold back into the scrap metal market. The rest will be returned to the Bruce Power site for long-term storage. Each steam generator contains 100 tonnes of steel but less than four grams of radioactive substances.

But Lui says there was concern “about whether or not the radioactivity could actually be removed from the material.”

Studsvik announced the agreement to ship the 16 giant steel cylinders — around the size of school buses — from their Tiverston plant to Sweden had been cancelled in an interim report released last week.

Scongack says the cancellation is just a commercial position to recognize the fact that the original timetable for moving the steam generators had changed. While he says there are currently no official agreements with Studsvik on another plan, any future plans will move forward with transparency.

“If we do ever decide to proceed, we will be the first to let people know,” he said.

But for opponents to the plan like Maude Barlow, national chairwoman of the Council of Canadians, the cancellation of the plan is good news.

“This is a huge victory for communities around the Great Lakes,” she wrote in an email. “The Great Lakes belong to everyone and communities have a right to say ‘no’ to any projects that will harm them.”

Canadian Press


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 downbound 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.

1922 – The wooden passenger and freight carrier CARIBOU went aground in the North Channel of Georgian Bay near Richards Landing.

1923 – The wooden steamer W.J. CARTER, enroute from Oswego to Cobourg with a cargo of coal, began leaking and sank in Lake Ontario 20 miles south of Point Peter. Nine crewmembers were rescued by the KEYPORT.

1929 – The newly-built canaller C.H. HOUSON was in a collision with the collier WABANA off Cap au Saumon on the St. Lawrence in heavy fog. The investigation of the accident was critical of the operation of both vessels. The former served in the Misener fleet, becoming b) PAUL MANION in 1949, and was scrapped at Deseronto, Ontario, in 1961.

1949 – NORMAN J. KOPMEIER was holed by an underwater obstruction entering Muskegon with a cargo of coal from Chicago. The vessel had to be beached and almost capsized. It was later refloated and repaired. The ship last sailed as e) PINEDALE in 1976 and was scrapped at Hamilton in 1981.

1961 – After loading a cargo of scrap steel for Japan on its first visit to the Great Lakes, the Greek freighter MIHALIS ANGELOS ran aground leaving Toronto harbor. The ship had been one of the “Empire Class” ships of World War Two, being built as a) EMPIRE MASEFIELD. It arrived at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, for scrapping as f) GLORIA on December 6, 1967.

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


Port Reports -  July 27

Ludington, Mich. - Nancy Keith
Friday evening the Badger docked in Ludington after a rough trip across Lake Michigan in high seas and winds. The freighter Mississagi still stands off the Ludington harbor after several hours of waiting out the weather. No word on when she expects to dock. Local police closed down the beaches and the breakwalls due to the dangerous seas.

Sandusky and Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Thursday and Friday proved to be busy days at the NS coal dock. CSL Laurentien completed the loading process Thursday and sailed for Hamilton, Ont. She was replaced at the Sandusky dock by the Robert S. Pierson, which loaded and sailed for the Canadian Soo Friday. Arriving at the NS dock Friday night was the Herbert C Jackson, which was expected to sail for Detroit on Saturday morning. At Marblehead, the barge Pathfinder and tug Dorothy Ann loaded Thursday and sailed for Lorain.

Huron, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Huron Lime Co. saw another delivery of a Stoneport cargo Thursday. The Philip R. Clarke spent several hours alongside the dock, unloading limestone onto the dock just inside the entrance to Huron Harbor.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The Rebecca Lynn - A-397 departed around 10 p.m. on the night of the 25th bound for Detroit.

Toronto, Ont. - Jens Juhl
The cement carrier English River cleared the east gap outbound at 4:30 Friday afternoon. There are presently two bulkers unloading sugar. The Brant arrived early Friday and will be discharging at the Redpath refinery at the foot of Jarvis Street. The Maccoa arrived a week ago and is still unloading sugar at Terminal 51 using its own deck cranes and clam buckets.


Tall ships make a grand entry at Duluth

7/27 - Superior, Wis. – There’s something about those tall ships. They make every kid yell “cool” and adults click away with cameras, mouths agape.

But Dorothy Church of Grand Rapids may have worded it best as she sat on the north pier nearly under the Aerial Lift Bridge just after the Peacemaker made a dramatic pass.

“I’m always amazed at what it must have been like,” Church said. “It makes me nostalgic, even though I wasn’t around 200 years ago.”

Nine ships passed through the canal in the Parade of Sail, the opening of the four-day Tall Ships Duluth, to the delight of thousands on the pier and on the shore of Lake Superior. Many said the crowd didn’t seem as large as the one that watched the parade in 2010, when the multi-ship event was a novelty. But more people lined up along the shore from Canal Park to the Lester River, enjoying space over the more compact throng around the piers.

Joe Sivertson of rural Duluth found himself in the Danger Zone boat, getting a look at the ships from the water near the Lester River. He’s an old salt on the unsalted sea that hugs Duluth, but he was impressed with his choice to get on the water.

“I sail three times a week,” Sivertson said. “This has to be one of the best experiences I’ve had.”

That’s because aside from tacking tall ships, there were hundreds of other sailing and boating enthusiasts on the water, he said.

The wait along the shore — people picked out spots as early as 8 a.m. for the 2 p.m. parade — was a broiling one in 80-degree heat and little wind. Relief came with passing clouds that eventually filled the sky after the ships all got into Duluth’s harbor. Blue-black clouds threatened late in the afternoon but split over the corner of the lake into the early evening.

The Pride of Baltimore was the first tall ship through, firing its cannons three times as it plied the canal led by US Coast Guard Cutter Alder and former Coast Guard Cutter Sundew. The tall ships came in groups of three.

Baltimore was followed by the Privateer Lynx and the stunning Sorlandet from Norway. It wasn’t under sail but that allowed a view of its impressive masts and rigging.

The next group was the U.S. Brig Niagara, Zeeto and Coaster II. The final group was the Hindu, Denis Sullivan and Peacemaker, another three-mast beauty.

Ben Gerdes had been on a smaller sailing vessel Wednesday. He and his family from Lincoln, Neb., took a cruise with Amicus Adventure Sailing out of Knife River to get warmed up for the tall ship events this weekend. Gerdes, 10, said he learned one thing from sailing and watching the ships Thursday.

“I can’t imagine sleeping on one or going to school,” he said.

Many of the ships in the festival have missions to teach crew members the ways of the sea.

Sign Theresa Amundson up. The woman from Cotton was dressed in a tri-corner sea hat and an ad hoc pirate’s shirt — gazing at the Peacemaker finding a parking spot in the harbor. She’s got tickets for all four days of the festival.

“This is fantastic,” she said. “Better than I even imagined.”

The costume was a way to get her family — Mom, Dad and a niece — into the spirit.

“Happy ship day,” she shouted.

There was an opening ceremony where the ships are in port and the Niagara’s Capt. Wesley Heerssen had high praise for Duluth, saying it was good to be back. Of all the stops in the tall ships tour, “Duluth is the grandest,” he said.

Superior Telegram


City's Port of Chicago privatization contract isn't fully formed

7/27 - Chicago, Ill. – It's called the Port of Chicago, but its track record as a hub for shipping commodities by barge to the Gulf of Mexico has been so lackluster that a recent strategic report on the port's prospects spent a lot of time talking about a golf course that is part of the facility.

That report recommended putting management of the port into private hands, and the framework for such a deal was announced over the weekend by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

On Monday, local officials and some outside observers said bringing in a deep-pocketed operator may be the only way the Port of Chicago has a chance to break away from its stagnant performance for most of the past decade and spur much-needed economic activity on the city's Southeast Side, still feeling the loss of big steel decades ago.

"We're going from being an agency with less than $5 million a year in revenue to bringing in someone to do half-a-billion dollars in investment," said Michael Forde, chairman of the Illinois International Port District, the city-state agency that owns the port. "There's no way the port district could do anywhere near that."

Historically, Chicago has been a significant center for moving goods across the country, said urban strategist Frank Beal, executive director of Metropolis Strategies and an adviser on city and county economic plans. "There is a risk of atrophy if we don't pay attention to it," he said.

A preliminary agreement for a 62-year lease, not yet spelled out in a contract, calls for Denver-based transportation behemoth the Broe Group to invest a minimum of $100 million, and perhaps as much as $500 million, over the next 10 years in the port to modernize its infrastructure and draw new business. In return, Broe would retain 90 cents of every dollar in new revenue generated by port operations, with the remaining 10 cents going back to the port district, a hybrid city/state entity. Broe also will pay the agency $1 million a year.

The shared revenue would be used to pay down the district's debt, around $30 million, and its pension liability, around $5 million, Forde said.

Emanuel said the project ultimately would create 1,000 new jobs.

The district's board approved the framework Friday and authorized Forde to negotiate the contract, which could take about 60 days. The district anticipates port improvement work would begin next year.

The move to private management is the latest step in that direction by local and state government, and bears some resemblance to the privatization of management at the McCormick Place convention center. In both instances, public boards appointed by the mayor and governor will continue to have oversight.

A major question is whether such a deal robs the public agency of potential future revenue — a major criticism of the city of Chicago's privatization of parking meter operations. Currently, the district's operations are supported entirely by rent and fee payments.

Transportation expert Joe Schwieterman, a professor at DePaul University, said such a negative scenario is possible, in theory, if the industrial segment of the economy were to take off, robbing government of revenue.

But "given the area's troubled history, the risks are worth taking," he said. "I give the city a lot of credit for shaking things up. An incremental approach could drag on for years."

Forde said he was appointed by Emanuel in 2011 with instructions "to fix it and fix it fast."

The strategic report on the port's future, written last year by outside consultants, makes clear that the operation is in desperate need of capital investment "to redesign facilities, effectively market its property and re-establish relationships with key stakeholders of the region's freight transportation system."

The Port of Chicago faces tough competition from the port at Burns Harbor, Ind., which has flourished, in part because the steel industry remains active there, Forde said. The Chicago port, which acts as a connector between the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico, leases to tenants who move such commodities as scrap metal, lumber and grain.

The district climbed into the black last year for the first time since 2001, and it turned over management of its historically money-losing golf course to Kemper Sports at the start of this year.

Forde declined to release Broe Group's written proposal. When a contract is hammered out and signed, that will be public, he said. Without the ultimate terms available, it is impossible to project potential financial effects.

The Broe Group also declined to comment on details of the pending deal because the transaction is not done.

Rich Montgomery, vice president of strategic growth, said in a statement: "We have had businesses in Chicago for more than 20 years with a successful track record of bringing new industry to our real estate and railroads."

The diversified private equity company specializes in transportation, real estate and energy, and is led by founder Patrick Broe, described by The Denver Post as a "media-shy entrepreneur" with a "hardball negotiating style."

Broe is a huge landowner. In 2012, he was ranked the 23rd-largest landowner in the United States, according to The Land Report magazine.

The company also is a political player. Ald. John Pope, whose 10th Ward includes the port, has received $5,700 in campaign contributions from executives and a company subsidiary. Less than a month before Pope joined Emanuel to announce the deal, Montgomery cut the alderman's campaign a check for $1,700. Broe managing director Alex Yeros made a $2,500 contribution to Pope in December, while Broe unit OmniTrax, one of the nation's largest private railroad and transportation management businesses, gave the alderman's campaign $1,500 in 2011.

Pope did not return calls seeking comment.

In the Chicago area, OmniTrax operates Chicago Rail Link, which provides switching and terminal services for 72 miles of track in Chicago. Its customers include BP Amoco, Agrifine and Cargill.

Keith Stauber, regional managing director of industrial services for Jones Lang Lasalle in Chicago, called Broe "a very qualified group."

Chicago Tribune


Controversial piles of pet coke heading out of Michigan for now

7/27 - Detroit, Mich. – Controversial piles of petroleum coke stored along the Detroit River may soon become a memory — for the time being, at least.

A spokesman for Koch Carbon, the owner of the pet coke, confirmed the piles are leaving Michigan for another, undisclosed state. Months of public outcry over the riverside piles, however, isn’t motivating the move.

“Koch Carbon has made a business decision to store purchases of petroleum coke from Marathon Petroleum at another port outside the state of Michigan,” Koch Carbon spokesman Paul Baltzer said in an e-mailed statement. “This decision was made to meet our shipment needs.”

The Marathon Detroit Refinery off South Fort Street last year completed a more than $2-billion expansion to allow for increased refining of heavy Canadian crude oil. Pet coke is a byproduct of tar sands oil refining that is used as a relatively inexpensive, though dirty-burning, fuel. Marathon spokeswoman Stefanie Griffith said officials at the refinery “have been working with our customer, Koch Carbon” on the issue of pet coke storage and shipment.

But a spokesman for the local company hosting the pet coke, Detroit Bulk Storage, indicated the removal of the piles “is temporary.”

“We are exploring all options at this time,” Detroit Bulk Storage spokesman Daniel Cherrin said in an e-mail.

The company is in the process of seeking permits from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality for dust and stormwater runoff. It also is seeking to satisfy City of Detroit officials’ request that the piles comply with city zoning and other codes.

“While we are in the process of applying for permits through the DEQ, we are still waiting for the approval of our permit from the city. In the meantime, the number of ships to remove the current inventory has increased and the piles have been reduced significantly. In addition, Detroit Bulk Storage is not scheduled to receive any additional shipments of petroleum coke; however, while we have existing inventory, we are continuing to load it.”

The pile along the river northeast of the Ambassador Bridge, at one time more than four stories high, caused a public outcry after it appeared earlier this year. State Department of Environmental Quality regulators and Detroit city officials appeared to be caught flat-footed by the piles, and scrambled this spring to assess whether they harmed nearby air and water quality only after media reports and complaints from residents and local lawmakers.

A second pet coke pile on Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority property southwest of the Ambassador Bridge was removed this spring.

DEQ officials this month confirmed that the piles were causing fugitive dust that affected nearby residents and their homes.

Detroit Free Press


U.S., Canadian Coast Guard units offer tours during Grand Haven festival

7/27 - Grand Haven, Mich. - The U.S. Coast Guard Cutters Mackinaw and Katmai Bay, the Canadian Coast Guard Ship Samuel Risley and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Research Vessel Laurentian are scheduled to make their official entrance into the Grand River July 29, marking the beginning of a busy and exciting week at the 2013 Coast Guard Festival.

The parade of ships will begin July 29 at 1 p.m. The ships will moor at designated spots along Escanaba Park, adjacent to the Coast Guard Station in Grand Haven.

Each of the ships will be available for public tours at a variety of times from July 29 through Aug. 3, with crewmembers available to answer questions.

The Coast Guard is committed to making the publics experience on board these cutters a pleasant one, and asks for everyone’s cooperation and patience with simple safety/security requirements. Though the tour will show off many spaces, some spaces will be off-limits. Backpacks, coolers, bags of any type, and open food or drink will not be permitted on board. Searches may be conducted.

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

Arriving from Cheboygan, Mich., the cutter Mackinaw is the only U.S. heavy ice breaking resource assigned to the Great Lakes. In addition to heavy icebreaking, It boasts state of the art systems and multi-mission capabilities that include: search and rescue, buoy tending, domestic icebreaking, Maritime Homeland Security operations, pollution response, law enforcement and public affairs. She carries on the proud legacy and tradition of her predecessor in providing service to the maritime community in the Great Lakes.

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

Arriving from Muskegon, Mich., NOAA RV Laurentian is an 80-foot steel-hulled vessel built in 1974 as a University of Michigan research ship homeported in Grand Haven and transferred to NOAAs Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab in 2002. Laurentian now supports NOAAs diverse scientific interests in the region and is the centerpiece of NOAA GLERLs Green Ship Initiative which, for the past ten years, has been a leader in the use of renewable energy and best marine practices to minimize the impact on the environment. The Laurentian operates on petroleum-free B100 soy biodiesel. All ship systems use renewable oils for lubrication and hydraulics.

The website for the Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival lists additional events throughout the week.


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 six 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.

1897 – SELWYN EDDY and MARIPOSA collided head-on in dense fog off Manitou Island, Lake Superior. The damage was light, as both ships were proceeding slowly due to the conditions.

1912 – G. WATSON FRENCH, later the first ALGOWAY, was in a collision with the MATAAFA in Lake St. Clair and the latter was heavily damaged and almost sank.

1931 – The Canada Steamship Lines bulk canaller BARRIE went aground at Les Ecureuils Shoal in the St. Lawrence while enroute to Quebec City.

1944 – The FORT PERROT was damaged by a torpedo in the English Channel south of Hastings, while providing support for the ongoing invasion of Normandy and the liberation of Europe. As c) DORION, this ship made two trips to the Great Lakes in 1959. The vessel was scrapped at Yokohama, Japan, as e) ANTONIOS S. after arriving on June 17, 1963.

1987 – The ANDREW H. went aground off Cornwall Island, in the St. Lawrence, after experiencing steering problems. The ship, loaded with steel for Dofasco in Hamilton, was lightered by MAPLEHEATH and released on August 2. The cargo was reloaded at Valleyfield. The ship first came inland as EKTOR in 1976. It arrived at Alang, India, for scrapping as e) BLUEWEST on January 31, 1998.

1999 – The SPIRIT OF 98 went aground on a rock in the Gulf of Alaska 40 miles southeast of Juneau, forcing the passengers to abandon the ship. Flooding was checked and the ship released and repaired. As c) VICTORIAN EMPRESS, the ship saw passenger service on the St. Lawrence and came into the Great Lakes to Lake Ontario beginning in 1990.

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


Port Reports -  July 26

Muskegon, Mich. - Tyler Fairfield
The newest addition to the Lower Lakes Towing fleet, tug Defiance and her barge Ashtabula, made their way into Muskegon early Thursday, to unload stone at Verplank’s Lakeside. The pair was observed leaving at about 3 p.m., headed to Grand Haven to unload the rest of their load. The Samuel De Champlain and Innovation were still at the Mart Dock after coming in Sunday evening for repairs.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Calumet delivered to the Bay City Wirt dock on July 18. She was followed by the Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber, which unloaded at both the Bay City and Saginaw Wirt docks. On July 21, Mississagi called on the Buena Vista dock to unload, and the Moore-Kuber were back again on July 24 to again unload at both the Bay City and Saginaw Wirt Stone docks.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Dorothy Ann Pathfinder came into Lorain about 4:30 Thursday morning and went to dock No. 3. The pair departed Lorain at: 12:48 p.m.


Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival returns with honor, fun events starting July 26

7/26 - Grand Haven, Mich. – The Coast Guard City's biggest festival will be back in town July 26 to Aug. 4.

The Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival, now in its 89th year, will celebrate the men and women who serve in the U.S. Coast Guard with several events, said the festival Executive Director Michael Smith.

"It's affordable, family friendly and fun," he said, describing the event.

Highlights include the National Coast Guard Memorial Service, which will take place at 4 p.m. on Aug. 2 at Escanaba Park. The festival will honor four Coast Guard men and women who lost their lives in the past year, he said.

"It's very solemn, but it's a celebration of their lives," Smith said, describing the event.

Visitors can also learn more about the Coast Guard by checking out the "Walk of Coast Guard History" near City Hall. The walk features plaques about various topics in the branch's history, with new plaques each year.

This year, the newest point on the walk will recognize the music of the Coast Guard and will be added at noon on Aug. 2 at City Hall.

Visitors can also watch U.S. Coast Guard cutters Mackinaw and Mobile Bay as well as a Canadian Coast Guard hero class patrol boat sail into port at approximately 1 p.m. on Monday, July 29. Later that day and for the rest of the festival's duration, attendees can tour the ships for free.

The festival will also hold two parades: the Grand Parade and Kids' Parade. The Grand Parade will take place at 11:45 a.m. on Aug. 3 and will consist of marching bands, military units, dignitaries and novelty units. The Kids' Parade will take place at 10:30 a.m. on July 27 in downtown Grand Haven.

For more information about the event or to see a complete schedule of events, visit



Forecasters to monitor Lake Michigan this weekend for possibility of isolated waterspouts

7/26 - Holland, Mich. – The current fall-like weather pattern is upping the chances for waterspouts on Lake Michigan this weekend, a phenomenon typically reserved for later in the year.

Cooler air is expected soon to sweep across the area, bringing the chance for showers Saturday night and Sunday, said Jared Maples, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids.

The combination of below-average temperatures with lake waters still holding into the low 60s create enough volatility in the atmosphere at least to provide the basic ingredients for isolated waterspouts, Maples said.

A threat exists along the entire West Michigan coastline, coinciding with Grand Haven's Coast Guard Festival, according to forecasts.

"The warmer air tends to rise, so what you get is ... rising and sinking air motions," he said. "When you have a differential in that air temperature, you start to create that turbulence over the lake."

Waterspouts typically take the appearance of a small tornado over water, which is where they're likely to stay if they develop. "They're usually weak, not something that would cause damage," Maples said.

There's a greater risk for boaters, however, but Grand Rapids meteorologists haven't ever heard of a situation involving boaters and waterspouts in the area. Thunderstorms rumbled across West Michigan a year ago this upcoming weekend, and at least two waterspouts were spotted just offshore of Holland State Park.

Beachgoers said they didn't last for more than 10 minutes.



U.S. Reps. Miller, Levin team up to save Great Lakes funding

7/26 - Lansing, Mich. – U.S. Reps. Sander Levin and Candice Miller have teamed up in a bipartisan effort to defeat a House plan that would cut funding for the Great Lakes by nearly 80 percent.

Levin and Miller comprise a key piece of a coalition of six House members who are making a last-ditch push to preserve funding that protects the Great Lakes from pollution and invasive species. A House subcommittee, relying on Republican support, passed legislation on Tuesday that would slash federal dollars for the Great Lakes Recovery Initiative from $285 million to $60 million.

That allocation, which has reached a combined $1.3 billion in recent years, is designed to protect the lakes from Asian carp and other disruptive species, improve wetlands along the coastline, bolster fish and wildlife, address shoreline deterioration, reduce sewer overflows and toxic contaminants in lake-bottom sediment, and cut pollution that enters the waterways due to stormwater runoff.

“Congress needs to do more, not less, to protect the Great Lakes and provide resources for their full restoration,” said Levin, a Royal Oak Democrat who represents most of Macomb County. “The bill we are sponsoring … is a major step in the right direction, but it will be essential for Congress to follow up and provide the resources to fully fund all these vital Great Lakes programs and initiatives.”

Miller, a longtime sailor on the Great Lakes, agreed that fellow Republicans on the subcommittee had demonstrated misdirected priorities in pursuit of fiscal responsibility.

“The Great Lakes are an environmental treasure to both our economy and natural resources; protecting them is of the utmost importance,” said the Harrison Township Republican, co-chair of the House Great Lakes Task Force.

“As legislators, it is imperative we ensure that the right policy is in place to provide needed and long-term framework to sustain the Great Lakes. We must continue to move forward vital Great Lakes restoration projects and programs aimed at sustaining the natural habitats and protecting against invasive species and pollutants.”

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which has enjoyed bipartisan support since President Barack Obama established it in 2009, is based on a priority list endorsed four years earlier by President George W. Bush.

The subcommittee rollbacks are part of a broader spending bill that would implement the second year of “sequestration” cuts required after Congress failed to agree on a 2013 budget. The House Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Subcommittee has now sent the measure to the full Appropriations Committee.

With just 13 days of congressional session scheduled before the Oct. 1 start of the new fiscal year, the contingent fighting the cuts hopes to secure House action so that the subcommittee’s decision is not viewed by senators seeking a compromise budget as the final say by the House.

The other members of the coalition are: Reps. Dave Joyce, Ohio Republican; John D. Dingell, Michigan Democrat from Dearborn; Tom Petri, Wisconsin Republican; and Louise Slaughter, New York Democrat.

A spokeswoman for Joyce told The Associated Press he will offer an amendment next week during a meeting of the full House appropriations committee that would “significantly” boost Great Lakes spending. Miller, co-chair of the House Great Lakes Task Force, said she didn’t support the subcommittee’s cuts and would push to restore full funding.

Macomb Daily


Betty Sutton, former congresswoman, to be appointed to head St. Lawrence Seaway agency

7/26 - Toledo, Ohio – The appointment of Betty Sutton as Administrator of the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation is being hailed by the Great Lakes maritime community as one of the most positive developments in recent years. Sutton, who represented Ohios 13th District in the House of Representatives from 2007 to 2012, is well versed in the issues facing shipping on the Seaway and Great Lakes, and has time and again shown a commitment to American labor and manufacturing.

Great Lakes Maritime Task Force


Steel imports plummet 14 percent in June

7/26 - Falls Church, Va. – Steel imports declined 14 percent in June compared to May according to preliminary government reporting. The decline in imports from May of semi-finished steel represented half of the total month-to-month decline in June over the final import data for May. The June data reflect import ordering -- both by the domestic mills and trading companies -- during the late first and early second quarter when the steel market was softening, said David Phelps, president, AIIS.

“For the first half of 2013 compared to the same 2012 period, steel imports were down by nearly 11 percent. Imports continue to be negatively affected by weak demand in most products and market sectors, reflecting the overall weakness of the economy and steel intensive sectors as well as the reticence of many consumers to add to inventory levels given overall concerns about the direction of the economy -- with the notable exception of auto-related shipments of steel, which of course are dominated by the domestic mills. Recent announced price increases provide some optimism, but it is unclear at this point whether the improvement in conditions is due primarily to consumers and distributors restocking, which of course would suggest that the improvement would be short-lived,” concluded Phelps.

Total steel imports in June 2013 were 2.441 million tons compared to 2.838 million tons in May 2013, an 11 percent decrease, and a 13.4 percent decrease compared to June 2012. For the year- to - date period, imports decreased from 17.632 million tons in the first six months of 2012 to 15.713 million tons in the same 2013 period, an 10.9 percent decrease.

The data show that imported semi-finished products decreased by 21.1 percent in June 2013 compared to June 2012, from 616 thousand tons in 2012 to 486 thousand tons in 2013, based on preliminary reporting. For the year- to - date period, imported semi-finished products decreased from 4.027 million tons in the first three months of 2012 to 3.363 million tons in the same 2013 period, a 16.5 percent decrease.

The American Institute for International Steel


Today in Great Lakes History -  July 26

On July 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.

1910 ZENITH CITY went aground at Au Sable Reef, near Marquette, due to fog. The ore-laden steamer sustained damage to 60 planes.

1943 The Canadian tanker BRUCE HUDSON caught fire loading high-octane gasoline at Phillips Petroleum in South Chicago. The Captain, his son and 2 crewmen were killed. The ship was rebuilt and eventually scrapped at Cartagena, Colombia, by 1983 as c) WITCROIX.

1948 ROGN, a Norwegian tanker, went aground in the St. Lawrence at Toussant Island, near Iroquois, after the steering gear failed. The tugs SALVAGE PRINCE and SALVAGE QUEEN pulled the vessel free. It was in ballast and operated on charter to the McColl-Frontenac Oil Company. The ship was scrapped at Piraeus, Greece, as c) PIRAEUS III in 1981.

1965 The Canada Steamship Lines bulk carrier GEORGIAN BAY stood by the small wooden pulpwood carrier PRINCE QUEBEC on Lake Ontario. Cables were strung to the small ship, enroute to Tonawanda, NY with a cargo of pulpwood, to help keep it afloat. PRINCE QUEBEC was later taken to La Petite Riviere, Quebec, beached and never repaired. Apparently the hull was burned by vandals in the 1970s.

1983 PRA RIVER was registered in Ghana when it came to the Great Lakes in 1963. It went aground, enroute from Las Palmas, Canary Islands, to Lagos, Nigeria, as c) MAYON II on this date in 1983 and was abandoned.

2000 HIAWATHA, a ferry dating from 1895, was sunk by vandals at Toronto. It operated between the mainland and a Toronto Island yacht club. The hull was refloated July 28 and taken to Hamilton for restoration, repairs and a return to service.

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


Great Lakes coal trade up 7.2 percent in June

7/25 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of coal on the Great Lakes totaled 2.8 million tons in June, an increase of 9.2 percent over May, and an increase of 7.2 percent compared to a year ago.

Shipments from Lake Superior ports totaled 1.8 million tons, an increase of nearly 20 percent compared to a year ago. Included in that total were 93,000 tons loaded in Superior, Wisconsin, and transshipped to Quebec City for loading into oceangoing colliers. Exports to Europe from Superior total 630,000 tons through June.

Loadings in Chicago totaled 250,000 tons, a decrease of nearly 40 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments from Lake Erie ports totaled 800,000 tons, an increase of 9 percent compared to a year ago.

Year-to-date the Lakes coal trade stands at 8.2 million tons, a decrease of 7.3 percent compared to a year ago.

Lake Carriers Association.


Port Reports -  July 25

Escanaba/Gladstone, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Ports on Little Bay de Noc in Northern Lake Michigan were busy on Wednesday. Algoway and Mississagi unloaded salt in Gladstone and Herbert C. Jackson loaded ore at CN in Escanaba.

Sandusky and Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
CSL Laurentien continued loading Wednesday evening at the NS coal dock in Sandusky. Loading at the Marblehead Lafarge stone dock was the tug Dorothy Ann and Barge Pathfinder.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
The tug Rebecca Lynn and barge A-397 was unloading at Noco in Tonawanda this evening.


Controversial pet coke no longer accepted at Detroit River site

7/25 - Detroit, Mich. – A company that has been storing mountainous piles of petroleum coke along the Detroit River has stopped accepting shipments of the material.

Detroit Bulk Storage also announced that it expects the dwindling piles of the fuel, which is similar to coal, to be depleted by the end of August.

“We stopped accepting pet coke shipments a few weeks ago,” said Detroit Bulk Storage spokesman Daniel Cherrin on Tuesday. “It was a business decision. The piles of pet coke have been getting small once the shipping lanes reopened, and we began loading it onto boats.”

Asked if the company would store pet coke again at this site, or perhaps at a covered location elsewhere, Cherrin would only say that Detroit Bulk Storage was looking at a number of options.v “We’re not ruling out continuing at this site or other sites as well,” Cherrin said. “And we are continuing to pursue permits with the city of Detroit and the DEQ.”

Department of Environmental Quality spokesman Brad Wurfel said the department learned about the company’s decision several weeks ago.

“In the meantime, they have knocked those piles in half,” Wurfel said. “They were four-stories high, now they’re half that.”

Detroit Bulk Storage has received criticism for its storage of the pet coke, a black, rock-like substance produced by the petroleum industry that is used as a fuel worldwide. Environmentalists and residents in Detroit have complained about coke dust and the potential for water runoff into the Detroit River.

Several weeks ago, hundreds of protesters blockaded a caravan of trucks delivering petroleum coke to the Detroit Bulk Storage site.

The DEQ also has conducted multiple tests of the pet coke site and concluded that concerns about pollution are largely uncalled for.

“The pet coke has low toxicity as it sits there in a pile; it is not a toxic threat,” Wurfel said. “I think concerns have been exaggerated. It is being managed like any other aggregate material.”v According to Wurfel, there have been some valid complaints about “fugitive” dust making its way into neighboring residences.

“We responded to neighbors’ complaints of dust in their homes, and an investigation shows some dust appears to be consistent with pet coke,” Wurfel said. “There are air monitors near the storage site and it hasn’t picked up anything off these coke piles. Dust is a problem for those with lung problems, but this is simply aggregate dust, the same as from a farm or a pile of rocks.”

According to Wurfel, Detroit Bulk Storage has been cooperative in working with the DEQ about the pet coke piles.

“They built a storage pad, which is graded away from the river,” Wurfel said. “They also plugged all the drains that might allow shallow draining into the river or sewers so runoff is contained.

“Dust continues to be a challenge, but they have taken steps to contain it, including putting a silicone cap over the piles, plus regularly watering the coke to prevent any dust escaping into the air.”

Wurfel explained that Detroit Bulk Storage doesn’t own the petroleum coke; it merely stores it and they load it into ships. Pet coke was also stored and shipped from the nearby Nicholson Terminal.

“Nicholson Terminal is no longer in the pet coke storage business,” Wurfel said. “It was stored at two sites because the draft at Detroit Bulk Storage was too shallow to fully load the ships with pet coke. They could only get three-fourths full and then bottom out. So it was necessary to send them to the Nicholson Terminal to be topped off.”

Cherrin pointed out that the Detroit Bulk Storage facility isn’t the only place where petroleum coke is stored along the Detroit River.

“It’s stored by U.S. Steel on Zug Island and in Dearborn,” Cherrin said. “It’s also stored along the Maumee River in Toledo. The difference is that ours is more visible.”

Detroit News


Tall ships sail toward Duluth

7/25 - Duluth, Minn. — The city of Duluth is expecting big crowds for this week’s tall ships festival, and that means a big windfall, too. The festival that opens Thursday is expected to bring in $15 million, with attendance of at least 250,000, Visit Duluth president Terry Mattson told the Duluth News Tribune.

That’s how many people turned out for the tall ships festival in 2010, when it included nine ships. This year’s edition adds a 10th ship. The fleet will enter Duluth in a grand parade of sail.

The parade will include vessels familiar to the Twin Ports: the US Brig Niagara and Pride of Baltimore II, replicas of ships from the War of 1812; and the schooners S/V Denis Sullivan and Zeeto, both of which would have been at home on the Great Lakes in the 1850s. Vessels paying their first calls include the Peacemaker, built in Brazil, and the SS Sorlandet, a full-rigged, three-mast ship from Norway.

“For many people this is a once-in-a-life experience,” Mattson said. “There is something magical about it.”

The nonprofit Tall Ships America organized the 2013 Great Lakes Tall Ships Challenge, which stops in Duluth, and the Tall Ships 1812 Tour. More than 25 tall ships are taking part in the challenge and the tour, with appearances in 22 ports expected to draw millions of visitors.

The tall ships are due in Green Bay next month, docking Aug. 16-18.

There is additional interest in tall ships in Ontario and on the eastern lakes because of the bicentennial of the War of 1812, which lasted from 1812 to 1815. In an average year, Toronto might be the only Ontario port hosting a tall ship festival. This year, 17 Ontario ports are taking part.

“For them, the War of 1812 established Canadian-ness,” said Patti Lock, director of the Tall Ships Challenge series of events.

The events include the bicentennial of the Battle of Lake Erie, fought near Put-in-Bay on Sept. 10, 1813. In that battle, nine American vessels, including the original Niagara, defeated and captured six British vessels. The battle gave America control of Lake Erie for the rest of the war.

The battle will be commemorated with events from Aug. 29 to Sept. 10. Seventeen tall ships, including several that will be in Duluth, will participate in the bicentennial.

Green Bay Press Gazette


Explorers find 1839 shipwreck in Lake Ontario

7/25 - Toledo, Ohio – The National Museum of the Great Lakes has announced the discovery of the wreckage of the schooner Atlas, which sank in 1839, in Lake Ontario.

The Atlas is speculated to be the oldest confirmed commercial schooner discovered in the Great Lakes. A team of shipwreck enthusiasts, funded by a grant from the National Museum of the Great Lakes/Great Lakes Historical Society, located the schooner while searching for sunken ships near Oswego, N.Y.

In early May of 1839, the Atlas was transporting a cargo of Black River limestone from Chaumont to the port of Oswego. Within a few miles of its destination the Atlas encountered gale force winds from the northwest, which more than likely caused a shift in the heavy cargo, taking the schooner swiftly to the bottom of Lake Ontario. The schooner sank so quickly that there was no time for anyone to escape and all on board were lost. Only a few items from the schooner, including a pair of oars, a coat, two hats and a pair of boots, were found later by the steamer Telegraph that had been sent out to where the Atlas was seen going down.

The Atlas was located in late June by a high resolution DeepVision side scan sonar system. Last week the team returned to deploy an underwater remote operated vehicle (ROV) and obtain a video recording of the remains of the shipwreck. At a depth of more than 300 feet the visibility is limited to lighting provided by the ROV. The remains of the schooner can best be summed up as a mess.

The ship sank like the stone it was carrying, hitting hard on the bottom of Lake Ontario and collapsing the deck. The impact probably weakened the sides of the schooner, causing them to fall away. One of the masts is resting to the starboard side of the wreck and the other is back past the port stern of the ship. Only the aft deck remains, with the ship’s wheel heavily encrusted with mussels. Just forward of this deck is one of the holds of the ship, containing a large piece of cut stone. From this area to the bow boards jut out at different angles, indicating how violent the impact must have been when it crashed into the bottom. At the bow one anchor is still hanging on the starboard side, while the port anchor is resting on the bottom. The video appears to show a reinforced stern area from which the stone was probably loaded. The best estimate of the ship size is approximately 52 feet in length with a beam of 16 ½ feet.

A search of shipwreck databases and discussions with several maritime historians was made to determine if there was another previously discovered Great Lakes commercial schooner that may be older than the Atlas. There has been some speculation of earlier vessels but none have been positively identified.

Historic shipwrecks abandoned and embedded in New York State underwater lands belong to the people of the State of New York and are protected by state and federal law from unauthorized disturbance.

The Atlas, a two-masted schooner, was built in Dexter, NY in 1838 and owned by Ortha Little & Son for the specific purpose of transporting building stone from the quarries in the Chaumont, N.Y. area. The cargo was owned by Asa Davis, who at that time was furnishing the cut stone for the U.S. government pier in Oswego. Stone from the Davis quarries was later used in the construction of the Gerrit Smith building (public library) and a number of other structures in Oswego.

The crew of the Atlas consisted of Ashel Westcott, of Brownville, Jefferson county, aged about 26; Ortha Little, of Hounsfield, Jefferson county, part owner of the schooner and a sailor on board, aged 48; William Ackerman of Brownville, a sailor, aged 19; John See, a sailor, aged 18; and Asa Davis of Chaumont, owner of the cargo, aged 30 years, son of Phineas Davis, of Mexico, NY.

The National Museum of the Great Lakes, currently under construction on the banks of the Maumee River in downtown Toledo, is expected to open in April 2014.


Take a cruise on a tall ship at Port Colborne’s Canal Days

7/25 - Port Colborne, Ont. – It’s about as close to a pirate ship as you can get, and it will make a stop in Port Colborne during the 35th annual Canal Days Marine Heritage Festival.

Liana’s Ransom — a Class B tall ship replica of an 18th-century privateer schooner — will offer tours throughout the weekend of the four-day festival.

A privateer was a vessel authorized by a government to attack another nation’s ships during a time of war. Privateers would take whatever was aboard an enemy ship and split the goods among the crew, or with investors. The only difference between privateers and pirates, was privateers were authorized by governments to attack enemy vessels.

Liana’s Ransom, originally from Halifax, moved to the warmer waters in the British Virgin Islands, where it now operates. The gaff-rigged, square topsail schooner is typical of the types of ships that commonly sailed in the 1700s and early 1800s. The vessel, according to a release from the City of Port Colborne, boasts a one-of-a-kind experience for any passenger as it is fully outfitted with authentic features used 300 years ago.

The schooner is armed with four black-powder cannons. Guests can experience activities such as steering the ship, hoisting the sails and firing the cannons as part of a Canal Days cruise. Throughout the long weekend, morning, afternoon and evening cruises are available for $20.

Empire Sandy — 200 feet long with 11,000 square feet of sail — will again sail into the city as well, and festival attendees will have a number of opportunities to sail on board the vessel. On Friday, Aug. 2, there is a sunset cruise on Lake Erie. Throughout the weekend, morning and afternoon cruises are available, along with a dinner cruise on Saturday evening and a fireworks cruise on Sunday evening.

Returning to the festival is the historic fireboat E.M. Cotter from the City of Buffalo and the Canadian Coast Guard research vessel Limnos. Both vessels will be available for deck tours.

Advance tickets for both Empire Sandy and Liana’s Ransom are available through the Roselawn Box Office at 905-834-7572. Tickets for the morning and afternoon cruises may be purchased daily at the ticket tent on West St. Tickets for evening cruises are also available during the festival but must be purchased at city hall. Tickets available during the festival are on a first-come, first-served basis. Welland Tribune


Maritime Visitor Center offers daily movies

7/25 - Duluth, Minn. – The popular Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center in Duluth, operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is offering a series of summer films between noon and 4 p.m. now through Labor Day. A variety of Great Lakes topics are covered including shipping, natural history, shipwrecks, lighthouses, Soo Lock operations and Duluth-Superior Harbor activities. Films will change weekly with more than 20 different ones offered throughout the summer.

The Visitor Center will also be expanding the days the 30-minute Pier History Tours are offered to Thursday through Monday 1:15 and 3:15 p.m. This walking tour will highlight the fascinating history of Canal Park.

The Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center is Free and will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. through Labor Day. For information regarding specific programs and times, please contact the Visitor Center for a weekly schedule, (218) 720-5260, Ext 1. There is never an admission charge to the Visitor Center or any of its programs.

This week’s film schedule is as follows:

12:45 p.m. "Take Pride In America” – over one-third of the United States is comprised of public lands. The 15-minute film presents the national public awareness campaign that encourages everyone to take responsibility for and take pride in our nation’s’ natural, historic, and cultural resources.

1:45 p.m. "Ore Boat" - take a ride to the Lower Lakes on the 1,000 ft. bulk carrier Edwin H. Gott with a load of taconite in this 20-minute video.

2:45 p.m. "The Benefits of Great Lakes Shipping" - examination of the importance Great Lakes Shipping has to the national economy. The video is 15 minutes long.

3:45 p.m. "Pride – Legacy of the Baltimore Clipper" – documentary of the tall ship Pride of Baltimore, Maryland’s goodwill ambassador to the world, a 60-minute video.

The programs listed above will be held in the Lecture-hall of the Visitor Center. Admission to all programs is free and the public is invited to attend. For more information please contact the Visitor Center, (218) 720-5260, ext. 1.

Superior Telegram


Obituary: David Vern Larson

7/25 - Superior, Wis. – David Vern Larson, 56, longtime Superior area resident, died July 20 at his home. He was First Mate on board the tug/barge combo Undaunted/Pere Marquette 41.

Larson was born in Cleveland, Ohio on Feb. 7, 1957. He married Emily Anne Wiley on Jan. 12, 1980 in Zion Lutheran Church in Winter, Wis., and had recently celebrated 33 years of marriage.

He served his country in the United States navy and the merchant marine. He held a USCG license as an unlimited master and worked as a mate/wheelsman on several different boats. He also received a degree in radio broadcast journalism and was a certified meat cutter.

Larson was a member of Zion Lutheran Church and American Maritime Officers Union. He loved camping, storytelling, telling jokes, reading and being on the water. He was also a Green Bay Packer fan and helped with Ruby's Pantry.

Visitation will begin at 10 a.m., Thursday, July 25 at Zion Lutheran Church in Superior and continue until the 11:30 a.m. memorial service with Rev. Patrick Ziems, officiating. Lenroot-Maetzold Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. Please send a condolence or sign the on-line guest book at


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 later sailed as J.W. SHELLEY and PHOENIX STAR.

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.

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.

1911: Efforts to beach the leaking wooden, coal-laden, freighter RAPPAHANNOCK failed and the ship sank off Jackfish Point, Lake Superior after an unsuccessful battle with 75 mph winds. All on board were saved

1964: SUNNABRIS made 4 trips through the Seaway in 1959 and returned as c) SEA FRIEND in 1961 and d) DEMOKRITOS in 1962. The ship dated from 1929 and it went aground, while inbound at Alexandria, Egypt, on this date and was abandoned as a total loss. The hull was sold to Yugoslavian salvors and cut up for scrap where it was.

1991: YANKCANUCK (ii) went aground in the St. Marys River about four miles from DeTour. The ship was carrying a cargo of scrap steel for Chicago and was operating as a barge under tow of the ANGLIAN LADY. The vessel was lightered and released.

1994: GEORGE A. STINSON, downbound with a cargo of iron ore for Detroit, went aground in the St. Clair River but was refloated.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.



Algoma Spirit resumes trip after losing power in Seaway

7/24 - Algoma Spirit lost power just west of Singer Castle around 3:15 p.m. Tuesday.

A spokesman for the Canadian Coast Guard in Prescott, Ontario said the ship experienced "generator overload." The ship did not go aground and was not damaged.

"There was a black plume of smoke that came from the ship's stack," said Michael Folsom, who happened to be on hand when the Algoma Spirit’s problem appeared. Shortly after, the ship navigated out of the channel and dropped anchor.

The vessel anchored in Canadian waters outside the channel about three miles from its last call-in-point of Cross Over Island in the St Lawrence River, but resumed its upbound trip Tuesday night. No damage or pollution was visible.

This is only about one mile from where the Algobay ran aground in July 2011.

Mike Folsom, WWNY-TV, Ryan and Dylan MacIsaac


New laker Thunder Bay arrives at Montreal

7/24 - Montreal, Que.  – The newly-built Canada Steamship Lines "Trillium Class" self-unloader Thunder Bay docked at Montreal around 11 a.m. July 21 after a delivery voyage from China. The vessel will enter Great Lakes service shortly and is the third of four similar ships to join the fleet.

This is the third ship named Thunder Bay for sail for C.S.L. The first, a canal-sized bulk carrier, was part of the fleet from 1921 until 1937. It had been built as the consort barge Malta and began Canadian service as THUNDER BAY in 1912. It was sold to Cuban interests late in 1918 and was cut in two with the sections towed from the Great Lakes. After the potential buyer defaulted, the vessel was shortened and converted to a steamer for C.S.L. After being idle at Kingston, due to the Depression, from 1930 to 1937, the vessel was sold, towed to Sorel and converted to the tanker Pinebranch in 1940. After a variety of work, including some World War Two service for the British Ministry of War Transport as Empire Stickleback, Pinebranch was in and out of the Great Lakes through 1955. The hull was sunk as a breakwall at Mulgrave, Nova Scotia in 1960.

The second Thunder Bay in the C.S.L. fleet was built at Port Arthur in 1952. This was a 663'3" long bulk carrier engaged in the coal, ore and grain trades on the upper lakes. The opening of the Seaway in 1959 enabled it to trade east to the grain storage elevators and ore docks along the St. Lawrence. The vessel returned to Port Arthur for conversion to a self-unloader in 1968 and saw brief service under the original name before becoming the third Stadacona for C.S.L. in 1969. It tied up at Windsor on July 31, 1990, and remained idle until being sold for scrapping in China. The ship was towed from the Lakes, down the Atlantic seaboard, through the Panama Canal and across the Pacific to Zhangjiagang arriving in tandem with the original Whitefish Bay in February 1993.

Interestingly, just over 20 years later, C.S.L. has built Seaway-sized self-unloaders in China that sailed on the same route to Canada as Thunder Bay and Whitefish Bay.

In the past 12 months, C.S.L. has built six new ships, two Panamax and four Seaway-sized, vessels for their fleet. These have included CSL Tecumseh and Rt. Hon. Paul E. Martin for their CSL Americas division plus the four "Trillium Class" Baie St. Paul, Whitefish Bay, Thunder Bay and the new Baie Comeau, which is currently enroute to Canada.

Back in 1926, the company also added six brand new ships to their fleet. These were the City of Toronto, City of Kingston, Winnipeg, Selkirk, Weyburn and Saskatoon. The total carrying capacity of these six ships totaled less than the deadweight of any one of the 2012-2013 additions.

Skip Gillham


St. Catharines ship yard files for bankrupt

7/24 - St. Catharines , Ont. – The future of St. Catharines' ship industry was thrown into question Monday when Seaway Marine and Industrial Inc. filed for bankruptcy.

Officials from the Upper Great Lakes Group that operated the Port Weller dry docks declined to comment Tuesday.

"We filed Monday, but beyond that I cannot say anything else," said Charlie Payne, Seaway Marine operations director.

The bankruptcy proceedings are being managed by the Toronto firm Ernst & Young. According to bankruptcy documents posted online by Ernst & Young, Seaway Marine has around 208 creditors who are owed about $12 million. The largest is Upper Great Lakes Group, claiming $6.9 million.

Kyle Groulx, business representative for the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 128 — the union representing the shipyard workers — said he was caught off guard by the news. "We knew things were tight. In all our discussion with the company, we were told bidding was tight, everything was tight," Groulx said. "But we did not know the situation was so dire."

Groulx said major contracts continue to go either to Quebec or the west coast. Still, the ship yards have been busy enough recently to keep up to 130 people employed. "Things were actually going pretty well for the last 30 months or so," he said. "It's one the longest good runs we've had in a long time."

Unless another company comes in to operate the ship yards, many of those workers will have to try and apply their skills elsewhere, he said.

Groulx said some of them have skills that can be transferred to other manufacturing industries, although that will likely mean leaving Niagara, or even Ontario, to find work. "And even then, having to uproot your family and move for your job isn't easy," he said. "The bigger picture though is how much more can we loose? The steel mills are gone, GM, now the shipyards. You cannot run an economy on a commuter bus to Toronto and a casino in Niagara Falls. We need industry in Niagara."

The last federal budget earmarked $5 million to upgrade the docks, which recently completed a $6-million refit of the Canadian Coast Guard ship Amundsen.

The declaration of bankruptcy of Seaway Marine, which has run the docks since 2007, also came as a surprise to St. Catharines MP Rick Dykstra, who has helped lobby for federal dollars to support the ship yard. Dykstra said Tuesday he had yet to speak to any of the parties involved. However, he did say the money allocated for a refit of the docks in the last budget hasn't been used yet.

"It's obviously disappointing but the last time this happened (in 2007) another company came in quickly." Dykstra said of Seaway Marine's takeover of the docks. "So in some ways, this filing for bankruptcy could make it easier for that to happen again."

He said although major ship building projects have been moved overseas to China, repairs and refits are done in Canada, so the potential for more work in Port Weller exists.

An Ernst & Young spokesman said more information is expected to be released Wednesday.

St. Catharines Standard


Port of Chicago attracts $500 million investment

7/24 - Chicago, Ill.  – The concrete on the buildings has chipped away, the "no parking" signs are fading and the pavement is filled with sedan-eating potholes.

The Port of Chicago hasn't had a major face-lift in more than 30 years — and it shows. But a 62-year lease to a Colorado company announced Sunday will bring a $500 million private investment that city leaders say will modernize Chicago's port and bring its infrastructure into this century.

"We've been running a port for a long time," said Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who announced the plan on the shores of Lake Calumet. "We haven't made an investment since 1981."

He said the lease to the Denver-based Broe Group will bring "critical investment that we could not make on our own" and hundreds of jobs to the Southeast Side port. The Broe Group, selected through a bidding process, will lease most of the port's facilities and invest the $500 million over the next decade.

Emanuel said the lease is a way to make an asset out of what was long an underused, money-hemorrhaging operation. The Illinois International Port District, which owns the port, operated in the black last year for the first time in a decade. Before 2011, according to the mayor's office, the port's debt was about five times its annual revenue.

Though Chicago has the country's largest inland general cargo port, Emanuel said, some business has moved to other cities as facilities have decayed. Easy access to rail and highways from the port's operations on Lake Michigan and Lake Calumet will help create more demand for jobs, Emanuel said.

The deal with the Broe Group also includes a plan to provide training, internships and jobs to students at nearby Olive-Harvey College, which offers courses in transportation, distribution and logistics.

Southeast Side Ald. John Pope, 10th, spoke before Emanuel at the Sunday news conference. Pope said too many Chicagoans are unfamiliar with his ward and with the port. The deal with the Broe Group, he said, could help change that.

"I think, quite honestly, in years past we've fallen behind in taking advantage of our maritime activities," Pope said. "We're transforming and reinvigorating the port here."

Chicago Tribune


Freighter avoids fishermen drifting in river

7/24 -  Sarnia, Ont. – Two men from Sarnia were rescued from the St. Clair River after a close encounter with a lake freighter.

Lt. Paul Reid, commander of the St. Clair County Sheriff Department Marine Unit, said the men were fishing and drifting downstream on the Canadian side of the river at about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday as the freighter was upbound. The vessel, Whitefish Bay of Canada Steamship Lines, was on its maiden voyage.

The men noticed they were coming into proximity with the freighter, which sounded its horn to warn them. Reid said they tried to start the engine of the boat, but could not.

The men then jumped into the water, Reid said.

The small boat escaped without damage and remained upright while the two men struggled in the water without life jackets as their boat drifted away. The Whitefish Bay dropped a life ring and smoke flare which attracted the attention of two private vessels that proceeded to the scene and pulled the men from the water.

Neither man sought medical attention. Port Huron Fire Department assisted with their rescue boat. Port Huron Coast Guard took the Canadian men and their 14-foot boat back to Canada.

Reid said there was no collision and there will be no further investigation.

Audio of the Whitefish Bay reporting the incident

Port Huron Times Herald


Lightning strike forces tall ship to bail on Duluth festival

7/24 - Duluth, Minn. – After being pummeled by bad weather, one of the tall ships scheduled for Duluth’s tall ship festival this week has canceled its appearance.

The schooner Halie & Matthew recently survived wind, waves, a lightning strike and an on-board fire on the Great Lakes. While no one was injured, necessary repairs won’t be completed in time to finish the voyage to Duluth.

“It is with profound regret that the tall ship Halie & Matthew cannot fulfill its obligation to appear at Tall Ships Duluth 2013,” Capt. Bruce Randall said in a news release.

The 118-foot-long, two-masted gaff-rigged schooner had sold more than 1,000 tickets for two-hour sails. About 70 percent of those tickets can be redirected to other tall ships in the fleet.

TicketFly will contact the Halie & Matthew customers directly. Ticketholders will be able to request full refunds or they can make new reservations on a first-come, first-served basis.

“Thanks to the unbelievable goodwill of others in the tall ship community, including support from additional captains and crews, we are moving heaven and Earth,” said Terry Mattson, president and CEO of Visit Duluth and executive producer of the event. “Our heartfelt apologies for a scenario beyond anyone’s control.”

Tall Ships Duluth 2013 starts Thursday, with a grand parade of sail scheduled to start around 2 p.m. The Coaster II may arrive in Duluth on Wednesday. The Pride of Baltimore II, Privateer Lynx, S/V Denis Sullivan and Hindu will arrive before the parade of sail, then depart Duluth with passengers to take part in the parade of sail.

More than 250,000 people are expected to take part in the festival, which runs until Monday.

“One less tall ship in our fleet won’t deter the festival,” Mattson said.

The Halie & Matthew was launched in 2005. The U.S. Coast Guard allows it to carry 100 passengers on deck during the day and 30 passengers overnight in unrestricted water. Its home port is St. Petersburg, Fla.

Named after the children of her builder, George Harris of Eastport, Maine, the ship has a fiberglass hull and steel masts.

This is at least the second time lightning has struck the ship. Last year it was hit 50 miles off the coast of North Carolina, former co-owner Brian Nelson said Monday evening.

Further information on where or when the Halie & Matthew was damaged this time was not available Monday evening. Officials with Visit Duluth and the vessel could not be immediately reached for comment.

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports -  July 24

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chandra McClain
On Monday the tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity loaded cement at Lafarge. Tuesday brought cool temperatures and windy conditions. A tall ship callled Unicorn was out in the bay, likely waiting out the winds. Also anchored was the Capt. Henry Jackman. The Alpena made its way into port late Tuesday night.

Sandusky and Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
The Kaye E. Barker sailed Tuesday morning from the NS coal dock. At Marblehead, the barge Pathfinder and tug Dorothy Ann loaded anew at the Lafarge stone dock


Truck crushed by Lock 1 bridge counterweight

7/24 - St. Catharines, Ont. – Ernie Duff leapt for his life just seconds ahead of the massive concrete block that was coming down from above.

Duff, a retired former St. Catharines resident now living in Florida, and his wife fled their new pickup truck Monday mere heartbeats before the counterweight of the Lock 1 bridge over the Welland Canal came down.

The pair made it out alive, leaving the massive block to crush the truck nearly flat.

"At the last minute my wife and I bailed out. Ten seconds later, the car was crushed," Duff said. "I'm just thankful we got out of the truck."

The 3 p.m. incident at Lakeshore Rd. and the Welland Canals Parkway saw the bridge shut down for a time as police, firefighters and the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. removed the Duffs' truck from beneath the weight.

Niagara Regional Police Staff Sgt. Tim Carter said the driver has been charged with running a red light. "He basically drove up to the bridge and saw the cars on the other side," said Carter, who said he reviewed video from the scene. He said the traffic arms came down as Duff tried to get away. "He sat there for quite some time," he said, before he and his wife bailed out.

Carter figured the truck was a write-off. A crowd gathered around the lock as the truck — squashed down to the tops of its front doors — was extracted from under the huge concrete counterweight. Duff said there would not even have been room to lie on the seats had they remained inside.

Seaway maintenance manager Joe Vlasic said officials are digging into how the truck got under the weight. "A vehicle got within our restricted area. Thankfully, the occupants evacuated the vehicle in enough time," he said. "We need to investigate what happened, exactly. It's ongoing."

Vlasic said the Seaway implements preventative systems to keep crossings safe.

Duff said he stopped when he saw the red light on the other side of the bridge and the line of cars waiting there. He said he tried to back up, only to find the traffic arms pinning him in.

A former Port Dalhousie resident, Duff said he's driven over the bridge many times in the past. "They've got to be able to stop that thing," he said.

St. Catharines Standard


Updates -  July 24

News Photo Gallery


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.

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

BURNS HARBOR’s 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 1,000-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.

WILLIAM G. MATHER left River Rouge, Michigan, on her maiden voyage July 24, 1925, for Ashtabula, Ohio to load coal for 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.

1915: EASTLAND rolled over and sank on her side at Chicago with the loss of 835 lives. It was the worst marine accident in Great Lakes history.

1960: The idle tanker COASTAL CASCADES was being used for occasional storage when she sank at the dock at Montreal. The hull was salvaged in August and dismantled at Montreal in 1961-1962.

1970: The 226-foot Danish freighter NORDLAND SAGA made one trip through the Seaway in 1965. It was wrecked off Oman as c) ADEL of the Dubai National Shipping Corp., while enroute from Bombay, India, to Dubai with a cargo of steel bars and generals.

1974: The former GRAINMOTOR left the Great Lakes in 1966 for saltwater service. It was lost as c) ANDY enroute from Pensacola, Fla., to Guayaquil, Ecuador, in the Caribbean on this date off Isla de Providencia.

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


Port Reports -  July 23

Muskegon, Mich. - Tyler Fairfield
The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation made their way into Muskegon early Sunday evening after leaving St. Joseph, Mich. They arrived at the usual layup location for ships, the Mart Dock. It is believed the tug has steering issues.

Sandusky and Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Interlake's Herbert C. Jackson loaded overnight Sunday at the NS coal dock and sailed early Monday for Detroit. Fleetmate Kaye E. Barker slid alongside the Sandusky Bay dock a few hours later and began loading. Meanwhile, at Marblehead, a third member of the Interlake fleet - the tug Dorothy Ann and the barge Pathfinder - spent much of Monday loading at the Lafarge aggregates dock. The pair sailed early Monday evening for Lorain.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Dorothy-Ann Pathfinder arrived shortly after 5 p.m. and departed clearing the old lighthouse at 11:30 p.m.


Tall ships sailing back into Duluth harbor this week

7/23 - Duluth, Minn. – About halfway through Duluth’s 2008 tall ships festival that brought three sailing vessels to the city, Visit Duluth President Terry Mattson said “I need more ships.”

Two years later he got them — nine ships in total — and an estimated 250,000 spectators. Mattson expects at least as many visitors for this year’s festival, which starts Thursday when 10 ships enter Duluth in a Grand Parade of Sail.

The parade will include vessels familiar to the Duluth-Superior, Wis., area — the US Brig Niagara and Pride of Baltimore II, replicas of ships from the War of 1812; and the schooners S/V Denis Sullivan and Zeeto, both of which would have been at home on the Great Lakes in the 1850s — and vessels paying their first calls — including the Peacemaker, built in Brazil, and the S.S. Sorlandet, a full-rigged, three-mast ship from Norway.

Advance ticket sales have been brisk, exceeding expectations, Mattson said. People from 42 states and four Canadian provinces bought tickets for the 2010 festival. By the middle of last week, people from 46 states and every Canadian province had bought tickets.

“Tall ships were so popular in 2010 that fans can’t wait to come back,” Mattson said. “For many people this is a once-in-a-life experience. There is something magical about it.”

People are not flocking to Duluth to just see the ships. Fans wanting to sail aboard a tall ship quickly snapped up the approximately 2,600 tickets available for day sails.

Offering an additional vessel to see is not the festival’s only change. Another is that Harbor Drive and Bayfront Park will remain open until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday so visitors can stroll by and view the ships after onboard tours end at 5 p.m. The festival grounds open at noon Thursday and 9 a.m. Friday, Saturday and July 28. People needing to enter earlier for a day sail will be allowed in.

Ships are not the festival’s only attractions. A range of entertainment — much of it maritime-themed — will be offered each day.

“I think we came up with a good lineup,” promoter Craig Samborski said. “We tried to schedule for a wide range of demographics.”

Duluth puts on a wonderful festival, said Patti Lock, director of the Tall Ships Challenge series of events.

“There is so much there for people to enjoy it becomes a very full day,” she said. “I know they go the distance to see it.”

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

A romanticized view of the age of sail and their novelty makes tall ships popular attractions. Lock likes to ask people what they like about tall ships.

“Pretty much everyone says, ‘We really don’t know, but they are so beautiful. We wish there was something like this when we were growing up,’ ” she said. “I think people live vicariously through the crew, the 24-7, 365 dynamic. They are intrigued by it.”

The nonprofit Tall Ships America organized the 2013 Great Lakes Tall Ships Challenge — which Duluth is part of — and the Tall Ships 1812 Tour. More than 25 tall ships are taking part in the challenge and the tour, with appearances in 22 ports expected to draw millions of visitors. Festivals already held have had strong attendance, Lock said.

There is a lot of additional interest in tall ships in Ontario and on the eastern lakes because of the bicentennial of the War of 1812, which lasted from 1812 to 1815. In an average year, Toronto might be the only Ontario port hosting a tall ship festival. This year 17 Ontario ports are participating.

“For them, the War of 1812 established Canadianess,” Lock said. “1813 was the year that the war came to the Great Lakes theater, so there are a lot of activities” commemorating the war.

The events include the bicentennial of the Battle of Lake Erie, fought near Put-in-Bay on Sept. 10, 1813. In that battle nine American vessels, including the original Niagara, defeated and captured six British vessels. The battle gave America control of Lake Erie for the rest of the war.

The battle will be commemorated with events from Aug. 29 to Sept. 10. Seventeen tall ships, including several that will be in Duluth, will participate in the bicentennial.

Lock said she expects this year’s Canadian interest in tall ships will extend into the future.

“I think now that they’ve had a taste of it, they are going to want to be on the list when we come back in 2016,” she said.

The tourism impact of tall ships can last long after a festival ends.

Mattson estimates that Duluth’s festival will bring in $15 million, as well as giving Duluth a priceless amount of publicity. Overall, tourism inquires to Visit Duluth are up more than 30 percent this year.

“It’s due to the tall ships,” he said.

West Central Tribune


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.

1918: PETER REISS and the GLENSHEE were in a collision at the #3 ore dock at Duluth. Fog and the current were blamed for the accident, with only limited damage to both ships.

1934: An explosion and fire aboard the tanker barge EN-AR-CO during fit-out at Toronto resulted in the loss of 4 lives. The ship was rebuilt as a coal barge and was finally scrapped at Hamilton in 1969.

1955: The tug HELENA capsized at South Chicago while taking on coal from a scow and two sailors were lost. The vessel was refloated on July 26. It survives today as c) DANIEL McALLISTER, a museum ship on display in the Lachine Canal at Montreal.

1968: The former tanker ORION was operating as a sand barge when it sank in Lake Erie about 1,000 feet off the Lorain lighthouse due to choppy seas. The hull was raised by the Corps of Engineers, beached August 2 and assumed to have been subsequently scrapped.

1985: FOTINI D.E. first came through the Seaway in 1976 and, in 1980, became the first overseas vessel to load grain at the port of Goderich. It ran aground on this date in 1985, enroute from Venezuela to a U.S. Gulf coast port, and was abandoned as a total loss on July 31.

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


Lay-up list tells story of a slow shipping season

7/22 - If you think shipping traffic is down this season, you’re right. Several vessels that operated in 2012 are not sailing at all this year, while others have been in and out of layup due to business conditions.

Vessels that sailed last year but haven’t fit out this season include Mapleglen, Richelieu, Saguenay, Oakglen, John G. Munson, John J. Boland, the tug-barge combo McKee Sons/Invincible, the tug-barge combo Cleveland Rocks/Bradford McKee, Phoenix Sun and Algoma Quebecois.

Vessels that did sail this season but are currently in layup include Algosteel, Algorail, Manitoba, CSL Tadoussac, Frontenac, Spruceglen, Birchglen, Atlantic Superior and Tecumseh. Most of these vessels, with the exception of Atlantic Superior, are expected to be back out when business conditions warrant. Ojibway and Pineglen were laid up for a few weeks earlier this summer but are currently sailing.

Algoma Provider and Phoenix Star operated last year but have been sold for scrap.

Adam E. Cornelius and Algoma Transfer remain in long-term layup, as do American Valor, American Victory, American Fortitude, barge Sarah Spencer and her tug Jane Ann IV, Paul H. Townsend, John Sherwin and Edward L. Ryerson. J.A.W. Iglehart is in use as a cement storage hull as is S.T. Crapo.


Port Reports -  July 22

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Friday afternoon at the Lower Harbor, Kaye E. Barker unloaded stone from Meldrum Bay onto the Shiras Dock.

Muskegon, Mich. – Tyler Fairfield
The tug Ken Boothe Sr. and barge Lakes Contender made their way to Muskegon Friday night, anchoring off the pier until morning due to weather conditions. They brought in a load of coal to the B.C. Cobb Plant and were still unloading as of Saturday evening.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Manitowoc came in Friday morning with a load for the Verplank Dock in Ferrysburg. It was observed leaving at about 1:30 p.m.


Coast Guard evacuates sick crewmember off Algoway in Lake Huron

7/22 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Coast Guard medically evacuated a man off of a vessel in Lake Huron early Friday morning.

At 12:10 a.m., a search-and-rescue controller at Coast Guard Sector Detroit was contacted by the captain of the motor vessel Algoway who stated that one of the crewmembers was suffering from multiple symptoms that would indicate a life-threatening condition. The 650-foot, Canadian-flagged Algoway was transiting Lake Huron, 35 miles northeast of Tawas, Mich.

A rescue aircrew aboard an MH-65C Dolphin helicopter launched from Air Station Detroit. Once on scene, the rescue aircrew hoisted the man into the helicopter and transported him to the Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport, in Oscoda, Mich., where Iosco County emergency medical services further transported the man to Tawas Hospital in Tawas.

The man was last known to be in stable condition.



All the Great Lakes have experienced higher levels in June and so far in July

7/22 - Huge spring and summer rainfalls have helped Great Lakes water levels surge by near-record monthly numbers, causing them to rise at a time when evaporation and drought often shrink them.

And although it’s a far cry from the high-water mark of the 1980s, and three of the five lakes are still below average levels, recreational boaters are among those hoping this is the start of a trend.

Information from Environment Canada’s Great Lakes specialists show that some lakes ¬that fell to historic lows last January after a summer of drought are on the rise, at least for the past few months.

“We have a tale of two different years here,” said Chuck Southam, who heads the boundary water issues unit for Environment Canada. Last year was dry enough that levels bottomed out below readings identified on nautical charts.

While that might have been a delight to beachgoers, it was a headache for some cottagers and recreational boaters who found themselves high and dry and for shippers who had to lighten their loads so they didn’t run aground.

This year’s rainfall, combined with less water flowing out of the lakes, has made a difference.

In Port Stanley on Lake Erie, the water “is up probably six to eight inches (10 to 15 centimetres) in the past two weeks,” said Will Murphy, head mechanic at Stan’s Marina.

That means more visits by sailboats, which need more water for their deep keels, and more tourism traffic from up and down the lake and across the border, he said.

Lake Ontario is 32 cm higher than a year ago, and 14 cm higher than the 1918-2012 average.

“Mother Nature is 80 to 90 percent of the cause, or the cure,” said Dick Peever, whose family operates three marinas — two in Goderich and one in Mitchells Bay ¬— and owns a dredging business.

“We don’t know what Mother Nature is going to give us at any one time so all we can deal with is what’s current now.”

His company has had a busy few dredging years as marinas try to combat the one-two punch of silt and low water. He recalls how, in the 1980s, people were calling on governments to find some way of draining the lakes a bit. Now, some are seeking ways to plug them to keep the water from rushing away.

Georgian Bay cottagers and homeowners, for example, have called repeatedly for the installation of adjustable speed bumps in Lake St. Clair to modulate the cyclical highs and lows they experience. Some docks and pilings in Georgian Bay stand several metres out of the water, where 30 years ago waves lapped over them.

Peever notes that some shallower harbours, Grand Bend for example, can now accept deeper boats than last year.

Lake Erie never saw the historic lows that Lake Michigan-Huron (considered one lake by hydrologists) saw, but the slightly higher levels are welcome nonetheless, said Dave Barnier, co-owner of Erieau Marina.

“I’d have to say Lake Erie’s level is ideal,” Barnier said.

With federal monitoring equipment at their marina, they get a daily look at the lake levels. They’re “a foot higher than last year . . . It makes it more pleasant for people getting on and off boats.”

All the lakes have experienced higher lake levels in June and so far in July.

Through the months since April, each lake has surged more than the average. For Erie, the June increase of 20 cm represented a record, made all the more remarkable by Erie’s average rise of just 1 cm in June.

That increase might not seem like much, but that represents a lot of water dropping into the lakes, flowing in from the watersheds and staying in the lakes without evaporating, Southam said.

Long-term averages are not called “normal” levels because humans haven’t tracked the lakes long enough to know what’s normal. But Southam said he’d be more comfortable if the lakes approached the averages recorded since 1918.

What the latest numbers indicate, though, is that a few extraordinary months can make a big difference.

And whether that’s a good thing or not is almost wholly a subjective one. Shippers, beachgoers and sunset tourists might all have different viewpoints on the same scene.

“For every water level, there’s somebody that loves it, somebody that hates it and somebody that it doesn’t really affect,” Southam said.

The London Free Press


Coast Guard rescues kayaker from Grand Traverse Bay

7/22 - Traverse City, Mich. – The Coast Guard rescued a man from Grand Traverse Bay, after his kayak became swamped by strong winds and waves, Friday morning.

A rescue aircrew aboard an MH-65C Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City was transiting across the East Arm of Grand Traverse Bay, when they spotted a man in the water clinging to his partially submerged paddlecraft at 8:50 a.m.

The man was wearing a life jacket and said he was in the water for more than one hour. The rescue aircrew hoisted the man into the helicopter and transported him to the air station. Once there, he was evaluated by emergency medical services and released in good condition.

This case highlights the importance of always wearing a life jacket and filing a float plan, said Cmdr. Chris Chase, executive officer at Air Station Traverse City.

The man had been in trouble for more than one hour and, had we not spotted him, he may still be out there waiting for help."



'Transformers 4' producers pass on ex-USCG Bramble

7/22 - Port Huron, Mich. – You won’t see the former U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Bramble in the upcoming “Transformers 4” movie. You can see it up close and personal, however, at its moorings at the Seaway Terminal in Port Huron.

The decommissioned Coast Guard ship auditioned for, but didn’t get a part in the movie, said owner Robert Klingler, of Marine City.

“The ship itself would emulate the exact look they wanted, a Russian waterfront, dark, mysterious underworld environment,” Klingler said. “We more or less auditioned for the part at their request.”

The ship has been open for tours since July 10 after it had been closed to the public by its former owner, the Port Huron Museum, in August 2011. Klingler and his wife, Sarah, bought the Bramble in January.

The Bramble’s star turn, Klinger said, would have been in an action scene with people searching the ship for the good-guy Autobots. He said the movie’s producers were impressed with the Bramble.

“I think the big guy chose to go a different direction, but we met all of the criteria they wanted,” Klingler said. “The Bramble has the look. It looks very industrial and very busy. It had a really, really good chance.”

He said based on the reaction from producers, he is confident the Bramble will receive more attention from filmmakers. “We don’t know what they are, they’re out there and they know where we’re at,” Klingler said.

The Bramble was built in 1943. It has been stationed in Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Florida and Vietnam, according to boat tour guide Mike Murray. The boat has been part of several historical events and has set a handful of historical landmarks since that time.

From July to October 1947, the Bramble participated in Operation Crossroads, the first test of a nuclear bomb’s effect on surface ships, at Bikini Island. The ship also was one of three ships to cross the Northwest Passage.

“She’s one of the last remaining ones. There were 37 of them (at the beginning), and she’s one of the few remaining,” Murray said. “It was real good when Robert Klinger decided to buy this thing, or else it could have been scrapped out. The history on this is too tremendous; it’s got way too much history to be a piece of scrap.”

“Transformers 4” stars Mark Wahlberg and is directed by Michael Bay. It hits theaters June 27, 2014. Officials with the movie could not be reached for comment.

Port Huron Times Herald


Project will build 3 fish nurseries in St. Clair River

7/22 - Port Huron, Mich. – The U.S. Geological Survey plans to build three spawning reefs in the southern St. Clair River to increase populations of lake whitefish, walleye and sturgeon. The three man-made reefs will cost $2.3 million and will be funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.

Bruce Manny of the USGS said one of the reefs will be constructed at the bend of the St. Clair at Pointe aux Chenes in Algonac. It will be 3 acres in area and constructed with a mix of cobbles and limestone.

The two other reefs will be constructed near the Hart’s Landing Light, north of Detroit Edison’s St. Clair Power Plant. All three of the reefs will be constructed over the next six to eight months.

“Fish will be attracted to these spots every year, for a long time to come,” Manny said. “They’re not going to be affected by the dredging for the shipping channel.”

The reefs will be spawning habitat for sturgeon, walleye and lake whitefish, Manny said.

He said the whitefish is the state’s most important commercial fish; the walleye is an important game fish; and the sturgeon is recovering from near extinction.

“These reefs will be places for the eggs to find safety and hatch naturally, protected from displacement or natural predators,” Manny said. “It will increase the productivity reproduction.”

The USGS wants to build three more spawning reefs in the Detroit River, depending on available funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Manny said the chances of funding are high.

The city of Algonac, which holds the riparian rights in the area where the USGS plans to build the Pointe aux Chenes reef, was expected Tuesday to OK the project, said city manager Doug Alexander.

“Basically under Michigan law, property owners have rights that extend by the river,” Alexander said. “The council won’t vote against it. The vote is a formality.

Manny said the spawning reef would make the city a “mecca of fishing” in the future.

“I’m pretty sure they’re heading in that direction, and I’ll encourage them to do that,” he said.

“They’ll be producing tons of fish every year, have bountiful fishing, a better economy, attract more tourism, and more importantly, they’ll be a location where sturgeon and fish like it are no longer at the point of extinction, but have been revived and flourishing.”

Port Huron Times Herald


2014 Duluth Calendar Contest calls for entries

7/22 - Duluth, Minn. - – The Duluth Seaway Port Authority is hosting its annual Calendar Contest to find the perfect photo, painting or illustration to feature on our 2014 wall calendar. We’re looking for captivating images of ships or vistas that highlight the Port of Duluth-Superior – salties or lakers moving cargo in any season – from unique perspectives that tell a story at a glance.

The winning image and winner’s name will be featured prominently on 12,000 calendars, distributed in the Twin Ports and around the world. A prize of $250 will be awarded. A story about the winning image and entrant will be featured in the winter issue of our 2014 North Star Port magazine.

Photographs, paintings and/or illustrations are eligible for consideration. You may submit up to ten (10) high-resolution images on a CD/DVD or USB flash drive. Entries must be received by August 26, 2013.

Label images (and disc/stick) with your name. Please provide phone number, e-mail & snail mail address. Due to file sizes, please do NOT send images via email; they will not be considered. All photos/artwork must be original in design and execution, taken/created within the past three years and not published elsewhere or sold to other clients prior to submission.

The winning image will be printed approx. 19” x 14” on a calendar measuring 22”wide x 35” high. The Port Authority asks for exclusive rights to the winning image through Dec. 31, 2014. The winner will be asked to temporarily remove it from his/her portfolio; pull prints from galleries, stores and websites; and not make the image available to other agencies or publications until January 2015.

If you are interested in submitting an entry or have any questions, please direct them to: Adele Yorde, PR Manager Email:


Updates -  July 22

Saltie Gallery updated - New pictures of the Labrador and Maccoa
All power has been restored to our data centers. The AIS maps should return to normal over the next day.


Today in Great Lakes History -  July 22

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

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

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

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

1965 MARIVIKI dated from 1940 as a) TEMPLE INN and visited the Seaway in 1960. The ship was beached in Colla Bay, near Mormugao, India, after developing leaks on a voyage from Madras, India, to Constanza, Romania. The hull later broke in two and was a total loss.

1967 A small fire erupted in the machine shop of the West German freighter TRANSAMERICA while a crewman was welding in Milwaukee. The blaze was soon brought under control. The ship last operated in 1978 as f) ARISTOTELES before being broken up at Gadani Beach, Pakistan.

1968 The Paterson bulk carrier CANADOC, loading at the Continental Elevator in Chicago, was struck on the starboard side by the Belgian vessel TIELRODE as it passed upsteam under tow. The latter returned through the Seaway as c) GEORGIOS C. in 1977 and was scrapped at Huangpo, China, as e) OPORTO in 1985.

1970 ULYSSES REEFER caught fire in Toronto resulting in an estimated $30,000 in damage. The ship first came inland in 1969 and returned as c) ITHAKI REEFER in 1972 prior to being scrapped at Blyth, Scotland, in 1973.

1989 MAR CATERINA, downbound at the Snell Lock, struck the fender boom and all Seaway navigation was temporarily delayed. The ship began Seaway trading as b) ASTORGA in 1985. As of 2012, the vessel is apparently still operating as e) ASPHALT TRADER.

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


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.

1910 TRUDE R. WIEHE was destroyed by a fire at Portage Bay, Green Bay.

1911 Thirty plates were damaged when the WACCAMAW went aground in the St. Lawrence. The ship was later repaired at Buffalo.

1959 A collision in western Lake Erie between the CHARLES HUBBARD and the Swedish freighter SIGNEBORG resulted in damage to both ships. Both were repaired and continue in service. The latter is scrapped at La Spezia, Italy, after arriving as d) ALFREDO, on November 10, 1971. The former was sunk as a breakwall at Burns Harbor in 1966 after being idle at Milwaukee for several years. The hull was reported to have been subsequently scrapped there.

1964 The French freighter MARQUETTE began Great Lakes trading in 1953 and was lengthened in 1959 with the opening of the Seaway. Fire erupted enroute from Chicago to Marseilles, France, and the vessel was abandoned in the Atlantic. The gutted ship was towed to Brest, France, and was sold to French shipbreakers. All on board were saved.

1965 A smoky fire, that could be seen for miles, broke out in the cargo of rubber aboard the ORIENT TRADER at Toronto and the hull was towed into Toronto Bay and beached while firefighters battled the blaze. The Greek flag vessel was sold for scrap but before it departed for overseas, is was used in several episodes of the CBC television series “Seaway.” The hull was towed into Valencia, Spain, on July 11, 1966, for dismantling.

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


Power Outage at data center knocks BoatNerd off-line

7/20 - At approximately 6:35pm Friday, July 19, our data center lost power due to a downed power line, caused by heavy storms that were in our area. The data center battery backup system kicked in immediately, followed shortly thereafter by our diesel generator.

Our hosting facility was powered by diesel generator until approximately 4:00am, when it failed, causing the data center to lose power and network connection. In turn, all equipment in the facility had a loss of service. Technicians were dispatched immediately and found the generator inoperative. The initial thoughts of depleted diesel fuel from our tank were in fact, wrong. While filling the tank, we found the fuel pickup line in the tank had developed a small hole in the lower portion of the line and had sucked in enough air that it would not suction the existing fuel in the tank. We removed the pickup line and replaced it with a new, stiffer anti-kink line that will not allow the problem to reoccur.

Some of our AIS station remain off line, we hope to have all restored by Sunday night.



Today in Great Lakes History -  July 20

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.

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.

1940: The first LACHINEDOC ran aground at Ile-aux-Coudres but was refloated the same day after 600 tons of coal were jettisoned. The vessel became b) QUEENSTON in 1946 and was sunk as a dock facing at Bob-Lo Park in 1962.

1963: Thick fog prevailed overnight on the St. Lawrence contributing to three accidents. The TRITONICA sank after a collision with the ROONAGH HEAD off Ile d'Orleans with the loss of 33 lives. To the west, the Swiss freighter BARILOCHE ran into the CALGADOC (ii) and then veered into the CANADOC (ii) before all ships on the water went to anchor. BARILOCHE later visited the Seaway as b) ST. CERGUE in 1967 and as c) CALVIN in 1978. It was scrapped at Shanghai, China, in 1985. ROONAGH HEAD received significant bow damage in her collision but was repaired and operated until she arrived at Castellon, Spain, for scrapping on September 14, 1971.

1964: ZENICA went aground in the Straits of Mackinac enroute to Chicago and was lightered by the MARQUIS ROEN and released. She passed downbound at Port Huron under tow. This vessel was beached at Karachi, Pakistan, for scrapping as f) CONSTANZA on June 1, 1980.

1965: The Norwegian freighter LYNGENFJORD sustained stern damage when it backed into the SALMELA while leaving the dock at Montreal. The former made 35 trips to the Great Lakes from 1959 through 1967 and was scrapped at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, after arriving prior to May 3, 1980, as c) EASTERN VALOUR. The latter, a British vessel, began Great Lakes service in 1965 and arrived at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, for scrapping on April 21, 1985, as c) ELENI.

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


U.S. Coast Guard evacuates crew member off John B. Aird

7/19 - Cleveland, Ohio - The Coast Guard medically evacuated a Canadian woman suffering from signs of a heart attack from a boat in Lake Erie, Thursday morning.

At 5 a.m., a search-and-rescue controller at Coast Guard Sector Buffalo, N.Y., was contacted by a SAR controller at Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Trenton, Ontario, Canada, who reported a Canadian woman suffering from signs of a heart attack aboard the 730-foot John B. Aird in Lake Erie.

The SAR controller from JRCC Trenton requested U.S. assistance, and a rescue aircrew from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit was directed to launch aboard an MH-65C Dolphin helicopter. The aircrew launched from Niagara Airport, since it had already been responding to earlier emergencies and hadn't been able to return to Air Station Detroit yet.

Once on scene, the rescue aircrew hoisted the woman into the helicopter and transported her to a Windsor, Ontario, airport, where emergency medical services were waiting to take her to a local hospital. The woman was last known to be in good condition.


Port Reports -  July 19

St. Marys River
Heavy thunderstorms and winds moved through the area Thursday evening with more expected overnight, bringing relief from the current heat wave. On the Mackinac Bridge, 65 mph winds rolled a semi onto its side, stopping vehicle traffic at 10:36 p.m. As the storms closed in, Roger Blough, CSL Laurentien and Saginaw were downbound in the St. Marys River, while Kaye E. Barker and CSL Assiniboine were upbound. The downbound Stewart J. Cort went to anchor in mid-evening in the upper St. Marys River for unknown reasons. The Polsteam saltie Drawsko – which departed a month-long anchorage early Tuesday headed and headed downbound – was back at anchor north of DeTour Thursday night. Her AIS destination read Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., so she was probably waiting for Algomarine to depart the Essar Export Dock. Other noteworthy traffic included the Norwegian three-masted tall ship Sorlandet, upbound through the Poe Lock around noon.

Green Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
At 9 a.m. Thursday, the Sichem Melbourne, assisted by the Selvick tug Jacquelyn Nicole, was inbound, going to the VT Venture dock to load.

Owen Sound, Ont. - Paul Martin
Algosteel arrived Wednesday afternoon in Owen Sound in ballast. She is currently tied up on the east wall of the inner harbor for an unusual mid-season lay-up. The length of her lay-up is unknown.

Sandusky, Ohio - Jim Spencer
CSL Niagara was continuing to load Thursday evening at the NS coal dock in Sandusky. She arrived about 5.a.m. and was reportedly bound for Hamilton when she sails.


Former Canadian Provider arrives for scrapping

7/19 - The former Algoma Provider arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, behind the tug VB Artico and was beached at the scrapyard on July 12, 2013. The tug had pulled the retired laker out of Montreal on June 9.

The 730-foot long bulk carrier lasted for a half century. It was built at Collingwood as Hull 177 and departed the shipyard on July 18, 1963, 50 years ago Thursday. It first sailed for Canada Steamship Lines as Murray Bay and was active in the ore and grain trades. The initial cargo was 23,967 tons of iron ore taken aboard at Taconite Harbor for the Steel Company of Canada plant at Hamilton.

The vessel joined Upper Lakes Shipping as Canadian Provider in 1994 and Algoma Central Corp. as Algoma Provider in 2011. It tied up at Montreal last December and remained idle there until being sold for scrap. One of the last steamships on the Great Lakes, the name was shortened to OVI for the successful tow overseas.

Skip Gillham


Come sail away, Duluth to Chicago

7/19 - Duluth, Minn. – Want to sail on a tall ship but missed out on getting a ticket for a day sail during next week’s Tall Ships Duluth festival? Don’t despair, there’s still space to sail from Duluth to Chicago aboard the Sorlandet.

Participants will spend 12 days aboard the full-rigged ship, boarding in Duluth on July 28 and leaving the ship in Chicago on Aug. 9. From July 29 to Aug. 7, they will sail across Lake Superior, through the Soo Locks and down Lake Michigan to Chicago. Once there, they’ll take part in the parade of sail for Tall Ships Chicago and receive crew passes to the festival. Costs are $1,800 for adults 22 years and older or $1,500 for those ages 12-21, and includes three meals and snacks daily.

For more information or to register, go to and click on “Dates/Fees.”

The 210-foot-long, three-mast Sorlandet was launched in Norway in 1927. Built as a schoolship for the merchant marine, it served as the Norwegian pavilion during the World’s Fair in Chicago in 1933.

Duluth News Tribune


Beaver Island ferry Emerald Isle repaired, returns to service

7/19 - Beaver Island, Mich. – Officials with the Beaver Island Boat Company and the Beaver Island Transportation authority report that the Beaver Island ferry Emerald Isle, which has been disabled by a failed engine since June 20, has been repaired and returned to service.

Barb Schwartzfisher the authority's executive director, said repairs were completed Wednesday, followed by on-water testing and inspection by U.S. Coast Guard officials.

"This is great news," Schwartfisher wrote in an update email to the Charlevoix Courier. "The men and women of the Beaver Island Boat Company deserve great praise and credit in this. This, once again, shows us why we live on Beaver Island. These people are my heroes."

The Emerald Isle has been out of commission since one of its two engines failed shortly after departing the island late in the day on June 25. Since then the island has been relying on its secondary ferry, the Beaver Islander, with help from Keweenaw Excursions and St. James Marine barges to handle the island's marine passenger and freight transportation needs.


Three new freighter trip raffles now underway

7/19 - One of the most frequently asked questions is “How can I get a ride on a Great Lakes freighter?” The answer, usually, is you can’t.

Great Lakes ships are not certified to carry passengers for hire, so it is impossible to buy a ticket. A cruise aboard a lakes freighter is only available to guests, which includes the shipping company's customers and some family members. The only chance for the general public to enjoy a once-in-a-life-time cruise is through non-profit raffles donated to various groups by the shipping companies. Three new trip raffles have been announced. They are:

• Trip on an Interlake Steamship vessel to benefit the International Ship Masters Association’s Capt. Ray Skelton Scholarship Fund (drawing July 24, 2013)

• Trip for two aboard the Saginaw, to support the Port Colborne Historical and Marine Museum (auction ends August 5, 2013 at 5 p.m.)

• A trip for four aboard a Great Lakes freighter to benefit Le Sault de Sainte Marie Historical Sites, Inc. – Valley Camp museum (drawing September 13, 2013)

Details at


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 light on her maiden voyage July 19, 1943, from Ashtabula, Ohio, 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.

1893: LIZZIE A. LAW stranded in the Pelee Passage, Lake Erie, following a collision with the DAVID VANCE. It was refloated September 14.

1921: After losing her way in fog, the BINGHAMPTON stranded on Gannet Rock Ledge, near Yarmouth, NS enroute from Boston to Reval, France, and Riga, Latvia, with relief supplies. The vessel was abandoned and later caught fire. The ship had been built at Buffalo as H.J. JEWETT in 1882 and left the lakes, in 2 pieces, in 1915 for saltwater service.

1981: BERGFALCK was registered in Singapore when she first came through the Seaway in 1976. The ship was sailing as b) BERGLIND when in a collision with the CHARM off Cape Breton Island. It was taken in tow but sank July 20. The hull was later refloated and taken out to sea and scuttled in the fall.

1982: FARO, a Norwegian freighter dating from 1960, visited the Seaway in 1970. It was gutted aft from a fire that began in the galley at Ghazawet Roads, Algeria, as b) ARGOLICOS GULF. It was sold for scrap and arrived as Castellon, Spain to be dismantled on October 1, 1982.

1992: ROSARIO, a Greek flag SD 14, visited the Great Lakes in 1978. It began leaking in the Indian Ocean as c) AL RAZIQU on this date in 1992 and was escorted into Mombasa, Tanzania, on July 29. The ship was allowed to sail to Alang, India, for scrapping and, after a resale, to Karachi, Pakistan. However, the vessel was sold again, taken to Dubai for repairs, and resumed trading as d) DELTA III. It developed a heavy list as e) CHALLENGE on August 2, 1993, after leaving New Mangalore, India. Attempts to tow the ship to shallow water fell short when the hull rolled over and sank with the loss of 3 lives.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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 from the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.


U.S. grain dominates St. Lawrence Seaway cargo shipments

7/18 - Despite a month where cargo totals see-sawed between positive and negative territory, U.S. grain shipments have made a decisive comeback, posting a nearly 50 percent jump from the same time last year.

U.S. grain continues to rebound strongly from last season’s disappointing performance with a 46 percent rise in tonnage, while several shipments within the liquid bulk category posted healthy jumps as the Seaway navigation season approaches midpoint, said Rebecca Spruill, Director of Trade Development, for the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.

The St. Lawrence Seaway reported that year-to-date total cargo shipments for the period March 22 to June 30 were 12 million metric tons, down 11.6 percent over the same period in 2012.

Iron ore and coal, usually solid performers, were both down by 15 percent and 9 percent respectively due to lower steel production. Total general cargo was down 14 percent to 616,000 metric tons. The liquid bulk category posted a 2.6 percent year-to-date increase to 1.4 million metric tons. The dry bulk category was down 19 percent to 2.7 million metric tons. Within that category, however, scrap metal and pig iron posted upturns of 5 percent and 6 percent respectively.

While many cargo shipments showed a dip to the south, project cargoes were welcomed at the Port of Milwaukee and the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. Additionally, there remains optimism on the project cargo front with oil sands projects picking up in the fall.

"The Port of Duluth looks forward to welcoming four heavy-lift shipments of transformers from Germany,” said Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, owner of the breakbulk terminal where 16 units will be discharged from Hansa Heavy Lift vessels this shipping season. All transformers will eventually be delivered to Canadian destinations via new 16-axle railcars.

Marine Delivers


New vessel Thunder Bay to arrive in Montreal July 21

7/18 - According to the Canadian Coast Guard, the new Trillium class bulker Thunder Bay, owned by CSL, has an ETA for Montreal of July 21.

Rene Beauchamp


Port Reports -  July 18

St. Marys River
Traffic Wednesday included the arrival of the tall ship Peacemaker, which docked at the old Carbide Dock around 8 p.m. enroute to Duluth. She only planned to stay long enough to shorten her masts (the top part of the masts are hinged) so the vessel could clear the International Bridge. When she was finished, she had reduced her height by seven feet, leaving three feet for clearance under the bridge. The tall ship Denis Sullivan was also upbound in the river, with Pride of Baltimore 2, Niagara and Sorlandet at anchor north of DeTour. The USCG cutter Alder was upbound in the evening as well, headed back to her Duluth homeport after a sojourn on the lower lakes. While in the lock, she suffered a propulsion failure that delayed her briefly in the chamber. Michipicoten was downbound after dark, headed for Escanaba, an unusual destination for her. Cuyahoga was loading at Drummond Island, and as midnight neared, Algoma Montrealais was headed upbound for DeTour.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
American Century was inbound on the Saginaw Bay Wednesday afternoon, stopping at the Consumers Energy dock to unload coal. She backed from the dock Wednesday evening, turning at Light 12 and heading for the lake.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Great Republic passed under the Charles Berry Bridge about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday and docked at the No. 1 dock near the concrete factory and was unloading by 9 a.m. She departed Lorain about 12:30 p.m., headed west. Algoway arrived in Lorain around 2 p.m.

Huron, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Great Republic deposited a partial cargo of Michigan limestone at Huron Lime Co., Wednesday; the balance of the load was destined for Lorain.


Sails on the St. Marys at Sault Ste. Marie this weekend

7/18 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. - Visitors from throughout the area can enjoy three days of historical tourism Friday-Sunday, when three War of 1812 Tall Ship replicas dock in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

Produced in partnership with the Tall Ships Challenge Great Lakes 2013 series, the Sails on the St. Marys Tall Ships 1812 Tour commemorates the War of 1812.

Three ships, replicas of War of 1812-era American vessels Lynx, Pride of Baltimore II and U.S. Brig Niagara, will dock at Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., in front of the Roberta Bondar Pavilion Friday. Visitors will be able to tour the Tall Ships and enjoy History Fest at the Pavilion.

Tours of the Tall Ships and History Fest activities at Bondar run July 20 and 21. Re-enactors, dressed in War of 1812-era clothing, will fill Bondar Pavilion and surrounding areas. Admission will be $18 for a family for two days, $8 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, with children five and under admitted for free.

Soo Today


Updates -  July 18

Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the Normac 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.

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 30-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.

1911: The wooden steamer TAMPA sank in the Detroit River after a collision with the JOHN W. GATES of U.S. Steel. The former was raised and moved to Marine City and then, after being partially dismantled, was sunk in 1915 as a breakwall to halt erosion off the Belle River.

1938: ISLET PRINCE (ii), enroute to Owen Sound for a new service, stopped for the night behind Chantry Island, Southampton, and was struck by lightning. The ship caught fire, but all on board were rescued before the vessel sank the next day.

1954: LAKE GADSDEN was built at Manitowoc, in 1919, and lost near Corrubedo Light, off the coast of Spain, as g) SAN NICOLAS after going aground. The vessel slid back into deep water and sank.

1960: IRISH MAPLE, a Great Lakes visitor beginning in 1966, sank the 479 gross ton DENBIGH COAST in the River Mersey after a collision. IRISH MAPLE remained in service until reaching the scrapyard at Karachi, Pakistan, as c) ANNOOR on October 24, 1981.

1967: NEW YORK NEWS (iii) buckled and sank while loading salt at Pugwash, NS. The ship was raised and towed to Halifax in two sections for repairs. It survives in 2012 as e) WOLF RIVER, but has not operated for years.

1984 PANAGIOTIS S., a Seaway trader beginning in 1975, suffered severe fire damage aft in the Gulf of Aden, while on a voyage from Antwerp, Belgium, to Calcutta, India. The ship was a total loss and, while sold and renamed d) OTIS, it was taken to Gadani Beach, Pakistan, for scrapping. PANAGIOTIS S. had also visited the Great Lakes as a) VIZCAYA in 1972 and EMILIA LOVERDOS in 1975.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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 from the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.


Port Reports -  July 17

St. Marys River
The saltie Drawsko departed her weeks-long anchorage above DeTour early Tuesday and headed down Lake Huron.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Alpena arrived at Lafarge Monday night to load cement for Green Bay, Wis. On Tuesday the tug Defiance and barge Ashtabula made their way into port. They tied up at Lafarge and unloaded coal.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Michipicoten called on the Saginaw River early on Tuesday, unloading a cargo at the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. She was followed a short time later by her fleet mate, Calumet, who traveled up the the GM dock in Saginaw to unload. Both vessels were outbound later in the day, Tuesday.


Wisconsin shipwreck placed on national registry

7/17 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – A Door County shipwreck is one of three Lake Michigan wrecks being added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The remains of the wooden bulk carrier Australasia are located approximately 800 feet southeast of the Whitefish Dunes State Park beach. At the time of its launch in 1884, the ship was the largest wooden vessel built on the Great Lakes. The Australasia was the product of master shipbuilder and successful maritime entrepreneur Captain James Davidson, of Bay City, Mich.

Designed to tow one or more schooner barges, the Australasia moved immense bulk cargoes across the Great Lakes so efficiently that it successfully competed with larger, more modern steel ships at a time when wooden vessels were quickly becoming obsolete. On Oct. 17, 1896, the Australasia caught fire near Baileys Harbor and was scuttled in 15 feet of water south of Cave Point in Whitefish Bay.

Declared a total loss, the vessel’s cargo and machinery were salvaged, but the rest of the hull was abandoned and forgotten until its recent rediscovery. Mostly buried in sand, the Australasia wreck site provides vast opportunities for further documentation and discovery on how one of the Great Lakes’ greatest shipbuilders pushed the known limits of wooden vessel construction.

The other new additions are the America, located four miles offshore and eight miles south southeast of Kewaunee, and the EMBA (for Employees’ Mutual Benefit Association) in Milwaukee County.

To learn more about the state and national register programs in Wisconsin, visit

Door County Advocate


Calm weather slows Lake Michigan yacht race

7/17 - Mackinac Island, Mich. - Thousands of sailors on more than three hundred yachts are sailing across the Great Lakes to Mackinac Island.

The 105th Chicago to Mackinac Race started Saturday and now teams are beginning to arrive at the finish line, but so far it's been a slow start.

"It's glass flat out there, so it's going to be a long race," Chicago Yacht Club Race Officer Janet Crabb said.

It has been called one of the slowest races in the event's history. Calm winds have made it difficult for even the best sailing teams.

"The wind was almost non-existent and from there to here in there have been little puffs of breeze that everybody has wished for and a few have gotten it and we were lucky enough to get a few and here we are," Yacht racer Gene McCarthy said.

McCarthy just completed his 60th Chicago to Mackinac race. He and his team can relax now that they have docked up at the marina. "The magic of this island is the reason we all like to come here," McCarthy said.

Even though it is a slow start at the finish line, they are still expecting a large crowd.

"They come in frequently to our hotels, restaurants, and bars," Chippewa Hotel General Manger Brian Bailey said. "It's one great big party up here, everyone's in a good mood, there is a lot of energy going on and they are just appear to have a great time after spending two to three days on the water."

Three hundred boats will finish the race. And it is estimated that more than four thousand people will come to the island just for this event.



Low Great Lakes levels raise concerns for Midwest power plants

7/17 - Low water levels in the Great Lakes pose potential operating and efficiency problems for Midwest power plants. It’s one of several ways power plants are increasingly vulnerable to climate change and extreme weather, an issue recently highlighted in a Department of Energy report.

Several plants in the Midwest have already had to take action in response to water-related conditions. Others must monitor conditions carefully to avoid being left high and dry.

Michigan’s Cloverland Electric Cooperative knew it had a problem last year. Output at its hydroelectric plant at Sault Ste. Marie kept dropping dramatically before bouncing back up.

“We experienced about a 60-80 percent drop in the plant’s output,” says Phil Schmitigal, Cloverland’s Director of Generation.

The problem wasn’t inside the 36-megawatt plant, but outside in the St. Marys River, which connects Lake Superior with the lower Great Lakes. Cloverland’s plant draws river water in from a 2-1/4 mile long canal that runs from near Ashmun Bay on the west to downstream of the MacArthur Lock on the east.

Lower levels in Lake Superior reduced the canal’s water allocation from the International Joint Commission. The lower lake levels also reduced the river’s level at Cloverland’s discharge area. Low water levels there were letting air into the system. As a result, the plant’s underwater turbines couldn’t run properly.

“If air enters the draft tubes, it reduces the head pressure, which reduces the power output,” explains Schmitigal.

A temporary fix for Cloverland’s operating problem cost $300,000. In October and November, workers lowered 2,000-pound concrete bricks into the water under three dozen of the plant’s arches. Divers fit the blocks together like Legos to make a series of temporary weirs, or dams. The project raised water levels for discharge pits on the plant’s west side, where the highest-output turbines run.

“The weirs kept our plant operational, especially this winter, when Lakes Michigan-Huron set record low levels,” says Schmitigal. “If the lake levels dropped another 6 inches or so, we would have needed to install a more substantial weir.”

Cloverland’s water woes are part of a bigger problem.

“Water levels on Lake Superior, Michigan and Huron are and have been for the past 15 years below their long-term average,” says hydrologist Drew Gronewold at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Indeed, data from NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory show that Lakes Michigan and Huron hit a record low this past winter. Lake Erie and Lake Ontario have been “hovering” around their long-term average, says Gronewold.

Hydropower plants like Cloverland’s obviously depend on the water sources feeding into them. Thus, it’s not surprising that lower water levels could cause problems.

Previously, such problems have been rare. The last time Cloverland had a similar problem was in 1923. At that time, it extended the plant’s draft tubes down an extra foot.

Because of climate change, however, many power plants are now vulnerable, and hydropower plants aren’t the only ones facing trouble.

Midwest generating plants that use nuclear energy, coal, or gas boil water to make steam that runs generators. Then they use more water to condense the steam for reuse.

Facilities along the Great Lakes typically use pumps to draw cooling water from the lakes into the plant.

“Those pumps will require a certain amount of suction head that’s above the water level of the pipe,” notes Kent Zammit, Senior Program Manager for water and environmental matters at the Electric Power Research Institute. In extreme cases, a drop in water levels could let vapor form and cause the water pump’s impeller to shake violently.

“You usually have quite a bit of leeway before you start running into this problem,” says Zammit. Power plant designs generally anticipate a variety of high and low-water level conditions over several decades.

Temperature is a bigger problem.

“As you lower water levels, you tend to see increased temperatures,” says Zammit. As a result, power plants draw in warmer water.

“Lake temperature does have a significant impact on our efficiency,” notes spokesperson Bill Schalk at Indiana Michigan Power’s Cook Nuclear Plant. There would have to be “a drastic change” before the plant couldn’t operate or faced safety problems.

Nonetheless, he adds, lower efficiency reduces the facility’s output. That, in turn, raises the cost per megawatt, though Schalk said the company doesn’t release specifics.

Drawing in warmer water for cooling can also raise the discharge temperature for both nuclear and fossil fuel plants, notes Zammit. Consequently, plants can have problems complying with permits from state environmental agencies. Permits generally have seasonal temperature limits to protect fish and other organisms living near water discharge points.

Schalk says Cook Nuclear Plant currently has “enough margin” to comply with its permit. Nonetheless, all power plants that discharge cooling water need to monitor its temperature.

If problems do arise, one option would be to ask the state environmental agency for a variance—a temporary exception to the permit terms. In July 2012, four coal-fired plants and four nuclear plants sought and obtained permission from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency to discharge hotter water than their permits allowed.

Another possible solution, says Zammit, would be temporary towers to provide additional cooling before water goes back into the lake. Discharge water would be cooler, but additional evaporation would occur. The net result would be less water returning to the lake.

Ignoring the situation entirely could make power plants liable for penalties of up to $37,500 per day under the Clean Water Act.

With one-fifth of the world’s surface fresh water, the Great Lakes won’t dry up anytime soon. Nonetheless, lake levels are lower because rainfall and other inputs lag behind evaporation and other outputs.

Midwest Energy News


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 rainstorm 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 that began from a gasoline motor for conveyor equipment being repaired by workmen. The flames and smoke were carried by a breeze to the HAMONIC. Almost in a matter of minutes the HAMONIC was doomed. She was aflame at dockside. The captain and the engineer 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. Every one of the passengers and crew were saved.

1933: SONORA and WILLIAM NELSON were in a collision in the Bar Point Channel, Lake Erie. The two ships were found at equal fault. The former was scrapped at Ashtabula in 1961 while the latter arrived at Bilbao, Spain, for dismantling as c) BEN E. TATE on July 12, 1969.

1989: SHEILA YEATES, a tall-ship visitor to the Great Lakes, hit an ice pack in fog on the North Atlantic and eventually sank 430 miles south of Greenland after an attempt to tow the leaking ship to safety failed. All on board were saved.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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 from the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.


Port Reports -  July 16

St. Marys River
After nearly a month on the hook, Fednav’s Federal Asahi departed anchorage north of DeTour Monday late afternoon, headed for Thunder Bay. Drawsko remained in the anchorage. The Wagenborg saltie Virginaborg was downbound at the locks in early afternoon with a cargo of bentionite. She shared the MacArthur Lock with the pilot boat David Allen and two fast Homeland Security response vessels. In the evening, the Interlake fleet was well represented, with Kaye E. Barker (downbound) and Stewart J. Cort (upbound) passing at the lower Poe Lock pier. Barker was followed down by the Hon. James L. Oberstar. Lee A. Tregurtha was upbound in the lower river as midnight approached.

Marblehead, Ohio – Jim Spencer
The Sam Laud loaded overnight Sunday at the Lafarge Marblehead stone dock. She sailed Monday for Kingsville, Ont., and was moving slowly up the Detroit River Monday night. At the stone dock, the Cuyahoga was loading as darkness fell.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
On Monday the Robert S. Pierson came in stern first and tied up just ahead of the Sea Eagle II - St. Marys Cement II along the East side of the Lackawanna Canal.


First tall ships set out from Saginaw River after four-day celebration

7/16 - Bay City, Mich. – As crews of the 2013 Tall Ship Celebration fleet mopped their decks and prepared to set out on their next voyages, the gaff-rigged topsail schooner Madeline was the first to set off down the Saginaw River about 9 a.m. Monday.

More than 75 people gathered at Wenonah Park’s riverfront to take a last look at the tall ships as they set off toward their next location.

Although Event Coordinator Shirley Roberts predicted the ships would set off early Monday, around 6 or 7 a.m., crew members were still mulling about their ships, coffee cups in hand.

Trainees and crew members could be seen on the gaff-rigged topsail schooner Unicorn in sleeping bags chatting and reading books early in the morning, but by 8 a.m. flags were being hosted and ship crews were gathering to speak with their captains before getting to work prepping their vessel.

Trainees mopped the deck of the full four-square rigged Sørlandet in a synchronized fashion, while members of the square topsail schooner Pride of Baltimore II gathered their signs from the dock.

“The work never really ends,” said Sørlandet able-bodied seaman Dan Cleveland, 26, of St. Louis, as he directed trainees on board washing the deck. Cleveland said the ship could have left first thing in the morning, but the crew needed to make sure the boat was well cleaned.

Cleveland said many would be disappointed that the ships were not sailing out of the Saginaw River but would rather use their motors. The next race from Thunder Bay in Canada for the tall ships might also be a little lackluster, thanks to calmer winds, he said.



EX-USCG cutter Storis museum’s dream in peril

7/16 - Toledo, Ohio – The fate of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Storis, which was built in Toledo, finally appeared settled in early June after six years of uncertainty.

The Storis, one of America's most accomplished and longest-serving vessels, was on the verge of returning home to Toledo to become the site of an educational and historical museum. Now, however, the ship seems headed to another end: The scrapyard.

But not if the Storis Museum can help it.

The Storis’ nearly 65-year run began on April 4, 1942, when it plunged into the water at the Toledo Shipbuilding Co. yards.

Its most notable achievement came in 1957 when it was one of three ships that were the first American vessels to circumnavigate North America via the Northwest Passage.

The ship served in the Atlantic Ocean in World War II, protected the Alaskan coast from Soviet threats during the Cold War, and spent much of its later years performing search and rescue operations and fisheries enforcement before it was decommissioned in 2007. Its impressive career earned it a spot on the National Register of Historic Places on Dec. 31, 2012.

But the Storis was sold by the General Services Administration to an unidentified buyer — most likely the head of a scrapping company — at auction for $70,100 on June 27, despite the nonprofit Storis Museum's efforts since 2007 to secure the ship through both congressional and administrative means.

Storis Museum President Jim Loback said he found out June 7 the ship would go to auction. Before that, he thought his organization, which is based in Juneau, would have an opportunity to acquire the ship from the GSA, which was told by the Coast Guard it could start the disposal process in May.

“It was surprising because [the GSA] told me that they were all working to see if there was some way to give us the ship and then they put it up for auction,” said Mr. Loback, 81, who served on the Storis in 1956 and 1957.

According to the GSA, the disposal process consists of screening the vessel for possible transfer to federal and state agencies as well as eligible nonprofit organizations. If no eligible recipients express interest, the vessel could be sold publicly.

Mr. Loback said when he asked why the ship was put to auction, he was told his organization did not qualify for transfer because GSA rules state that a museum must be owned and operating for one year with at least one full-time paid employee to be an eligible nonprofit group. Mr. Loback, who resides in Fountain Valley, Calif., said that creates a troublesome situation.

“That's kind of a dumb rule for a ship because you're going to use the ship as a museum, and that's going to be the house and everything else for it,” he said.

There was even more confusion after the auction, because the reserve — the undisclosed minimum amount of money set prior to an auction that's needed for a bid to be accepted — wasn't met.

Mr. Loback said he hoped this would mean more time for the Storis Museum to raise funds to purchase the vessel in a second auction with a lower reserve. However, the June 27 bid was still accepted to save taxpayer dollars and deter future government costs, according to an emailed statement from GSA regional public affairs officer Saudia Muwwakkil.

The buyer will have 10 business days to take the vessel once a certificate of financial responsibility is submitted and approved. The Storis currently sits in Suisun Bay in northern California, where the ship has been since its decommissioning.

Now the only hope for the Storis Museum to save the ship is through the winning bidder. The GSA has not released the bidder's name per privacy laws, but Mr. Loback said he was contacted by the winner about buying the ship. Mr. Loback did not wish to identify the bidder for fear of harming negotiations.

The museum had attempted to acquire the ship from 2008-12 through congressional action, but no bill was passed to transfer the ship from the Coast Guard to the Storis Museum, secretary Joe Geldhof said.

“We wanted to get Congress involved and have Congress pass it, because you don't have to deal with the shenanigans of the bureaucrats,” said Mr. Geldhof, 62, a lawyer in Juneau.

As discussions proceeded between the Storis Museum and the GSA in early May, the museum reached out to the Last Patrol, a local nonprofit group formed in 1995 that has tried unsuccessfully to bring ships for a museum to the Toledo area. On May 16, the Storis Museum and the Last Patrol formed an official legal partnership.

In early June, the two parties agreed the ship would be docked in Toledo, not Juneau, because it was more cost-efficient and because of the Maumee River's fresh water, low tides, and more visitor-appealing location.

“The plan for the ship coming to the Great Lakes was to use it as a museum ship and as a training vessel for the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps. ... We wanted to have the ship back operational to help train the young kids; they range from 10-18,” said John Nowakowski, 49, of Swanton, a former Marine and commanding officer of the Last Patrol.

All that was left was transferring the ship from the GSA to the Storis Museum, which the museum and the Last Patrol thought would happen once they obtained funds necessary to repair and maintain the ship.

“We kept being told that we had anywhere from six months to a year to get everything in line,” Mr. Nowakowski said. They actually had just a few weeks before the auction.

Mr. Geldhof said he realizes the chances of buying the ship from the winning bidder are not good.

“The Storis is worthy of one last effort and we're going to give it a shot. We'll see how that goes,” Mr. Geldhof said. “We haven't given up the ship yet, and until it's actually under the torch, cut up, we'll keep trying to save it.”

Toledo Blade


Today in Great Lakes History -  July 16

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.

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 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.

1911 ¬ MAINE, upbound with a load of coal, caught fire in the St. Clair River and was run aground on the Canadian shore. The crew escaped.

1958 ¬ The Swedish freighter ERHOLM and the FRANK ARMSTRONG of the Interlake fleet were in a collision in northern Lake St. Clair with minor damage to both ships. ERHOLM had earlier been a Great Lakes caller as a) ERLAND and later came through the Seaway in 1959-1960. It returned inland again in 1961 and 1962 as c) OTIS. The ship arrived at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, for scrapping as h) DIMITRA K. on August 25, 1980.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Port Reports -  July 15

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Cedarglen arrived Sunday morning at the Upper Harbor ore dock on her first visit since May of 2005, when her starboard bridge wing was modified to clear the gravity chutes.

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Manistee spent most of Sunday at the Lafarge stone dock loading following her pre-dawn arrival. As darkness crept over Lake Erie, she was eastbound for Fairport Harbor. Sam Laud was loading Sunday evening at the aggregate dock on the Marblehead Peninsula.


Ex-Canadian Miner remains slowly falling apart

7/15 - Main-A-Dieu, Nova Scotia – Its been almost 22 months since the former lakes and Seaway vessel Canadian Miner ran aground on Scatarie Island, and slowly, the Atlantic is washing it away.

Bateston resident Josephine Kennedy visited the site recently and took some photos that illustrate the growing damage to the vessel. "She's there and Mother Nature will take care of it," said Kennedy, who's also a provincial Liberal candidate in the Sydney River-Mira-Louisbourg riding.

"If you recall in the fall when it happened, in 2011, Dexter (said) ... It's going to be removed, we're going to move (it) and then nothing. It seems like the buck is being passed around and that the feds aren't taking any ownership of the ship being there.

"We don't hear too much on it any more."

The Greek ocean-going tug Hellas was towing the Canadian Miner on Sept. 20, 2011, when its line broke free and the ship ran aground on the shores of Scatarie Island, a provincially protected wilderness area. The province has maintained the wreck is a federal responsibility while Ottawa has indicated it poses no hazard to either navigation or the environment.

A New York-based salvage company attempted a salvage job but the company walked away, claiming government bureaucratic hurdles.

The wreck may be a federal responsibility but even which department is responsible is up for debate, said provincial Natural Resources spokesman Bruce Nunn.

"Not sure, bit of a combination Fisheries and Oceans, the Coast Guard, and the federal department of Transportation are supposed to oversee the required permissions for ships to tow other ships in Canadian waters," he said.

"Environment Canada is another one. I think Environment Canada would care about the environmental impact on the ocean, Fisheries and Oceans Canada would care about the impact on the wildlife within the ocean; Transportation Canada should care. ... They're supposed to be in charge of granting approvals in towing vessels. The Coast Guard should care as well. All of those agencies should be involved.

"Our role in it is that it simply happens to be a protected area, that island, a provincial protected area, so when their ship ends up there it's not supposed to be there because you're not supposed to have that kind of thing in a protected area. That's why the premier has been asking the federal government to act, to see that the ship gets removed but it hasn't happened yet."

In a news release issued by Transport Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada back in October 2011, it stated:

"The federal government will continue to investigate and monitor to ensure its roles are fulfilled. Should the Canadian Miner pose any future environmental hazard or threat to navigation, responsible departments of the Government of Canada will act quickly and decisively."

Transport Canada is now monitoring the Miner's location. According to Steve Bone, Transport Canada's area manager for communications and marketing, the vessel is not causing any problems at this time.

"Transport Canada’s role is to ensure that Canada's waterways provide safe navigation to marine vessels, and are free of ship-source pollution," said Bone in an email statement. "At this time, Miner is not blocking navigation nor is it leaking ship-source pollution. Should the vessel become a marine pollution hazard or a significant obstruction to navigation, Transport Canada will act with appropriate action within its mandate."

Bone re-iterated that the owner not Transport Canada is responsible for removing stranded vessels but that monitoring would continue.

"Transport Canada continues to monitor the Scatarie Island area for pollution as part of ongoing routine flights by the National Aerial Surveillance Program."

While it doesn't look like the Canadian Miner will be moving any time soon, Kennedy wonders if it had run aground elsewhere if things would be different.

"I think a lot of the reason there's no political will to move it is that it's basically sight unseen and as far as you go from the main part of the mainland," said Kennedy.

"I'm curious if it had landed on McNab's Island in Halifax since that is a provincially protected island, and we (currently) have one there on Scatarie, (it) would be an interesting question to pose to the powers that be."

Cape Breton Post


Updates -  July 15

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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 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.

1885: The rail car ferry LANSDOWNE and the CLARION were in a collision on the Detroit River.

1895: CIBOLA caught fire and burned at the dock at Lewiston, NY, with the loss of one life. The hull was towed to Toronto and used in a fill project.

1943: GEORGE M. HUMPHREY sank off Old Point Mackinac Light following a collision with the D.M. CLEMSON. The ship was salvaged in 1944 and rebuilt at Sturgeon Bay as b) CAPTAIN JOHN ROEN in 1945 and became c) ADAM E. CORNELIUS in 1948 and d) CONSUMERS POWER in 1958.

1977: The ore- laden CADILLAC went aground in the St. Marys River after missing a turn in fog. It was released the next day with the help of 3 tugs.

1986: The C.S.L. self-unloader MANITOULIN went aground at Sandusky, off Cedar Point, after losing power. The ship was released with the help of tugs.

1998: LITA hit the knuckle at the Eisenhower Lock and sustained damage to the starboard side. The vessel later hit bottom of the channel near the Snell Lock but there was no additional damage. The ship was enroute from Toledo to Algeria. The 11,121 gross ton saltwater vessel was still in service as of 2012.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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 from the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.


Port Reports -  July 14

St. Marys River
Cedarglen was upbound through the Mac Lock Saturday night headed for Marquette. Cason J. Callaway and Herbert C. Jackson were also upbound in the evening, and Ojibway and Tim S. Dool were downbound.

South Chicago/Indiana Harbor - Matt M
Around 3 p.m. Saturday, Alpena steamed into Lake Michigan after unloading in Lake Calumet. Shortly after, the Mesabi Miner left Indiana Harbor following the Alpena north. Later in the evening, the Algomarine finished loading at Arcelor Mittal and the Defiance/Ashtabula arrived off the Calumet breakwall.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Algorail was inbound late Thursday night, headed up the Saginaw River for the Sargent salt dock in Zilwaukee. She finished unloading by Friday morning, backed down to the airport turning basin, turned and was outbound for the lake. The tug Dorothy Ann and her barge, Pathfinder, were inbound Friday afternoon, calling on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. The pair finished unloading and were outbound for the lake Friday evening.

Sarnia, Ont.
Algorail has arrived for temporary layup.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Algoway called the Charles Berry Bridge at 13:40 Saturday and said she was departing dock #1 and going to the turning basin. On her approach to the bridge, she had to blast her horn because pedestrians wouldn't clear the bridge. Algoway departed Lorain cleared the outer light at 3:55 p.m.

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Manistee loaded Friday at the Lafarge stone dock.

Ashtabula, Ohio - Duff Rawlings
Ken Boothe Sr. and barge Lakes Contender departed before sunrise after unloading stone. Then Federal Elbe, after holding off the light all night, pulled into Pinney Dock for unloading at first light.


Pere Marquette 41 continues to earn her keep in tramp trade

7/14 - An historic vessel operating in her second life loaded Saturday at the Lafarge aggregate dock on Lake Erie's Marblehead Peninsula. PM 41 - now a barge - began her life on the Great Lakes less than a year before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor - hauling passengers, rail cars, trucks and autos across Lake Michigan from Ludington.

Known originally as the City of Midland, the PM 41 was owned by the Pere Marquette Railroad. Acquired by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, her sailing days as a ferry ended in 1985 when the C & O halted cross-lake ferry service.

Ultimately reduced to a barge and acquired by her current owners, Pere Marquette Shipping Co., of Ludington, the PM 41 and her companion tug Undaunted are the closest thing to a tramp steamer that can be found on the Lakes. Long gone are the days when lakes boat moved from port to port delivering and picking up varied cargo at lakefront communities.

Since the opening of the 1998 shipping season the pair have plodded along carving a niche for themselves on lakes Michigan and Huron, from ice-out to ice-in each year. Cargo runs the gamut from scrap steel to stone; often loads that no other vessel can handle.

Saturday offered a good example of the life being lived by crews working aboard the PM 41 and Undaunted: Take on a load of stone at Marblehead for delivery to Charlevoix, Michigan. The run to the picturesque northwest Michigan community best known for the wealth of its summer residents and as one of author Ernest Hemingway's youthful haunts, will be completed late Monday afternoon.

Once in port, the specially designed and fabricated unloading gear aboard the PM 41 will place the stone on a dock and she will put her bow - still that of a cross-lake ferry circa-1940 - back into Lake Michigan's chilly water, bound for the next harbor in which the dispatcher in Ludington has a cargo awaiting pick-up.

Saturday night, PM 41 was docked in Trenton, Mich. in the lower Detroit River’s Trenton Channel.

Jim Spencer


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 cutter’s 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.

1891: ATHABASCA and PONTIAC collided head-on in the Sugar Island Channel of the St. Marys River and the latter settled on the bottom. The former arrived at Sault Ste. Marie, with wreckage draped across her bow. Both ships were repaired and returned to service.

1931: The bulk canaller TEAKBAY hit a rock in the Brockville Narrows of the St. Lawrence and went aground while enroute from Sandusky to Quebec City with coal. It was refloated but was listing and in need of repairs.

1964: DANIEL PIERCE, a former Great Lakes tanker, ran aground at Guanica, Puerto Rico. The ship was leaking sulphuric acid into the bilges mixing with salt water. The town was evacuated due to the potential for an explosion. The hull was condemned and eventually scrapped.

1966: The Israeli freighter ELAT, on her second trip to the Great Lakes, and LEMOYNE were in a collision near Lock 2 of the Welland Canal, with only minor damage. ELAT arrived at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, for scrapping by September 7, 1982, while LEMOYNE was broken up at Santander, Spain, in 1969.

1993: CALCITE II lost steering and ran aground in the Amherstburg Channel of the Detroit River. The ship was lightered, released with the help of the tugs PATRICIA HOEY, OREGON and STORMONT and, after unloading at Ecorse, headed for Toledo to be repaired.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Dave Wobser, Mike Nicholls, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series – Marine Historical Society of Detroit.


U.S.-Flag cargo movement on Lakes up 2.3 percent in June

7/13 - Cleveland, Ohio – U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters (lakers) carried 10.1 million tons of dry-bulk cargo in June, a virtual repeat of the preceding month, and an increase of 2.3 percent compared to the corresponding period last year. The June float was, however, down 2.9 percent from the month’s long-term average.

U.S.-flag lakers moved 4.6 million tons of iron ore in June, 76.1 percent of all ore moving on the Lakes/Seaway that month. The 4.6 million tons represent a 2-percent decrease compared to a year ago, and a drop of 2.6 percent compared to the months long-term average.

Coal shipments in U.S. hulls totaled 2 million tons, an increase of 18 percent compared to a year ago, but a decrease of 12 percent compared to the month’s long-term average.

The 3 million tons of limestone hauled by U.S.-flag lakers in June represent 82.1 percent of the trade month and a repeat of a year ago.

Through June, the U.S.-flag float stands at 32.7 million tons, a decrease of 4.6 percent compared to a year ago. Iron ore cargos are down by 6 percent. Coal loadings trail last year by 4.5 percent. Shipments of limestone are 1.6 percent off last year’s pace.

Lake Carriers Association


Port Reports -  July 13

Soo Locks
Algoma Montrealais and Great Republic were downbound in the afternoon Friday. Baie St. Paul was above the locks downbound as night fell. Atlantic Erie and American Integrity were upbound in the evening.

Green Bay, Wis. - Jake Heffernan
Manitowoc arrived in Green Bay on a sunny Friday evening with a load of coal for Georgia Pacific. The crowd on the City Deck along the river was even treated to a salute by the vessel.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Algoway was still in Lorain as of 9 a.m. Friday.


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 . . .”

1941: The first COLLINGDOC was inbound with coal for the Thames River when it struck a mine off Southend, England, and sank. There were at least two casualties. The hull was later refloated and sunk along with another ship, believed to be the PONTO, as part of the Churchill Barriers off Scapa Flow, in the northern United Kingdom. In time, sand has blown in and covered much of the hull with only the cement-encased pilothouse visible at last report.

1978: OLAU GORM, best remembered as one of 4 freighters that had to spend the winter of 1964-1965 on the Great Lakes due to ice closing the Seaway, ran aground as f) FAST BREEZE in the Red Sea. The ship was enroute to from Piraeus, Greece, to Gizan, Saudi Arabia, and was refloated, with severe damage, on July 16. It was soon sold to Pakistani shipbreakers and was broken up at Gadani Beach in 1979.

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


Port Reports -  July 12

Milwaukee, Wis. - Chris Gaziano
Algomarine departed before sunrise Thursday for Chicago. Herbert C. Jackson arrived mid-morning with a load of stone. They were finished unloading and heading out for the lake by late afternoon. The saltie Iryda also departed, following the Jackson out.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Algoway came into Lorain Wednesday and docked by the concrete plant on the east side of the river just past the railway bridge. By late Wednesday, she had finished unloading but was still there at 08:30 Thursday.


Burger Boat to hire 50 to build research ship to replace Grayling

7/12 - Manitowoc, Wis. – Burger Boat Co. expects to add up to 50 jobs to build a large fisheries research vessel for the U.S. Geological Survey.

The Government Accountability Office had upheld the awarding to Burger a $5.59 million contract for the 78-foot, steel-hulled Grayling with an expected launch into the Manitowoc River in fall 2014, Kurt Newman of the USGS’s Great Lakes Science Center said Wednesday.

Protests filed in April by one or more losing bidders prompted a GAO review of the contract.

“I was very impressed with the package Burger Boat provided and I just think we made the right decision all-around,” said Newman, branch chief of the Western Basic Ecosytem of USGS.

Ron Cleveringa, Burger Boat’s vice president of sales and marketing, said the new hires would be in all shipbuilding trades including metal working, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, paint and joiner.

“In about three months we should start cutting metal,” Cleveringa said, noting production will commence after final design approval by USGS.

The new ship will replace the existing 38-year-old Grayling and is expected to have a 40- to 50-year service life. Among crew members’ tasks will be dragging nets along the lake bottom, catching fish, and using sound waves to detect fish and assess their abundance.

Cleveringa said the 150-year-old company will reach out to former employees to see which ones would like to work on the project

Green Bay Press Gazette


Longboats pull in for overnight stay this week

7/12 - In the days of sailing ships, a vessel would carry several ship's boats for various uses. One would be a longboat, an open boat to be rowed by eight or ten oarsmen, two per thwart.

The longboat was double banked, its rowing benches were designed to accommodate two men each pulling an oar on opposite sides. The longboat would have fairly fine lines aft to permit its use in steep waves such as surf or wind against tide where need be. Like other ships' boats, the longboat could be rigged for sailing but was primarily a pulling boat.

This summer, a flotilla consisting of seven longboats, a schooner and a brigantine will re-enact Mulcaster's mission on the St Lawrence, re-enacting the efforts of the forces stationed along the St. Lawrence River during the dark days of 1813 and the successful invasions of Upper Canada.

This flotilla will be sailing downriver from Bath to Upper Canada Village, ending at the bicentennial battle re-enactment of the Battle of Crysler's Farm July 13-14.

The sailors will row/sail in open boats and come ashore each evening to set up canvas tents and prepare their meals, only to repeat the process each day until the trip is complete, this in tribute to the iron men who saved the colony by their herculean efforts on this very same ground 200 years ago.

St. Lawrence EMC


Canal shipping exhibit in St. Catharines library

7/12 - St. Catharines, Ont. – They are images and artifacts of a Welland Canal shipping system that’s shaped St. Catharines’ history. And the St. Catharines Heritage Committee — in partnership with the St. Catharines Museum and a local private collector — has launched the historical display at the Church Street library.

Included in the installation is canal construction over the last 190 years, and the Seaway route’s impact on the shipping industry.

Other outstanding images include tall ships at the mouth of the old canal in Port Dalhousie, and St. Catharines’ former Shickluna Shipyards.

There are also shipping-related artifacts of old wooden pulleys and ropes, capstan covers and ship models. Efforts to recognize and memorialize workers killed during canal construction is also profiled.

“Most of the images related to fallen workers are those that family members submitted,” said Kathleen Powell, supervisor of historical services and curator of the St. Catharines Museum.

The St. Catharines Public Library display continues until the end of the month.

Thorold Niagara News


Half-way point reached in fund-raising drive for bench to honor ‘Lady Pirate’

7/12 - Port Huron, Mich. – About half the funds needed, or approximately $1,800, to cover the cost of a memorial bench to honor the late BoatNerd Violet Mae Bostwick have been raised. The bench will be placed on the St. Clair River Walk now being constructed. Donations were recently solicited at Boatnerd gatherings at Port Huron and Sault Ste. Marie.

Donations may still be made. Make checks out to Andrew Severson and mail to Andrew Severson, 22712 Detour, St. Clair Shores, MI 48082-2425. Bostwick died earlier this year after a battle with cancer.


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.

190:9 The ore laden JOHN B. COWLE (i) was struck amidships by the ISAAC M. SCOTT off Whitefish Point, Lake Superior, and sank with the reported loss of 11 lives.

1917: GEORGE N. ORR was wrecked at Savage Point in the Strait of Northumberland, Prince Edward Island, on her way to New York City and wartime saltwater service. The vessel had been cut in two and towed from the lakes to be rejoined at Montreal.

1969: The deep-sea tug MISSISSIPPI arrived at Bilbao, Spain, with the lakers DONNACONA (ii) and BEN E. TATE, for scrapping.

1977: The stern section of the former canaller BIRCHTON was raised at Halifax after the two parts, which had been created for use as pontoons in the construction of offshore drilling platforms, sank at the dock.

1985: MONTY PYTHON first visited the Great Lakes as a) MONTE ZALAMA in 1970. It returned as b) MONTY PYTHON after being renamed in 1985. The ship drifted aground in the St. Lawrence off La Ronde while loading scrap at Montreal and had to be lightered to P.S. BARGE NO. 1 before floating free on July 18. This saltwater vessel was sold for scrap before the year was out and arrived at Dalian, China, on November 3, 1985, to be dismantled.

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


Lakes stone trade down 5.8 percent in June

7/11 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 3.6 million tons in June, a slight increase over May (80,000 tons), but a decrease of 5.8 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments were also down 7.5 percent from June’s total in recent years.

Shipments from U.S. ports totaled 3.1 million tons, a decrease of 2.8 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings at Canadian quarries dipped by more than 21 percent.

Year-to-date, the Lakes limestone trade stands at 9.3 million tons, a decrease of 6.4 percent compared to a year ago, and 7.7 percent below the average for the January-June timeframe in recent years.

Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports -  July 11

Duluth, Minn.
Tim S. Dool loaded grain Monday at the Riverland Ag dock in Duluth, formerly known as Cargill. She is expected to depart in Friday.

St. Marys River
Fednav’s Federal Weser was upbound in the St. Marys River Wednesday evening with a destination of Thunder Bay listed, coming from a Lake Michigan port. Fleetmate Federal Asahi and Polsteam’s Drawkso remain at the anchorage north of DeTour awaiting orders.

Milwaukee Wis. - Chris Gaziano
It was a busy day for Milwaukee. The Mississagi departed before sunrise after arriving late Tuesday night with a partial load of salt. As they were heading out they were met by the St. Marys Challenger making her way in with a load of cement. After spending the day unloading the St. Marys was heading out for the lake by late afternoon. The saltie Iryda came in during the evening hours followed by the Algomarine with a load of salt.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Wednesday morning the tug G.L. Ostrander and barge Integrity loaded cement under the silos at Lafarge. Once it departed the dock, it was heading for Detroit, Mich. The Alpena was expected to arrive around 10:30 Wednesday night.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Zeus and tank barge Robert F. Deegan called on the Saginaw River, Tuesday, stopping at the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City, to unload. The pair were outbound for the lake early Wednesday morning.

Hamilton, Ont.
Ojibway has departed her temporary layup and, after a short stop in Windsor Wednesday, is headed for Lake Superior to load.


Updates -  July 11

News Photo Gallery
Soo Gathering Gallery
We are still trying to get caught up on the News Galleries, please continue to send in your photos.


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 MacArthur Lock was formally opened to traffic. The first boat to lock through during the ceremonies was the upbound CARL D. BRADLEY, Captain F. F. Pearse. There were 250 dignitaries and passengers aboard the Bradley during the lockage. The first downbound vessel was the new Leon Fraser of the Pittsburgh Steamship fleet.

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.

1915: CHOCTAW, enroute from Cleveland to Duluth with a cargo of coal, sank following a collision with the WAHCONDAH in foggy Lake Huron. All on board were saved.

1940: WILLIAM F. STIFEL ran aground in the St. Clair River near Port Lambton and was struck by the ALBERT E. HEEKIN.

1964: CHEMBARGE NO. 4, formerly a) JUDGE KENEFICK and b) H.J. McMANUS was towed out into Lake Huron by ATOMIC and ABURG and scuttled in deep water about 16 miles off Goderich after sulphuric acid began leaking into the bilges of the recently-converted tanker barge.

2007: CANADIAN NAVIGATOR lost power and went aground in mud off Courtright and six tugs were needed to pull the ship free.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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 Whitefish Bay arrives at Montreal

7/10 - The new Whitefish Bay arrived at Montreal Tuesday morning on her delivery trip from her Chinese builders. She is expected to remain there from 7-10 days while she is prepared for Great Lakes/Seaway service. The vessel sailed from China in mid-May, passing through the Panama Canal enroute. According to Canada Steamship Lines, the vessel is commanded by Captain Kevin Crouse and Chief Engineer Dave Cooke. Next to arrive will be Thunder Bay, expected in Montreal in late July, and Baie Comeau, due in Montreal in September.



Great Lakes iron ore trade down 7 percent in June

7/10 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes totaled 6 million tons in June, a decrease of 6 percent compared to May, and a drop of 7 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings also trailed the month’s long-term average by 4.4 percent.

Shipments from U.S. ports totaled 5.3 million tons, a decrease of 6.7 percent compared to a year ago. The June total included 305,000 tons shipped to Quebec City for loading into oceangoing vessels and delivery overseas. Year-to-date overseas exports total 1,057,000 tons.

Shipments from Canadian ports to Great Lakes destinations totaled 753,000 tons, a decrease of 9.5 percent compared to a year ago.

Year-to-date, the Lakes ore trade stands at 23.2 million tons, a decrease of 8.1 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings are 3.4 percent below the long-term average for the first half of the year.

Lake Carriers Association


Port Reports -  July 10

Duluth - D. Edward Clark
The Canadian-flagged Tim S. Dool was at Cargill B1 in Duluth to load grain, the first ship to load at the dock in years.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Tuesday afternoon at the Lower Harbor, American Mariner arrived to unload coal for the Shiras Steam Plant.

Sandusky and Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Saginaw was loading Tuesday night at the NS coal dock. Earlier in the day, Algoma Enterprise sailed for Hamilton, Ont., having loaded at the Sandusky dock.

Sailing earlier Tuesday from the Marblehead Lafarge stone dock was the tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder. Loading at the Lafarge dock early Wednesday was the Calumet.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The USCGC Katmai Bay departed the Buffalo North Entrance Channel at 7:23 Tuesday morning with an AIS destination of Sault St. Marie.


Tall ships race out of Cleveland in the Challenge Great Lakes 2013

7/10 - On Lake Erie, Off of Cleveland, Ohio – In the wake of the Fourth of July festival crowds, eight tall ships put the Port of Cleveland behind to compete in the Challenge Great Lakes 2013 race to Pelee Passage Monday.

Seven of the tall ships had paraded into Cleveland last Thursday for the Tall Ships Festival 2013: the topsail schooner Appledore IV, the three-masted schooner Denis Sullivan, the square topsail schooner Lynx, the brigantine Playfair, the barquentine Peacemaker, topsail schooner Pride of Baltimore II and the full-rigged Norwegian ship Sorlandet. The eighth ship, the US Brig Niagara, sailed into Cleveland from Erie, Pa., for maintenance work on Sunday.

By 11 am Monday, the ships had slipped from their docks in Port of Cleveland, and, under hazy sun, headed for the 5-Mile Crib on Lake Erie. There the racing committee of the Edgewater Yacht Club set the markers for the noon start. With a blast of from the committee boat cannon, the race was on.

Well, almost. Sailing vessels the size of schooners and full-rigged ships aren't quite as nimble as catamarans and take a lot longer to reach the start. Once the cannon sounds, any motors are shut down, and the ships must navigate under sail power for the duration of the race.

Only two of the ships, the Pride of Baltimore II and the U.S. Brig Niagara, passed first and second over the starting line within 20 minutes of the cannon. With light wind and heavy air, the remaining contestants made their way with a 20 minute lag.

With a 12-hour time limit to make Pelee Passage, the majestic ships set out on the 54-mile course due west northwest.

"It is a like a jam race," said Mike Dills of the Edgewater Yacht Club race committee. "But they sure are beautiful to watch!"

The Plain Dealer


June rain gives Great Lakes levels needed boost

7/10 - June provided a healthy dose of precipitation for the region — giving most of the Great Lakes a much-needed boost.

In recent years, lake levels have sunk to record or near-record lows as winters with little snow and ice and springs with little rainfall have become close to the norm. Last month, however, each of the lakes — save Superior — experienced above average precipitation, according to new statistics released by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

■ Lakes Michigan and Huron received 3.21 inches of rainfall — above the 3.17 inch average for June.
■ Lake Erie received 4.99 inches of rainfall — more than the June average of 3.47 inches.
■ Lake Ontario received 4.77 inches of rainfall — exceeding the average of 3.13 inches.

Lake Superior finished June with 2.9 inches of rainfall, which is well below the 3.27 inches the lake historically sees for the month.

Despite the increased precipitation for the region, most of the lakes finished the month with a mean level below the historical average. For the month, Lake Superior finished with a mean of 601.25 feet above sea level. That’s below the historic mean of 601.84 feet for June.

Lakes Michigan and Huron finished June with a mean of 577.79 feet above sea level — below the historic mean of 579.2 feet. Lake St. Clair finished June at 574.11 feet, below the historical mean of 574.7 feet. Lake Erie ended the month at a mean of 571.62 feet, while its historic average is 571.95 feet.

Lake Ontario, always the region’s statistical wild card, finished June with a mean of 246.39 feet, slightly above its historic level of 246.19 feet.

The Detroit News


Saginaw River Rear Range Lighthouse open for tours during Tall Ships

7/10 - Bangor Township, Mich. – For the third time ever, the Saginaw River Marine Historical Society is offering public tours of the historic Saginaw River Rear Range Lighthouse.

Tours will be offered from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. July 12 and 13 as part of the festivities surrounding Bay City's 2013 Tall Ship Celebration. Similar tours were offered during the Tall Ship Celebration in 2010 and 2006.

Built in 1876, the lighthouse served as a guide for ships coming up the Saginaw River until it was decommissioned in the 1960s. It served as a U.S. Coast Guard station until 1980. Members of the Saginaw River Marine Historical Society will be on hand to give tours and answer questions about the lighthouse, which is located on the west side of the Saginaw River in Bangor Township.

Shuttle buses will take tourists to the lighthouse. Tourists can catch the buses in Veteran's Memorial Park near the intersection of John F. Kennedy Drive and the entrance to Liberty Harbor Marina. Organizers note that due to the Tall Ship Celebration — which takes place July 11-14 — parking may be limited around Veterans Memorial Park. But those interested in lighthouse tours can park for free at GM Powertrain, 1001 Woodside Ave. and catch a free shuttle ride to Vets Park.

While at the park waiting for the shuttle bus, guests can check out the Saginaw River Marine Historical Society's tent and purchase T-shirts, sweatshirts, postcards, photos and books related to the lighthouse.

Children can build model lighthouses from kits and those attending may also wish to check out a 1913 Defoe motorboat, which society members say is the oldest known Defoe boat in existence, as well as a 1951 pre-fab boat from Bay City Boats Inc.

Once at the lighthouse, guests will get a chance to meet Carl Jahn, a 61-year-old truck driver from Smiths Creek who is serving as the guest lighthouse keeper for the tours. He had the same roll during the 2010 tours. For the past decade, Jahn has been a lighthouse keeper re-enactor and the uniform he wears is more than 125 years old.

Cost for the tours is $7 for adults, $3 for children and free for kids not yet attending kindergarten and younger. All proceeds benefit the Saginaw River Marine Historical Society. For more information, call 989-686-1895.



Mayor unveils Canals Days events

7/10 - Port Colborne, Ont. – Mayor Vance Badawey is looking forward to the hustle and bustle brought by Canal Days. The mayor will be taking in the sights, tastes and sounds of Canal Days from Aug. 2 to Aug. 5. It’s during this first week in August that hundreds of thousands of people will descend on city streets for fun and excitement.

Badawey spoke in front of sponsors Tuesday at Sugarloaf Marina to unveil this year’s events planned for the festival.

What he is looking forward to most, he said is the tradition of the fireworks display, which will be held on Aug. 4 just over the Welland Canal on West Street.

The four-day festival — celebrating its 35th anniversary this year — features a host of activities, ships, food and live music that is expected to attract more than 300,000 visitors from the Niagara region, the greater Toronto area and the U.S., Badawey said.

One of the new additions to the festival this year is the Water Pistol Bash planned for H.H. Knoll Park on Aug. 2, said City of Port Colborne events coordinator Allaina Kane.

In exchange for a donation of non-perishable food items to Port Cares, people will be given a chance to participate in the epic water pistol event to help break a Guinness World Record.

“We need about 3,800 people to participate to break the record for the largest water pistol event and we’re hoping for 4,000.”

Kane said other new activities this year include the Ultimate Air Dogs, Canada’s first and only Canadian-owned and operating dock jumping organization that produces family friendly shows.

Port Colborne Historical and Marine Museum director and curator Stephanie Powell Baswick said there’s plenty of family-friendly activities at the museum this year including the Royal Ontario Museum’s Through the Voices of Beads exhibit that will educate people about Iroquois beadwork, an aboriginal drum group, a skirmish by the 2nd Regiment of Lincoln Militia, heritage dress up, face panting, a scavenger hunt and more.

One of the biggest draws to the museum during the festival is to see remote control model boats, said Baswick. The curator said Canal Days is important because it celebrates the city’s marine heritage and culture.

Welland Tribune


Michigan Department of Transportation releases draft of Michigan Freight Plan

7/10 - The Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) has released for public review and comment the draft Michigan Freight Plan, a new supplement to the 2035 MI Transportation Plan that includes a list of projects designed to address freight mobility in Michigan.

MDOT is seeking comments on the plan through Aug. 7 and has scheduled a July 24 Webinar to discuss it in detail. The plan is available for viewing on-line at or at MDOTs region offices and Transportation Service Centers.

Freight is defined as any good, product or raw material carried by commercial transportation, including air, highway, rail, water and pipeline. MDOT recognizes the importance of freight mobility. A safe, efficient and well-maintained transportation network supports cost-effective freight movement, economic development and improved quality of life.

The Michigan Freight Plan provides a comprehensive overview of the state's freight transportation system, including existing assets, system performance and the investments required to ensure long-term success. A multi-modal and intermodal resource, the plan provides an overall framework for freight system improvements and priorities. It is an element of the 2035 MI Transportation Plan and integrates its overall vision, goals, objectives, strategies and decision-making principles.

The public Webinar is scheduled for 10 to 11 a.m., July 24. Register at the State Long-Range Plan website at or send name, organization (if applicable), phone number and address to Details, including Web address and audio connection information will be sent with E-mail confirmation. Registration and copies of the plan also may be obtained by calling 517-241-4819 or by writing Bob Parsons, Public Involvement and Hearings Officer, Bureau of Highway Development, Michigan Department of Transportation, P.O. Box 30050, Lansing, MI 48909. MDOT would appreciate your assistance with sharing this E-mail and the attached flier with others interested in advancing freight transportation in Michigan.


Updates -  July 10

Saltie Gallery updated - New pictures of the Algoma Hansa, Ayane, Chemtrans Alster, Chemtrans Havel, Clipper Karina, Clipper Lancer, Harbour Pioneer, Labrador, Nordic Copenhagen, and North Contender.


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.)

1930 YORKTON was beached with only the top of the pilothouse above water after a head-on collision in fog on Whitefish Bay with the MANTADOC. The ship was later salvaged and repaired at Collingwood.

1938 RAHANE ran aground on a shoal in the American Narrows of the St. Lawrence while downbound with steel, package freight and grain. Some cargo was removed by the lighter COBOURG and the ship was refloated with major bottom damage. The vessel last sailed on the lakes as A.A. HUDSON before departing for saltwater service in the fall of 1965.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Whitefish Bay should be in Montreal today

7/9 - The brand-new Canadian laker Whitefish Bay was near the village of St-Jean-île d'Orléans Monday evening, just as the light was fading and clouds were rolling in. She was on her way to Montreal for commissioning and should reach Trois-Rivières at around 5 a.m. and Pier 29 in Montreal by noon.

Bruno Boissonneault


Port Reports -  July 9

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Defiance and her barge, Ashtabula, called on the Saginaw River on Monday. The pair stopped at the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City to unload. They were expected to be outbound late Monday or early Tuesday.

Oswego, N.Y. - Ned Goebricher
The Algoma Central vessel Peter R. Cresswell was in port Monday to unload salt.


New cruise ship Pearl Mist due on Lakes/Seaway in 2014

7/9 - Next year, one of the most interesting small ship cruise lines to debut in a long time will enter service with a single 210-passenger vessel, the Pearl Mist.

Pearl Seas Cruises was founded with the goal to provide small-ship luxury adventure cruises aboard new ships, which is where the still-being-built Pearl Mist comes in. Rather than retrofitting an existing vessel, the line chose to create one from the ground up.

Pearl Mist's maiden season begins June 28, 2014, with an 11-night Atlantic coast sailing from Baltimore to Halifax that calls in off-the-beaten-path ports like Nantucket, Mass., and Lunenburg, N.S. The following voyage is a 10-night journey through the heart of the Canadian Maritimes, sailing between Halifax and Quebec City. Pearl Seas then sends the Pearl Mist on a series of cruises along the famed St. Lawrence Seaway between Quebec City and Toronto before embarking on four Great Lakes sailings that are either 10 or 11 nights and sail between Toronto and Chicago.

Following a fall season of trips between Toronto and Quebec City along the St. Lawrence Seaway, Pearl Mist's inaugural season concludes on Nov. 15, 2014 with an 11-night voyage from Baltimore to the Caribbean resort paradise of Nassau in the Bahamas.

Currently undergoing the final fitting-out stage of construction at the Chesapeake Shipbuilding yards in Maryland, the 102-metre-long Pearl Mist is small enough to offer an intimate and luxurious adventure cruise. But it is large enough to include amenities such as six lounges, a full-sized restaurant with open-seating dining, a spa and fitness area, and plenty of outdoor deck space for scenic cruising.

All staterooms aboard the Pearl Mist will feature private balconies, and 10 staterooms have been set aside for single-occupancy use, perfect for those who like to cruise solo. Dress will be resort casual, and emphasis will be placed on-board enrichment and locally inspired cuisine.

Visit for all the latest cruise news and live trip reports.

The Province


After years of dispute, cruise ship Pearl Mist gets closer to launch

7/9 - Baltimore, Md. – After a four-year buffeting in the legal system, the Pearl Mist has finally found haven in Maryland.

The owner of the 335-foot cruise ship and the Canadian shipyard that built it have parted ways in a nasty divorce that involved two federal courts and an arbitration panel that itself was reduced to internal squabbling.

And after sitting at a Canton pier for a month, the Pearl Mist was moved in mid-June to Chesapeake Shipbuilding Inc. in Salisbury to be readied for her maiden cruise from Baltimore next June.

Gleaming white on the outside, Pearl Mist is a caldron of unfinished business on the inside, from a spartan wheelhouse in need of electronics to staterooms barren of furniture.

"She's been a mystery ship," said Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor of "She was supposed to come out in 2008 and we're all still waiting."

The ship is the vision of Charles Robertson, the soft-spoken owner of Pearl Seas Cruises LLC, the Connecticut-based American Cruise Lines and the Salisbury shipyard. He formed the Pearl Seas line to combine international travel with the intimate experience of cruising on a 210-passenger ship.

"We have enjoyed considerable success with American Cruise Lines, and we also know from our passengers that they are interested in going to the Canadian Maritimes and Belize and the Caribbean on a smaller ship," Robertson said. "We were responding to demand."

Pearl Seas was established in 2006 as a Marshall Islands company, with the Pearl Mist flying a Marshall Islands flag. About 90 percent of the commercial ships calling on U.S. ports fly foreign flags, according to Cruise Lines International Association. Federal law requires U.S.-flagged ships to be built in the United States and crewed by Americans, which makes them more expensive to operate.

With his Salisbury shipyard running at full capacity, Robertson turned to Irving Shipbuilding Inc., a Halifax, Nova Scotia, operation with 120 years of expertise in tugboats, tankers and military vessels up to 394 feet. In 2011, it was awarded a $25 billion contract to build 21 warships for the Royal Canadian Navy.

The Pearl Mist would be its first passenger cruise ship.

Federal court documents show that storm warnings were evident in February 2007, just five months after Pearl Seas signed a $43.5 million contract with Irving. Top officials on both sides engaged in a series of meetings to discuss construction difficulties with the vessel.

As workers cut steel and laid the keel, disputes continued, culminating in arbitration claims and counterclaims in 2008 covering everything from design flaws to complaints about noise and vibrations in the ship's heating and ventilation systems, according to court records.

Pearl Seas alleged that the shipyard had not followed specifications in the contract and laid out 70 items that were deficient. Irving Shipbuilding contended that it had followed the contract to the letter.

Meanwhile, the vessel's cruise schedule slipped from 2008 to 2009 to 2010.

The shipyard finished the job and on May 6, 2009, told the cruise line that the Pearl Mist had completed sea trials successfully. Three days later, Pearl Seas said the vessel was not seaworthy and refused delivery.

The cruise company produced for arbitrators and a federal judge in Connecticut a letter from Lloyd's Register, an international organization that sets safety and environmental standards for the design, construction and operation of ships, saying it was "unable to issue certification due to incomplete inspections, trials."

At about the same time, a top maritime official of the Marshall Islands emailed a rejection to Robertson, saying the condition of the vessel "is not to a standard acceptable by the Office of the Maritime Administrator."

Two more sets of sea trials followed with the same unsatisfactory results, Pearl Seas alleged in court documents. It then asked a panel of three maritime arbitrators to void the contract. Irving filed a counterclaim, asking that Pearl Seas be ordered to take delivery.

During the protracted dispute, the Pearl Mist was towed to a lonely exile at a repair yard in Shelburne, a town of 1,700 near the western shore of Nova Scotia.

Meanwhile, the arbitrators sorted through the issues as 2010 played out.

Two of them found mostly for the shipbuilder, saying, "Pearl Seas is not entitled to reject the vessel on the basis of the vessel's alleged deficiencies," but said the owner could request a price adjustment based on alleged shortcomings.

The third arbitrator dissented from the majority opinion.

Baltimore Sun


Army Corps' plan could save $15M and move jobs to Michigan

7/9 - Washington, D.C. – A proposal that could save the Army Corps of Engineers $15 million over the next decade by restructuring its Great Lakes division — and shifting fewer than two dozen jobs to Detroit as part of that effort — has caught the attention of legislators representing Buffalo, N.Y., and Chicago, who are working hard to derail it.

A U.S. Senate amendment was passed to block the Corps from spending money on relocating or consolidating any jobs in Chicago, at the insistence of Illinois’ senators. And Buffalo-area congressmen wrote the head of the Corps, urging him to abandon the plan by claiming that it could reduce that city’s Corps operation, as well as Chicago’s, to “mere field offices.”

The specter of hundreds of employees being impacted has been invoked, as well, even though the Corps told the Free Press last week that the reorganization “will only affect approximately 23 positions in Buffalo and Chicago ... and will not involve involuntary separations of any permanent employees.”

It just goes to show: All politics is local. Spending cuts and sequestration may be all the rage in Washington, but the potential loss of even a handful of jobs brings both Republicans and Democrats out swinging.

“It makes perfect sense for Michigan to have a strong Army Corps presence,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. “By streamlining administrative overhead, the Army Corps can ensure that more resources are available.”

While it’s not entirely clear how word of the plan spread — the Corps is quick to point out that the proposal has not been finalized — the reasoning behind it couldn’t be more transparent: Officials say that, compared to other Corps divisions, the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division has much higher overhead costs for its operations.

With budgets being slashed by Congress, the Corps — as Great Lakes Division head Brig. Gen. Margaret Burcham said in an e-mail last month — wants “to get ahead of the situation to ensure predictability for our work force, while providing the most project return for our customer’s dollar.”

That means consolidating some of the functions done at all three offices now — such as public affairs, accounting and other support services — in Detroit, though there would still be some people left in the other cities doing some of those jobs, and much of the restructuring would be done through attrition. It’s not even clear how many of the 23 jobs would end up in Detroit.

But the prospect of losing any jobs at the Corps’ district offices in Buffalo and Chicago didn’t sit well with the people who represent voters in those cities.

Western New York Reps. Brian Higgins, a Democrat, and Chris Collins, a Republican, wrote Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, the Corps commanding officer, on June 24, objecting to the plan. They said they had been “presented no evidence of the division’s extraordinary claim” that a consolidation could save $15 million.

Then, last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee stuck an amendment on the annual Energy and Water Development spending bill, at the urging of Illinois Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk, that says no funds can be used “to relocate or consolidate general and administrative functions” in the Chicago office. It also orders the Corps to submit a report on any of its proposals to relocate or consolidate staff anywhere.

Durbin, a Democrat, and Kirk, a Republican, both put out releases saying their amendment would prevent “the removal of critical functions and staff” from Chicago, and that the Corps had announced plans “to move Chicago District Office functions to Detroit, potentially impacting more than 200 employees who oversee Corps projects such as Asian carp, electric barriers and Chicago locks and dams.” It’s not the first time Michigan has found itself in a political fight with nearby states: State officials have pushed to have more done to ensure Asian carp don’t reach the Great Lakes, even if it means closing off Chicago-area waterways, for instance.

Durbin has also been engaged in a long battle to stop a Ludington-based ferry, the S.S. Badger, from dumping coal ash into Lake Michigan, calling it “the filthiest ship on the Great Lakes.” He objected to a government agreement allowing the ship to keep operating for two more years while its owners find a solution.

As for the Corps’ plans, they are still being discussed. The Senate amendment still has to survive the long budget process to go into effect, and the Corps still says it needs to rein in costs where it can.

But in an e-mail to the Free Press, it promised to try to do so without any district offices being slashed.

“There are no plans to close or significantly reduce the size of any Corps district,” the Corps said.

Detroit Free Press


Updates -  July 9

New Video on our YouTube Channel BoatNerd and Engineer’s Weekend


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 of 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.

1917: The bulk carrier WILLIAM S. MACK collided with the passenger freighter MANITOBA in fog off Whitefish Point and had to be beached. It was subsequently refloated and repaired. The ship was renamed HOME SMITH on October 10, 1917, and last sailed as ALGORAIL in 1963 before being scrapped at Toronto.

1967: The NEW YORK NEWS (iii) and the saltwater ship NORDGLIMT collided off Escoumins, QC, with only minor damage.

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


New Whitefish Bay due at Montreal July 9

7/8 - Canada Steamship Lines’ latest, the Trillium Class self-unlading vessel Whitefish Bay, is due at Escoumins Pilot station at 1 p.m. on July 8 for Montreal section 29 (under the J-C Bridge). If all goes well that means Trois-Rivieres at daybreak and Montreal late morning or early afternoon on July 9.

Bruno Boissonneault


Port Reports -  July 8

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Dorothy Ann came into Lorain around 11:30 Saturday night, unloaded and headed back to Marblehead. Joseph H. Thompson came into Lorain around 0600 Sunday, and left port at 15:10 heading northeast.

Sandusky and Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
The Herbert C. Jackson was loading Sunday night at the NS coal dock in Sandusky.
At Marblehead, the Cuyahoga was loading at the Lafarge stone dock while the tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder lay at anchor in South Passage. At 10:45 the Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder had gotten underway east bound on Lake Erie.

Montreal, Que.
Canada Steamship Lines’ Atlantic Superior arrived Section 56 (South) in Montreal on July 5, with no departure date listed on the Port of Montreal website. Speculation indicates that the vessel may be sold for further use overseas or sent for scrap.


Uncertain future continues for Great Lakes-built Coast Guard cutter Storis

7/8 - Juneau, Alaska – The USCG Cutter Storis met what many considered its demise when the historic ship was placed on the auction block on the General Services Administration website in late June.

Storis failed to reach its reserve price of $60,000 by June 27, and so the Great Lakes-built vessel’s future continues to be in doubt.

Many of those who once sailed aboard the ship, which served in World War II and made a historic voyage when it traversed the Northwest Passage, are now responding with mixed apathy and hope.

Even lawmakers that supported keeping the Storis afloat, if only as a maritime museum here in its home port, are now faced with the same question: What are they to do?

In short: there may still be a chance.

“I strongly supported efforts to preserve this vessel as a maritime museum to honor that history and all the men and women who serve in the Coast Guard,” U.S. Sen. Mark Begich said. “It’s unfortunate this historic ship is now on the auction block, but the reality of maintaining a vintage vessel such as this is very challenging. Personally, I hope no one bids and we can try once again to bring the Storis back home to Alaska.”

Begich introduced two pieces of legislation that conveyed the Storis to those who supported a museum in its honor.

After two years of championing for the restoration of the Storis, and even further pushes during the most recent legislative session, the cutter was turned over to the GSA, which will now carry out the disposal process.

“The core need for having something that resonates with residents and tourist in terms of capturing and sharing Alaska’s maritime history — that’s still a legitimate need,” said Joe Geldhof, secretary for the Storis Museum in Juneau. “You’ve got to be flexible in the modern world.”

Even though no one placed a bid on the Storis, the boat may still have a home in Toledo, Ohio, where the possibility of a maritime museum for decommissioned Coast Guard vessels still exists.

The Storis museum here is more of an homage to the Storis and helped secure its listing on the Registry of National Historic Places last year. It’s nothing like what the team of veterans and supporters had hoped for with a real maritime museum.

In 1942 the Storis was commissioned and was tasked with preventing German soldiers from establishing weather stations on Greenland. The Storis’ ice-resistant hull enabled it to traverse the Northwest Passage through the Arctic Ocean, and many fear that hull will be melted and used for razor blades.

“This news blind-sided me, as one of her former crewmembers who had high hopes of seeing her used as a maritime museum in Juneau,” said Ken Fisher, who served aboard the Storis in 1957 and 1958. “I’d rather have the USCG Storis in Toledo than my Gillette razor.”

In an interview recently, Geldhof said there were only two options left; both seemed unlikely as “the die is cast.” According to Geldhof, their only hopes are to get the politicians involved, or place the bid themselves.

“We’re looking for white knights and patrons,” Geldhof said.

The ship was laid down by the Toledo Shipbuilding Company of Toledo, Ohio, on July 14, 1941. Storis was launched on April 4, 1942 and commissioned on September 30, 1942 as an ice patrol tender. Initially assigned to the North Atlantic during World War II, Storis participated in the Greenland Patrols. She was tasked with patrolling the east coast of Greenland to prevent the establishment of German weather stations.

On 10 June 1943, she began escorting convoy GS-24 from Narsarssuak to St. John's, Newfoundland, in company with the USCGC Mojave (flag), Tampa, Escanaba, and Algonquin, the convoy consisting of USAT Fairfax and USS Raritan. At 0510 on the 13th, dense black and yellow smoke was reported rising from the Escanaba. She sank at 0513. Storis and Raritan were ordered to investigate and rescue survivors while the rest of the convoy began zigzagging and steering evasive courses to avoid submarines. At 0715 the two cutters returned, having rescued 2 survivors and found the body of Lt. Robert H. Prause, which was on the Raritan. No explosion had been heard by the other escort vessels. The entire crew of 103 of the Escanaba was lost with the exception of these two men.

During her first years, Storis operated in the very waters from which her name was derived. "Storis" is a Scandinavian name taken from the Eskimo word "sirorssuit" meaning "great ice."

Storis was decommissioned in a ceremony in Kodiak on February 8, 2007. The cutter then sailed to Alameda, California, where it was made ready for its immediate destination as part of the "Mothball Fleet" at Suisun Bay.

Juneau Empire


Police investigating lighthouse break-in at Lorain

7/8 - Lorain, Ohio - You’d expect that police have seen it all. Not quite. “I’ve never ever heard of that happening,” Lorain police spokesman Lt. Roger Watkins said Saturday of a break-in at the Lorain Lighthouse that is believed to have taken place between Wednesday night and Thursday morning.

A report of the incident was not available from police Saturday, but Watkins said detectives had recovered unspecified evidence inside the 1917 lighthouse for analysis.

“That may or may not lead to us being able to identify the perpetrator or perpetrators,” Watkins said. It is not known if more than one person entered the structure, which can only be reached by boat or other watercraft.

“That’s the only way you can get out there,” Watkins said of the structure, which is among a small number of lighthouses that are not built on land and which cannot be reached by a walkway. “I’ve been out to it in a kayak, and it’s not that easy to get to, going through the inlet and all,” Watkins said.

One of the most-photographed locations in Lorain County, the four-story lighthouse was manned by crews of Coast Guard personnel through 1954. The structure included a kitchen, sleeping quarters, and office. The lighthouse operated until 1965.

Police are still in the process of determining just how the lighthouse was entered and what was taken. “We believe it was some lenses (used in the lighthouse beacon) but we’re not sure what else,” Watkins said.

Watkins asked that anyone with information relating to the incident call the Lorain Police Detective Bureau at (440) 204-2105.

Lorain Journal


Saginaw River waterfront in Bay City hosting dozen tall ships for 4-day festival, tied to race

7/8 - Bay City, Michigan - Bay City is preparing for this week's arrival of a fleet of tall ships. It's part of a four-day celebration of the era when sailing power ruled the waves.

The high-masted vessels are expected to sail in from Lake Huron's Saginaw Bay and draw tens of thousands of visitors to the Saginaw River waterfront. The 2013 Tall Ship Celebration opens Thursday and runs through July 14.

The event is being held in conjunction with the Tall Ships Challenge, a race across the Great Lakes sponsored by Tall Ships America.

Ships scheduled to be in port this year are the Flagship Niagara, Sorlandet, Peacemaker, Pride of Baltimore II, Denis Sullivan, Unicorn, Madeline, Lynx, Pathfinder, Playfair, Hindu and Appledore IV.

Daily Journal


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.

1899: The schooner SOPHIA MINCH, under tow of the JOHN N. GLIDDEN,was is caught in a wild Lake Erie storm and is cut loose. The vessel was blown ashore west of Ashtabula and declared a total loss only to be salvaged July 24, 1899, and repaired.

1923: EDWARD L. STRONG and GLENDOCHART collided between Locks 17 and 18 of the Cornwall Canal with minor damage. The former was scrapped at Port Dalhousie as e) WELLANDOC (ii) in 1963 while the latter was broken up at Hamilton as f) MANCOX in 1970-1971.

1949: NEW YORK NEWS (ii) ran aground on a shoal at the east entrance to Little Current, Manitoulin Island, due to low water and misplaced channel markers. About 800 tons of coal were lightered and the ship is refloated on July 9.

1973: The former BROMALM, a Swedish flag Seaway trader in 1963 and 1964, hit bottom, began leaking and was beached off Kuantan, Western Malaysia, as c) ARISAIOS. On a voyage to Osaka, Japan, with 9,700 tons of iron ore it was completely flooded and a total loss.

1977: AGAWA CANYON hit the abutment to Bridge 12 of the Welland Canal after losing power while downbound with salt for Kingston. The gash in the port bow was repaired by Port Weller Dry Docks.

1992: COMEAUDOC lost power and struck the seawall at Port Huron while upbound, resulting in significant damage to the wall.

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


Port Reports -  July 7

St. Marys River
A parade of downbounders – USCG Alder, John B. Aird, Cason J. Callaway and Michipicoten – followed each other closely down river in the late afternoon. Earlier in the day, Algorail and Algomarine were downbound. Burns Harbor, Great Lakes Trader and Kaministiqua were among the upbounders. The salties Drawsko and Federal Fuji remain anchored above DeTour awaiting orders. The tug William G. Gaynor was spotted on the MCM Marine Drydock in the Michigan Soo.

Green Bay, Wis. – Wendell Wilkie
Saturday, the Lower Lakes was on the scene when the tug/barge unit Olive L. Moore/Lewis J. Kuber arrived in the early morning for Western Lime with stone. They departed in the mid-afternoon.

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
The Interlake tug and barge Dorothy Ann and Pathfinder loaded again Saturday at the Lafarge Marblehead dock. The Pathfinder has been hauling aggregate to Cleveland on a regular basis.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Sea Eagle II - St. Mary's Cement II arrived Saturday around 6:30 a.m. for the Gateway Metroport in Lackawanna. She came in the South Entrance, turned and was towed into the Bethlehem Ship Canal by the tugs New Jersey and Washington stern first. The barge appeared to be light, may have a partial cargo, may be in port to load something. This is the first time I have ever seen these two vessels in town, it's the first time that I have ever seen a cement boat in the Bethlehem Slip and it's the first time in at least 20 years that two cement boats have been here at the same time. English River was expected to depart sometime around noon Saturday.


Could a Niagara-Toronto ferry work?

7/7 - St. Catharines, Ont. – Taming the lake-lanes between St. Catharines and Toronto could call for lots of cash and patience — and a big ship.

It’s more complex than just pulling up with a boat, said Peter Green, former spokesman for a failed local ferry company, Shaker Cruise Lines. But though many a private operator has tried and failed, Green said it can be done with enough time and cash to allow a clientele to build up.

“You have to come in prepared to build a market over three to five years. People won’t rush onto the boat right away,” said Green, now a tour designer in the Buffalo area.

The call for a study into a fast ferry run by GO Transit between Niagara and Hogtown, floated by former St. Catharines council candidate Sean Polden, sparked a wave of public support on social media Thursday and Friday.

Thursday, St. Catharines Mayor Brian McMullan quickly backed the idea, which postulates a 45-minute jaunt by lake between cities.

It’s no easy task, Green said. He said an operator must be willing to pay through the lean years when clients are few. And it would take a big ferry — a 500- to 700-seater at least — to tame the choppy waters of Lake Ontario.

But it’s a great way to alleviate highway traffic and draw crowds, he said. “It’s certainly the most beautiful way to travel.”

It’s also proven to be a bust time and time again, said Ontario Environment Minister Jim Bradley. The longtime St. Catharines MPP said the ferry idea surfaces every decade or so but “it just has not worked, ever.”

He pointed to a hair-raising Shaker ferry trip in 1998, when a wave crashed over the ferry — with then-tourism minister Al Palladini aboard. A massive ferry from Rochester, N.Y. to Toronto also bombed.

“It has been tried several times and it has not been successful,” Bradley said. The province, he said, won’t launch another ferry study, but will focus on expanding GO train service.

“I always admire people who have that idea,” Bradley said. “You always run into the wall of practicality and realism when you’re talking about a project of this kind.” City councillor Bruce Williamson, who represents Port Dalhousie, said he took the Shaker ferry for a season in the 1990s and enjoyed the ride. But he said the powerful winds and winter weather of Lake Ontario make a year-round ferry a tough sell, and the price tag makes it hurt even more.

“I doubt without a fairly substantial government subsidy, would it be doable,” he said.

Williamson said he would love to see a ferry happen, but suggested a service could run for three seasons and take the winter off.

The expense involved makes a public option the only feasible one, Polden said. “The only way that this would work is through GO Transit operating it.”

Polden said it’s tough for a private operator to plunk down cash up front to cover expenses. Bradley said the costs associated with funding ferries would hurt.

“Idealistically, people like the (ferry) concept. In a practical sense it would be a very heavy subsidization,” he said. He left the door open, though, to a private operator stepping in to take another crack at a ferry.

Beyond money, Green said, is the challenge of facing the lake.

The company’s hydrofoils couldn’t handle the short, choppy waves, Green said. They tried an ocean ferry, but while it handled the waves, it was far too slow.

Shaker found out the hard way the ferries needed to be equipped to handle ice in the winter, he said. And they had issues going into the harbour at Toronto, where they had to slow down to stop their wake from making a mess of the area.

“The lake is not a gentle body of water,” he said.

The idea of a ferry has broad public support, though. He said residents loved the idea and the city of St. Catharines was eager to help out. And he said a ferry is a good outlet for downtown Toronto residents. “Those people need to go places. The whole idea of recreational access is a major step.”

Among the biggest ferry fans, Green said, were cyclists from Toronto coming to ride Niagara’s roads.

Polden said he’s buoyed by the support for his idea from the public.

“They’re not seeing it as temporary ‘I’m going to Toronto for a day,’” he said. He said he envisions three ferries capable of carrying 300 to 400 passengers, each making crisscrossing voyages across Lake Ontario.

St. Catharines Standard


Former ferry Normac reopens as Mexican restaurant

7/7 - Port Dalhousie, Ont. – The former Manitoulin Island ferry Normac is open for business again as a restaurant in the Port Dalhousie area of St. Catharines. The historic ship, which dates from 1902, now operates as "Riverboat Mexican Grill" and had its grand re-opening on July 5.

The ship suffered considerable internal damage in a fire on December 28, 2011, and has been completely cleaned up and rebuilt. After beginning life as the fire tug James R. Elliott at Detroit, the ship was converted to a passenger and automobile ferry in 1931 and operated between Tobermory on the Bruce Peninsula of Ontario, Manitoulin Island and North Channel communities as Normac until the end of the 1968 season.

It was taken to Toronto in July 1969 and became the original "Captain John's Restaurant" reopening at the foot of Yonge Street on August 8, 1970. The upper works were rebuilt with aluminum in 1972 and it continued to serve the public until sinking at the dock on June 16, 1981.

The hull was raised in 1986, rebuilt once again and taken to Cleveland in 1989 for work as a floating restaurant on the Cuyahoga River. It settled on the bottom at the East 9th St. Pier in 1993 and was refloated and brought back to Canada in 1995. Moored at Port Dalhousie, on the east side of the harbour, the ship has been open for business under different names. It was known as "Tokyo Joe's Restaurant" at the time of the fire.

It may come as a surprise that the 111 year old vessel is back in service but the owner has done a fine job in refurbishing the ship. It serves as a bar and restaurant again and has a nice outside patio deck so customers can enjoy the cooling breezes off the water.

Skip Gillham


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 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.

1963: The Canadian coastal tanker SEEKONK first came to the Great Lakes in 1951 on charter to the British-American Oil Co. It was later part of the Irving fleet and caught fire in the galley at Charlottetown, PEI. The ship was pulled from the pier by CCG TUPPER and beached at Governor's Island. The blaze burned itself out but the SEEKONK was a total loss and was towed to Buctouche, NB, and scrapped in 1964.

1970: PRINSES EMILIA made 3 trips through the Seaway for the Oranje Lijn in 1967. It sank as c) BOULGARIA on this date 25 miles off Cherbourg, France, after a collision with the HAGEN in dense fog. The vessel was enroute from Hamburg to Istanbul and 17 on board were lost.

1978: The British freighter BEECHMORE began Great Lakes service in 1959 and returned as c) MANDRAKI in 1971 and d) NAFTILOS in 1973. It was sailing as f) MARI when fire broke out on a voyage from Rijeka, Yugoslavia, to Alexandria, Egypt, on July 7. The ship was beached near Dugi Otok Islands the next day and eventually abandoned. The hull was refloated in 1979 and taken to Split with scrapping getting underway on July 19, 1979

1981: CONDARRELL, upbound below Lock 2 of the Welland Canal, lost power and hit the wall, resulting in bow damage. The ship returned to Toronto for repairs but only finished the season before tying up. The vessel, built in 1953 as D.C. EVEREST, has been unofficially renamed K.R. ELLIOTT by International Marine Salvage.

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


Port Reports -  July 6

Green Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
With the Lower Lakes fleet making the scene Friday, Calumet was outbound shortly before noon. Then, around 2 p.m., the tug Defiance and barge Ashtabula arrived with coal for C. Reiss. This was the first time the unit was in Green Bay. Making the Fox River down to the turning basin just above the Main Street Bridge, they swung around and were assisted down river to the Reiss dock.

Milwaukee, Wis. - Chris Gaziano
The Alpena and the Federal Weser both arrived during the early morning hours Friday to unload. The Federal Weser departed for Burns Harbor in the late afternoon and the Alpena finished up and was heading out for the lake by early evening.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
American Integrity called on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville early Friday morning. She finished unloading her cargo of coal and was back outbound for the lake early in the afternoon. The tug Krista S. was busy running mud barges back and forth between the dredge site in the Downtown Bay City area and the confined disposal facility near Cheboyganing Creek.

Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
Tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder loaded Friday at the Lafarge Marblehead stone dock.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
The tug-barge combination Sea Eagle II - St. Mary's Cement II were eastbound on Friday afternoon on Lake Erie with an AIS destination of Buffalo. English River was towed in by the Washington at 1:30 p.m. Friday afternoon and will be departing Lafarge in the late morning Saturday.

Port Colborne, Ont. - J. J. Van Volkenburg
Algoma's Algosteel has stopped at Wharf 12 (the old stone dock for repairs). A crewmember said they will be there a few days or so.


Condo developer would like to see Captain John’s slip moorings

7/6 - Toronto, Ont. – Toronto developer Sam Crignano promised buyers of his upscale Residences of Pier 27 condo development some of the best waterfront views in Toronto. He just never thought they would include the rusting Captain John’s Restaurant.

For months now, Crignano has been offering to do whatever it takes, including financial assistance, to get the waterfront relic — a former tourist attraction and seafood restaurant — towed out of sight, as he had expected it would be years ago.

“I keep asking the question: ‘How long? How long?’ Something has to give before the end of this year. That thing is just ugly,” say Crignano, president of Cityzen developments.

Since water was turned off and the restaurant shut down by city health officials a year ago, the ship, the Jadran, has remained firmly anchored at the foot of Yonge St. while waterfront officials decline to take the critical next step: seeking an order under federal maritime law to assume control of the ship.

In the meantime, its owner, “Captain” John Letnik, has been trying to find buyers for what has become a massive metal albatross: a 50,000-square-foot, 55-year-old engineless ship that could cost the city $250,000 to have towed away and cut up.

Two buyers have expressed interest. One hoped to turn it into a tourist attraction in Cuba, another a casino and restaurant in Hamilton. Meanwhile, the ship is sinking in debt. Letnik owes close to $1 million in back taxes, utilities and rent on the waterfront slip. He also has an outstanding mortgage of more than $200,000.

“I’m still living on the ship. I sleep about 50 per cent of the time on a mattress on the floor,” says Letnik, 74, who also owns a lowrise apartment building in Scarborough.

He stripped the ship of most of its contents last July when the city, Waterfront Toronto and the Toronto Port Authority moved in tandem to shut the business down and ordered the gangplank and all signage removed.

A year later, the aged walkway and faded menu board remain as the adjacent condos loom large and construction crews continue their work rejuvenating the Queens Quay area at Yonge St.

Crignano has warned Waterfront Toronto officials that time is running out. Owners of the Pier 27 condos, ranging from more than $500,000 to $3 million, are slated to start moving in late this year. Come fall, the parking lot where the gangplank now sits is supposed to be turned into a public promenade 45 metres wide.

It will run north-south, from Queens Quay and connect to a promenade that will run east along the harbour wall, in front of the four condo buildings. It is supposed to be a new public gathering place for nautical activities, such as the recent visit of the tall ships, and a key part of Waterfront Toronto’s efforts to bring life to prime lakefront land that has been dominated by parking lots for decades.

“I’ve been applying as much pressure as I possibly can to get that thing out of there. I’ve even offered to contribute financially,” says Crignano. “One plan is to try to move it somewhere else in the harbour and try to make something of it.”

Nothing would delight Letnik more. The biggest obstacle to any sale, he maintains, is the fact the Port Authority isn’t willing to grant a new owner a long-term lease on any waterfront slip, which makes it too risky to take on a ship needing millions in restoration.

“We would certainly be willing to entertain any offers, but we’ve had nothing so far,” says Pamela McDonald, director of communications for the Toronto Port Authority. “We did have some preliminary interest, but there have been no serious written offers.”

Civic officials are quietly coming to terms with the fact they will likely have to forgive the outstanding taxes and rents owed by Letnik, says one person close to the situation. But the ship is now more liability than asset, given that it’s mired in the muck of Lake Ontario and there is a risk it could break up during towing.

There is also the issue of the $200,000 mortgage, and Letnik’s determination to get some kind of payback for a ship he says cost him $3 million back in the 1970s to tow from his homeland, the former Yugoslavia, and convert to what was, at the time, a pioneering fine-dining restaurant in a somewhat remote part of the city.

“That’s my life sitting there, and they destroyed it by shutting me down,” says Letnik. “People don’t realize how much tourism I brought to Toronto with Captain John’s. “I’m going to stay there as long as I can, whatever it takes.”

And he may well be able to do just that.

Civic officials admit they have tried to be respectful rather than tough, given Letnik’s long history in the city, even if the waterfront is undergoing a remarkably quick renaissance all around him.

Plus they face a bigger problem. As long as Letnik is owner, no one else can approve a sale of the ship, even if a willing buyer is found. It could take months to seize control in federal court under maritime law.

“There’s no interest in going to court,” says McDonald. “We remain hopeful that a buyer will be found.”

Toronto Star


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 crewmembers perished.

1893: ROSEDALE, upbound and light, ran aground off Knife River, Lake Superior, in dense fog and was almost on dry land. The vessel was released July 10 and went to Superior for repairs. It combined Great Lakes and ocean service until sunk in the Bristol Channel, via collision, on April 8, 1919.

1941: RAPIDS PRINCE, enroute from Prescott to Montreal, went aground in an awkward position in the Lachine Rapids and was stuck for 2 months. The 218 passengers were removed in motorboats.

1965: LAKE TRAVERSE, built at Duluth in 1918, sank off Tortuga Island, in the Caribbean after hull plates were sprung.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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

Huron, Ohio and Lake Erie - Jim Spencer
Great Republic discharged a cargo of Michigan limestone at the Huron Lime Co. dock Thursday. Lake Erie's South Passage could easily have been mistaken for a maritime parking lot Wednesday, as the Interlake tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder loaded at the Lafarge stone dock at Marblehead, while three other vessels lay at anchor awaiting their turns at the dock. Algoma Olympic, Manistee and the tug Leonard M and barge were each waiting to load in an effort to sail prior to the July 4 holiday shutdown of the dock. The loading of the quartet was expected to continue until the early hours of Thursday.


Tall ships sail into Cleveland on waves of War of 1812 history

7/5 - Cleveland, Ohio – A dozen tall ships will sail into Cleveland this week, riding the waves of history and binding the past to the present in wood, wind and war.

They'll be here from Wednesday through Sunday, long enough to provide a glimpse of the type of ships that once helped defend this nation during the War of 1812. Later this summer, they'll sail to western Lake Erie and re-enact just what it took to win the Battle of Lake Erie, 200 years ago.

The Tall Ships Festival at the Port of Cleveland, just north of FirstEnergy Stadium, is presented by the Rotary Club of Cleveland, and is the first gathering of these replicas of maritime history to visit here since 2010.

An estimated 100,000 people are expected to attend the festival, which offers ship tours, daily "sail-away" cruises on some vessels, dockside exhibits, a Maritime Market Place, food and beverage tents, and family entertainment.

Among the visiting ships is the Norwegian Sorlandet, the oldest (1927) full-rigged tall ship in the world which offers high school and college students the opportunity to attend classes while sailing to ports around the world.

The Unicorn, built from German U-boat scrap metal, is the only all-female crewed tall ship, and Liana's Ransom features a colorful crew of costumed, cutlass-swinging pirates.

Visitors will gain "an appreciation for the history of it all -- the ships, the lifestyle, and the importance of Cleveland in the industrial Midwest because of the lake," said Edward Thomas, festival spokesman.

Part of that history involves the bicentennial commemoration of the War of 1812 when sailing ships played a pivotal role on the ocean and Great Lakes.

As the war started, America's navy had only 17 ships to face the British. The American fleet was derided in English newspapers as a "handful of fir-built frigates under a bit of striped bunting, manned by bastards and outlaws."

To augment its forces, America issued letters of "marque and reprisal," authorizing private ship owners to capture English merchant ships. Soon, British warships had to be diverted from blockading America to protect shipping convoys.

Two of the visiting tall ships -- the schooners Lynx and Pride of Baltimore II -- are modeled after these armed privateers.

"Privateering is the reason this country has a national anthem," said Jan Miles, one of two captains of the Pride of Baltimore II.

He explained that during the war, England attacked Baltimore in 1814 to destroy shipyards where privateers known as "Baltimore clippers" were being built. That attack included the bombardment of Fort McHenry, where Francis Scott Key was inspired to write "The Star-Spangled Banner."

The Lynx is designed and named after one of the sleek Baltimore clippers, and its crew wears period uniforms and operates the ship in keeping with 19th-century maritime traditions.

Jeffrey Woods, executive director of the Lynx Educational Foundation, said the ship is a floating, living history museum, serving as a "remembrance of this forgotten war, and a reminder of where our freedoms came from."

He's looking forward to participating with 14 other tall ships in the Sept. 2 re-enactment of the Battle of Lake Erie near Put-in-Bay. The battle will replicate Oliver Hazard Perry's victory over the British in 1813.

Eric Johnson, of Avon Lake, a War of 1812 historian who will be speaking at the Tall Ships Festival, said the Great Lakes were strategically important at that time because most people and supplies were moved by water due to lack of roads in America's western frontier.

"Whoever won the battle [of Lake Erie] controlled the northwest," Johnson said.

Woods said in prior re-enactments the Lynx has shown the public that a naval battle of that era didn't necessarily have two ships slugging it out with point-blank broadsides. "The whole idea was to incapacitate and capture a vessel" with shots that took out the rudder or bow sails, he noted.

Miles, of the Pride of Baltimore II, also said the Lake Erie re-enactment will differ from the standard privateer's attack on merchant vessels, which involved more of the threat of firepower than its actual use.

"Privateers were civilians. Their goal was to get as rich as possible [by selling the captured ship's cargo]," he said. "They were not interested in dying in the process."

But the Lake Erie re-enactment should provide a "significant exercise" in cannon discipline as they fire black-powder blanks, Miles said. "The loading and reloading, the noise and smoke, should all be very reminiscent of what happened back in the day."

In addition to educating the public about the War of 1812, the Tall Ships Festival may prompt some discussion regarding the absence of a ship that had been expected for the event. The HMS Bounty, which visited here in 2003 and 2010, was sunk by Hurricane Sandy off the coast of North Carolina last October.

Then and now, "they that go down to the sea in ships" sometimes don't come back.

Even when tall ships are equipped with modern marine technology, extreme weather can be a formidable foe, said Woods, whose ship, the Lynx, rode out the hurricane from shelter on New York's Hudson River.

"You have to be watching the weather constantly, especially on the Great Lakes," he added. "All those lakes can be rougher than rough."

But both he and Miles, of the Pride of Baltimore II, cite the decision by the Bounty's captain to leave port to escape the hurricane at sea as a significant factor in the ship's demise. (The captain was reported missing in the sinking and was never found.)

"That tragedy was totally unrepresentative of the entire activity of traditional sailing," Miles said.

Beyond the historical significance that the tall ships represent, there's also the sheer novelty and visual beauty of these vessels that appeals to visitors.

"The public is absolutely fascinated with the life of a crew on board today," Miles said. "The key theme we've heard is that notion of -- What is it like to get away from land and society, and sail over the horizon?"

To Woods, one glimpse of a tall ship like the Lynx, slicing through the waves, is enough to make your imagination soar.

"You take a look at her from a distance, with her raked masts and all her canvas flying, it's just beautiful," he said. "These ships are meant to sail."


Historic tall ship Sorlandet sails to Upper Lakes

7/5 - The Norwegian tall ship Sorlandet headed up the Welland Canal on Tuesday, for the upper lakes. It had been at Toronto for the Waterfront Festival on the Canada Day weekend and was bound for a variety of ports as part of the 1812-1814 Bicentennial celebration.

Sorlandet last came to our shores in 1933. The vessel had no engine in those days and was under tow at the time for the Century of Progress Exposition at Chicago. It had been built at Kristiansand, Norway, in 1927 and was being used as a school for training merchant sailors.

While passing Cornwall on June 3, 1933, under tow of a tug belonging to the Sin-Mar Line, the ship got out of control in the current and struck the laid up wooden steamer Advance. The accident was witnessed by scores of onlookers who had come to the river to see the beautiful three-masted sailing ship pass through town. Advance, idle due to the Depression, never sailed again.

During the Second World War, Sorlandet was taken over by the German invaders of Norway and used for recreational purposes by U-Boat crews. It later served as a camp for Russian prisoners of war and was damaged in an air attack.

The vessel was rebuilt in 1947 and resumed service as a training school for cadets. It was laid up in the early 1970s but acquired and refurbished to provide adventure cruises. It carries a regular crew of 15 but has additional help on board paying for the working experience.

Sorlandet participated in the Statue of Liberty Centennial at New York in 1986 and at other events attracting the tall ships of the world.

The 57-metre-long vessel received auxiliary power in 1958 and this time moved through the Welland Canal without assistance. This may the first time that 80 years have elapsed between the first and second visits of a ship to the Great Lakes. Sorlandet is now the oldest operating fully rigged sailing ship in the world.

Skip Gillham – Port Colborne Leader


Saginaw River Rear Range Lighthouse open to public during Tall Ship Celebration

7/5 - Bay City, Mich. – For two days during "Tall Ship Celebration: Bay City" (which runs from July 11-14), the Saginaw River Marine Historical Society of Bay City, Mich., will be offering two days of public tours of the Saginaw River Rear Range Lighthouse. This will be only the third time the lighthouse has ever been open to the public, with the first time during "Tall Ship Celebration: Bay City" in 2006 and the second time during "Tall Ship Celebration: Bay City" in 2010.

The hours for the tours of Saginaw River Rear Range Lighthouse are from 10 am to 5 pm on Friday, July 12, and Saturday, July 13. The cost is $7 for adults, $3 for children, and free for children not yet attending kindergarten and younger.

The SRMHS will be providing two shuttle buses for round-trip rides to the Saginaw River Rear Range Lighthouse for tours of the lighthouse, from the pick-up, drop-off location at Veterans Memorial Park near th e intersection of John F. Kennedy Dr. and the entrance to Liberty Harbor Marina, on the west side of Bay City, MI. (PLEASE NOTE: The only way to get to the lighthouse for the tours is via the shuttle bus provided by the SRMHS at the pick-up, drop-off location at Veterans Memorial Park.)

People will be able to get to Veterans Memorial Park from Bay City's east side via Bay Metro shuttle buses that will run special routes during "Tall Ship Celebration: Bay City," including from/to GM Powertrain at 1001 Woodside Avenue in Bay City where there will be free parking for the public. (Rides on special routes Bay Metro shuttle buses will be running will be free because the "Tall Ships Celebration" committee is covering fares for passengers during the event.)

At the Saginaw River Rear Range Lighthouse, volunteers of the SRMHS will be giving tours and answering questions about the lighthouse, as well as stamping and selling Lighthouse Passports of the Passport Program of the United States Lighthouse Society. Cold bottled water will be available for a $1.00 a bottle and a portable toilet will be on the lighthouse grounds.

Carl Jahn, a 61-year-old truck driver from Smiths Creek, Mich., was the lighthouse's keeper at the tours of the lighthouse during Tall Ship Celebration: Bay City" in 2010 and he will be making his second trip to the Bay City area to be the lighthouse's keeper for tours during this year's "Tall Ship Celebration: Bay City". For the past decade, Jahn has been a lighthouse keeper reenactor. The lighthouse keeper uniform he wears is over 125 years old.

During the 2010 "Tall Ship Celebration: Bay City," some past members of the Coast Guard that worked at Saginaw River Rear Range Lighthouse over the years it was a Coast Guard Station were at the tours of the lighthouse, and they will be there again this year during "Tall Ship Celebration: Bay City."

The Saginaw River Rear Range Lighthouse was built in 1876 and is located near the west side of the Saginaw River in Bangor Township of Bay County, Michigan, about 3/4 mile south of the mouth of the Saginaw River and Saginaw Bay. It was decommissioned as a lighthouse in the 1960s but continued to serve as a Coast Guard Station until December 1980 when the Coast Guard moved across the Saginaw River into a new building (U.S. Coast Guard Station Saginaw River) in Hampton Township.

Information is also available on the SRMHS Facebook Page


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.

1940: MAGOG, part of convoy HX-52, was hit by gunfire from U-99, torpedoed and sank stern first. The crew was eventually rescued by the Finnish freighter FIDRA. There are conflicting dates for this event but many sources agree on this date for the loss of the former C.S.L. canaller.

1969: The crew of the W.F. WHITE rescued eight from a foundering pleasure boat off Southeast Shoal, Lake Erie.

1973: The British freighter TRELEVAN visited the Seaway in 1961. It caught fire while pumping oil bilge in the engineroom at Halifax as d) BAFFIN BAY and was a total loss. The ship was sold for scrap to Marine Salvage of Port Colborne but resold to Spanish shipbreakers and arrived at Valencia, Spain, under tow for dismantling, on October 4, 1973.

1975: The T-2 tanker NASSAU CAY, formerly the IMPERIAL TORONTO, visited the Seaway in 1960. It was converted to a dry bulk carrier in 1961 and was abandoned by the crew, in sinking condition, as f) NICHOLAS C. some 200 miles off Beira, Somalia, and was not seen again. The ship was enroute from Sorel to Basrah, Iraq, when it ran out of fresh boiler water and had been drifting.

1979: The Swedish freighter MONICA SMITH was built in 1952 and came to the Great Lakes that year. It returned on a regular basis through 1966 and again, as b) MONICA S. in 1967. It sank in the Mediterranean soon after leaving Cartagena, Spain, for Port Said, Egypt, as c) MESSINA II.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Corps pulls sunken tug Hammond Bay from St. Marys River

7/4 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Detroit District successfully salvaged a USACE tug that sank in the federal channel in the St. Marys River near Lake Superior Monday morning.

USACE sent three vessels from the Soo Area Office, in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., to recover the tug Hammond Bay Wednesday morning. The crane barge Harvey, with assistance from the derrick barge Nicolet and derrick barge H. J. Schwartz, lifted the vessel out of the channel at 2:50 p.m. Wednesday. The tug was raised to the surface using divers to rig the vessel, and then it was pumped out to refloat. The tug was taken to the Soo Area Office, where arrangements will be made assess the vessel and refurbish where possible.

During initial inspections of the vessel the crew noticed it looked structurally sound with all windows intact and no visible leaks. “It looks the same as it would if it were sitting at a dock,” said a crew member, when the vessel was initially found underwater.

The cause of the incident, with no reported injuries, will be under investigation by a team of subject matter experts being pulled together as soon as the vessel is secured.

At approximately 3:30 a.m. Monday, the USACE tug D.J. Billmaier was underway from the USACE Duluth Area Office to the Soo Area Office towing three barges and the unmanned tug Hammond Bay. While preparing to lock through the Soo Locks, the crew of the Billmaier lost sight of the Hammond Bay. After securing its barges, the Billmaier crew attempted to locate the lost tug.

They conducted an initial search during the night to see if the tug was afloat and were unsuccessful. The St. Marys River was closed to commercial vessel traffic until the tug Hammond Bay was found. Once the sunken vessel was found Monday morning (at 37 feet deep, 425 feet into the 2,000 foot wide channel) the U.S. Coast Guard established a safety zone around the work area, marked the area, and then allowed one way traffic through the channel.

The tug Hammond Bay is used to ferry the USACE crew between the shore and other USACE vessels.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers


Port Reports -  July 4

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber called on the Saginaw River, Wednesday, with a split load. The pair stopped briefly at the Burroughs North dock in Essexville to unload a partial cargo, then continued upriver to finish unloading at the Lafarge Stone dock in Saginaw. They backed down the river to the Airport Turning Basin, turned and were outbound, Wednesday evening.


Laker Phoenix Star being scrapped at Toledo shipyard

7/4 - Toledo, Ohio The mythical phoenix rose from the ashes of its own destruction. The Canadian lake freighter Phoenix Star will not.

Instead, the freighter’s 45-year career will end under a scrapper’s torch in a dry dock on the Maumee River. Workers at Toledo’s Ironhead shipyard have begun dismantling the 730-foot grain ship and expect to finish the project within 90 days, said Tony LaMantia, president of Ironhead Marine, which operates the shipyard.

The freighter was apparently the victim of an economic perfect storm, according to news reports, an inability to compete with newer, cheaper tug-barge combinations, a series of owners with financial troubles and the ship’s own condition.

Additionally, said LaMantia, the shipyard needs the dry dock which Phoenix Star occupies for its other work – inspection and repair of operating lake ships.

Phoenix Star has, since the end of the 2012 season, occupied the larger of Ironhead’s two dry docks, its wheelhouse looming over the shipyards main gate on Front Street. Freighter-watchers have witnessed and posted photos of the ship’s equipment being removed and holes cut in its sides.

“Basically the vessel has reached the end of its service life,” LaMantia said. Refurbishing the hull or converting the ship to a self-unloading freighter of the type that took over the Great Lakes trade in the last half of the 20th century, is not feasible, he added.

Launched in 1968 in Collingwood, Ontario, on Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay, once a major shipbuilding center on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes, the freighter sailed for decades as the Algocen, a grain carrier for Algoma Central Railway’s Marine Division.

According to, Algocen set a number of records for grain cargoes, but also hauled other materials such as iron ore and stone.

LaMantia was reluctant to talk about the string of financial difficulties that resulted in the freighter being stranded in his dry dock, but shipwatchers online tell this story:

Algocen’s four big diesel engines powered it up and down the lakes system until 2005, when it was sold to an outfit called Recycling Technologies Inc. and traded its Canadian Maple Leaf for a Panamanian flag before being used as a storage barge in New Jersey.

Following that, it was bought by a group of investors in St. Catharines, Ontario, operating as Vanguard Shipping (Great Lakes) Ltd., renamed the J.W. Shelley and sailed back into the Great Lakes under its own power, ¬something the shipwatchers at say rarely happens.

But financial troubles resulted in a court-ordered sale of Vanguard’s assets to a subsidiary of a company called T.F. Warren Group — identified on its website as specializing in “Engineering, Fabrication, Erection, Repair, Maintenance, Coating and Linings to the Tank and Terminal industry.” Calls placed to the listed phone number of the company’s president, Terry Warren, in Brantford, Ontario, were not returned.

The relatively low cost and freedom from environmental regulations in some nations has resulted in many a lake boat being beached and scrapped far from home.

More than a few lakers have been towed across the ocean to places like Alang, India, where miles of beaches are lined with the hulks of dead ships being cut to pieces by men with improvised cutting torches and little to no safety equipment — but considering themselves lucky to have the job. Aliaga, Turkey, is also the last port of call for tired and broken ships making their appointment with the torch.

Only recently has a combination of outcry about environmental impacts and relatively lower costs meant that some lakers meet their end in the Great Lakes. The freighter Maumee waits her turn at Port Colborne, Ontario, on the Welland Canal, and the tanker Imperial Sarnia is about half demolished. Recently, the venerable Canadian laker James Norris was scrapped at Port Colborne.

Other old lakers have seen their sterns and engines cut away, their hulls converted into barges, LaMantia said.

Meanwhile, newer freighters entering Great Lakes service, such as those recently built by Algoma and Canada Steamship Lines on the Canadian side, are built in Chinese shipyards and sailed across the ocean to the Lakes.

Great Lakes shipyards on either side of the border, LaMantia said, “can’t compete with those prices.”

Don Lee – Toledo Free Press


Marquette lighthouse restoration pending

7/4 - Marquette, Mich. – For more than 100 years, the Marquette Harbor Lighthouse has been a beacon of hope for sailors on stormy Lake Superior. But years of harsh winters have caused the facility to fall into disrepair. A new campaign is seeking to restore the structure to its original glory.

The Paint the Lighthouse Red Campaign began more than a year ago when the Marquette Maritime Museum received a grant from Save America's Treasures. The SAT grant contributes matching funds up to $180,000 for money raised by the museum. The museum has raised $20,000 so far. Restoration on the structure, as well as raising the money, must be completed by May 2014.

"We have a list of projects we want to accomplish," said Carrie Fries, director of the museum.

Top priorities include a new roof, brickwork to ensure the structure is stable and painting the lighthouse.

Ken Czapski, of Sanders & Czapski Associates, PLLC in Marquette, will be the predominant restoration architect. Czapski has made a name for himself in lighthouse restoration and in previous years has worked on the DeTour Reef Lighthouse and the Whitefish Point Light Station, among others.

The lighthouse was first erected in 1866 and is one of the oldest buildings in Marquette. More than 10,000 people visit the building each year.

"I think it's critical for it to survive," Fries said. "That lighthouse is a symbol of our community and we want to make sure it's something that is up to par to represent our city for years to come."

The Mining Journal


Updates -  July 4

News Photo Gallery


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.

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 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. 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 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 that year.

1959: The tug GRAND BANK, pushing a barge, sank in Lock 4 of the Welland Canal and the captain was lost. The vessel, built at New Orleans in 1940 as SST-123, was salvaged and, as of 1997, was operating out of Delta, BC.

1973: The Liberian flag bulk carrier FLORENCE, built as a T-2 tanker and converted in 1962, visited the Great Lakes in June 1973. The ship was outbound when it collided, in fog, with the tanker ST. SPYRIDON, inbound from Venezuela with 32,500 tons of Bunker C oil, off Les Escoumins, QC. Both ships were damaged. All on board were rescued and the two vessels were ultimately repaired. FLORENCE was scrapped at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, in 1977 and ST. SPYRIDON at Vigo, Spain, as f) GLOBE MARITIMA in 1982.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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 from the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.


Buoy marks resting place of sunken tug Hammond Bay

7/3 - 10:30 update -The tug D L Billmaier and crane barge Nicolet are at the wreck site. They are going try to lift it out of the water, a no wake zone has been established in the area.

Original Report - The USCG Buckthorn came out Tuesday morning and placed a lighted buoy to mark the sunken tug Hammond Bay. The Corps survey boat Bufe was also out Tuesday surveying the site. The Coast Guard said traffic is continuing on the river, which runs along Sault Ste. Marie about 290 miles northwest of Detroit, except for the safety zone around the sunken tug.

Matt Miner


Algoma Provider tow update

7/3 - The tug VB Artico and her tow Ovi, the former Algoma Provider, have passed through the Strait of Gibraltar as of 5:25 UTC on July 2, and are due in Aliaga, Turkey on July 14.


Port Reports -  July 3

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Tuesday at the Upper Harbor, Michipicoten loaded ore in the morning and Kaye E. Barker unloaded coal into the hopper during the evening.


M.E.B.A. re-ups for another 12 years on the Lakes

7/3 - The Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association (M.E.B.A.) and Interlake Steamship Company have successfully reached an agreement on a 12-year contract for 10 bulker vessels on the Great Lakes.

Rank and file members Erik Wlazlo, Jon Hines, Rob Thomas and Kelsey MacDonald were in M.E.B.A. headquarters to negotiate terms of the agreement, assisting president Mike Jewell and M.E.B.A. representative Greg Quintana in securing the defined benefit pension plan and locking in some of the largest shipboard wage increases the union has seen on a commercial contract in decades.

“This is a surprisingly good contract considering the current economic conditions. We are very happy,” said Walzlo. Increased plans funding was also agreed to as well as wage reopeners every four years.

The 10 Interlake vessels employ M.E.B.A. mates, engineers and stewards (considered officers on the Great Lakes). “This contract will exceed the expectations of most of the members,” said Thomas. “I think that once people have read it they will be satisfied overall.”

Interlake and M.E.B.A. have enjoyed a solid relationship for years, which has benefited the union members and the company. Both organizations look forward to continuing a mutually prosperous relationship over the next 12 years.

Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association


Tall ships command the Great Lakes en route to battle re-enactment

7/3 - Historical re-enactments of famous battles delight history buffs and teach lessons of our past. Woolen-britches-wearing enthusiasts fill fields with their close attention to detail.

There's one place where it's almost impossible to re-enact a battle — on the high seas, or, for our purposes, the Great Lakes.

It's going to happen, though, for the War of 1812's momentous, nation-defining Battle of Lake Erie. On Labor Day (Sept. 2), at Put-in-Bay, Ohio, re-enactors will simulate the 1813 naval battle in which Oliver Hazard Perry and 557 sailors from the still-very-young United States of America defeated a fleet of the world's greatest naval power, Great Britain, in those same waters.

“We have never done this before,” says Burt Rogers, executive director of Tall Ships America, a nonprofit group dedicated to preserving “tall ships” and teaching sail training. The organization is producing the Battle of Lake Erie Bicentennial.

“We're blessed that there are some fine historians in our membership, particularly Capt. Walter Rybka and Capt. Wesley Heerssen of the Brig Niagara in Erie, Pa.. Their mastery of the history of the battle and the period is fundamental to the mission of the ship. They've designed the choreography of the battle.”

The naval theater is the culmination of this summer's Tall Ships Challenge that began June 14 and runs through Sept. 9, in which a fleet of ships race across five lakes, making appearance at U.S. and Canadian ports along the way.

The ships involved in the festivities come from all over North America, like the Pride of Baltimore II, based in Chesapeake Bay, and the Lynx, which sails out of Newport Beach, Calif.

Most have professional crews, supported by student trainees learning seamanship.

Capt. David Leanza, caught on the phone dockside in Detroit, will be bringing his ship, Appledore IV, to most of the ports in the Great Lakes Tall Ships Challenge.

“It's a traditionally rigged schooner,” says Leanza, “The way the sails and rigging are set up, it sails similar to the work boats of the 1800s. It's not a replica of any specific ship, like the Niagara is, but is traditional in the design. We'll be doing day-trips in Cleveland, Chicago, Bay City and Green Bay. While others will have visitors aboard in port, we'll be going out all day: two-hour trips three-hour trips, sunset excursions.”

The festival fits in perfectly with the ship's mission.

“We do sail-training education and Great Lakes Ecology education,” Leanza says.

One ship, the Sorlandet, is coming from Norway. Built in 1927, it's billed as the oldest still-operating, full-rigged ship in the world, and is run by an international crew of sailing students.

Great Lakes ports participating in the Tall Ships Festival include Cleveland (July 3-7), Duluth, Minn. (July 25-28), and Chicago (Aug. 7-11), with the final events in Erie (Sept. 5-8). Each location will have its own events, including tours, concerts, parades and family activities.

“The ships arrive for the most part on the Third of July,” says Ed Thomas, spokesman for this week's Port of Cleveland 2013 Tall Ships Festival.

“The first thing is the ‘Parade of Sail,' which is where the ships all line up on the lake, and sail past the city waterfront, which takes a couple hours,” he says. “Local sailing clubs participate as kind of guide boats; there's a Coast Guard boat, a fireboat with water cannons. It's free to the public to watch from shore.”

Then, the ships will be in port from July 4 through 7, at the The Port of Cleveland just north of FirstEnergy Stadium/Home of the Cleveland Browns.

“They may be boarded — the public can walk through the ships and talk to the crews,” Thomas says. “There will be an entertainment stage with music, storytellers, a guy doing short lectures about the War of 1812 and the battle in 1813. A number of ships are doing what we call Sail-Aways. The public can buy a ticket (90 minutes; $55 per person) and go on the ship in the lake and get a feel for what it's about.”

In Bay City, Mich., the July 12-14 Tall Ships visit will coincide with the Maritime Music Festival, featuring bands from all over the world playing songs of the sea.

Although the War of 1812 gets overshadowed by the Revolutionary War, the Battle of Lake Erie was still a pretty big deal. Capt. Walter Rybka has a few theories about what would have happened if it had been lost.

“The Battle of Lake Erie was a victory for the U.S.,” says Rybka of the Erie-based Brig Niagara. “If it hadn't been fought, or had been lost, and the British were still sitting in (occupying) Detroit, I think they would have been in a powerful position to argue for redrawing the border, which could have run along the Michigan/Indiana line. We had lost Detroit and couldn't get it back until the Battle of Lake Erie had been fought.”

Of course, the Canadians and British see things a little differently from Americans. Though they lost the battle, the Canadians tend to assume that they won the War of 1812. Americans, at best, consider it a draw.

“That's a good conclusion from the U.S. standpoint,” says Rybka. “Our war was with Great Britain over trade, seaman's rights. It was basically fought to mutual exhaustion, and things mostly returned to the pre-war status quo. We stood up to the world's most powerful navy.

“In Canada, it's a win. We came over their border several times. It's a uniting element — the country came together to defend itself. In England, the general view is, ‘What war?' It's a nickel-and-dime sideshow to the Napoleonic wars.”

The Sept. 2 battle re-enactment will be difficult to observe from land, but some visitors will be able to watch from several large spectator vessels.

The 1813 battle was three hours long and extremely deadly.

“I've laid out the movements of the battle from first-person accounts,” Rybka says. “They're fairly standard maneuvers — just a couple of 90-degree right turns, and then coming parallel again. We'll try to make some noise and smoke to give people an idea of the battle. A fireworks barge will be there to make a lot of noise and smoke in the center of the area, to represent the greater volume of fire these ships were capable of in their real configurations.”

The Brig Niagara carries four replica cannons, not the 20 that its namesake carried in 1812-13.

The battle was joined when the American flagship, the Lawrence, sailed ahead to meet the British fleet, and absorbed the full brunt of their attack. While firing back furiously, the Lawrence was virtually shot to pieces, with 70 percent casualties.

“The commander (of the Niagara) didn't bring the Niagara up to share that load,” Rybka says. “Some say it was because the wind didn't allow that. I think he had a choice.

“After the breeze allowed ships to start maneuvering, Perry had himself rowed over to the Niagara, and sailed into the British line, hitting them after they were already damaged.”

Curiously, Perry was forced to defy the very motto that is forever associated with him.

“His motto is ‘Don't give up the ship,' but he had to give up the ship to win the battle,” Rybka says. “The real motto is ‘Don't give up.' ”



Today in Great Lakes History -  July 3

On this day in 1943, the J. H. HILLMAN JR (Hull#524), the 14th of 16 Maritime-class 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 still exists 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.

U.S. Steel's ROGER BLOUGH was moved out of the dry dock at Lorain, Ohio, on June 3, 1972.

In 1954, CLIFFS VICTORY successfully completed her sea trials.

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.

PATERSON (i) 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.

1964: The A. & J. FAITH, idle at Cleveland and under arrest, was struck by the MIKAGESAN MARU when the latter was caught by a wind gust. The former sustained $5,000 in damage. This ship was sold and renamed c) SANTA SOFIA at Cleveland in August 1964. It arrived for scrapping at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, as d) COSMOS MARINER in August 1970. The latter, a Japanese freighter that made 6 trips to the Great Lakes from 1962 to 1966, was scrapped at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, as b) UNION SINGAPORE in 1979.

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


Corps’ tug Hammond Bay sinks in St. Marys River

7/2 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The U.S. Coast Guard responded Monday morning to a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tug that sank in the upper St. Marys River in Michigan. As yet there has been no announcement as to why the tug Hammond Bay went down.

The Coast Guard said that at 3:30 a.m. a search-and-rescue controller in Sault Ste. Marie was contacted by the crew of the tug Billmaier, reporting that they were towing three barges and the tug Hammond Bay when the crew lost sight of the Hammond Bay.

After securing the barges, the crew of the Billmaier attempted to locate the lost tug, but found only an oil sheen and a life ring. Upon closer inspection, the Billmaier crew found the sunken tug in the middle of the St. Marys River under 27 feet of water. There was no one aboard the tug Hammond Bay at the time it became lost.

The Coast Guard responded to the incident with a boatcrew and pollution responder aboard a 25-foot Response Boat-Small, from Coast Guard Station Sault Ste. Marie, and an aircrew aboard an MH-65C Dolphin helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Mich., which is conducting aerial assessments.

The Coast Guard has established a 500-foot safety zone around the sunken tug, and all boating traffic is being directed to stay clear of this area, which is also marked by a bouy. The Army Corps reports that the Hammond Bay has 200 gallons of diesel fuel and 15 gallons of oil aboard.

The Coast Guard is working with the Army Corps and other partners to minimize any environmental damage and impact to waterways that the sunken tug may present. They are also working on a way to remove the tug.

Herm Klein and Matt Miner


Port Reports -  July 2

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Manitowoc was inbound on the Saginaw River, late Saturday night, carrying a split load for the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City and the Bay City Wirt Stone dock. Once she was finished unloading, she turned in the Wirt Basin and was outbound from the river on Sunday morning. Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber were inbound on Sunday, also carrying a split cargo. The pair unloaded a partial cargo at the Burroughs North dock in Essexville, then continued upriver to finish unloading at the Lafarge Stone Dock in Saginaw. The Moore-Kuber were outbound for the lake Monday morning. Dredging operations are underway in the area where Algorail was stuck between the Liberty and Vet's Memorial bridges in Bay City. For the month of June, there were 24 commercial vessel passages/deliveries. The was up by eight passages from the same time period in 2012, and four more than the five year average of 20 vessel passages. For the year to date, there have been 45 commercial vessel passages/deliveries. This is down six from the same time period last year.

Sandusky and Marblehead, Ohio - Jim Spencer
CSL Assiniboine loaded Sunday at the NS coal dock. She sailed Monday for Hamilton and was replaced at the dock by the Herbert C. Jackson. At Marblehead, Cuyahoga loaded Sunday prior to sailing for Cleveland. Monday morning, Algoma Olympic slid alongside the Lafarge aggregate dock and began loading.


Great Lakes Towing, Shipyard mark 115th anniversary with two new tugs

7/2 - Cleveland, Ohio - The Great Lakes Towing Company and Great Lakes Shipyard will celebrate their 115th anniversary with the delivery of two new 4,640HP FIFI 1 ASD tugs. Designed by Jensen Maritime Consultant, Inc., Seattle, Washington, the tugs Aura and Atlas are built to the highest standards of the American Bureau of Shipping, the U.S. vessel classification society. The tugs were launched using the shipyard’s 770-ton Travelift. Atlas is currently headed out the Seaway on its delivery trip.

Founded by John D. Rockefeller on July 7, 1899, the company’s founding shareholders were the major industrialists at the turn of the century.

Great Lakes Shipyard is a full-service state-of-the-art shipyard specializing in every kind of marine construction, fabrications, conversions, refits, and repairs for all types of commercial and government vessels, tugs, supply boats, ferries, barges, truckable barges, excursion vessels, dinner boats, research vessels, and large yachts, as well as both on-site and off-site topside work of every kind.

To learn more, visit


Engine trouble sidelines Beaver Island ferry

7/2 - Beaver Island, Mich. – Officials with the Beaver Island Boat Company and the Beaver Island Transportation Authority say the broken-down engine that has left the island’s main ferry, the Emerald Isle, out of service has been removed from the vessel and shipped to the mainland for repairs.

Authority transportation director Barb Schwartzfisher said late last week crews removed the faulty engine from the island’s main cargo, passenger and vehicle ferry and shipped it via barge and semi to Michigan Cat in Kalkaska where it will be repaired. Schwartzfisher did not have a timetable for when the Emerald Isle might be back in service. However, she noted that once the engine is repaired, it will have to be shipped back to the island, re-installed, tested and inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard before the Emerald Isle can return to service.

In the meantime, she said, the island will continue to be served by its much older, secondary ferry, the Beaver Islander. The 51-year-old Beaver Islander typically only operates on the busiest summer days to augment the Beaver Island Boat Company schedule, however it has been serving as the island’s main ferry since one of the Emerald Isle’s two engines failed shortly after departing from Beaver Island on Tuesday, June 25.

Until the Emerald Isle is fixed the Beaver Island Boat Company has modified its schedule and made arrangements with a local barge operator to help meet some of the Islands transportation needs as the Beaver Islander is a smaller vessel and cannot carry as many or as large of vehicles as the Emerald Isle can. On some days the revised schedules have called for nearly round-the-clock ferry operations, with the trips departing from the island at 11:20 p.m. and from Charlevoix at 2:30 a.m.

See the Beaver Island Boat Company’s website for updated schedules at The modified schedule is currently available through July 9.

In a recent press release, boat company officials asked that passengers, especially with vehicle reservations, take note of the Beaver Islander’s vehicle restrictions. The main height of the vessel’s cargo area is 6 feet 4 inches.

BIBCO is asking that passengers try to avoid traveling with car top carriers and other items on top of vehicles. Also, if you have a vehicle above 6-foot-4-inches in height, please try to bring a smaller vehicle if you are able to do so, as it will be difficult for them to guarantee passage of vehicles taller than 6-foot-4-inches. Trailers will be taken on a case-by-case basis and may need to be unloaded as water levels make it very difficult to load and unload trailers.

Company officials noted that some vehicles will be sent to and from the island on the barge, but noted that the travel time of the barge is approximately four hours and it cannot take passengers.

Petoskey News


Video confirms identity of 100-year-old shipwreck in Lake Superior

7/2 - Duluth, Minn. – Video taken more than 500 feet down in Lake Superior has confirmed that a shipwreck is the long-lost freighter Henry B. Smith.

Shipwreck hunters located the wreck May 24 about 30 miles north of Marquette, Mich. They had little doubt then that they had found the Smith, which vanished in a storm with all hands in 1913, but the group wasnt able to get video showing the ships name until a return trip to the site last week, the Duluth News Tribune reported Monday.

“We were blessed with gorgeous weather, while out on the water last Sunday and Monday,” said Jerry Eliason, of Cloquet. “And the camera despite getting caught on the wreck for a half-hour it captured video of lettering spelling out Henry B. Smith on the ship’s stern.”

The 525-foot Henry B. Smith sank in the massive Great Lakes Storm of November 1913, after it and its crew of 25 ventured out from Marquette during a lull. The storm kicked up again and the freighter sank, leaving scattered wreckage and just two bodies along the shores of Lake Superior.

In addition to footage of the ships name the group also caught a glimpse of the name on the Smith’s bow the return trip revealed more details of how the ship came to rest on the lake bottom.

“It’s like a V,” Eliason said. “It’s broken in the middle, with the largely intact bow and stern sections rising up from the lake bed amid a spilled cargo of iron ore.”

Getting the video was challenging because of a still-standing mast and guide wires on the bow, which snagged the camera for a while last week before the group was able to work it free. The group will continue to review the video, and send it to other shipwreck experts, to see what more they can learn about the Henry B. Smith and how it sank.

Eliason said he and fellow explorer Ken Merryman, of Minneapolis, have been invited to give a presentation about the wreck at the 26th annual Gales of November conference in Duluth. The event, a fundraiser for the Lake Superior Marine Museum Association, is scheduled for Nov. 1-2.


Retirement is next port of call for Cort’s Capt. Tom McMullen

7/2 - When the 1,000-footer Stewart J. Cort locked upbound on Monday evening at the Soo it was her last trip with Capt. Tom McMullen in the pilothouse. McMullen will officially begin his retirement when the boat pulls into Superior, Wis., sometime Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.

McMullen, a lifelong mariner, is past grand president (2011) of the International Shipmasters Association and has been a member of the Detroit Lodge No. 7 for more than 30 years. Being on the water is a natural for McMullen because it is what he has always done. He worked for Ford Motor Co. prior to joining Interlake Steamship Co., and served as a first, second and third mate before becoming a master.

McMullen grew up in the Florida Keys, boating, snorkeling, scuba diving and playing golf. He served in the U.S. Navy on ballistic missile and fast-attack submarines in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He estimates that to date he has spent more of his life on the water than on land. He and his wife Susan reside in Livonia, Michigan. They have two adult sons.

With McMullen’s retirement, Greg Sipper, former skipper of the Kaye E. Barker, will take command of the Cort. Erik Sawyer is the new captain of the Barker.



Seaway announces of opening of visitors center

7/2 - Massena, N.Y. — The St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. announced Thursday that the Dwight D. Eisenhower Visitors Center at the Eisenhower Lock will open for the season today.

But at least for now, the Greater Massena Chamber of Commerce won’t have a presence with its gift shop. The Visitors Center will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, including weekends, through Labor Day.

It normally opens on Memorial Day but was delayed this year for facility maintenance to repair damage caused by winter weather. In the interim, visitors were asked to view ships from the Eisenhower Lock North Side Observation Area, which remains open through the year.

The repairs included replacement of the main building’s roof and repairs to the ground floor of the center that suffered water damage.

“They had major ice and snow damage and had to wait for repair. It’s been rectified. The Seaway did a good job. They did what they had to do,” chamber Executive Director Michael J. Gleason said.

The opening delay, however, meant calls to the chamber office from visitors.

“We’ve had a lot of calls from people wondering what was going on. People are coming down for day trips and wondering why the lock store was not open. People are coming from all over the place,” he said.

Now, Seaway officials say, visitors can watch commercial and cruise ship transits from around the world from an observation deck. Guides are available to provide additional information to tourists.

Seaway officials said hundreds of ships from all over the world go through the St. Lawrence Seaway annually, carrying a wide variety of cargoes including grains, iron ore, coal, steel, stone, steel slabs and project cargoes.

Up-to-date information on estimated vessel transit times is available by calling 769-2422 for a voice recording of that day’s projected lockage schedule. Additional information is on the website at That map updates every 15 minutes with details on the ships in transit within the Seaway system.

Under security measures that were implemented after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, visitors will be asked to leave all packages, bags and backpacks in their vehicles. Any items that have to be carried into the viewing area must be presented for inspection or for checking by a metal detecting wand.

While visitors will be able to view the ships, they may not find the chamber’s gift shop open for business.

Mr. Gleason said it boils down to funding for the employees to run the shop. He said the chamber sent a letter to Seaway officials explaining that it would not be able to run the store “because we’re short of funds to run it.”

Watertown Daily Times


Today in Great Lakes History -  July 2

In 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 p.m. when the vessel moved about 100 feet but still was not launched. The tug VULCAN arrived at 8 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 p.m. a second effort only moved the barge about four 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.

1990 ¬ CUNARD CAVALIER first visited the Great Lakes in 1978 and returned later that year as b) OLYMPIC HARMONY. The ship went aground off Port Muhammad Bin Asimov, Pakistan, on this date in 1990 as d) VILLA while en route to West Africa. It was abandoned July 13. The hull was refloated November 30, 1990, and arrived at Singapore, under tow, on May 16, 1991. The ship was declared a total loss and reached Alang, India, for scrapping on February 2, 1992.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Traffic delayed at Soo due to search operations

7-1 - Soo - At about 3:55 a.m. Monday, Soo Traffic asked the downbound James R. Barker to cut back speed due to the sinking of a tug near Gros Cap. The tug D L Billmaier was shortening her tow of three barges and the tug Hammond Bay near Gros Cap when the small unmanned tug broke loose, it wasn't noticed until the Billmaier reached Whisky Bay anchorage. After securing the barges, the Billmaier’s crew attempted to locate the lost tug. They reported finding an oil sheen and a life ring from the lost tug, which led them to believe that the tug had sunk.

The upper river was closed between Light 26 and Gros Cap at about 5 a.m. to all vessels, including small craft, as search operations were being conducted. The river was partially reopened in that area to one-way traffic around 9:30 a.m., with the Barker allowed to proceed downbound and John D. Leitch allowed to proceed up.

The Billmaier crew found the sunken tug south of Buoy 35 in 27 feet of water. Later that morning the channel around the wreck was opened to two way traffic, vessels are asked to stay to the east and check down.

The tugs Billmaier and Hammond Bay are owned and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  The Coast Guard has established a safety zone around the sunken tug. The Army Corps reports that the Hammond Bay has 200 gallons of diesel fuel and 15 gallons of oil aboard. The Coast Guard is working with the Army Corps to minimize any environmental damage and impact to waterways. They are also working on a way to remove the tug.

Herm Klein and Matt Miner


Maiden voyage begins for Baie Comeau, the latest Trillium Class self unloader

7/1 - CSL's fourth and final Trillium Class self-unloading vessel, Baie Comeau, has set sail on her maiden voyage. On June 30 the vessel departed the Chengxi Shipyard in Jiangyin, China. She is expected to take approximately 50-60 days to complete her voyage.

The Baie Comeau was preceded by the Whitefish Bay and Thunder Bay, both departing in May on their maiden voyages, and also by the award-winning Trillium Class self-unloader Baie St. Paul in 2012.

The Baie Comeau, as with her sisterships, is fitted with additional supports for her journey across the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans. After arriving in Montreal, the additional supports will be removed and within 7-10 days afterward she will begin Great Lakes service. Baie Comeau is also carrying ballast stone that will be discharged in Windsor, Ontario before the ship begins to see Great Lakes service.

With the Baie Comeau's departure from China, this completes the Trillium Class self-unloading additions to the CSL fleet. However, construction continues in China for two new Trillium Class straight deck bulk carriers, which are expected to join the new self-unloading vessels already built in China, sometime during the 2014 shipping season

Denny Dushane


Port Reports -  July 1

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
American Mariner departed Buffalo at 4:30 p.m. Sunday. She was headed to the Long Point Bay anchorage the ship will go on the hook for the night. Monday she will proceed to Port Colborne, take on a pilot, and then head down the Welland Canal for Hamilton. The USACOE tug Cheraw was headed down to Black Rock Harbor at 4 p.m.


Tanker Algoma Hansa due in Montreal, Great Lakes

7/1 - The Algoma tanker Algoma Hansa (IMO Number 9127186) is expected to arrive in Montreal on July 3. Algoma Hansa is coming from Emden, Germany and will be heading to Mississaua, Ontario. This will be the first time that the Algoma tanker has visited the Great Lakes region. The ship was built in 1998 at the Bae Systems Southeast Alabama yard in Mobile, Alabama, and is a sistership to the Algosea (IMO 9127198). Algoma Hansa at one time sailed in the Hanseatic Tanker fleet. In 2011 she joined the Algoma International fleet as part of Navig8 Chemical Group's Brizo8 Pool of ships. She has since been painted in Algoma colors and has the Algoma stack and logo put on her as well. Algoma Hansa is the former Amalienborg and Algosea is the former tanker Aggersborg. Each vessel is 144.05 meters in length with a beam of 23.00 meters.

Denny Dushane


U.S. Coast Guard 9th District command changes

7/1 - The US Coast Guard has completed a change-of-command ceremony for its 9th District, which spans the five Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence Seaway, and parts of the surrounding states, and at the same time held a retirement ceremony for its departing commander.

Vice Adm. Robert Parker, Coast Guard Atlantic Area commander, presided over the ceremony to transfer command of the 9th District from Rear Adm. Michael Parks to Rear Adm. Fred Midgette.

Parks assumed command of the 9th District in April 2010. Following the change-of-command ceremony, Parks will retire after 35 years of Coast Guard service and plans to travel for the summer and spend time with his family.

Midgette reports to the 9th District from his position as the military advisor to the secretary of homeland security. He’s returning to Cleveland, having previously served as 9th District chief of staff, or second in command of district operations, from May 2010 to May 2011.

Headquartered in Cleveland, 9th District units are responsible for all Coast Guard operations throughout the five Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence Seaway, and parts of the surrounding states including 6,700 miles of shoreline and 1,500 miles of shared international border with Canada. The 6,000 active-duty, Reserve, civilian and Auxiliary men and women deliver multi-mission services in search and rescue, maritime safety and security, environmental protection, maritime law enforcement, aids to navigation, and icebreaking.



Updates -  July 1

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We are working to get caught up on the back log of pictures and return the gallery to a daily feature. Please continue to send your updates and pictures.


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.

1918: The wooden steam barge CREAM CITY stranded on Wheeler Reef in upper Lake Huron due to fog while towing the barge GRACE HOLLAND. All were rescued but the ship was abandoned. The hull caught fire and was destroyed in 1925.

1939: ALGOSOO (i) arrived at Collingwood for hull repairs after hitting bottom, in fog, near Cape Smith, Georgian Bay.

1964: WHITEFISH BAY went aground off in the St. Lawrence off Whisky Island while bound for Montreal with a cargo of grain. Six tugs pulled the ship free on July 3.

1975: VALETTA first came to the Great Lakes in 1962 and returned as c) ORIENT EXPORTER in 1966 and d) IONIC in 1972. The leaking ship was beached at Cheddar, Saudi Arabia, with hull cracks. It slipped off the reef July 11, 1975, and sank.

1972: H.M.C.S. COBOURG was built at Midland as a World War Two corvette and rebuilt as a merchant ship about 1947. It caught fire and burned as d) PUERTO DEL SOL at New Orleans while undergoing repairs and the upper works were gutted. The ship was sold for scrapping at Brownsville, TX, later in the year.

1980: The Swedish-flag freighter MALTESHOLM first came through the Seaway in 1963. It began leaking in the engine room as c) LITO on this date while bound from Kalamata, Greece, to Vietnam with bagged flour. It was abandoned by the crew and then sank in the eastern Mediterranean. The ship had been sold to Taiwan ship breakers and was likely bound for Kaohsiung after unloading in the Far East.

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


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