Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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* Report News

Port Reports -  July 31

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived at Lafarge Tuesday afternoon to load for South Chicago, Ill. Wednesday morning the G.L Ostrander along with the barge Integrity tied up under the silos at Lafarge and loaded cement for Superior, Wis. Once the Integrity departed the dock and headed out into the bay, the Alpena made its way into port.

Holland, Mich. – Jim Lindholm
The new cruise ship Pearl Mist visited on Monday.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
After unloading at the Bay Aggregates and Buena Vista docks on Saturday, the Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber were back on the Saginaw River again Tuesday with a cargo for the Lafarge Stone dock in Saginaw. The pair stopped in Bay City at the Wirt Stone dock for a number of hours before heading upriver to unload, however. A work truck and trailer were seen along side, as well as a diver in the water. The reason why is unknown. The pair was outbound for the lake early Wednesday morning.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Great Lakes Trader unloaded on Tuesday and was outbound in mid-afternoon.

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
At Redpath Tuesday the bulker Mandarin was almost finished discharging and will sail Wednesday evening. The tugs Ocean Golf and Laprairie were on standby alongside at Sugar Beach.


Ex-Seaway salties sold for scrap

7/31 - Marine News, the monthly journal of the World Ship Society, reports the following ships with Great Lakes connections going for scrap in the August 2014 issue.

Ariadne of Loriet Navigation Co., Greece, has been sold to shipbreakers in Bangladesh. The 606 foot, 11 inch long bulk carrier arrived at Chittagong and was beached on April 23, 2014. This ship was a Great Lakes trader under four of its six names and had a long history of inland service.

The vessel was built as LT Argosy at Sedota, Japan, and completed in 1984 for Larsen Toubro Ltd. It was initially registered in India and began Seaway service that year. The ship was a regular inland trader, often on time charter to Fednav, and delivered steel while departing with grain. It went aground in the Saginaw River on Oct. 17, 1992, and was released with the aid of the tug Missouri. Following a sale in 1998, the ship returned inland as Millenium Hawk in 1998 with registry in the Cayman Islands. The bulk carrier made eight visits to our shores under this name to the end of 2001. It returned through the Seaway again as c) Cashin in May 2002 bringing sugar to Toronto. It was registered in Hong Kong and China.

Its fifth and final trip to the Great Lakes ended on Dec. 26, 2003, when the vessel was the last saltwater ship to exit the St. Lambert Lock that year. Another sale and another name in 2004 brought the ship under the flag of Malta as d) Oneida. As such, it remained off-lakes but it suffered damage when there was an explosion in the gas exhaust boiler while on the River Plate in South America on July 24, 2004. There were no casualties and Oneida was repaired at Montevideo, Uruguay. In 2005, the ship was sold and registered in Malta as e) Antikeri and made another 13 trips through the Seaway with its last up bound transit for the lakes on June 28, 2010. The ship was bound for Oshawa and Thunder Bay at the time. Before the end of the 2010 season, Antikeri was sold to Greek interests and renamed f) Ariadne. As such, it never came to the Great Lakes finishing its career in saltwater service before the trip to the scrapyard last April.

Jin Yuan Hu was built at Sunderland, England, as the SD-14 freighter Grand Faith. It was completed on April 25, 1980, and came through the Seaway for the first time in 1982. It was sold to China Ocean Shipping in 1984 becoming An Yang Jiang. Then, in 2009, it was renamed Jin Yuan Hu and remained under the flag of China until it was sold for scrap in 2012. The vessel arrived at Fanchang County, Anhui, China, and was broken up.

Kinship Bangar arrived at Mumbai, India, on March 18, 2014. Dismantling of the 32-year old vessel began on April 11. As b) Barbara E., the ship first entered the Seaway Aug. 31, 1995, carrying steel to Detroit. On the trip back to the Atlantic, the 336 foot, 4 inch long freighter loaded a press and press parts for overseas delivery. The ship had been built in 1982 as Finn Sif and was scrapped under her fourth name.

Yong Xiang came through the Seaway as Clipper Spirit in 1986. It had been built in Japan that year and first sailed under the flag of Panama. The 328 foot, 9 inch long bulk carrier was sailing as f) Yong Xiang when it was sold for scrap earlier this year. It arrived at Chittagong, Bangladesh, on March 25, 2014, and scrapping got underway on April 12.

Aniva was a Seaway trader under two names. Built as Yiannis L. in 1981, the ship began Great Lakes service in 1985 with Panamanian registry. It returned as d) Kuciste, Yugoslavia flag, in 1989 and as f) Baltic Trader (St. Vincent) in 1998 bound for Hamilton. The 399 foot, 9 inch long bulk carrier was sold to shipbreakers in India and arrived at Alang on April 22, 2014. Scrapping began a week later.

Compiled by Barry Andersen, Rene Beauchamp and Skip Gillham


Hedge fund claims victory in Cliffs Natural Resources board vote

7/31 - Cleveland, Ohio – Casablanca Capital triumphed on Tuesday in its proxy battle with Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., preliminary estimates show, putting the hedge fund in a position to replace Cliffs’ chief executive and sell off underperforming assets.

Shareholders of Cleveland-based Cliffs voted onto the company’s board all six nominees put forward by Casablanca, the New York-based fund said, citing estimates from its proxy solicitor. That means they will make up a majority of the 11-person board.

Cliffs CEO Gary Halverson said at the company’s well-attended annual meeting in Cleveland that because of the contested nature of the elections, the results would be announced in the next three business days.

Shares in Cliffs, a producer of iron ore and metallurgical coal, jumped as much as 10.4 percent to $18.33 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Cliffs is a major player in Minnesota’s taconite iron ore business and among the largest employers in Northeastern Minnesota. The company owns United Taconite in Eveleth and NorthShore Mining in Silver Bay and Babbitt, and is part owner and operates Hibbing Taconite. It also owns and operates the Tilden-Empire operations in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula along with iron ore mines in Canada and Australia and several coal mines in the U.S. and abroad.

The vote outcome “is a culmination of years of frustration on behalf of shareholders,” said Garrett Nelson, a mining research analyst at BB&T Capital Markets.

Casablanca began a proxy fight in March against Cliffs, of which it owns 5.2 percent, accusing the company of destroying shareholder value through an ill-conceived expansion strategy. In the face of pressure from the hedge fund, Cliffs has cut costs and spending in recent months by closing its Wabush mine in Canada and scuttling plans to expand its Bloom Lake mine in Quebec.

Cliffs shares have fallen about 85 percent in the past three years, at a time when iron ore and coal prices have plunged.

The vote by Cliffs shareholders has “sent a resounding message of support for our efforts to drive meaningful change at Cliffs, bring true accountability to the company’s leadership, and restore shareholder value,” Casablanca Chairman Donald Drapkin said in a statement.

Casablanca has said it wants to replace Cliffs’ CEO with its preferred candidate, Lourenco Goncalves, a former CEO of Metals USA.

Other than naming a new CEO immediately, Casablanca will probably pursue the sale of three of Cliffs’ four operating segments: its Asia-Pacific iron ore business, its Eastern Canadian iron ore operations and its North American coal unit, said Nelson, the mining research analyst.

In recent weeks, Cliffs has made a series of concessions to Casablanca, cutting down its slate of director nominees so that at least four of Casablanca’s candidates were likely to win seats, and promising to elect a new chairman after the annual meeting.

Casablanca called these moves “a desperate attempt to resist change.”

Cliffs has been critical of Casablanca’s CEO candidate, arguing that he does not have enough experience.

To be sure, three proxy advisory firms — Glass Lewis, Institutional Shareholder Services and Egan-Jones — had recommended that Cliffs retain a majority of the board, Cliffs said last week.

The six Casablanca nominees put forward for the board were: Goncalves, Robert Fisher, Joseph Rutkowski, James Sawyer, Gabriel Stoliar and Douglas Taylor, Casablanca’s CEO.

Duluth News Tribune


National Museum Marine Mart to be held Saturday, Aug. 9

7/31 - Toledo, Ohio – The National Museum of the Great Lakes will hold a Marine Mart on Aug. 9 at the museum in Toledo, Ohio. Members of the museum as well as the general public have been invited to attend. The museum will be selling a wide variety of items including Great Lakes books and memorabilia as well as a large collection of general maritime books. Over 2000 volumes will be offered for sale. The museum will be selling such items as a 19th century ship’s wheel from a Great Lakes schooner, several models and the name board to the South American. Over 800 local members of the museum have been invited to a special members’ only sneak preview buying opportunity that begins at 9 a.m. The general public will be invited in at 10 a.m. Admission to the museum at any level includes admission to the marine mart.

Vendors interested in participating should contact James at as space is limited.


Michigan divers discover wreck of World War II plane

7/31 - Port Huron, Mich. – David and Drew Losinski are struck by the coincidence. They took a photo on April 11, from the surface of Lake Huron, of the wing of a World War II-era fighter plane that crashed during a training exercise, killing its pilot.

“That plane actually crashed April 11, 1944, which was 70 years to the date that the picture was taken,” Drew Losinski said. “We thought that was kind of unbelievable.”

The Losinskis are divers — David has been diving since 1977; his son, Drew, since 2002 — and both are former members of the St. Clair County Dive Team. They’ve seen lots of things underwater, but the story of the P39 fighter lost just off the Port Huron beachfront touched them.

“It was eerie,” David Losinski said. “We didn’t know really what we had.”

What they had was a one-seat warplane piloted by 2nd Lt. Frank H. Moody of Los Angeles. He was training with fellow pilots out of what was then Selfridge Field when his plane crashed.

“All four of the guys that were in that flight were from Tuskegee,” Losinksi said. “I didn’t know anything about the Tuskegee Airmen until we got into this.”

The Tuskegee Airmen were African-American members of the 332nd Fighter Group and 477th Bombardment Group of the U.S. Army Air Force who fought in Europe during World War II. They also were known as the Red Tails because they painted the tails of their aircraft red.

The Losinskis found an account of the crash in the Times Herald. The story stated Moody and three other pilots were taking gunnery practice about three miles north of Port Huron.

Cecil V. Fowler saw the crash, according to the Times Herald article. “It was the most horrible thing I have ever witnessed,” she said. “There were four planes, and I was watching them from our front window, as I usually do when they’re engaged in gunnery practice.

“Then everything happened so fast it seems unbelievable.

“Smoke started coming from the tail of the second plane, and I could see it was in trouble. The pilot apparently noticed it and tried to lift his ship.

“It was a feeble effort, for the plane seemed to lift for only a few feet and then it crashed, nose first, into the water. I saw a big splash, and then the plane went out of sight.”

Moody’s body was not recovered until it washed ashore in Port Huron on June 4, 1944 — two days before D-Day and the invasion of Normandy. David Losinski said he and his son were assisting the state Department of Environmental Quality with a barge that sank in Lake Huron in July 2012. During those efforts, they noted several areas they wanted to investigate, including one about four miles north of the Blue Water Bridge.

Superstorm “Sandy came along and moved things around,” David Losinski said. They resumed the investigation last spring.

“This year, we went out diving, and we could see these points of interest from the surface,” Losinski said. “Drew said, ‘Dad, that’s an airplane.’

“You could see the wings. We knew we had some kind of plane.”

He said the wreckage from the plane is scattered across the lake bottom. Pieces include the engine, the tail, part of the door and the 37-millimeter cannon that fired through the propeller hub.

The P-39 had a unique configuration with the engine placed behind the pilot and the drive shaft running under the cockpit to the propeller. The plane was equipped with the cannon and four .50-caliber machine guns — two mounted on the wings, two more just behind the propeller and timed to fire through the spinning blades.

“We came across the gauge cluster, which had the radio call tag,” David Losinski said. “Once we brought that up and cleaned the tag, we knew it was the 221226 serial number.”

The Losinskis said they want to preserve the site for people to dive on. “In a nutshell, this is what we’re trying to do — get permission to relocate the parts so they would resemble a plane,” David Losinski said.

That’s been easier said than done.

“The state says, ‘We don’t have jurisdiction over that; it’s the Air Force,’” Losinski said. “The Air Force says, ‘Any aircraft before 1961, we’ve abandoned it.’”

The Losinskis haven’t abandoned their quest to bring this long-forgotten chapter in the history of World War II to light. They’re looking for other divers who can assist with the effort. “We’ve done quite a bit of documenting and measuring,” David Losinski said.

They want the site to remain a memorial divers can visit.

“All the artifacts that were taken off were replaced in their original position and original situation except for the tag we cleaned up,” he said.

Port Huron Times Herald


Lookback #256 – Teeswood capsized due to heavy seas in the English Channel on July 31, 1956

The British freighter Teeswood had only a three-year career but it included some Great Lakes service in the Pre-Seaway era. It was lost 58 years ago today.

Teeswood had been built at Middlesborough, England, and launched on June 25, 1953. It was competed on Sept. 4, 1953, for the Jos. Constantine Steamship Line Ltd. and designed for service between Newfoundland and the Great Lakes.

The 226 foot long freighter was spotted on the Detroit River on April 28, 1954, with a cargo of British-made automobiles. It also became the first saltwater trader since 1940 to call at the Lake Erie community of Port Stanley when it arrived there in the spring of 1954.

On July 31, 1956, Teeswood encountered heavy seas from a storm on the English Channel about 4 nautical miles off Dungeness, Kent, England. The vessel was carrying coal loaded at Blyth, Scotland, for Shoreham, England, and was abandoned by the crew.

Teeswood capsized and went down about two miles off Dover. One member of the crew was lost.

Skip Gillham


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.


Federal Rideau refloated after St. Clair River grounding

7/30 - Detroit, Mich. – A 656-foot freighter that went aground in Lake St. Clair over the weekend has been refloated and will resume its trip to Montreal after inspections, including an underwater survey of its hull.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, there is no leakage or pollution concerns from the Hong Kong-registered Federal Rideau, which went aground at about 3 a.m. Sunday.

The grounding reduced shipping traffic to one direction, but two-way traffic was resumed once the freighter was freed Tuesday, Lt. Commander Scott Smith said.

“The freighter was freed at about 3 a.m. Tuesday,” Lt. Commander Jillian Lamb said. “It was then moved to the Belle Isle anchorage. It’s now anchored in the Detroit River near the Renaissance Center where it will undergo one to two days of inspections. A diver will also inspect the underside of the ship.”

According to the Coast Guard, the ship was grounded after it lost steering control because of motor coupling problems. After the mishap, five tugs were sent to free the ship but were unsuccessful after two tugs developed engine problems.

The Federal Rideau was constructed in Japan in 2000. The vessel is carrying 22,672 tons of wheat that was to be delivered in Montreal by July 30.

Detroit News


Massive green algae outbreak a threat on Lake Erie as waters warm

7/30 - Ohio state officials released the first beach advisory on July 23 after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a June 2014 report predicting a significant threat to Lake Erie due to harmful algal blooms (HAB).

The blooms are a malignant type of cyanobacteria that crowd water areas, typically late in the summer to early fall for the Great Lakes region. When the toxic algae blooms in a massive outburst, water conditions can prove unsafe for swimmers and animals.

Lake Erie endured an extreme bloom in 2011 that turned waters a putrid green and closed beaches due to health risks. Researchers expect 2014 blooms to be milder, though public safety could still be impacted.

A Recreational Public Health Advisory was issued at Maumee Bay State Park on Lake Erie on July 23, warning swimmers, especially children, elderly or those with compromised immune systems, that waters are at an elevated toxin level. Technically, swimming is still allowed in such waters, though it could prove to be adverse to health concerns.

Higher temperatures can be a contributing factor to an increase in blooms, according to Professor and Director at the Graham Sustainability Institute at the University of Michigan Don Scavia. However, he explained that the key factor is the amount of phosphorus flowing into the lakes from agricultural watersheds.

When an excess of minerals, such as phosphorus, and other factors such as higher temperatures, the mix can create hazardous conditions.

According to the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the primary sources of nutrient pollution are runoff of fertilizers, animal manure, sewage treatment plant discharges, storm water runoff, car and power plant emissions and failing septic tanks.


Lookback #255 – Vares damaged while loading at Cleveland on July 30, 1970

7/30 - The Yugoslavian freighter Vares was an early user of the St. Lawrence Seaway. It made one trip inland when the waterway was opened in 1959 and returned for a total of 23 visits to the end of 1967. It continued to trade inland until becoming Branco in 1971.

The 352 foot, 10 inch long general cargo carrier had been built at Landskrona, Sweden, in 1951, and first sailed under Swedish registry as Paranagua. It joined Jadranska Slobodna Plovidba as Vares in 1959.

On July 30, 1970, Vares was loading a press at Cleveland when the heavy piece of equipment dropped damaging both the press and the vessel. Fortunately, no one was in the way as it crashed to the bottom of the hold 44 years ago today.

The vessel had four more names and did not come back to the Great Lakes. It was renamed Branco in 1971 for service under the flag of Panama, Athina with Cypriot registry in 1973, Sitia (Greek flag) in 1976 and Appolon (Liberian registry) in 1977. The latter was sold to Pakistani shipbreakers. It arrived at Gadani Beach and the dismantling of the hull got underway on Jan. 22, 1981.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  July 30

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the BBC Switzerland, Duzgit Endeavour, HHL Congo, HR Constitution, Kirkeholmen, Nilufer Sultan, Nogat, Peter Ronna, Reestborg, and Reggeborg.


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 the BoatNerd 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.


Federal Rideau refloated

7/29 - Detroit, Mich. – About 2:45 a.m. the Federal Rideau was refloated on Lake St. Clair. After waiting for upbound traffic to clear, she moved down to the Belle Isle anchorage where she will be inspected.

Original report - Salvage plans call for more tugs to help free a freighter aground in the lower end of Lake St. Clair.

The Federal Rideau ran aground in the downbound shipping channel off Peche Island in Lake St. Clair around 3 a.m. Sunday. The vessel grounded because a motor coupling failed, causing a loss of steering. As of Monday evening, the vessel was still aground.

U.S. Coast Guard Sector Detroit Command Center Chief Jillian Lamb said the vessel lost steering for 60 seconds and that's when it ran aground. Lamb said the part has been replaced but the ship remains stuck.

One attempt to refloat the freighter failed Sunday, when one of the two tugs on scene had motor issues.

After leaving Thunder Bay, it was headed for Montreal — then overseas to Namibia — when it veered off course and became stuck.

“It’s a most regrettable incident,” said Tom Paterson, senior vice-president for Fednav, the Canadian company that owns the ship. “It was a mechanical failure of the steering system. We have sent our representative there to determine the cause (why the steering failed).”

The ship was travelling at such a low rate of speed there was no threat to the shore — even if it had occurred in the narrow and populated confines of the Detroit River, he added.

“The captain has 20 years experience and this is a senior crew, so we have the right people to deal with this,” Paterson said.

The ship’s load of wheat is a little more than half capacity with fuel located in the rear of the ship, not the front, so there is no danger of a spill.

“We are a good company, take responsibility — and working together with the Coast Guard will ensure the safety of the environment,” Paterson said.

Once freed, the ship will be anchored and receive further inspection for damage by a dive team before being allowed to proceed.

Early attempts Sunday by two local tugs to free the vessel were unsuccessful and larger tugs were on the way to add assistance on Monday, said Petty Officer Jim Connor of the Coast Guard’s Ninth District.

If the larger tugs are unable to free the ship, a barge has been summoned and will be used to transfer the wheat and lighten the load, Paterson said.

“It’s frustrating, but I’m optimistic that we will be able to refloat the ship soon,” he concluded. “We will get this sorted out quickly and do it safely with the environment in mind.”

CBC, Windsor Star


Port Reports -  July 29

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Daniel Lindner
The cement barge St. Marys Conquest, pushed by the tug Prentiss Brown, departed Sturgeon Bay at 6:30 p.m. on Monday after spending a few weeks in port for unknown reasons. The tug and barge are due in Milwaukee at 8 a.m. on Tuesday. The USCG Mackinaw also remains in port, where she has been for about a week. It is unknown why she is in Sturgeon Bay.

Holland, Mich. – Kevin Brower
Manistee was in Holland at the Verplank Dock on Sunday.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Robert S. Pierson made a rare appearance when it brought a load of salt to the Alpena Oil Dock late Saturday night. The Pierson is not a common visitor to the river. The Alpena arrived at Lafarge on Sunday afternoon to load cement. The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation are expected in port on Tuesday.


Cliffs fights for its life against hedge fund

7/29 - Duluth, Minn. – The view from Cliffs Natural Resources’ Minnesota operations looks pretty good.

One of the state’s largest players in the taconite iron ore business, the company’s Northshore Mining, United Taconite and Hibbing Taconite plants are running near capacity with solid domestic markets and long-term contracts with U.S. steelmakers.

The company has more than 1,850 employees on the Iron Range with a payroll of $251 million.

There even was good news from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula this year when Cliffs announced its Empire taconite operations wouldn’t close after all, with a new contract for its ore keeping it running into 2017.

Even after weathering a cold spring and slow start to the shipping season, the company expects to produce about 22 million tons of taconite in the U.S. this year, up from 21 million tons last year. Northshore Mining is back to near full capacity after a temporary slowdown in 2013.

But on a global scale the view is less rosy. The Cleveland-based mining company is fighting for its life, with the decisive battle set for Tuesday.

That’s when Cliffs will hold its annual shareholder meeting and election of corporate officers, and it’s when New York-based hedge fund Casablanca Capital will make its play to take over Cliffs.

Casablanca in January announced that it wanted to take control of Cliffs, saying the company was overextended overseas and was spending too much money on new projects. Casablanca, which owns about 5.2 percent of Cliffs stock, claims that Cliffs’ “incompetent and entrenched” board has “destroyed shareholder value,” and Casablanca wants Cliffs to sell some of its riskier overseas operations and send more cash to shareholders.

Casablanca also has proposed replacing Cliffs’ top management with a slate of its own, hand-picked leaders, and has engaged in a proxy war to get shareholders to vote for its team.

It will be up to shareholders on Tuesday to decide the fate of a company, formerly Cleveland-Cliffs, that traces its roots back to 1847 and which has been a part of Minnesota iron mining for decades.

Clearly, Cliffs has struggled through tough times recently. Its stock value has plummeted from about $89 per share three years ago to about $16 as of Friday’s close of trading. That’s in large part because global iron ore prices have been halved during that period, from nearly $200 per ton to less than $90 now.

Without its own steel mills to feed, Cliffs has to sell everything it mines. And while the company can produce taconite iron ore in Minnesota for about $67 per ton, the current global price is about the same as what it costs Cliffs to produce ore at its Canadian operations, leaving little or no room for profit.

But Cliffs’ current managers have battled back, and they’re asking shareholders to back their management team over Casablanca’s takeover. Pushed by Casablanca’s actions, Cliffs this year also has taken major steps to cut costs. In February the company moved to close its Wabush iron ore mine in Newfoundland and Labrador and suspend efforts to build a second phase at its Bloom Lake iron ore mine in Quebec. The company also shelved plans to open a chromite mining operation in Canada.

Still, Cliffs’ current team is heading into Tuesday’s meeting bearing some bad news. Last week, the company announced it lost $2 million, or 1 cent per share, in the three months ending in June, down from a profit of $133 million, or 82 cents a share, in the second quarter of 2013. The company’s lower revenue primarily were driven by significantly decreased market pricing for iron ore and metallurgical coal, as well as a 24 percent decrease in sales volume from U.S. iron ore operations thanks in large part to the extremely cold winter and ice that impeded Great Lakes shipments well into April.

Cliffs recently said two independent firms — ISS and Glass Lewis — have recommended that shareholders not vote for a majority Casablanca slate. But in an effort to satisfy Casablanca, Cliffs announced earlier this month that it will elect a new chairman after Tuesday’s meeting and give up to four seats on a nine-person board to Casablanca. Cliffs earlier had offered two seats, which Casablanca rejected.

Last week, Cliffs sent all its shareholders a letter explaining their two options: Vote using the white card, which means voting for a board comprised of seven Cliffs nominees and four Casablanca nominees, or use the gold card, meaning Casablanca gets six board members and control of the company.

If Casablanca wins, Cliffs officials claimed in the letter, Casablanca could tear the existing mining company apart.

“At our upcoming annual meeting, Cliffs shareholders have an important and strategic choice to make regarding the future of the Company,” Cliffs said in the letter.

“If shareholders vote using the gold card, it is almost certain that Casablanca will be able to use Cliffs’ cumulative voting provision to elect all six of their nominees, providing Casablanca with a majority of the board and enabling them to enact their potentially value-destructive plan to conduct a fire sale of Cliffs assets at the bottom of the commodity cycle. … By voting on the white card, Cliffs shareholders can elect a board that includes shareholder representation by Casablanca as recommended by ISS and Glass Lewis, but that also retains a majority of the directors Cliffs believes have the necessary industry and commodity cycle experience to enable (Cliffs) to succeed in the current iron ore and metallurgical coal pricing environment and emerge from the downturn as a stronger company.”

Outlook for Cliffs

It remains unclear what a Casablanca takeover would mean for Cliffs’ U.S. operations. In addition to owning and operating Northshore Mining in Silver Bay and Babbitt and United Taconite in Eveleth and Forbes, Cliffs also is a co-owner and operator of Hibbing Taconite and owns the Empire/Tilden operations in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The company also owns metallurgical coal mines in the U.S. and other iron ore mines in Canada and Australia.

“If Cliffs retains control of the board, it likely means the company will not sell off its Asian operations, as Casablanca has suggested it should, in the hopes that massive spending cuts will be enough to see it through a weak commodity price environment,” said Arjun Sreekumar, an industry analyst writing for The Motley Fool. “But if Casablanca gains control of the board, the hedge fund will push Cliffs to divest its Asian assets and sell off its high-cost Bloom Lake mine.

“I think it’s safe to say that a Casablanca ‘victory,’ whether it be the election of all six of Casablanca’s nominees or just four of them, would likely provide a boost to Cliffs’ share price since investors don’t appear to believe that the company’s cost-cutting efforts will be enough to get the company through a prolonged period of depressed iron ore prices,” Sreekumar noted, adding that, either way, the current global market for iron ore looks crowded with capacity and primed for lower profits.

As new iron ore mines expand worldwide “they could push high-cost producers like Cliffs out of the market,” he said. “In short, investing in Cliffs right now is akin to betting on high iron ore prices over the next several years — a highly unlikely proposition.”

Duluth News Tribune


Steam ferry connects two states across Lake Michigan

7/29 - Ludington, Mich. — A cursory glance at a road map suggests that a traveler who persists in driving west on U.S. 10 from this Lake Michigan harbor town will get very, very wet. But there is a treat in store for travelers who are interested in exploring a piece of floating history, or just in cutting hours off the drive around Lake Michigan to Wisconsin.

The 6,650-ton, 410-foot-long SS Badger, the last coal-fired steamship operating in the United States, first sailed in 1953 and still carries passengers and cargo across the lake between Ludington, Mich., and Manitowoc, Wis. The ship can carry up to 600 passengers.

The ferry service, in effect, continues U.S. 10 from its stopping points on either side of the lake. A giant U.S. 10 highway symbol is even painted above the ramp where cars making the trip are loaded aboard the Badger.

Although the 60-mile voyage takes four hours, the cross-lake route eliminates a grueling drive south around the lake through the traffic of Chicago, shaving at least two hours off the trip and allowing passengers to enjoy the Badger’s many diversions.

On the Michigan shore, passengers board next to the SS Spartan, the Badger’s twin, now permanently docked and used only to supply otherwise unavailable parts for the Badger’s upkeep. (I’ll leave fans of Michigan State University and the University of Wisconsin, respectively, to thrash out any metaphorical implications.)

Passengers who prefer privacy during their voyage can book one of the Badger’s 24 small private staterooms for the crossing, but most find common areas such as the main lounge or the large Cabana Room to be comfortable and pleasant.

As we left port, many passengers chose to watch from one of the open-air decks as Ludington slipped away behind us. But a stiff breeze and a chill fog soon sent most of us indoors, although a hardy few jogged or walked exercise laps around the deck.

A few passengers spent the voyage dozing in the ship’s “quiet room.” The room also houses the ship’s museum, which tells the story of the Badger and other historic Great Lakes ships.

The Badger is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and its propulsion system has been declared a National Mechanical Engineering Landmark.

The Badger was designed to transport train cars as well as passengers; railroad tracks are still visible in the cargo hold. But the rail-car service ended in 1990.

A few years later, the ship was renovated as a ferry for passengers, automobiles and trucks. The engine room was restored to its original condition. Four coal-fired boilers still power the two four-cylinder steam engines, and the captain sends orders to the engine room using an old-fashioned bell system.

Elsewhere aboard the Badger, passengers will find a souvenir shop, two bars, a cafe and a deli, a television room and a small movie theater.

The crew also organizes free games in the main lounge, with prizes supplied by the souvenir shop. My bingo and trivia-game winnings included a souvenir pint glass and a refrigerator magnet.

Smaller children have a playroom of their own, and there is an arcade for the older set.

If getting there is half the fun, the other half can be found before and after a ride — on the Michigan and Wisconsin coasts.

On the Ludington side, the magnificent black-and-white Big Sable (rhymes with “hobble”) Point Lighthouse is open for tours in Ludington State Park. The 112-foot-tall lighthouse, completed in 1867, is one of the tallest on Lake Michigan and has been completely restored.

Also in Ludington, visitors will find several beautiful mansions now serving as bed-and-breakfast inns, a quaint downtown district and several nice eateries including the Jamesport Brewing Co. restaurant and craft brewery.

Manitowoc is home to the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, one of the largest on the Great Lakes. There, visitors will find a number of exhibits including an unusual and exhaustive collection of antique outboard motors — machines that, when restored to a gleaming, like-new condition, are as beautiful as they were useful.

Also moored at the museum and open for tours is the USS Cobia, said to be the most completely restored World War II-era submarine in existence.

With the SS Badger offering an easy and pleasant connection, travelers can also explore the many other interesting towns on both coasts.

Columbus Dispatch


SS City of Milwaukee annual meeting Aug. 9

7/29 - The SS City of Milwaukee/USCGC Acacia will have its annual Carferry/180 Reunion meeting Saturday, Aug 9. Scheduled speakers are Ric Mixter, who will do a presentation of diving on the wreck of the SS Milwaukee, stories of 4 Coast Guard cutters (including the original Mackinaw and the Escanaba), and stories of the shipwrecks Cedarville, Nordmeer, Henry Cort, & Carl D Bradley; and Marc & Jill VanderMeulen, who will be doing a presentation on their conversion of the pilothouse of the cement boat John W. Boardman into a summer cottage at Detour Mich. A model of a triple-expansion steam engine built by Charles Hayes will be on display. Also there will be a Silent Auction from 11 am-5 pm. A cold-cut sandwich buffet along with sloppy joes will be provided between presentations. Visit for more information.

Bob Strauss


Lookback #254 – George J. Whalen capsized and sank in Lake Erie on July 29, 1930

7/29 - The George J. Whalen had only been recently rebuilt as a sandsucker when it capsized and sank off Dunkirk, New York, 84 years ago today. The ship got caught in a storm and only six members of the crew were saved. Another 15 lives were lost.

This ship was built at Toledo in 1910 and first served as the lumber carrier Erwin L. Fisher. In less than a year it was on the bottom of the Detroit River after a collision with the Stephen M. Clement on May 4, 1911.

The vessel was refloated and resumed service until leaving the lakes in 1916 for East Coast service as Bayersher. It headed overseas to trade for the French Government as Port de Caen in 1921 and the 227 foot long steamer was sold to Canadian interests in 1922 to become Bayersher again.

In 1923, this became the first steel-hulled vessel purchased by Capt. Scott Misener and was renamed Claremont. The ship often traded between Wallaceburg and Toronto carrying packaged sugar and then going to Montreal to load raw sugar.

Capt. Misener sold the ship in early 1930 and it was rebuilt as a sandsucker at Ecorse, Michigan. It came back to U.S. registry as Erwin L. Fisher before being renamed George J. Whalen prior to beginning a short career in the sand trade.

The hull of the vessel has been found, lying on its port side, off Barcelona, New York, and divers report that it is in a good state of preservation.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  July 29

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  July 29

OTTERCLIFFE HALL cleared Lauzon, Quebec, July 29, 1969 on her maiden voyage as the last "straight deck" Great Lakes bulk freighter built with a pilothouse forward.

While at the Manitowoc Ship Building Co. for general repairs and engine overhaul, the CITY OF SAGINAW 31 caught fire on July 29, 1971, destroying her cabin deck and rendering her useless for further use. The blaze was caused by an acetylene torch, and caused over $1 million in damage. She was not repaired. The CITY OF SAGINAW 31 was sold to Marine Salvage Ltd., Port Colborne, Ontario, for scrapping.

On July 29, 1974 the W.W. HOLLOWAY grounded in Lake St. Clair off the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club while running downbound with stone. Lightering into the J.F. SCHOELKOPF JR was necessary before she was freed by four tugs on July 31st.

ENDERS M. VOORHEES departed Great Lakes Engineering Works, River Rouge, Michigan, on her maiden voyage July 29, 1942, bound for Duluth, Minnesota, to load iron ore. She was the second of five "Supers" for the Pittsburgh fleet to enter service.

July 29, 1974 - PERE MARQUETTE 21 was towed to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to be reduced to a barge.

The steam barge MARY ROBERTSON burned near Mackinac on 29 July 1872. Her crew escaped to a schooner-barge they were towing.

The MATERIAL SERVICE foundered in a heavy summer gale in 1936, off the South Chicago lighthouse. She was a canal motor barge not designed for open-lake use.

The side-wheel river steamer DOMINION burned to the water's edge at her dock in the Thames River near Chatham, Ontario, on 29 July 1875. She was built in 1867, at Wallaceburg, Ontario.

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


Coast Guard responding to Federal Rideau, grounded in Lake St. Clair

7/28 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Coast Guard was responding Sunday to a 656-foot freighter hard aground in the downbound shipping channel of Lake St. Clair.

At around 3 a.m., response coordinators at Coast Guard Sector Detroit received notice that the motor vessel Federal Rideau, a Hong Kong-flagged vessel, grounded on the downbound channel in Lake St. Clair near the Detroit River.

The vessel is carrying approximately 22,672 tons of wheat.

Coast Guard marine inspectors from Coast Guard Sector Detroit responded to the grounding to assess the situation and determine the extent of any structural damage to the vessel. Initial reports indicate there is no resultant pollution and no injuries were reported.

The vessel was en route to Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

The cause of the grounding was determined to be a loss of steering caused by a motor coupling failure and repairs to the coupling have been completed.

One attempt to refloat the freighter by two tugs was unsuccessful after one of the tugs experienced engine issues. Two more tugs were scheduled to arrive on scene Sunday night and attempt another refloating.

About 580 feet of the grounded vessel was in the shipping channel but the channel was still open to traffic.

Canadian Coast Guard Vessel Traffic Services in the Sarnia Traffic Zone was notifying mariners of the waterway obstruction and is directing one-way traffic in the area.


Port Reports -  July 28

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
Sunday the English River was unloading cement. Replicas of the Nina and Pinta were docked for service at Marine Museum.


Seaway carrying 50 locomotives bound for Africa

7/28 - Massena, N.Y. – The Eisenhower and Snell Locks at Massena are part of the plan for moving 50 General Electric railroad locomotives from a Lake Erie terminal through the Seaway to their destination of Mozambique in Africa.

When the work order was drawing to an end and shipping arrangements were being made earlier this spring, the GE Transportation logistics professionals found that there was a nationwide shortage of railroad flat cars for the job, so the shipping option of moving the locomotives on rail flat cars to the East Coast, where they would be loaded onboard ocean vessels for final delivery, was not available.

According to the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, the company called on the Port of Erie for assistance, and Erie Sand and Gravel geared up for the largest project cargo operation in two decades at the port.

Erie Sand and Gravel Terminal has the largest crane in the Great Lakes Seaway system, and it is loading the locomotives aboard German BBC heavylift ships.

Five batches of 115-ton locomotives, 10 per ship, were being set to move safely and competitively from the GE plant near the terminal and be marshalled into a staging area near the 1,400 foot quay. The CSX Rail company moved the locomotives aboard flat cars to the terminal only three miles from the plant’s doors.

On May 18, the BBC Xingang arrived in port and the first batch of locomotives were being stowed on deck. Within 24 hours, the ship was headed downbound towards Seaway locks, the St. Lawrence River and the Atlantic Ocean for the crossing to the country of Mozambique.

Deliveries of the next 40 canary yellow locomotives will be spread out over the summer. This is among the largest project cargo movements in the Seaway System history, according to the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation.

The good news continues as other project cargo is moving through the Seaway, this time destined for Massena.

Within a week of the first export of locomotives, three 180-ton electrical transformers manufactured in the Netherlands arrived aboard Fednav’s Federal Kumano.

Three more are due in late July, to arrive in Massena where they will be put to use by the New York Power Authority.

North Country Now


Lookback #253 – Norman J. Kopmeier almost rolled over on July 28, 1949

7/28 - It was 65-years ago today that the Norman J. Kopmeier, a self-unloader in the American Steamship Co. fleet, was arriving at Muskegon, Mich., with a cargo of coal from Chicago. While inbound, the 524-foot-long vessel struck an underwater obstruction, punching a hole in the hull.

The captain managed to beach the damaged freighter but the ship almost rolled over before it could be stabilized, patched and removed for repairs.

This vessel was built at Wyandotte, Mich., in 1906 and served the Carter Steamship Co. as E.D. Carter. The vessel moved to the Lake Superior Steamship Co. in 1914, part of the Algoma Central and Hudson Bay Railway, but remained under the U.S. flag.

It was sold to the American Steamship Co. in 1916 and sailed on their behalf as William T. Roberts. then, beginning in 1932, as the self-unloader Dow Chemical, before becoming the Norman J. Kopmeier in 1939.

It remained with the American Steamship Co. until sold to Redwood Enterprises Ltd., one of the Reoch fleets, in 1961. The ship moved to the Canadian side of the lakes as Pinedale and operated through 1976 before being tied up at Hamilton. It was finally scrapped there by United Metals in 1980-1981 after having seen temporary duty as a breakwall east of Toronto.

Skip Gillham


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

Manistee, Mich. – Tom McAdam
On Friday, Manitowoc came into Manistee to deliver coal to Tondu Energy in Filer City.

Detroit, Mich. - Bruce Lolmaugh
Sunday morning the Federal Rideau lost steerage while downbound on Lake St. Clair and grounded above the Peche Island Range Light at the north end of Belle Isle. Mid-morning they were trying to back off the bank using her cranes to rock the boat from side to side, without success. The bottom in the area is clay and no damage is expected to the vessel.

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
The bulker Mandarin departed Redpath Friday evening and the handy-size bulker Tundra docked at the sugar refinery early Saturday morning. At about 9 a.m. the Stephen B. Roman cleared the east gap outbound for Picton to pick up another cargo of cement.


Lookback #252 – Baarrie aground in St. Lawrence on July 27, 1931

7/27 - Barrie was one of the small bulk canal-sized ships of the Canada Steamship Lines fleet. It was built at Collingwood for the George Hall Coal Co. in 1925 and sailed for them as Robert P. Kernan.

After joining C.S.L. in 1926, the ship completed the season but then was renamed Barrie prior to resuming service in 1927.

The 259 foot, 7 inch long vessel was an ideal fit through the existing Welland Canal and St. Lawrence canals of that day, and often carried grain to the St. Lawrence and returned west with pulpwood.

Barrie ran aground 83 years ago today. It stranded at Les Ecureuils Shoal near Donnacona, Q.C, on the St. Lawrence while bound for Quebec City. The ship was ultimately released, but did find the bottom of the St. Lawrence again on May 11, 1948, near Montreal.

This ship was the first C.S.L. carrier to use the Eisenhower Lock when it was opened on July 4, 1958. It was down bound at the time and became the 12th vessel overall through the new Seaway-sized lock at Massena, N.Y.

The opening of the Seaway spelled the end for the Barrie and it tied up at Kingston at the conclusion of the season. Following a sale for scrap, the ship was towed to Hamilton in July 1960 and dismantled by the Steel Company of Canada.

Skip Gillham


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.


Lake Michigan water level up 2 feet since January 2013

7/26 - New Buffalo, Mich. – Water levels of Lake Michigan are up roughly 2 feet in the last year and a half and that delights marine enthusiasts, particularly the owners of large boats with difficulties running aground the past few seasons.

The lake is still below its normal level but nowhere near the record low set in January 2013.

''A complete turnaround,'' said Bob Stratton, the owner of Service 1 Marine outside of New Buffalo. ''It's the highest I've seen in years.''

According to measurements compiled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the lake level in June stood at 578.67 feet above sea level. Despite the rise, the water level is still just below the average level since 1918 of 579 feet above sea level, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers calculations.

And the level is way above the record low for Lake Michigan of 576.02 above sea level set in 2013.

Steve Davis, a Lake Michigan specialist for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources out of Michigan City, said he hasn't seen any homes at the edge of cliffs at risk of toppling over from beach erosion because the lake was so low before the water started rising again.

Beaches are narrowing. By some estimates a rise of 1 inch in the lake level reduces the width of beach by 10 inches. But Davis hasn't seen any major negative effects.

He has, though, witnessed benefits including more water in channels such as Trail Creek, which is used to get back and forth from Lake Michigan. Also there are fewer sandbars lurking close to the water's surface.

Larger watercraft and sailboats with long masts sometimes were running aground or skimming the very edge of the bottom in recent years due to water levels being low.

More dredging to accommodate large recreational boats in the recent past also had to occur to remove sediment that normally wouldn't make harbors or the mouths of channels too shallow.

Davis said large cargo ships traveling to and from the Port of Indiana, for example, also had to carry lighter loads to ease the risk of running aground.

''It definitely helps,'' said Davis, who added that below normal levels have prevailed in Lake Michigan for the most part since 1999.

Beach erosion that undercut some houses was a major problem in 1997 and 1998 along with the mid-80s and mid-70s when lake levels rose sharply, said Davis.

Davis noted the levels largely reflect precipitation and evaporation rates. This year, levels are up in part because the Great Lakes were frozen over, preventing evaporation.

Stratton said levels the previous two seasons dropped enough to leave some boats stranded from resting on the bottom in their own slips. In some cases, boaters had to rely on a bad storm to fill the marinas with enough water from the lake just to get their watercraft out of harbors and into storage.

South Bend Tribune


Grain shipments up this season

7/26 - Grain shipments via the St. Lawrence Seaway have skyrocketed this season as both Prairie and Ontario farmers take advantage of the waterway to meet export demand in Europe, the Middle East and other world markets.

According to the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, while combined shipments (U.S. and Canadian) are up 38 per cent, Canadian grain shipments from March 25 to June 30 totaled 2.7 million metric tons, a 50 per cent increase over the same period last year.

Grain traders are using the Port of Thunder Bay and the Great Lakes-Seaway system to export a backlog of Prairie grain that built up through the winter. Likewise, Ontario farmers are taking advantage of expanded facilities at the Port of Hamilton to ship canola, corn, soybeans and wheat through the navigation system to mainly international markets.

The Port of Thunder Bay had its busiest June in 17 years as both domestic and ocean carriers loaded over 965,000 metric tons of grain during the month. Grain shipments at the Port of Hamilton have also soared, with more than 380,000 metric tons transiting the port since the opening of the season.

The Canadian grain rush has helped shipping rebound considerably after a crippling start to the season due to ice coverage.

However, total year-to-date cargo shipments through the St. Lawrence Seaway were 11.1 million metric tons, down 7 per cent compared to 2013 due to decreases in iron ore and coal traffic.

The bi-national Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway marine industry generates $35 billion in business revenues and supports 227,000 jobs in the U.S. and Canada.


Port’s new wharf accepts first shipments in East Toledo

7/26 - Toledo, Ohio – Many months and millions of dollars in the making, the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority’s new wharf on the former Gulf Oil refinery site in East Toledo has begun receiving waterborne freight.

Along with ongoing use of its railroad tracks for railcar storage, Great Lakes freighters have delivered several loads of railroad ballast stone to the Ironville Dock off Front Street, Joe Cappel, the port authority’s director of cargo development, said Wednesday.

While ballast stone also is handled at the Midwest Terminals stone dock, “this is a new opportunity to serve Norfolk Southern’s rail ballast needs,” Cappel said, noting that Midwest’s stone dock has access only to CSX Transportation.

At the request of Midwest Terminals of Toledo International, the port authority stevedore that also operates Ironville, the port’s board of directors today is to consider $1.3 million in further work.

That includes upgrades to its fire-suppression system, expansion of the paved lay-down area for cargo, facilities for aluminum storage and handling, and addition of a transloading pump station and related safety equipment.

“This is the final slug of money that will finish everything off, that will make Ironville a fully operable facility,” Cappel said.

The port authority has spent $23 million on the project. That includes $4.5 million to buy the property from Chevron, financed primarily by an array of state and federal grants and loans.

The new improvements’ cost will be built into Midwest’s Ironville lease over the next eight years, effectively making the $1.3 million a loan from the port authority, Cappel said. “We may as well make the interest, instead of a third party,” he said.

Ironville Dock occupies 71 acres of the former refinery’s total 181 acres, representing the portion between Front Street and the river. The port authority hopes to attract businesses to the remaining property based on its proximity to the new dock across the street.

Ironville has been designed to handle bulk materials primarily, with rail-truck transfers possible along with ship-rail or ship-truck.

Norfolk Southern’s access to Ironville complements access by CSX, its main competitor, to the port authority’s other bulk-materials facility, the International Cargo Dock downriver.

Cappel said the port authority and Midwest also are pursuing potential business at Ironville in the handling of stabilized condensate, a petroleum byproduct of eastern Ohio’s growing natural-gas production.

Toledo Blade / Associated Press


Port of Monroe receives award

7/26 - Monroe, Mich. – The Port of Monroe has been presented with the Pacesetter Award during the American Great Lakes Ports Association meeting earlier this week. The meeting was hosted in Monroe and included representatives from U.S. ports throughout the Great Lakes region.

“This meeting gives us an opportunity to plan for the future, discuss critical industry issues and celebrate recent accomplishments,” said Paul C. LaMarre III, director of the Port of Monroe, in a press release.

Last year the port saw more than 2.1 million tons of cargo pass through, and it will become the sole distributor of DTE Energy’s synthetic gypsum. It also will be dredged to chartered depths of 21 feet and 18 feet in the turning basin by next year. These accomplishments are some of the reasons the port has won the award.

Betty Sutton, administrator of the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, spoke highly of Mr. LaMarre in the release.

“I applaud your hard work, your leadership and commitment, and hope and believe this first Pacesetter Award is just the beginning of many more to follow,” she said.

Port of Monroe


Michigan tells Enbridge to install more support anchors beneath Straits oil pipes

7/26 - Traverse City, Mich. – Two oil pipelines at the bottom the waterway linking Lakes Huron and Michigan will get additional support structures to help prevent potentially devastating spills, officials said Thursday.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and Dan Wyant, director of the Department of Environmental Quality, said they had put Enbridge Energy Partners LP on notice following the company's acknowledgement it was partly out of compliance with an agreement dating to 1953, when the pipelines were laid in the Straits of Mackinac.

As a condition of an easement granted by the state, Enbridge agreed that support anchors would be placed at least every 75 feet. In a response last month to a lengthy series of questions about the condition of the lines from Schuette and Wyant, the Canadian company acknowledged some sections don't meet the requirement, although the average distance between supports is 54 feet.

"We will insist that Enbridge fully comply with the conditions of the Straits Pipeline Easement to protect our precious environmental and economic resources and limit the risk of disaster threatening our waters," Schuette said.

Enbridge spokeswoman Terri Larson said the company had agreed to add more supports, even though engineering analyses peer-reviewed by experts at Columbia University and the University of Michigan concluded previously that gaps of up to 140 feet between supports would be safe. The work will begin in early August and be completed within 90 days, she said. Afterward, the average distance between supports will be 50 feet.

"The Straits of Mackinac crossing has been incident-free since it was constructed in 1953," Larson said. "Through even greater oversight, the use of new technology and ensuring all risks are monitored and where necessary mitigated, Enbridge is committed to maintaining this incident-free record into the future."

The two pipelines are part of the 1,900-mile Lakehead network, which originates in North Dakota near the Canadian border. A segment known as Line 5 runs through northern Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula before ducking beneath the Straits of Mackinac, then continuing to Sarnia, Ontario.

The line divides into two 20-inch pipes beneath the straits at depths reaching 270 feet and carries nearly 23 million gallons of crude oil daily. The 5-mile-wide straits area is ecologically sensitive and a major tourist draw.

A June report by hydrodynamics specialist David Schwab of the University of Michigan Water Center concluded that because of strong currents, a rupture of the pipeline would quickly foul shorelines miles away in Lakes Huron and Michigan.

Larson said Enbridge began installing steel anchors for the underwater lines in 2002, replacing sandbag supports. They consist of 10-foot-long screws augured into the lakebed on either side of the pipes, holding a steel saddle that provides support. No washouts have been seen during inspections since then, she said.

Schuette and Wyant said their staffs are still reviewing Enbridge's responses to other questions about the pipelines. Enbridge Energy Partners is a unit of Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge Inc.


Great Lakes cleanup efforts get new funding

7/26 - In the ongoing effort to clean up the Great Lakes, the federal government is committing new funding worth $418,000 to four projects around the St. Clair River in Southwestern Ontario.

The 65-km St. Clair has been listed as one of the Great Lakes Areas of Concern. It was placed on the Remedial Action Plan, a restoration plan, in 1987.

“Fish and wildlife habitat on both sides of the St. Clair River have been considerably altered due to industrialization, urban development, diking, drainage for agricultural purposes, and the development of navigational channels,” notes a Michigan Department of the Environment report on the St. Clair River Areas of Concern in 2008.

“There were 43 areas of concern in the Great Lakes. These are areas that were identified as having experienced high levels of environmental harm. So 12 of those 43 were Canadian, 5 were shared, and the others were in the U.S.,” Colin Carrie, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment, said in an interview.

“Work has been completed on three of the Canadian areas. By 2019 we anticipate being able to complete remedial action for a further five Areas of Concern, but there is more work to be done.”

The Great Lakes Water Agreement penned between the U.S. and Canada in 2012 requires that remedial action plans be developed by each country that identify beneficial use, work with local communities, summarize how the measures have been completed, and undertake ongoing monitoring of restoration progress.

The city of Sarnia, a region the US Environmental Protection Agency has listed as a major source of concern due to its high industrial and agricultural practices, will receive $75,000 of the new funding to improve its wastewater monitoring of flows into the St. Clair.

Another $90,000 will go toward creating 4-10 km of shore buffers around the river and to restore 40 acres of wetland.

The St. Clair Region Conservation Authority will receive $110,000 to restore natural stone along a section of the St. Clair, while the Essex Conservation Authority has been granted $138,000 to improve water quality in the Detroit River.

“Each group has its individual project that they are working toward,” said Claire Sanders with the Essex Conservation Authority. “There has been a huge amount of work done in these Areas of Concern and there is a long way to go.”

A total of 27 new projects worth $1.5 million are slated for restoration around the Great Lakes between 2014 and 2015.

“It is a work in progress. What we have to do is continue what was done today,” said Carrie.

Epoch Times


Library of Michigan hosts Michigan Nautical Gathering

7/26 - On Saturday, Oct. 11, the Library of Michigan will be hosting the Michigan Nautical Gathering in Lansing. It is intended to be an event where scholars and organizations converge to discuss current and historical maritime issues from throughout the state. Michigan Nautical is the second program in a three-program series titled “Michigan Travel & Transit.” For more information, contact Edwina A. Murphy, Michigan Collection Curator, Library of Michigan, 702 W. Kalamazoo St., Lansing, MI 48909.


Lookback #251 – Hiawatha sunk by vandals at Toronto on July 26, 2000

7/26 - The steel-hulled ferry Hiawatha has been plying the waters of Toronto Bay since 1895. The ship was built in Toronto that year for the Royal Canadian Yacht Club at a cost of $7,000.

The 100 passenger capacity ferry began service on July 9, 1895. It has operated between the mainland and the Yacht Club, located on Toronto Island, delivering their members and guests from the downtown dock to the clubhouse.

In 1919, the ship carried the Prince of Wales, the heir to the British throne, to lay the cornerstone for the new clubhouse being erected on the island. The ship has also been used to take patients from the Hospital for Sick Children for tours of Toronto harbor.

Hiawatha was repowered with an oil-fired diesel engine in 1944 and no longer burned anthracite coal. The ship was also rebuilt in 1982-1983 at a cost of $150,000 and restored to its old color scheme of a blue hull with an off-white superstructure and burgundy trim.

Vandals got on board during the night of July 26, 2000, and they managed to sink the vessel at the mainland dock. The derrick dredge Rock Prince was able to life Hiawatha out of the water and it was taken to Hamilton for restoration.

Hiawatha continues in its 119 years of service and remains a fixture on the Toronto waterfront.

Skip Gillham


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.


Rising Lake Superior levels are a mixed blessing

7/25 - Ashland, Wis. – What a difference a year can make. A year ago, Lake Superior was a full foot below its current level, and the Lower Great Lakes were recording record lows that hadn’t been reached in over a century and a half of recording lake level data.

Lake Superior reached its own record-breaking low in 2007, reaching a level of 600.4 feet, down from its average elevation of 602.1 feet. These days, that level is 602.56 feet, say the Army Corps of Engineers, about seven inches above the average level. According to climate change scientists at the George C. Marshall Institute, it’s the fastest 12-month rise in Lake Superior’s levels since 1916.

That abrupt reversal has ended, at least for the time being, a steady decline in lake levels that has gone on for the past 14 years.

According to a meteorologist for the National Weather service, at least part of the reason for the higher lake levels is increased precipitation and last winter’s brutal cold.

“I’m not sure I can tell you everything, but I can tell you we’ve had a lot of rain, and I would assume all the snow we had over the winter has caused some of the increase,” said Geoff Grochocinski of the Duluth office of the National Weather Service.

Another factor was the widespread sheet of ice over the big lake.

“That lowered the amount of evaporation that was able to take place over the lake until it disappeared, helping the lake to retain more water than usual,” he said.

The colder-than-usual lake water also combined with a cool, wet spring to cut back on evaporation, while a National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center forecast that shows continued cooler than normal weather for the Upper Great Lakes suggests that trend might continue, again, for the time being.

In the grand scheme of things, a foot of water more or less might not seem like a huge thing on a lake with an area of 49,300 square miles, but it can have huge impacts. In the case of commercial shipping, each one-inch increase in draft available to a thousand-foot bulk carrier means up to 250 tons more cargo that can be shipped out of ports like Duluth-Superior, said an official of the Lakes Carrier Association. That means up to 3,000 tons per ship with an extra foot of water under the keel. Over the course of a year’s operations, that could mean as much as one or two extra voyages over the course of a shipping season.

It’s also a big deal for recreational boaters who now find they can go places that were too shallow to navigate even a year or two ago.

“The rising lake levels have definitely had a positive impact for boaters,” said Ashland Marina manager Scott Stegmann. “For the fishing crew guys who do smallmouth fishing, they’ve been able to get into areas that they’ve never been able to get to before.”

Stegmann said the higher lake levels have means less weeds in the marina, and a deeper draft for sailboats.

“There’s no getting stuck in the mud or sand, so yes, it’s been positive,” he said.

Stegmann said with the marina’s floatable docks and a high bulkhead, there was no real downside to the higher water.

“For us, it’s not a problem at all,” he said. “I’d love to see it stay at this level, that’s for sure. I understand the problems with beaches. There is a cycle of nature, and right now we are on the high side.”

The high water has not been an unmitigated plus for some, such as the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, where a combination of higher water and fierce storms has meant problems with erosion.

“The biggest thing is that we are seeing a lot of erosion. Some dock damage, but a lot of erosion,” said Julie Van Stappen, chief of planning and resource management for the National lakeshore.

That erosion has led the Lakeshore officials to move a campsite on Outer Island.

“The previous one was getting eroded away,” She said. “We lost probably 10 feet of land because of the increased lake levels and winter storms. We are also seeing a lot less beach throughout the entire park.

“It’s especially noticeable at places like the sand spit, Long Island and places like that.”

Van Stappen said the docks are holding up so far, although there has been some damage.

On the other hand, most vessels are easily able to tie up at the docks on the islands, something that wasn’t always possible even two years ago.

“Four or five years ago, we had really low lake levels, but this is the highest we have seen things in a very long time, maybe back into the ‘80s,” she said.

Van Stappen observed that erosion was a natural process on the islands, but was unwelcome in some areas. “It was really high lake levels in the 80s that caused a lot of the bluff erosion on he north ends of the islands near the light houses, where we had to do quite a bit of work,” she said.

Van Stappen noted that the rising lake levels could simply be an anomaly.

“The long-term trend is for the lake to go down, due to climate change,” she said. “The overall trend seems to be going down, but with periodic spikes of lake levels. It’s always keeping us guessing.”

And what is the best current guess?

The Army Corps of Engineers thinks the lake will rise another couple of inches in the next month or two. After that, who knows?

One potentially ominous note is that the National Weather Service is calling for a moderate El Niño event to take place. In 1998, a major El Niño resulted in abnormally warm weather in the equatorial Eastern Pacific Ocean. That, in turn, resulted in greatly increased evaporation of water from the Great Lakes, precipitating the cycle of lower lake levels.

No one can really say what is in store for the largest of the Great Lakes, but as long as the water levels are high on Superior, the International Board of Control, responsible for the structures that partially control Great Lake levels, are going to see if they can send some of Superior’s bounty to the still water-short lower lakes.

The board recently announced that they would increase the outflow of the St. Mary’s river, which drains Lake Superior at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., to get more water into Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, which are both about five-and-a-half inches below average.

Ashland Daily Press


In Canada, a drive to match veterans with mariner jobs

7/25 - St. Catharines, Ont. – Colin Anderson considers himself an underutilized veteran. The St. Catharines resident has had more than two decades of electronics experience with the Canadian Forces in the 1970s and 80s.

Yet Anderson's more recent employment has been in retail. On Thursday, he ships-out from Port Colborne for work on the Canada Steamship Lines vessel Baie St. Paul.

"I haven't been using the training and experience I've been through, so this is a great opportunity for me," said Anderson, who is in his early 50s and is hired as an electronics technician. "And there wasn't a lot in Niagara for it.

"This is exciting, it's another chapter," said the veteran, who'll almost be doubling his salary. "I've spent a lot of years previously training in this area, so it's nice to be able to use it."

Anderson is part of a major push by the Seafarers' International Union of Canada to focus on training and hiring Canadian Forces veterans in transition to civilian life.

On Wednesday, The Seafarers, St. Catharines MP Rick Dykstra and other officials held a media event in Thorold to roll out project details. Anderson was also at the gathering and spoke afterward.

The Seafarer's hiring blitz is in partnership with the shipping industry and department of veterans affairs and targets veterans for mariner positions. Training would also be provided by the union.

Seafarers' president James Given said his union is not being federally funded in the hiring initiative. The jobs pay roughly $60,000 per year at entry level and can rise up to $140,000.

Veterans making transitions to civilian employment can also access up to $75,800 in federal money for education and re-training expenses.

"The Seafarers recognizes these people have a great deal of knowledge, experience and fortitude to offer," Dykstra said at the event, which was held at the Seafarers' Thorold hall. "When (we worked with the union) to find a way to utilize that experience, we saw the opportunity for a great match."

Given said the hiring program has already been rolled out, starting in Thorold. It will include areas across Canada. "We needed the bodies on board the ships, and had already spoken to six of the veterans who wanted to be involved," he said. "We were able to get them all jobs."

Given said after factoring in retirements and the needs of shippers, about 100-200 veterans could move into positions every year.

"They fit the skill sets we need," Given said. "It's the basic culture of how we operate, being gone from home and in a tight environment and working as a team.

"And it's also about the training they've had. It all fits."

St. Catharines Standard


Port Reports -  July 25

Oshawa, Ont.
The saltie Fritz departed Oshawa on the evening of July 23 for Hamilton Pier 26. She still has the same engine problems that plagued the vessel during her Seaway transit. The vessel will attempt to complete repairs in Hamilton. Her next destination is unknown.


Lookback #250 – George A. Stinson grounded on July 25, 1994

7/25 - The George A. Stinson was one of the “thousand footers” in Great Lakes service. It was built at Lorain, Ohio, and joined the National Steel Corp. fleet in 1978.

The vessel has had some minor problems over the years. It got stuck in ice north of Port Huron on Jan. 23, 1979, and had its boom collapse at Detroit on April 17, 1981. This latter accident resulted in weeks of service as a straight decker until the boom could be repaired.

Management moved to the Interlake fleet in 1992. Two years later, it became the first thousand footer to deliver a cargo to Algoma Steel at Sault Ste. Marie, arriving with a shipment of ore from Superior on June 6, 1994.

It was 20 years ago today that the George A. Stinson was down bound with a cargo of iron ore when the ship got stuck in the St. Clair River. This was apparently due to a propeller problem and the vessel, en route to Detroit, was repaired and refloated.

The George A. Stinson also carried cargoes for U.S. Steel but it is currently owned by the American Steamship Co. Now known as American Spirit, this ship opened the Soo Locks, downbound, for the year on March 25, 2005. It continues to keep busy throughout the navigation season.

Skip Gillham


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.


Lee Murdock turns to Kickstarter to raise money for new CD

7/24 - Great Lakes troubadour Lee Murdock has launched a Kickstarter online fundraising campaign to finance his 19th CD, “What About the Water,” a collection of songs from the Great Lakes region.

This is the first time Murdock has gone the crowd-funding route.

“The myth that the ‘record company’ pays for everything on these albums is just that, a myth,” he said. “Recording and manufacturing this album will cost close to $15,000.00. In the past, I was able to cover these costs through sales of my other titles and help from family. Times have changed. Sales are soft and revenue from digital downloads have not lived up to expectations. I feel, though, that this work is very important. It gives everyone who listens to these songs a very personal sense of place, history with a human touch.”

A variety of reward packages are available, depending on contribution level. For more information, or to donate:


Port Reports -  July 24

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
On Wednesday, Capt. Henry Jackman unloaded potash.


Lookback #249 – Former Grainmotor sank in the Caribbean on July 24, 1974

7/24 - When the Grainmotor was built in 1929, it was the first vessel constructed of an experimental design that many thought would gradually replace the old steam-powered canal ships of that era. Due to the impact of the Great Depression, these plans were curtailed and only Grainmotor was built.

The diesel-powered Grainmotor required less engine room space to accommodate the power plant and, as a result, could transport more cargo. It could carry an extra 5,000 bushels of grain per trip resulting in a profit increase of $275.00 for the voyage. The engine did seem to have a problem they called for “dead slow." It had the periodic tendency to stall resulting in the occasional accident.

Grainmotor often traded through the old St. Lawrence Canals delivering various grains to storage elevators along the St. Lawrence. There were other cargoes as well. The ship was trying to load steel bars at Stelco during a strike at the plant in 1958 and the S.I.U. crew left in a tug leaving the vessel idle for weeks.

Following a sale for saltwater service, Grainmotor loaded its final Great Lakes cargo at Port Colborne and departed the Seaway for the last time in early July 1966. The name was changed to Bulk Gold in 1967 and the ship had mixed results as a saltwater trader.

After being idle, again, it was sold and registered in Nicaragua as Andy in 1974. The vessel was lost 40 years ago today on a voyage from Pensacola, Fla., to Guayaquil, Ecuador. It went down off Isla de Providencia on July 24, 1974, but may have been aground for a day or two before it was lost.

Skip Gillham


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

Suttons Bay, Mich. - Al Miller
Tug Leonard M. anchored off Omena, Mich., in the lee of the Leelanau Peninsula on Tuesday night as a windy weather front moved through the region. AIS showed the vessel as bound for Ludington.

St. Clair, Mich. – Bob Markus
Indiana Harbor arrived Tuesday at the power plant with a load of coal.

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
Pearl Seas Cruises new cruise ship Pearl Mist arrived early Monday morning and moored at the International Marine Passenger Terminal. The 200-passenger vessel is on its maiden voyage into the Great Lakes system beginning with an inaugural Great Lakes and Georgian Bay cruise to Chicago. Also Monday morning the Stephen B. Roman was back at the Essroc Villiers Street facility unloading cement.


Ex-laker Pioneer beached at Aliaga scrapyard

7/23 - The self-discharging bulk carrier Pioneer, built at Port Weller Dry Docks as Canadian Pioneer in 1981 was run up on the beach at Aliaga, Turkey, for scrapping on July 22. The ship had been at anchor off Aliaga since arriving under her own power from Lake Charles, Louisiana, on July 18.

Skip Gillham


Proposed ferry service would link Buffalo’s Canalside to outer harbor

7/23 - Buffalo, N.Y. – A ferry service linking Canalside to the outer harbor could begin by next summer. The ferry would carry between 50 to 100 people on trips between Canalside’s Central Wharf and the outer harbor.

“I will personally be very disappointed if we don’t have a very active, back-and-forth ferry for passengers by this time next year,” said Robert D. Gioia, chairman of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp.

Assemblyman Sean M. Ryan, D-Buffalo, developed the proposal and secured support from the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp., which oversees Canalside, and the New York Power Authority, which owns the shoreline property across the water.

“The whole idea is extending the Canalside experience to the outer harbor,” Ryan said. “If you go by the mantra we have been going under post-Bass Pro, it’s ‘lighter, quicker, cheaper.’ ”

That’s the principle coined by former consultant Fred Kent, president of Project for Public Spaces, to guide the waterfront development.

Buffalo BikeShare plans to make bike rentals available on both sides.

Officials said they do not know how much the ferry project would cost. Another question includes where the money would come from to pay for the project.

The New York Power Authority has prepared an engineering report on a landing site and conceptual drawings for the boat design.

“From now, we are going to secure funding to actually bid the work out and build the launch points on both sides, and also finance the construction of the boat,” Ryan said.

A ferry service linking downtown to the outer harbor would come as officials work to build a bridge between the outer harbor and inner harbor.

At best, such a bridge is years away, Gioia said. Until then, a ferry would do the trick, he said. Others agreed.

“A bridge to the outer harbor will happen at some point,” said Sam Hoyt, regional president of Empire State Development and a board member of the harbor agency. “But in the meantime, having a reliable, affordable and accessible means of getting there from Canalside is really a no-brainer. We should have done it already, and our goal is to have it done by this spring.”

Hoyt said those who came to Buffalo last month to attend the Congress for the New Urbanism pointed out the difficulty in getting to the outer harbor and stressed the need for better access.

The waterfront agency initiated a $2 million bridge review in April 2009 to examine potential bridge sites and bridge designs. Some estimates put the cost of a new bridge in the range of $80 million to $100 million.

The South Michigan Avenue Bridge over the City Ship Canal, the last direct link to the outer harbor, was destroyed in 1959 by a runaway freighter.

A ferry to carry cars will also be needed at some point, Gioia said. But that requires more planning to decide where to unload them, he said.

“There will be another bridge. The question is not if but when,” Gioia said. “And that could take five to 10 years. So we have to find a way to get cars over quickly, and I think it’s ultimately a car ferry.”

The ferry service at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport in Toronto is instructive, Gioia said. The short ferry rides – boats run every 15 minutes and make 90-second trips covering 132 yards – move some 2 million people a year. The ferry service there is free for people on foot and charges $11 for a car.

Ferry service would mark the first time a ferry has launched from the Buffalo River since the short-lived Americana ferry-cruise boat’s two-year run ended in 1989. The SS Canadiana passenger ferry operated between Buffalo and Crystal Beach, Ont., from 1910 to 1956.

The outer harbor became a priority for the waterfront agency after Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo helped engineer its transfer from the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.

A public hearing last week attracted nearly 300 people, many of whom expressed their strong preference for open space and parkland at the site. Far fewer showed support for apartments or a new Bills stadium.

The feedback will be used by Perkins + Will, a consulting firm hired to come up with a blueprint for redeveloping nearly 200 acres of the waterfront land.

The Buffalo News


Meeting charts future of Lake Superior ports

7/23 - Duluth, Minn. – The future of Lake Superior and its adjoining ports is a little less murky today than it was a few months ago.

That was the message delivered Monday by Rep. Rick Nolan, following a meeting with members of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. They discussed the future of the Great Lakes shipping industry under the newly passed Water Resources Reform and Development Act, which seeks to boost funding for harbor projects and prioritize those projects to make shipping more efficient.

“The (Duluth) harbor is dramatically better because of the work that we’ve done,” said Nolan, who added an amendment to the measure that sets aside money to fix a nearly 10-year backlog on dredging, among other maintenance activities. “We’re proud of that and excited about it.”

Inked into law by President Barack Obama last month, the act guarantees that an increasing amount of money from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund will actually pay for harbor projects. Of the nearly $2 billion that collects in the fund each year, Nolan said only about $800 million reaches the harbors, because Obama and past presidents have dipped into the money to finance unrelated projects.

“Obama and Bush and Clinton and all these guys saw that fund and started raiding it for other purposes,” Nolan said.

The new law requires 80 percent of harbor maintenance money to be spent on harbor projects by 2020, with the goal of eventually putting 100 percent of the money into those programs.

Another aspect of the law classifies the Great Lakes as a singular entity, meaning harbor projects will be prioritized with an eye for what is best for the Great Lakes as a whole.

“Each and every one of the ports was competing for funding with no obligation to look at the overall impact that it’s having,” Nolan said. “It’s a series of lakes and channels and connectors, and any one bottleneck in the entire chain … is a bottleneck for everybody. And we’re at the end of that chain.”

Nolan said he will be watching the implementation of the act “very, very closely.”

Vanta Coda, executive director of the Port Authority, said every ship that can’t enter Duluth Harbor because of maintenance issues caused by a lack of funding is a lost economic opportunity for the area.

“I won’t be happy until we get 100 percent of the harbor maintenance taxes and fees used for harbor maintenance,” Nolan said. “That’s what it’s there for.”

Duluth News Tribune


Cruise ship Pearl Mist arrives to fanfare in Clayton

7/23 - Clayton, N.Y. – The 335-foot Pearl Mist arrived Monday night in Clayton, the first time a cruise ship has stopped at the Thousand Islands Regional Dock.

“It’s absolutely great,” Town Supervisor Justin A. Taylor said. The ship was greeted with a “water welcome” from the Clayton Volunteer Fire Department fireboat “Last Chance.” Mr. Taylor said it’s a tradition reserved for big welcomes, and Monday’s arrival was long awaited by a village eager to make itself a cruise ship port of call.

The six-deck ship with 108 staterooms, carrying 210 passengers and nearly 50 crew members, is on an 11-day cruise from Quebec City to Chicago. It was originally scheduled to dock at 8 a.m., but its arrival was delayed by complications with the locks on the St. Lawrence River between Quebec City and Montreal, said Nina Padder, a shore excursions manager with Pearl Seas Cruises. The ship tied up just past 6 p.m., and the passengers, after clearing customs, came ashore at 7 p.m.

The village-owned dock at Frink Park is certified by the Department of Homeland Security as a U.S. port of entry. A temporary chain link fence was put up so Customs inspections could be conducted.

“This is the first time we’ve set up a secured facility for the arrival of a cruise ship,” said Kevin J. Patnode, village chief of police and port security officer. “We’ve welcomed private boats, cargo ships and numerous super yachts.”

Debbie L. Scholes, a sales representative for Clayton Islands Tours, said she has been working since February to organize an itinerary for the passengers’ visit.

“They were originally supposed be to in Clayton from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., so we had to alter the plans,” Ms. Scholes said. “We have charter buses waiting to take people to the Antique Boat Museum, and others have chosen to go to the Coyote Moon winery or just walk around town.”

Michael J. Folsom, the Antique Boat Museum’s director of marketing and communications, said the staff stayed at the museum after its regular 5 p.m. closure.

“Our staff’s going to stay late to get as many of the cruise passengers through the museum as possible,” Mr. Folsom said. “Try to give them the Clayton experience on a short schedule.”

Ms. Scholes said 100 of the passengers signed up to tour the museum, about 40 passengers were planning to attend a wine tasting at Coyote Moon and two small groups were going to walk around. She said even though the welcoming groups were “organizing on the fly” throughout the day, there is a lot within walking distance for them to see.

Village Mayor Norma J. Zimmer said the port authorities were ready and the dock had been evaluated by the U.S. Coast Guard at 6 a.m.

“This is our first experience with a cruise ship, and this is a relatively new cruise line,” Mrs. Zimmer said.

She said the cruise line took a chance picking the village of Clayton as a stopping port, but it is a great opportunity to bring new visitors and potentially more cruise ships into Clayton.

“This is going to be a great experience for both us and the cruise line,” Mrs. Zimmer said. “We’re the only place qualified for cruise ships to stop between Montreal and Ontario.”

The Pearl Mist, registered in the Marshall Islands, is scheduled to dock at Clayton again in September.

Watertown Daily Times


Lookback #248 – Peter Reiss in collision at Duluth on July 23, 1918

7/23 - Thick fog and a heavy current were blamed for a collision at the #3 ore dock in Duluth on July 23, 1918. The accident of 96 years ago today involved the American bulk carrier Peter Reiss and the Canadian freighter Glenshee. Both ships sustained damage with the Peter Reiss getting the worst of the meeting.

Peter Reiss was part of the North American Steamship Co. but was transferred to the Reiss Steamship Co. in 1921. It had been built at Superior, WI in 1910 and operated into 1972. The vessel was converted to a self-unloader at Manitowoc, WI in 1949 and spent its final years (1969-1972) as part of the American Steamship Co.

Over the years, the vessel received additional bumps and bruises. There was a grounding at Buffalo in 1928, a collision with the north pier at Milwaukee in 1929, and another with a dock at Sandusky in 1935.

The Peter Reiss tied up at Fairport, Ohio, shortly after grounding on Jan. 18, 1972. It was sold for work as a barge in the coal trade but was plagued with problems and only saw limited service. The ship arrived at Port Colborne on June 8, 1973, and was broken up by Marine Salvage in 1973-1974.

Glenshee was smaller and older but lasted longer than the Peter Reiss. It had been built as the first Howard M. Hanna Jr., and was one of the casualties of the Great Storm on Nov. 1913. It became Glenshee in 1915, Goderich in 1927, Agawa in 1963 and spent its final years as the grain storage barge Lionel Parsons beginning in 1968. It was towed into Thunder Bay on June 3, 1983, and broken up for scrap.

Skip Gillham


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.


Severstal steel plant sale comes amid pollution worries, lawsuit

7/22 - Dearborn, Mich. – Severstal, the steel company Henry Ford launched as an anchor of the historic Rouge complex, will return to American ownership as Ohio-based AK Steel agreed purchase its Dearborn plant for $700 million just two months after the Russian owner won a revised state permit to release higher levels of certain pollutants into the air.

Christopher Bzdok, an attorney representing residents opposed to the new air permit, said he hopes AK Steel will take a fresh look at the issue and agree to make changes to meet residents’ concerns.

Bzdok was part of a coalition of community and environmental groups that filed a suit earlier this month challenging the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s decision to issue the revised permit.

“The right way to do this is to invest in pollution-control technology. Not to increase your emission limits,” Bzdok said.

It’s too early to know what the Dearborn sale, which is expected to close by the end of this year, means for the 1,800 workers there. But James Wainscott, AK Steel CEO said the deal should mean more work for the plant.

“Let me offer a hearty AK Steel welcome to the employees ... we look forward to having you with us as part of our organization,” Wainscott said. “AK Steel’s acquisition is not about rationalization. It is about expansion and optimization of our combined assets.”

AK also is buying a coke-making plant in West Virginia and three joint ventures that process flat-rolled steel products.

Severstal, which is owned by billionaire Alexey Mordashov, has been exploring a possible sale since mid-2013. Severstal also reached a separate agreement to sell its Columbus, Miss., operations to Ft. Wayne, Ind.-based Steel Dynamics for $1.63 billion.

The company receives its raw materials via Great Lakes freighters.

The steel industry continues to grapple with the problem of too many mills for the current and near-future demand. Competition from low-cost imported steel and the trend of automakers’ push for lighter-weight alternatives such as aluminum are hurting demand in the U.S.

Larger steelmakers, including ArcelorMittal, Tata Steel and ThyssenKrupp, have been cutting production, jobs and idling or selling plants in the last few years in response to oversupply and lower steel prices.

The current unrest between Russia and Ukraine, and economic sanctions the U.S. has imposed on Russia, was not a reason for the sales, Mordashov has said.

“Severstal has not experienced any pressure whatsoever to sell the U.S. business,” the company said in a statement provided to the Free Press on Monday. “We made this decision on the basis of what is right for the business and shareholder value.”

Wainscott said AK Steel’s top priority is to serve the auto industry, and especially Ford.

“Ford will remain a major consumer of steel. We are very focused on developing that next generation of high-strength steels,” Wainscott said.

The legal skirmish between Severstal and a coalition of environmental and citizen groups that are challenging the seller’s pollution permit did not discourage AK Steel.

“The decision to grant this permit to pollute violates the Clean Air Act and means families living in Dearborn and Detroit will be breathing more toxic air for years to come,” Rhonda Anderson, Sierra Club’s senior Detroit organizer, said in a statement Monday.

Severstal said it has worked closely with the Michigan DEQ on the permit.

“We look forward to working through the permit appeal process with the MDEQ in demonstrating the robust nature of the permit application and appropriateness of the permit as approved,” the company said in a statement.

Detroit Free Press


Unsecured lenders accepted Essar Steel Algoma restructuring plan

7/22 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. – Essar Steel Algoma and a group of unsecured noteholders have agreed to a restructuring plan to refinance the money-losing Sault Ste. Marie steel maker.

After missing a June 15 interest payment on unsecured bonds, the company began negotiations last month with creditors representing 70 per cent of the 9.875 per cent of US$385 million in senior unsecured notes.

Under the agreement, the Essar Global Fund – a unit of the parent company Essar Global in Mumbai, India – will provide as much as $300 million in new equity to the Canadian operation.

The company provided no further details of the restructuring plan. Essar receives its raw materials via Great Lakes freighters.

The former Algoma Steel was once one of the most efficient and profitable North American steel mills after emerging from bankruptcy protection in 2002. The Mumbai, India-based Essar Group purchased the operation in 2007.

The steel plate and sheet manufacturer has lost money over the last nine consecutive quarters.

Company CEO Kalyan Ghosh was understandably pleased.

“This path offers the best means to maximize long-term value while offering certainty of supply for customers and continued security for our employees, retirees, vendors and all other important stakeholders, which were key considerations.”

Northern Ontario Business


Seaway steel shipment boost largely due to auto industry demand

7/22 - Massena, N.Y. – A large jump in steel product shipments through the St. Lawrence Seaway this season has been due to demand from the U.S. automobile industry, among other factors.

According to a news release sent out by the Chamber of Marine Commerce, the shipments to ports of Cleveland, Detroit, Indiana-Burns Harbor and Milwaukee also are a result of the improving American economy.

“In addition to an upbeat auto industry and an improving economy, robust oil and gas industries depend upon manufactured iron and steel goods,” St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. spokeswoman Nancy T. Alcalde said.

General cargo shipments, including steel slabs and coils and aluminum, totaled 872,000 metric tons from March 25 to June 30, according to the Seaway Corp.

This represented a 44 percent spike from 2013.

“We are seeing exports as well as imports. Advance notifications from industries suggested 2014 would be a good year, and we’re heading in that direction,” Ms. Alcalde said. “An example is that 20 high-value GE locomotives have been shipped through the Seaway to Mozambique and 30 more are set to leave this summer. Wind component movements to Duluth and Muskegon are on the rise. The new liner service between Cleveland and Antwerp has also resulted in new cargo tonnage for this navigation season.”

A Canadian grain rush is another factor behind the increase, according to the Marine Commerce release. “However, total cargo shipments through the St. Lawrence Seaway from March 25 to June 30 were 11.1 million metric tons, down 7 percent compared to 2013 due to decreases in iron ore exports and coal traffic,” it read.

Ms. Alcalde said that the Seaway Corp. is expecting the steel shipment increase to continue in the foreseeable future.

“The slow start to the navigation season was due to the lengthy winter that lasted well into April” she said.

We expect cargo tonnage to continue to increase for the remainder of 2014 and improve upon last year’s tonnage performance,” Ms. Alcalde said.

Watertown Daily Times


Port Reports -  July 22

St. Marys River
Algoma Harvester made its maiden voyage through the Soo Locks upbound for Thunder Bay in the late afternoon Monday.

St. Clair, Mich. – Bob Markus
James R. Barker was unloading at the power plant on Monday.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The Luedtke #16 dredge rig was working between the CSX lift bridges on the Buffalo River this past weekend.


Lookback #247 – Ulysses Reefer caught fire at Toronto on July 22, 1970

7/22 - Ulysses Reefer was a refrigerated general cargo carrier that dated from 1950. It was built at Copenhagen, Denmark, and completed on Dec. 13, as Jessie Stove. It operated under the Danish flag for Lorentzens Rederi Co. before being sold to Erling Hansens Rederi A/S of Norway in 1958. They renamed the 336 foot 6 inch long vessel Ranhall.

It moved under the flag of Greece as Ulysses Reefer in 1966 and began Seaway service in 1969. The first year went well but the next two presented problems. Ulysses Reefer caught fire at Toronto on July 22, 1970, and the blaze of 44 years ago today did a reported $30,000 in damage. Most of this was confined to the cargo and the ship was able to resume service.

While back on the Great Lakes in 1971, the vessel was in a collision with the cement carrier J.B. Ford on June 4 in Lake Huron off Forty Mile Point. Again, the damage was not significant and both ships continued trading.

Resold and renamed Ithaki Reefer in 1972, the ship returned to the Great Lakes that year still under the Greek flag. It was sold for scrap in 1973, and broken up by Hughes Bolckow Ltd. at Blyth, Scotland.

The long idle, 110-year old J.B. Ford, second ship in the June 4, 1971, collision, may soon be headed for scrap as well after years of use as a cement storage barge.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  July 22

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Harbour Krystal, MCT Monta Rosa, and Tundra


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.


Port Reports -  July 21

St. Marys River
When the 1,014-foot Paul R. Tregurtha locked downbound Sunday morning, it was the last trip for Captain Timothy Dayton. According to radio traffic, the veteran and well-liked Interlake skipper is retiring.

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chandra McClain
After loading cement at Lafarge on Friday morning, the Alpena was seen heading out onto the lake. The Manitowoc was in port on Saturday unloading at Lafarge. On Sunday the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation took on cargo at Lafarge. Fleetmate tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity were delayed getting to the dock on Sunday because of fog out in the bay.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Joe Thompson was inbound Lorain at 15:18 Sunday, headed to the Jonick Dock.

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
The Canadian Coast Guard inshore patrol vessel CCGS Corporal Teather CV is currently alongside over at Terminal 52. At about 9:30 Sunday morning the island ferry Sam McBride was pulled out of service when the hinge mechanism that connects the hydraulic ram to one of the passenger ramps failed. Engineers using an acetylene torch and a very big hammer removed the defective bits and pieces and then welded replacement parts into place. The vessel was back in service at before noon.


Lookback #246 – Marquette caught fire and abandoned in Atlantic on July 21, 1964

7/21 - The French freighter Marquette was on a voyage from Chicago to Marseilles, France, when it caught fire 800 miles ESE of Cape Race, Newfoundland, on July 21, 1964. The crew of about 25 sailors was forced to take to the lifeboats and all were saved.

Marquette had been a frequent Great Lakes trader since being built at Arnhem, Netherlands, in 1953. It came inland on three occasions that year and was back on a regular basis. It was lengthened from 257'4” to 304'10” in 1959, to coincide with the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway. The ship made another 15 voyages to the Great Lakes before catching fire 50 years ago today.

On board at the time of the blaze was a mixed cargo that included calcium phosphate, bales of jute, newsprint, aluminum ingots and wood pulp. The burning ship was taken in tow of the French ore carrier Pentellina and arrived at Brest, France, on July 29, 1964. The cost of repairs could not be justified. Instead, Marquette was sold to French shipbreakers and broken up for scrap in Brest.

The three-year-old Pentellina was not a Seaway traveler. However, it did come inland in 1976 under its third name of Unimar. The latter is remembered for running aground leaving Thunder Bay on Dec. 7, 1976, and was one of the last ships out of the Seaway that year. This vessel was scrapped at Kaohsiung, Taiwan, after arriving on Sept. 10, 1984.

Skip Gillham


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.


Port Reports -  July 20

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
American Mariner arrived Saturday evening at LS&I to load ore.

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Cuyahoga arrived at Port Inland in the late morning on Saturday to load. Also expected to arrive at Port Inland on Saturday during the early evening was the Wilfred Sykes. Both the Joseph L. Block along with the Pere Marquette 41/Undaunted are expected to arrive on Monday with the Block arriving in the early morning and the Pere Marquette 41/Undaunted arriving in the early evening.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Manitowoc was expected to arrive at Cedarville on Saturday during the late afternoon. Joseph L. Block is expected to arrive on Sunday during the late morning hours. There are no vessels scheduled for Monday and Tuesday.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Pathfinder/Dorothy Ann loaded on Saturday and were due to depart around 4 p.m. There are no vessels scheduled for Sunday. On Monday, the Lewis J. Kuber is expected to arrive in the late morning.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Lewis J. Kuber loaded at Calcite on Saturday and they were expected to depart around 8 p.m. Manistee also loaded at Calcite on Saturday and they were expected to depart around 9 p.m. There are three vessels due in on Sunday with the Arthur M. Anderson arriving first in the morning for the North Dock followed by her fleetmate the John G. Munson which is due also in the morning for the South Dock. Rounding out the schedule will be the John J. Boland in the early afternoon hours loading at the North Dock.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
In the last week on the Saginaw River, there have been four commercial vessel passages. Mississagi was inbound on Tuesday, calling on the Wirt Sand and Stone dock in Essexville to unload. Friday saw the arrival of three vessels. The Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber arrived with a cargo for the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. Algoway traveled to the upper Saginaw River to deliver the first salt cargo of the season to the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee, and the G.L. Ostrander - Integrity called on the Lafarge Cement dock in Essexville.

St. Clair, Mich. – Bob Markus
John J. Boland was unloading at St. Clair Aggregates on Saturday.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Algoma Olympic remained at the CSX Coal Dock #4 Machine on Saturday waiting on transit coal which was expected to arrive at 8 p.m. Saginaw was expected to arrive at the Coal Dock on Saturday and was due to start loading upon arrival. After the Saginaw finishes, Algoma Olympic will then move back under the #4 coal loader to finish loading. Also due at the CSX Coal Dock is the American Mariner on Tuesday in the morning followed by the Ashtabula/Defiance on Wednesday in the early morning and they will be returning to load on Thursday, July 24 in the early morning. The John J. Boland is also due on Thursday, July 24 at noon followed by the Algoma Enterprise also on Thursday, July 24 in the late afternoon and the James L. Kuber is also due at the Coal Dock on Thursday, July 24 in the late evening. The Whitefish Bay is expected to arrive with a stone cargo for the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock on Sunday in the morning hours. At the Torco Dock, American Mariner is due there on Tuesday, July 22 in the early morning. James L. Kuber is due on Thursday, July 24 during the late afternoon. The Manitowoc is due on Monday, July 28 during the late morning. Rounding out the schedule is the Great Lakes Trader due on Friday, July 29 in the early morning. The tug Huron Service and barge remain in port. Also in port was the tug Wilf Seymour and barge Alouette Spirit, and the Algosteel, which unloaded a salt cargo loaded from Goderich.


Lake Ontario 'shark' turns out to be a publicity stunt

7/20 - Bell Media says the video that popped up online recently of a shark allegedly spotted in Lake Ontario was actually a publicity stunt, designed to promote an upcoming program on the Discovery Channel.

The description that had been associated with a YouTube posting had claimed that the video was shot on Wolfe Island, near Kingston, Ont. Wolfe Island Mayor Denis Doyle said Wednesday that it was "rather concerning" to learn the clip was a hoax.

Other Wolfe Island residents were glad that the shark wasn't real.

"I was really fearful," Laura Staley said Wednesday. "Overall, I'm absolutely relieved."

Kody Paul said he had been discussing the matter with his young sons in recent days.

"Our kids grow up swimming in these waters," he said. "It certainly switched up the atmosphere around here."

While Paul said the stunt was "a little bit off-putting," he said that his family was also feeling relieved. "We're choosing not to get too upset about it," he said.

Ahead of the revelation of the hoax on Wednesday, several experts had quickly cast doubt that the creature shown in the online video was truly a shark.



Cruise Sold Out

Our August 2 Detroit River Cruise has sold out, thank you for getting your reservations in early. Check the Gatherings page for more local events


Lookback #245 – Tritonica sank on the St. Lawrence after collision in fog on July 20, 1963

7/20 - I remember waking up 51 years ago today and finding my ship, the tanker Lubrolake, at anchor in the St. Lawrence. Venturing on deck, I could not see the pilothouse from the stern and, on a canaller, that is thick fog.

We learned from the captain at breakfast that there had been a terrible collision just east of us and that the Tritonica, trailing us by a number of miles up the river, had sunk with a high loss of life. The final count proved to be 33 sailors and the ship was a total loss. Seventeen others on board survived the sinking.

Tritonica had been built at Sunderland, England, in 1956 and had made three trips to the Great Lakes in 1959. A 12,863 gross ton bulk carrier, it was being used in 1963 to carry ilmenite ore from Havre St. Pierre to Sorel and operated with registry in Bermuda.

The hull was dynamited as a hazard to navigation in the fall of 1964 to clear the channel and then partially buried in a trench dug along the side of the remains of the vessel enabling it to slide into deeper water.

The second ship in the accident of July 20, 1963, was the Roonagh Head. It was a regular Seaway trader in the early years and sustained significant bow damage in the collision. It was repaired and resumed Great Lakes trading making a total of 28 trips through the Seaway to the end of 1967. This vessel dated from 1952 and arrived at Castellon, Spain, for scrapping on Sept. 4, 1971.

An investigation noted both ships were proceeding at excessive speed for the conditions.

Skip Gillham


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.


Bay Ship receives contract to build two tugs, barges

7/19 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Bay Shipbuilding Co. announced Friday that it has been awarded a contract to build two 155,000-barrel capacity barges and two 6,000-horsepower tugs at its Sturgeon Bay shipyard for Kirby Corp.

Bay Ship, a subsidiary of Fincantieri Marine Group, built several ATB units for Kirby in the mid-2000s. The new articulated barge (ATB) units will haul petroleum and chemical products domestically. The first ATB unit is scheduled for delivery in the fall of 2016 and the second unit will be delivered in summer of 2017.

"This repeat business from Kirby Corp. is validation of Bay's quality products and positive history in this product range," Todd Thayse, BSC vice president and general manager, said in the news release announcing the contract. "Bay Shipbuilding has built 22 ATB-units over the past 15 years, and is now under contract for several more. The new business from Kirby, combined with our current ATB orders, will further allow BSC to invest in our infrastructure, and it strengthens our backlog position."

Kirby Corp., based in Houston, is the nation's largest tank barge operator, transporting bulk liquid products throughout the Mississippi River System, the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, along all three Unites States coasts, and in Alaska and Hawaii.

Door County Advocate


Former Canadian Pioneer arrives off Aliaga for scrapping

7/19 - The former Canadian Pioneer arrived off Aliaga, Turkey, on July 18 and went to anchor pending being beached at a scrap berth. The ship has been sailing as Pioneer since 1987 and arrived in ballast from Lake Charles, La.

Canadian Pioneer was built by Port Weller Dry Docks as Hull 67 and was floated to the fit-out berth on May 27, 1981. It sustained fire damage there on July 16, 1981, when a welder's torch ignited the conveyor belt. The damage was quickly cleaned up and Canadian Pioneer was christened on Sept. 12, 1981.

This vessel was 730 feet long by 75 feet, 9 inches at the beam. It was registered at 24,194 gross tons and could carry 37,500 tons deadweight at saltwater draft. The last Doxford diesel engine to be built, a 4-cylinder, 9000 bhp model, was installed and served the ship well for 32 years of trading.

Canadian Pioneer was heralded as the largest self-unloader built for ocean service in Canada. It had low fuel consumption for its day, a slow speed, large diameter, propeller and, for the benefit of the crew, a swimming pool and a sauna.

This vessel managed a few trips in 1981 and initially operated on Great Lakes and Seaway routes. It went aground in the Detroit River on April 14, 1982, due to a reported steering problem, but was lightered and refloated by tugs prior to heading back to Port Weller Dry Docks in St. Catharines for repairs.

Canadian Pioneer moved into more saltwater trading carrying potash, grain, coal, ore, gypsum and stone with early stops in Baltimore, New Orleans, LA, Mexico, Mobile, AL and Texas.

The ship returned to the Great Lakes on occasion and, on Nov. 30, 1987, sustained damage to some of the wiring of a control panel from a fire at Nanticoke. Repairs were undertaken at the Welland Dock and the ship departed the lakes in mid-December.

Canadian Pioneer arrived at Sorel, on Dec. 18, 1987, and was placed under the flag of Vanuatu as Pioneer. Originally built for Upper Lakes Shipping, it was transferred to ULS International and then another subsidiary called Marbulk Shipping. Service now concentrated on saltwater routes and the ship saw little freshwater sailing. It last came through the Seaway when it brought a cargo of coke from Baltimore to Port Colborne passing up bound on December 12, 2002.

After delivering a final load of coal from Baltimore, Md., to Lake Charles, La., Pioneer sailed for Aliaga on June 19 for a rendezvous with overseas shipbreakers.

Skip Gillham


Port Reports -  July 19

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
John J. Boland was expected to arrive during the late evening on Thursday to load. Due in the early morning Friday was the Pere Marquette 41/Undaunted. Wilfred Sykes was also expected to arrive Friday in the early afternoon.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Philip R. Clarke loaded and departed from Cedarville on Thursday. Wilfred Sykes arrived on Thursday and was expected to take the dock following the Clarke's departure. Manitowoc is expected to arrive on Saturday in the early afternoon to load.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Joseph H. Thompson arrived Thursday and was due to depart around 5:30 a.m. on Friday. Great Republic was due to load Friday following the Thompson's departure.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Cason J. Callaway loaded at Calcite on Friday and was expected to depart around 9 p.m. Two vessels are due to arrive on Saturday morning, with the Lewis J. Kuber arriving first to load at the South Dock and the H. Lee White loading at North Dock.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Baie St. Paul of CSL was expected to arrive at the Torco Dock in the late morning on Friday to unload an iron ore cargo. Also expected to arrive at the Torco Dock is the American Mariner on Monday during the late evening. The James L. Kuber is due on Thursday, July 24 around lunchtime. Both the Manitowoc and the Mesabi Miner are due for arrivals on Monday, July 28 with the Manitowoc arriving in the early morning followed by the Mesabi Miner in the early evening. Algoma Olympic was due to load at the CSX Coal Dock on Friday in the early afternoon. Also due at the Coal Dock is the Saginaw on Saturday in the early morning. American Mariner is due on Tuesday, July 22 in the early morning, with two vessels due on Wednesday, July 23. Both the Ashtabula/Defiance and the H. Lee White are expected that day in the early morning. The Whitefish Bay of CSL is expected to arrive at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock on Sunday in the early afternoon to unload a limestone cargo. Adam E. Cornelius has started to show some signs that she may be returning to service this season. Her AIS signal has been activated this week and it is expected that she may sail sometime within the next 8-9 weeks. This would be the first time that she has sailed since the 2011/12 shipping season. Her other two ASC fleetmates, the American Fortitude and American Valor, still remain in long-term lay-up with no signs of activity aboard either vessel. However it has been said that the American Fortitude is starting to show signs she may be leaving for the scrapyard soon with parts removed recently. The tug Huron Service and barge still remain in port.


Are Rolls-Royce's robo-ships the future of seafaring?

7/19 - Ship captains of the future may not be salty sea dogs with their hand at the helm, and the ocean at their feet. They may not even step on-board a boat, if revolutionary new technology is given the green light.

As Google unveils its driverless car, and Amazon tests out drones delivering goods to our door, could the high seas be the next frontier for robotic transport?

Crewless cargo ships, operated by remote control, could be sailing our globe within the next decade says luxury engineering company Rolls-Royce. "The time is ripe for a fundamental change in shipping," insisted its vice-president of innovation, engineering and technology, Oskar Levander, while unveiling new concept boat designs.

"Camera technology can be far superior than the human eye when it's dark, or foggy, or raining," he said, speaking from his office in Norway.

But not everyone is so quick to jump on board.

"There's an argument that if you have too much technology, there's a tendency for human beings and seafarers to look at their screens rather than out their window," said Simon Bennett of the International Chamber of Shipping, in London.

"So your systems are telling you there's an iceberg a couple of miles away. But actually, if you looked out the window you'd realize you're about to smash into it."

The technology might be available now, but whether it'll actually make it onto our oceans will be down to maritime regulators -- a scenario Bennett dismisses as "very unlikely in the short-term future."

Could engineering company Rolls Royce -- which makes engines for airliners and military aircraft, and power systems for ships -- be the one to bring a change of tide?

In this futuristic vision of seafaring, captains would be relocated to onshore control centers, using real-time cameras to maneuver a fleet of ships.

Centuries after wooden boats with billowing sails and hundreds of crew navigated the world's trade routes, could we soon see 10 captains operating 100 ships by remote control, as imagined by Levander?

"If you go back in history, maybe 150 years back, a normal cargo vessel had about 250 crew. And it's been reducing ever since -- now we are down to 12 or 15," he said.

"And the question is why would it stop now?"

Once you get rid of on-board accommodation -- cabins, kitchen, bathroom, heating, food and water supplies -- the ship increases cargo space and reduces fuel consumption, says Levander.

"We make the ship lighter, distribute the weight better, and take off these consumers of energy," he explained.

"One of these standard ships transporting iron ore could save about 15% in fuel on an annual basis, if it was unmanned."

Would sailors also be pleased with the new working arrangement? Bennett is skeptical.

"The unions would have something to say about the de-manning of ships," he said. "Technology has its role in complimenting the competency of seafarers, but there's a balance to be had.

"A lot of people now are reliant on the GPS systems in their car -- but what happens when the systems go down? It's important then for seafarers to have celestial navigation, getting out their sextants or looking at the moon to work out where they are."

These days, captains are more likely to have their head down in paperwork, rather than gazing up at the stars, says Levander.

"If you look at the captain today, he is highly trained, and he's been educated on how to operate the ship in difficult situations, and maneuvering in ports, and so on. But what does he really do? It's probably less than 5% of his time that he's spending on really maneuvering the ship.

"Most of his time today is spent on paperwork, administration and bureaucracy."

And if this high-tech computer system did lose contact with ground control?

"It will be programmed to automatically go into safe mode," explained Levander. "It will still float, it's still there."

With cargo ships carrying 90% of the world's trade goods, is it really safe to have them on the open ocean without anyone at the helm?

"If you look at the incidents happening in shipping today, most of them are related to human factors," said Levander.

"The crew on board, they don't get enough rest, they're tired, they're not concentrating on the task ahead. And by moving the navigation onshore, we can have a better working environment -- people are not out there in a rolling, and heaving, and pitching environment."

Without any crew on ships, there would also be less incentive for pirates to attack, says Levander: "If they don't have hostages, it's much easier for the navy to come in and take the ship back."

Rolls-Royce may have floated the idea of robo-ships. Whether it sinks or swims is another matter. CNN


Lookback #244 – Bergfalck in serious collision on July 19, 1981

7/19 - The West German saltwater freighter Bergfalck was built in 1970. Early in its career, the 343 foot, 4 inch long vessel provided a feeder service from Halifax to U.S. East Coast ports but, when that ended, the ship came inland through the Seaway for the first time in 1976. By then, it was under flag of Singapore.

The name was changed to Berglind in 1976 as it saw additional charter service for Saguenay Shipping and then for Islenska Haupship Ltd. of Iceland. As such, she was not a Seaway trader.

Thirty-three years ago today, Berglind was on a voyage from Hampton Roads, Va., to Reykjavik, Iceland, when it was in a collision with the Charm in thick fog off Cape Breton Island. The accident on July 19, 1981, resulted in serious hull damage. The Canadian tug Irving Elm took the Berglind in tow but it sank the next day.

In the fall, the hull was pumped out and taken well out to sea by the tugs Point Vibert and Point Carroll. It was scuttled in deep water ending a short, 11 year career.

Irving Elm, the rescue tug, was only a year old at the time. It came to the Great Lakes in 1992 to push the cement barge Metis. Irving Elm was renamed Atlantic Elm in 1998 and remains active in Canadian East Coast service.

The two tugs entrusted to the final voyage are still with us as part of the McKeil Marine fleet. Point Vibert now sails as Florence M. while Point Carroll serves them as Tony Mackay.

While Charm had not been a Seaway trader under this name, it had been inland, beginning in 1967, as Marie Reith. This ship was repaired of the collision damage and was on its ninth name of Davut I when it arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, for scrapping on Oct. 4, 2011.

Skip Gillham


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.


New Algoma Harvester christened at Hamilton

7/18 - St. Catharines, Ont. – Algoma Harvester, the Algoma Central Corporation’s second Equinox-class bulk cargo vessel, was christened at Pier 26 South in Hamilton Harbor Thursday morning. The ceremony was observed by an audience that included local dignitaries and members of the marine industry.

Kathy Baske, wife of Jim Baske, President and CEO of ArcelorMittal Dofasco, imparted the traditional blessing. As is customary for these ceremonies, a bottle of champagne was broken against the bow of the ship, a banner revealing the ship’s name was dropped, and Father David Mulholland of the Mission to Seafarers offered prayers and other words of inspiration to the Canadian crew of the ship.

The Equinox class represents the next generation of Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Seaway bulk cargo vessels. The ships have been designed to optimize fuel efficiency and operating performance thus minimizing environmental impact. A 45 percent improvement in energy efficiency over Algoma’s current fleet average is expected, resulting from the use of a modern Tier II-compliant engine, increased cargo capacity, and an improved hull form.

In addition, a fully integrated IMO approved exhaust gas scrubber will remove 97 percent of all sulfur oxides from shipboard emissions. Algoma is the first company to use an IMO approved integrated scrubber on a Great Lakes – St. Lawrence vessel class.

“We have been extremely pleased with the performance of the first Equinox-class vessel, the Algoma Equinox, since she joined the Algoma fleet last November,” said Greg Wight, President and CEO of Algoma. “We are also very pleased to host the Algoma Harvester christening in Hamilton today with our major customer, ArcelorMittal Dofasco.

“The Equinox Class bulkers have been designed to optimize performance in the movement of iron ore for companies like ArcelorMittal Dofasco and for the movement of grain products. We expect the ship to move 1 million tonnes per year of these commodities,” Mr. Wight continued.

“Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway marine transport is integral to our business and fleet renewal is critical for a sustainable supply chain,” added Jim Baske. “Sustainability is a core value for our company and a main area of focus. The range of environmental improvements that we see on this fleet aligns with our efforts to continuously improve our productivity, efficiency and environmental footprint. It‘s a win-win when one of our partners is able to achieve the kinds of improvements that Algoma has with this new fleet, effectively reducing the environmental impact of our supply chain, from raw material inputs to shipping of finished products.”

Algoma took delivery of the Algoma Harvester on May 13th and the vessel departed from the shipyard in China on May 18th. The Algoma Harvester picked up its first load of cargo at Port Cartier, Quebec on July 11th, following a 54-day voyage across the Pacific and through the Panama Canal to get to Canada. The first cargo of iron ore, which has set a new record size, will be delivered to ArcelorMittal Dofasco in Hamilton immediately following the ceremony.

The vessel joins its sister ship, the Algoma Equinox, as part of Algoma’s 32-vessel Canadian flagged Great Lakes fleet. Algoma is investing $300 million to construct six state of the art Equinox class vessels with two additional Equinox Class vessels currently under construction for CWB Inc. These CWB Inc. vessels will be managed by Algoma as part of the fleet serving our customers in and around the Great Lakes / St. Lawrence Waterway.

Algoma Harvester will serve primarily agricultural and iron and steel industry customers, making regular voyages from lakehead ports on Lake Superior such as Thunder Bay and Superior/Duluth to Port Cartier, Quebec City, and Baie Comeau in the St. Lawrence. In between, this maximum seaway-size bulker also visits other ports such as Contrecoeur, Hamilton, Toledo, Chicago, and Milwaukee during the course of a navigation season.

She is expected to depart from Hamilton for Thunder Bay on July 18th. The vessel is expected to make approximately 10 grain and iron ore trips on the Great Lakes – St. Lawrence Waterway over the balance of 2014.

Algoma Central Corp.


St. Lawrence Seaway grain shipments surge, offsetting iron, coal weakness

7/18 - Montreal, Que. – Western Canada's bumper crop, as well as output from Ontario, have boosted grain shipments through the St. Lawrence Seaway by 50 per cent to 2.7 million tonnes so far this shipping season.

The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp., the agency that manages the waterway, says combined U.S. and Canadian grain shipments were up 38 per cent from March 25 through June 30.

Despite the increased grain traffic, however, overall shipments through the seaway are down seven per cent to 11.1 million tonnes due to decreases in iron ore and coal traffic.

The Seaway Management Corporation says shipments of grain from Western Canada and Ontario have surged by 50 per cent to 2.7 million tonnes so far this shipping season.

Meanwhile, the Port of Thunder Bay, Ont., had its busiest June in 17 years as domestic and ocean carriers loaded more than 965,000 tonnes of grains in June.

Grain shipments through the Port of Hamilton soared 70 per cent to more than 380,000 tonnes this season.

While western grain traders are using the seaway to export a bumper grain crop, Ontario farmers are using Hamilton's expanded facilities to ship canola, corn, soybeans and wheat, mainly to international markets in Europe and the Middle East.

Bruce Hodgson, director of market development for the Seaway, says the corporation anticipates higher grain activity will continue throughout the summer.

Last year's bumper grain crop of 76 million tonnes — 50 per cent more than average — should allow Seaway shipments to increase throughout the year after slipping 3.2 per cent in 2013 because the crop, although a record, was quite late.

Times Colonist


Port Reports -  July 18

St. Marys River
Lakes Contender / Ken Boothe Sr. spent the day at the Carbide Dock undergoing unspecified repairs. They were still there in the late evening.

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
Frontenac departed Wednesday night after unloading a load of salt at Cargill. Over at Terminal 52, the German-flagged heavy lift vessel BBC Switzerland unloaded heavy electric power plant components: large transformers and high pressure steam generators.


St. Lawrence Seaway cargo shipments rise at U.S. ports

7/18 - Washington, D.C. - U.S. ports throughout the Great Lakes uniformly saw increased tonnage in several cargo categories during the month of June.

“Salt, chemicals, and steel all posted excellent tonnage numbers through June when compared to last year’s figures,” said Rebecca Spruill, director of trade development for the SLSDC.

“We’re rapidly making up ground for the slow start to the season imposed by a winter lasting well into April. Our U.S. ports are encouraged by the increase in traffic, most notably salt, registering a double digit percentage increase, dry chemicals which saw a threefold tonnage increase, and high value general cargo on track to top 2.5 million tons.”

The Port of Cleveland is off to an outstanding start to the 2014 shipping season. “Our international tonnage is up approximately 23 percent through June compared to 2013. In addition, the Cleveland-Europe Express, our new liner service between the Port of Cleveland and the Port of Antwerp that started in April, more than doubled our revenue in June compared to both April and May,” said David Gutheil, vice president of maritime and logistics.

“We continue to see positive momentum in the market for this service, and the interest is coming from a much broader geographic base than we originally anticipated. We have handled cargo from as far away as Iowa, and to countries in southeast Asia and the Middle East in addition to the European continent.”

“Industry spirits were buoyed by strong gains in cargo movements during the month of June,” added Vanta Coda, Duluth Seaway Port Authority executive director. “We had two ships from Europe arrive loaded with energy-related project cargo destined for North Dakota and Alberta, Canada. Coal and iron ore tonnages were up by 16 and 7 percent respectively over May. And both commodities were running ahead of where they stood a year ago – coal up 17 percent in June 2014 and iron ore up nearly 48 percent compared to the same month’s totals in 2013.”

Coda acknowledged that the year-to-date snapshot is a bit more sobering – total tonnage for the port is still off 17 percent. However, he was quick to point out, “We’re moving in the right direction, having made double digit gains in most commodity groups during June.”

Shipments at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor were up over 40 percent from the previous year, driven primarily by steel-related cargoes that more than doubled the 2013 mid-year totals. Ocean shipments remained steady through the first half of 2014, up slightly from the previous year as a result of continued steel trade with European ports and fertilizer deliveries to local farmers. Through June, the Port handled significant increases in steel (up 130 percent), grain (up 70 percent), limestone (up 25 percent), and minerals (up 20 percent). “The increases are certainly a good sign for the regional economy, especially in the manufacturing sector,” said Rick Heimann, port director.

“Despite this year's late start due to ice conditions, we have managed to catch and surpass last year's tonnage total. The surge in May and June can be attributed to more coal, general cargo and dry bulk shipments moving through Toledo. So far this year we have seen more overseas traffic than in previous years,” said Joe Cappel, director of cargo development for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. “Diversified overseas trade including inbound sugar, pig iron, fertilizer and steel and outbound corn, soybeans, and bulk materials has helped make a difference this year. We hope that the momentum will continue for the balance of the 2014 season.”

“The Port of Oswego has accepted shipments of approximately 16,000 metric tons of aluminum in June contributing toward a year record projected to be 100,000 tons in 2014,” said Zelko Kirincich, executive director at the Port. “The growth of the Novelis automotive business has continued to fuel the growth of aluminum shipments through the Seaway System contributing to the diversity of the Port’s cargo base.”

Tonnage at the Port of Green Bay was up 28 percent over 2013 to 350,654 metric tons. “June’s increase is helping to close the gap on year-to-date numbers which are now only four percent below last year’s mark,” said Dean Haen, director of Brown County Port and Resource Recovery Department. “The biggest jump was the shipment of limestone, which increased by 63 percent to 147,072 metric tons compared to 2013.”

The Port of Muskegon, a new member of the AGLPA, is looking forward to the August arrival of three additional shipments of wind turbine components from Germany. “The Port of Muskegon not only has a significant historical past, but will play an important role as new technologies such as wind energy generation and other large scale or bulk cargoes representing new business and industry interests require water based transportation assistance,” said T. Arnold Boezaart, Muskegon County Port Advisory Committee member.

The St. Lawrence Seaway reported that year-to-date total cargo shipments for the period March 28 to June 30 were 11.2 million metric tons, down 7 percent over the same period in 2013. Iron ore and coal – usually solid performers – were both down by 37 and 21 percent respectively.

General cargo was up 44 percent overall with steel and project cargo shipments posting increases of 111 and 119 percent over 2013. U.S. grain shipments were down by 8 percent in June over last year. The liquid bulk category posted a downturn of 25 percent to just over 1 million metric tons. The dry bulk category was also down by 2.5 percent over 2013. However, within that category, stone, salt, cement and gypsum were all in the positive column, with stone at a 78 percent hike. Cleveland-Europe Express showing growth Cleveland, Ohio – The Port of Cleveland has announced that its Cleveland-Europe Express, the dedicated monthly liner service that launched in April, had its best month to date in June. This start-up service doubled its revenues in June when compared to either April or May.

“The Port of Cleveland is booming and we are very encouraged by the performance of the new Cleveland-Europe Express service, which is still in its infancy,” said William D. Friedman, president and CEO. “The large increase in volume in June bodes well for the remainder of the year as we continue to offer companies and shippers throughout the interior U.S. a faster, more cost-effective and greener shipping alternative to Europe and the world.”

The Port’s traditional maritime and development finance services are also seeing increased demand and are forecasted to have a record year. Vessel calls at the Port of Cleveland are up 75% through June, another indicator that the Greater Cleveland economy continues to grow. Additionally, revenues from the Port’s financing business are forecasted to be at an all-time high.


Effort abandoned to save 111-year-old freighter as museum ship

7/18 - Duluth, Minn. – The laker J.B. Ford’s days as a survivor appear to be numbered. Having made it through the storms of 1905 and 1913 that counted dozens of ships among its casualties, the Ford will succumb to old age.

The Great Lakes Steamship Society last week abandoned its effort to save the 111-year-old craft as a museum ship. The Ford is docked in Superior.

“It’s a real shame we can’t save her,” said Steve Haverty, founder and president of the society. “But with this economy it’s been real tough getting the money together. We gave it a good effort and bought her a couple more years.”

It had been estimated that $1.5 million to $2 million was necessary to save the J.B. Ford from the scrapyard. Lafarge North America owns the ship. When the News Tribune reached its communications department, the company spokesperson gave “no comment” on the ship’s future.

Haverty’s group still is working with Lafarge to salvage certain artifacts, including the forward cabins. The Great Lakes Steamship Society is turning its attention to saving another vessel, possibly the S.T. Crapo docked in Green Bay, Wis.

Other vessels are considered more feasible to salvage.

The J.B. Ford was distinguished by its three-cycle reciprocating steam engine — the last of its kind in existence — and last sailed in 1985 as a cement barge.

Paul Mattson worked for 16 years for Lafarge in Superior, and spent many days working in and around the J.B. Ford after it had been relegated to floating cement storage. Some workers, including Mattson, considered it haunted, he said.

He recalled it being sold for scrap for $1 in 2007, before the society stepped it to try and save it.

“It was an amazing ship in its day,” Mattson said. “She’s got an amazing history. I spent many hours working on the J.B. Ford, but it’s had its time.”

The J.B. Ford was launched as the Edwin F. Holmes in Lorain, Ohio, on Dec. 12, 1903. It is 440 feet long, with a beam of 50 feet, a depth of 28 feet and a capacity of 8,000 tons.

By comparison, the William A. Irvin, launched 34 years later, is 611 feet long, with a beam of 60 feet, a depth of 32.5 feet and a capacity of 13,600 tons.

For the first several decades of its life, the Ford — sailing first as the Holmes and then as the E.C. Collins — hauled iron ore, coal and grain. It was upbound on Lake Superior during the 1905 Mataafa Storm, during which 29 vessels were lost or damaged. It was downbound on Superior during the 1913 White Hurricane storm, during which 12 vessels were lost and 32 driven aground.

The Ford escaped the breakers-yard fate of many of its contemporaries by finding a specialized niche in the 1950s, when the Huron Portland Cement Co. bought and converted it to a self-unloading cement carrier. It was Huron that renamed the vessel the J.B. Ford.

Lafarge bought the Ford in the 1980s and used it as a cement barge, first in Chicago, then in Superior.

Steve Lindsey of Keene, N.H., informed the News Tribune of the latest development in the life of the J.B. Ford. He’s a one-time Coast Guarder (1984-91) and self-described “historic preservationist” responsible for a couple of Wikipedia entries on lakers and shipping, as well as campaigns to save churches and other examples of architecture. With the Coast Guard, he helped break ice for ships like the J.B. Ford and developed an affinity for the shipping trade. He laments the inability of places like the National Trust for Historic Preservation to salvage more ships from what he called, “the Golden Age of steamers.”

“We got to know and love these ships,” Lindsey said. “Someday, all we’re going to have are motorized barges — without character, without stories. They’ll be like drones, and we won’t have ships as living entities anymore. It’s important to save a little of it, because this is stuff we’ll never see again.”

The Duluth News Tribune


Help wanted: Marine engineers

7/18 - Lower Lakes Towing Ltd. is looking for competent, practically skilled Marine Engineers with 2nd Class Motor TCMS certification and 4th Class Motor TCMS certification to join our team. Canadian Great Lakes dry bulk experience or related experience, a good work ethic and the ability to work in a fast paced environment are considered prerequisites for this position. Strong interpersonal and communication skills are a must, as is a leadership style based on mutual respect of all Officers and Crew within a proactive, team oriented work environment. Candidates must be bondable, possess a valid passport and will have all applicable certificates and Transport Canada medical in good order.

If you are a leader or potential leader that is looking for a change we offer a very competitive wage and benefit package, positive work environment and an industry leading leave system with a Month On, Month Off work rotation on a year round basis for Engineers with 2nd Class.

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


Help wanted: City of Toronto: Marine Engineer 2 and Deck Hand

7/18 - Job Classification Title: Marine Engineer 2
Requisition # 1977276X
Work Location: Jack Layton Ferry Terminal Toronto
Job Type: Seasonal, Full-Time
Temporary Duration: 13 Weeks
Salary/Rate: $28.91 / Hour
Number of Positions Open: 2

Job Classification Title Deckhand
Requisition # 1946448
Job Type Non-Seasonal, Full-Time
Temporary Duration 19 Weeks
Salary/Rate $26.37 / Hour
Hours of Work (bi-weekly) 80.00
Shift Information Rotating Shift
Number of Positions Open 2

Interested applicants are requested to send their resume and cover letter to the City of Toronto's website. Please visit, by July 25 to view entire job postings referenced above.


Call for photos for Duluth Seaway Port Authority calendar

7/18 - The Duluth Seaway Port Authority is hosting its 38th annual calendar contest to find the perfect photo, painting or illustration to feature on its wall calendar for next year. The group is looking for stunning, captivating images of ships or scenes that highlight the port from unique perspectives in a variety of seasons that tell engaging stories at a glance.

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

• Photographs, paintings and/or illustrations are eligible for consideration.
• Submit up to 10 high-resolution images on a CD/DVD or USB flash drive
• Entries must be received by August 25, 2014
• Label images (and disc/stick) with your name/initials. Provide phone number email & snail mail address.
• Due to file sizes, please do Not send images via email.
• 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.

Other rules apply. If you are interested in submitting an entry or have questions, please direct them to:

Adele Yorde, Public Relations Manager Duluth Seaway Port Authority 1200 Port Terminal Drive Duluth, MN 55802 218.727.8525


Updates -  July 18

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the BBC Switzerland, Oslo Bulk 2, Sichem Melbourne, and Sten Bergen.


Lookback #243 – New York News buckled while loading salt at Pugwash on July 18, 1967

The New York News (iii), had only recently been added to the Quebec & Ontario Transportation Co. fleet and did not get off to a good start in their colors. On July 9, 1967, the ship was in a collision with the Nordglimt off Escoumins, Quebec, but only suffered light damage. Things got worse 47 years ago today.

The bulk carrier was at Pugwash, Nova Scotia, loading salt when the hull buckled amidships at the dock on July 18, 1967. Later, the hull was cut in two by divers to facilitate salvage operations. The sections were refloated separately and towed to Halifax, Nova Scotia, for repairs.

New York News resumed trading but occasionally ran into more trouble. She went aground at the mouth of the Detroit River on Sept. 18, 1979, but was freed two days later. She also stranded on a sandbar off Ogdensburg, NY on Aug. 11, 1982, and required tug assistance.

This ship was Hull 19 from Port Weller Dry Docks and joined Beaconsfield Steamships in 1956 as Tecumseh. Originally 259 feet long, it was lengthened to 349 feet overall in 1959-1960.

New York News stayed with Q. & O. until the company carriers were sold to Desgagnes in 1984. This ship became Stella Desgagnes in 1986. Following a sale for saltwater service, it became Beam Beginner in 1993 but the deal was not completed.

The vessel was resold and renamed Wolf River at Hamilton in 1995 and has seen only limited service on Lake Superior in subsequent years. Wolf River is still intact at Thunder Bay, Ont., but has been idle for years.

Skip Gillham


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.


Cargo ship stranded in Oshawa now back on its way

7/17 - Oshawa, Ont. – For two days, the cargo ship Fritz had been on the fritz - unable to leave the Port of Oshawa. Sailors aboard the Fritz, a German-owned cargo ship, were not supposed to be there at all.

First the boat sat in another unscheduled stop at Kingston, Ont., and now has come west. After going three months without pay, and with supplies running low, the crew members say they had no choice but to stop and seek help.

"Personally for me, it's been six months on board. It's a long time," said ship captain Boris Nikirov.

The ship flies a Liberian flag, but it was the German owners of the ship who ran into financial difficulties. Since last week, members of St. Stefan The Great Romanian Orthodox Church have been providing whatever they can to these reluctant visitors — many of whom are Romanian.

"They didn't have food...they had to fish in Lake Ontario to survive," said Dan Grebenisan of St. Stefan the Great.

The ship is carrying a heavy load of steel rods that was purchased by a company in Ohio. To complicate matters, the crew on board says they're now having mechanical issues.

But late Tuesday afternoon, the tide turned.

"The way it's going now, I think it's going to work out great for everybody," Donna Taylor of the Oshawa Port Authority said.

The Port Authority announced that a new foreign investor stepped forward to pay the crew and get the ship moving again.

"Thank you very much ..." said Nikirov as he geared up the Fritz to leave Ontario shores.

CBC News


Port Reports -  July 17

Marquette, Mich. – Bruce Lolmaugh
Herbert C Jackson unloaded stone at the WE Energies and moved to the LSI South Dock to load iron ore pellets on a beautiful blue 60-degree day.

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
Tuesday the tug Wilf Seymour and barge Alouette Spirit unloaded aluminum bars.


U.S. auto industry buoys Seaway steel shipments

7/17 - Shipments of steel products through the St. Lawrence Seaway to U.S. ports have increased significantly this season due to demand by the U.S. automobile industry and an improving American economy.

According to the Seaway corporation, general cargo shipments including steel slabs and coils and aluminum totaled 872,000 metric tons from March 25 to June 30, a 44 percent increase over 2013. The steel was shipped through the St. Lawrence Seaway to the ports of Cleveland, Detroit, Indiana-Burns Harbor and Milwaukee. The specialty steel is either further processed by U.S. manufacturers to produce fenders or internal components or sent directly to the auto assembly plants. Some steel is also used in construction.

A Canadian grain rush has also helped shipping rebound considerably after a crippling start to the season due to ice coverage. However, total cargo shipments through the St. Lawrence Seaway from March 25 to June 30 were 11.1 million metric tons, down 7 per cent compared to 2013 due to decreases in iron ore exports and coal traffic.

Marine Delivers


Suspected shark sighted on Lake Ontario, but professor says it’s probably a porpoise

7/17 - A restaurant on Wolfe Island, where the St. Lawrence River meets Lake Ontario, has a patio overlooking the water and around the tables lately, there’s been a lot of talk about a shark in the lake.

There was a sighting at the Big Sandy Bay beach, and one near the docks where the ferry comes in from Kingston, Ont., according to waitress Erin Whalen, a mother of three who says she won’t be letting her children in the water after a video purportedly showing the shark popped up on Youtube last week and compounded the rumor.

“I think a lot of people aren’t sure if it’s a true story or not,” she said. “But it’s got a lot of parents being wary.”

According to what Ms. Whalen has heard from her patrons at the Wolfe Island Grill, it is believed to be a bull shark — an aggressive carnivore not adverse to freshwater and known to travel inland.

But a marine biologist at the University of Guelph, who specializes in sharks in fresh water and watched the video Wednesday, said he believed it was actually a harbor porpoise — the dolphin’s smaller cousin.

“I haven’t heard of porpoises in fresh water but it’s possible,” said Prof. Jim Ballantyne, adding that the marine mammal could have swum into Lake Ontario from the Atlantic Ocean via the St. Lawrence River.

“I teach a course in New Brunswick and we see them all the time. There’s a basic difference between the way sharks move and the way porpoises move.”

The video, posted to Youtube on Thursday, shows a young man standing on a dock and reeling in a fish before the “shark in Lake Ontario” jumps out of the water and steals it. Zooming in on the footage, what appears to be a dorsal fin is visible.

“A shark never comes up like that,” Prof. Ballantyne said. “Sharks move side to side like a snake swimming. Porpoises move up and down through the water.”

National Post


Warship models on display at Port Colborne museum

7/17 - Port Colborne, Ont. – The Port Colborne Historical and Marine Museum is delivering big on history in a rather small way.

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, the museum has opened “Warships,” a new exhibit at the museum showcasing remarkably detailed scale models of World War II Canadian warships until December.

“We’re really fortunate to have these amazing ship models,” said assistant curator Michelle Mason, noting several of the five ships represented in model form have links to Port Colborne in one way or another.

Cpt. J.W. Sharpe built two of the models, the HMCS Digby and HMCS Orillia. During the war he captained both of those ships, a Bangor-class minesweeper and a Flower-class corvette. After the war he settled in Port Colborne and worked for the Misener shipping company.

“He donated a lot, he gave us much of his collection,” said Mason. “A lot of people are really interested in this,” said Mason, noting the details on the ship are remarkably accurate.

For example the model of the HMCS Port Colborne took 17 members of the West Island Ship Modeler’s Club nine months to complete.

“It’s quite detailed,” she said, explaining the frigate was first built in 1943. One of its crew members, Murray Sherwin, still lives in St. Catharines and donated photos of the crew in addition to his uniform and rucksack for the exhibit.

Another area namesake ship, the HMCS Humberstone, is also on display. That model was built by Joseph Vella after being commissioned by the museum in 2010 to honor the 100th anniversary of the Canadian Navy.

“We’re lucky to have two (ships) named after us,” said Mason, noting the final ship in the exhibit, the HMCS Haida, currently sits in Hamilton Harbor as a heritage site.

She pointed out with Port Colborne’ marine history it made sense for the museum to honor the 75th anniversary of the second World War with a display of warships. She pointed out it is a piece of history many individuals in town are interested in.

The museum is located at 280 King St. in Port Colborne and is open Monday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.

Niagara This Week


$40,000 fine, court order levied for commercial fishing violations

7/17 - A Lake Erie commercial fishing boat captain has been fined a total of $40,000 for commercial fishing violations.

Melchiorre Pace of Leamington, captain of the commercial fishing vessel “AD-CO II”, pleaded guilty to violating the terms and conditions of a commercial fishing licence. Pace was fined $40,000 for submitting Daily Catch Reports (DCRs) with false information. Pace also pleaded guilty to failing to maintain an accurate and complete commercial fishing logbook. He received a court order requiring him, for a period of three years, to only operate commercial fishing vessels that have a Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry monitored GPS unit installed.

Court heard that between May 24 and July 16, 2013, conservation officers investigated the commercial fishing activities of Pace. The investigation revealed that Pace was submitting DCRs containing false information in relation to the location where he was conducting his commercial fishing activities. He was also falsely reporting the length of time that he left his gill nets in the water and he declared less than half of the total length of gill nets that he was actually using. The investigation also showed that Pace had entered false information in his commercial fishing logbook. On multiple occasions, Pace declared in his logbook that he set gill nets in areas where he did not. He also set gill nets in locations that he failed to record in his logbook.

Justice Lucy C. Glenn heard the case in the Ontario Court of Justice, Chatham, on July 10, 2014.

Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources


“Know Your Ships” editor to speak in Sault Ste. Marie Saturday

7/17 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – This Saturday, from 1-3 p.m., the Chippewa County Historical Society will hold an open house at its headquarters, 115 Ashmun St.

Roger LeLievre, editor/publisher of the annual Great Lakes shipping field guide “Know Your Ships,” will discuss the book’s history and the annual process he goes through to put it together. The 2014 volume (the 55th) will be available for purchase and signing after his brief talk that will begin at about 1:30 p.m. A display of past “Know Your Ships” volumes will be on display.

LeLievre was a longtime Michigan newspaper writer and editor (his earliest job was at the Sault Evening News). Besides his work on “Know Your Ships,” which got its start in Sault Ste. Marie, he also writes for “Great Lakes/Seaway Review” magazine and other publications.

The open house is also being held to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the News Building, built in 1889 by Chase S. Osborn for his newspaper, The News. The public will be able to tour the first floor of the building. A birthday cake and refreshments will be available.

For more information, check or contact (906) 635-7082.

Soo Evening News


Obituary: Captain Liel Osell

7/17 - Captain Liel Osell, 94, of De Pere, Wis., died Monday July 14, at home. He was a member of the Green Bay Shipmasters and was still active as a tug captain well into his 80s.

He was born in Duluth, Minn., and first went to work on the Lakes in 1940 at the age of 19 for The Interlake Steamship Co. From 1943 to 1948 he sailed the Pacific Ocean for the U.S. War Shipping Administration. From 1948-1958 he sailed as deckhand / fireman for about two years, then eight years as captain, aboard tugs for The Great Lakes Towing Co. out of Duluth, back when deckhands stood four-hour watches shoveling coal followed by four-hour watches on deck. The next decade, Captain Osell sailed as captain for C. Reiss Coal & Steamship Co. on Lake Michigan.

From 1968 to 1973 he sailed as third mate, working his way up to captain, on car ferries for the Ann Arbor Railroad. In 1980 he moved on to work aboard tankers for The Standard Oil Co. and aboard ore freighters for Bethlehem Steel Co., Interlake Steamship Co., and Cleveland-Cliffs, Inc. From 1980 to 1985 Captain Osell returned to the oceans, taking assignments out of union halls in New Orleans and working on ships for Lykes Brothers Steamship Co. and Gulf Oil Co., and also on supply boats servicing the oil rigs and platforms in the Gulf of Mexico.

In 1985, he returned to tug duties for The Great Lakes Towing Co. in the company's consolidated ports of Milwaukee and Green Bay.


Lookback #242 – Tall ship Sheila Yeates sank July 17, 1989, after hitting pack ice

7/17 - The small tall ship Sheila Yeates was built at Lunenbourg, Nova Scotia, in 1976. It was constructed with oak frames, cedar planks, and mahogany plywood cabins. The design was to be a replica of a small commercial vessel of the American Civil War era. It was equipped with a wood-burning stove for cooking and heating.

Sheila Yeates came through the Seaway in 1984 and made inland calls on the Niagara River and was later based at Duluth. It made a stop at Toronto on the way out of the lakes.

In 1985, the ship traveled to Greenland, Iceland, Norway and the United Kingdom. It returned west in 1986 via the Azores and U.S. Virgin Islands.

On July 17, 1989, 25 years ago today, the ship sank south of Greenland. The vessel had been working through fog south of Greenland when it ran into an ice pack. The vessel was taken in tow by the Kiviuq, a Danish trawler, but the leaking ship could not be saved. Fortunately, all on board were rescued when their vessel went down 430 miles south of Greenland.

Skip Gillham


Cruise is almost full, get you  reservations in now for our Detroit River Cruise August 2

On Saturday, August 2, we will repeat the popular Boatnerd Detroit River Cruise aboard the Friendship, with Captain Sam Buchanan. This year’s cruise will be four hours and will go up the Detroit River, and hopefully into the Rouge River. A pizza lunch will be delivered by the J. W. Westcott mail boat, with a cash bar onboard. Cost is $36 per person and we are coming close to the 100 person limit on the boat.  The cruise departs at 10 a.m. from Portofino Restaurant in Wyandotte, Mich. Click here for Reservation form.


Today in Great Lakes History -  July 17

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.


Plans for removing the Canadian Miner from off Cape Breton are underway

7/16 - Cape Breton, N.S. – Nova Scotia Land has met with a contractor to discuss work safety and hazardous waste on the former laker Canadian Miner as plans to move the wrecked ship are put into action. It ran aground on Scatarie Island in Cape Breton, N.S., three years ago. The environmental, transportation and health and safety permits are all in place.

Nova Scotia Land, the Crown corporation overseeing the $12 million project, said it’s a potentially dangerous job.

“The main material that has to be removed is the asbestos. There’s asbestos wrap on a lot of the plumbing that's in the vessel and that has to be removed,” said Chief Operating Officer Joel MacLean.

The Miner was being towed to Turkey when it broke its line near Nova Scotia. The ocean and rocky coast have shredded the steel hull.

Crews will build a base camp on the island and set up an access road from the shore to the ship. Some 40 people will work a four-day rotation to do the job.

“The Miner will be broken down from the top down to maintain the stability as they go down towards the water,” MacLean said. “The access road will give them access to use heavy equipment. The equipment will be large excavators with long reach arms and shears on the end of them.”

The steel will be loaded onto a barge and sold for scrap. Antigonish-based R J MacIsaac Construction has until November to remove the wreck.

CBC News


Port Reports -  July 16

St. Marys River
Tim S. Dool was tied at the southwest wall above the locks Tuesday afternoon undergoing an inspection and unspecified repairs. Herbert C. Jackson was also tied up for a short time at the Carbide Dock. Both vessels resumed their upbound trips later in the day.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Saginaw cleared the Charles Berry bridge and was on her way out into the lake at 7:50 a.m. Tuesday.

Hamilton, Ont. – Ted Wilush
Algoma Harvester arrived Tuesday on her maiden voyage with ore from Port Cartier for Dofasco. She will proceed to pier 26S for a christening ceremony on Thursday morning, and then be unloaded.


U.S.-flag lakers’ cargo total trails 2013 by 17 percent at mid-year

7/16 - Cleveland, Ohio – U.S.-flag cargo movement on the Great Lakes stood at 27 million tons through the end of June, a decrease of 17.4 percent compared to the same point in 2013. The brutal winter of 2013/2014 is the overriding factor behind the decrease. Vessels lost significant time due to the heavy ice formations, and then some vessels had to be removed from service to repair damage suffered in the ice.

Shipments of iron ore for the steel industry total 14 million tons at the end of the second quarter, a decrease of 21.4 percent, or 3,816,000 tons. The 3.8-million-ton shortfall is more than a season’s work for a 1,000-foot-long vessel.

Coal cargos stand at 5.1 million tons through June, a decrease of 9.4 percent, or 532,000 tons.

Limestone loadings total 6.2 million tons at the end of the first half of 2014, a decrease of 16.6 percent, or 1,231,000 tons. Winter’s grip on the stone trade was so tight that only one limestone cargo had moved by mid-April.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Groups still looking for Asian carp solution

7/16 - Washington, D.C. – Six months after the Army Corps of Engineers outlined strategies for keeping Asian carp out of Lake Michigan, policymakers, environmentalists and businesspeople are no closer to any kind of agreement on an acceptable long-term solution.

But while disagreement over the prospect of physically separating Lake Michigan from Chicago-area waterways hasn’t softened, there are indications the various interested parties are moving toward consensus on short-term measures which could slow the invasive species’ spread toward the lake.

Specifically, an advisory group comprised of more than 50 organizations representing interests for and against physical separation appears largely in agreement about testing potential control measures at a spot in Joliet, Ill., the southernmost choke point leading to the Chicagoland waterways.

It’s uncertain what those controls at the Brandon Road Lock and Dam in Joliet would be, what they would cost and their ultimate effectiveness, but it still represents a budding consensus for a divided group that has hired outside facilitators to help it search for agreement on a long-term solution.

“Give us a year and I’d hope we’d be able to produce some consensus around a solution,” said Tim Eder, executive director of the Great Lakes Commission and a member of the advisory board. “I wish it were a lot quicker than that, but people are kind of dug in.”

When it comes to the spread of Asian carp, everyone involved seems to agree it needs to be stopped before the voracious species reaches the Great Lakes. But finding agreement beyond that — from businesses, environmentalists, Congress or the Corps — has proven agonizingly slow.

Environmentalists represented by the Great Lakes Commission, the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiatives and others argued in a 2012 paper for “Restoring the Natural Divide,” and physically separating the Mississippi River system and Chicagoland waterways from Lake Michigan.

But business groups in Illinois and Indiana have voiced grave concerns about what such a vast undertaking would mean not only to their bottom lines — with barge traffic needing to be shifted to road and to rail — but also how it could exacerbate flooding and environmental concerns.

“That remains the sticking point. It’s one that’s always in the back of everyone’s mind,” said Benjamin Brockschmidt, with the Illinois Chamber of Commerce. “It’s not as simple as putting down a barrier ... The way physical separation has been described to us, it does not work.”

“We have way oversimplified how this can be resolved,” added Kay Nelson, with the Northwest Indiana Forum, a regional business group in that state, and a member of the advisory panel, whose work is monitored and supported by government groups looking for a permanent solution.

Nelson said even if physical separation could be worked out, it could require two to four decades of environmental remediation and flood-control measures to ensure contaminated runoff doesn’t seep into the lake.

“It’s difficult for John Q. Public to understand,” she said. “None of it is easy. ”

Environmentalists argue that opponents of separation are exaggerating the hurdles, time frame and costs. But the Corps of Engineers has refused to take sides. Its long-awaited, congressionally mandated report came out in January outlining eight options, including physical separation, but made no recommendation.

After a public comment period drew petitions and letters signed by thousands in favor of separation, the Corps — after reviewing all the comments it received — said no “clear consensus” was identified.

For some policymakers, the pace is too slow. U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., has been pushing for separation for years, and told the Free Press last month that it’s “critical” that a regional consensus be reached soon, even with interim controls under consideration.

Both she and U.S. Rep. Dave Camp, a Midland Republican, are looking into legislation that, in Camp’s words, could help take “the vital first steps” toward a permanent solution — though getting that passed in both the House and Senate may be a challenge.

Funding, too, could be a hurdle, though the Corps is constructing a new permanent electric barrier with a portion of $29 million in the Obama administration’s budget proposal. Some critics argue that some fish have been able to broach the electronic barriers already in place, however.

Eder said the hope is that funding can be found quickly once an agreement is reached for the Joliet project. Any number of control methods could be tested there, he said: from guns firing sound waves that steer fish into nets to chemical agents that sterilize the fish and more. None may be 100% effective, he said, but they could go a long way toward slowing the spread of the fish.

“We’re talking about stuff that’s pretty much ready to go,” he said. It could begin while he and others — like David Ullrich, with the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative — continue to push for physical separation, an option which the Corps’ report said could cost as much as $18 billion — a figure Ullrich and Eder dispute.

“It’s still very much on the table, but we’re not talking about that yet (on the committee),” said Ullrich, adding facilitators are trying to determine what common ground can be found among the parties. “It’s not just to separate or not to separate. We need to see what other alternatives are there.

Detroit Free Press


Boat picks up trash from Lake Michigan after heavy rains

7/16 - Milwaukee, Wis. – There's a boat on Lake Michigan picking up all the trash and debris now lurking underwater from the heavy rain this year.

It's tough to tell what's in the water, but if it's not supposed to be there, the captain of the Lynyrd Skymmr, Scott Cassavant, will get it out. With heavy rains this summer he and his crew have been scooping up debris eight hours a day.

"When there is a heavy rain with a lot of current flow, what is a living, thriving tree will become uprooted and ends up in the river," Cassavant said.

It's important to remove the large logs because they are a navigational hazard to boats out on the water. It's also important to remove smaller pieces of plastic.

"They don't bio-degrade. They take hundreds, if not thousands, of years to break down," Cassavant said. The plastics are also a source of bacteria. Logs are natural; however, if you hit one with your boat, it will likely cause major damage.

Crew member Khalid Evans said the boat's conveyor belts do a lot of the work. "It's easy because the boat, it do it by itself, and we just guide it," Evans said.

When you're on the water you never know what you'll find. "One of the most unique items, I think was a call that I got, and it turned out to be a floating port-a-john," Cassavant said.

Last year, the sewer district collected enough trash to fill 61 20-cubic-yard dumpsters.


Seaway sorting potential suitors for dry docks

7/16 - St. Catharines, Ont. – While St. Catharines' dry docks remain without a tenant, its owner says there's been interest expressed in locating there.

"We have at this stage the task of examining what interest has been declared," said Andrew Bogora, spokesman for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp.

"I can confirm the July 4 date has come and gone … we have received some limited interest in this site and we are pursuing that."

Its previous tenant, Seaway Marine and Industrial went bankrupt last year, throwing about 160 people out of work.

Kyle Groulx, business representative for International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 128, said some laid of workers had "held out, to see what's going to happen at the shipyards."

Groulx said a number have taken temporary work elsewhere, including a wind-turbine manufacturing operation and ship repair firms.

"As for the liquidated (Seaway Marine) property, we don't know where that's going to go," Groulx said.

"The trail's gone cold. The contractors that were calling me to inquire about the bargaining unit have stopped."

St. Catharines Standard


Ferry owner backs Detroit River bridge that may sink his job

7/16 - Detroit, Mich – In the shadow of the mighty Ambassador Bridge, Gregg Ward operates the little ferry that could.

For two decades, he and his father, John Ward, have run a plucky, small but important freight operation, carrying trucks with hazardous or oversized cargo banned from the Ambassador Bridge by law.

The tiny, little known Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry fills a conveyance gap five days a week, as 18-wheelers carrying whisky or paint or gasoline drive onto the ferry – a barge and tugboat combination, piloted by Captain Dave Seymour, and Jazzy, a Labradoodle.

Last week, this primitive ferry delivered 120 huge windmill stanchions and blades to the Windsor bank of the river. But the ferry’s owner is his own worst advocate.

“It’s ridiculous,” says Ward, who sees his ferry as part of the antiquated infrastructure of the Detroit River crossing system. “If the Ambassador Bridge is shut down for any reason, this is what you have as a backup: our little ferry.”

Here’s where the pluck comes in: Ward is an advocate for a government-built second bridge, one that would, he believes, “provide redundancy and resiliency to the most important international border crossing we have.”

And that pits him against the incalculable fortune and indomitable will of bridge owner Manuel “Matty” Moroun.

But the proposed bridge, now stalled by a lack of federal funding for a customs plaza in Detroit, would likely spell the end of the truck ferry, wouldn’t it?

“It would,” says Ward, as he steers his own vehicle onto the 120-foot-long barge. “We opened to fill a niche and if that niche is no longer there, I would probably have to do something else.”

To Ward, 53, a Dearborn resident who has a master’s degree in finance and an entrepreneurial spirit, the antiquity of the bridge and tunnel system are apparent. And so is the need for the government to own the next bridge, rather than leave international transportation at the mercy of a billionaire.

What’s in it for Ward? “Nothing,” he says.

He has long been judged credible and public-spirited by community activists in the area.

State Rep. Rashida Tlaib calls Ward “a great leader on the issue of hazardous materials. He’s been an amazing partner for the community because he understands the dynamic of commerce.”

Ward and Moroun have been at odds since Ward opened the ferry on Earth Day in 1990. At that point, the ferry was jeered as the “toxic barge” by environmentalists.

Since then, Ward’s own landing plaza was paved on the Windsor side courtesy of the Ontario government. He’s steeped himself in the lore and law of the international crossing.

Dan Stamper, president of the Ambassador Bridge Co. questions Ward’s intentions, saying: “There has to be some kind of agreement to buy him out, there has to be.”

But Ward says the only party that has ever offered to buy him out is Moroun himself, a claim that Stamper didn’t dispute. (“It must have been at least 15 years ago,” Stamper said.)

Two years ago, Moroun tried to get the regulations changed so that trucks could carry hazardous materials across the bridge. Although that effort failed, Stamper said Monday that “there are certain commodities on the hazardous (list) that the Ambassador Bridge has historically allowed,” despite laws to the contrary.

For now, Ward’s quaint truck ferry provides a crucial, legal and safe commercial link between two mighty nations.

The Detroit News:


House bill would help shipping on Lake St. Clair, river

7/16 - A water resources bill adopted by the U.S. House for the coming fiscal year would provide more than $1.5 million for dredging operations and sediment disposal on Lake St. Clair and the St. Clair River.

The House passed a $34 billion water and energy spending bill last Friday after two days of marathon debate. The $5.5 billion appropriations list for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers includes $6 million for the Detroit River but it’s biggest Michigan project by far is an allocation of $40 million to upgrade the Soo Locks on the St. Mary’s River.

U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, a Harrison Township Republican, praised the 253-170 House vote.

“Our waterways play host to recreational and commercial activity essential to our local and national economy,” said Miller, a veteran sailor.

“Although it must still be approved by the Senate, House passage of this legislation is an important and encouraging first step, as this bill would provide federal funding for dredging and other water resources projects that would help ensure future generations can continue to enjoy the recreational and economic benefits provided by our Great Lakes.”

Dredging has become increasingly important because the low water levels on the Great Lakes over the past decade. Though levels are up this year, a report published last month in Canada predicted the Great Lakes economy would lose $20 billion by 2050 if an extensive reprieve is not realized.

According to the Corps of Engineers, the loss of just one to two feet of channel depth in the St. Clair River increases transportation costs for the shipping industry from between $4.7 million and $15.8 million.

Legislation adopted by Congress earlier this year will boost federal funding for dredging and other improvements at Great Lakes ports and harbors. The $1.6 million St. Clair River project approved by the House would benefit the ports of Marysville, St. Clair and Marine City. The routine maintenance planned for portions of the shipping lanes in Lake St. Clair, at a cost of $179,000, will provide smooth passage for vessels navigating the river and lake.

The channels in Lake St.Clair are 800 feet wide, 14.5 miles long and 27.5 feet deep.

The rock and sediment that is excavated from the lake and river, some of which is likely to include contaminated soil, would be disposed at nearby Dickinson Island, a dump site for more than 30 years.

As the Senate prepares to take up its own legislation, the House version of the House Energy and Water appropriations bill faces a potential veto from President Obama due to several Republican provisions that the White House opposes.

Most of those GOP amendments that were tacked onto the main measure have no bearing on the Great Lakes, but one controversial rider would reportedly block the Corps from working on a rule with the Environmental Protection Agency to clarify its jurisdictional authority over streams and wetlands in the U.S.

Oakland Press


Cruises take enthusiasts to hard-to-find Lake Superior lighthouses

7/16 - Copper Harbor, Mich. – Passengers aboard the Isle Royale Queen IV had to brave some rain and clouds recently to get a good look at the Manitou Island and Gull Rock lighthouses, but it wasn't nearly enough to keep them away from that rare opportunity. Some of them, in fact, wouldn't have had it any other way.

"This weather shows why the light station exists," said Evan McDonald, executive director of the Keweenaw Land Trust, which owns and maintains the Manitou Island Light Station on an island about three miles off the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula. "I like people to experience it under these conditions."

The Land Trust was one of two beneficiaries of a recent charity cruise, along with the Gull Rock Lightkeepers, which owns and maintains the Gull Rock Lighthouse on an exposed rock just west of Manitou Island. The cruise was hosted by Captain Ben Kilpela and the Isle Royale Line, with profits dedicated to restoring the two lighthouses. It was the first of two charity lighthouse cruises scheduled this month, with the second cruise on July 19.

Jeremiah Mason, archivist at the Keweenaw National Historic Park, is a member of the Gull Rock Lightkeepers. For him, getting a look at the lighthouses was more personal than professional. That's because his great-great grandfather, James Corgan, was one of the first lighthouse keepers to serve at both the lights, in the 1870s and 1880s.

"The first time I went to Gull Rock I noticed tool racks in the basement rock that had been signed by James Corgan," Mason noted. "That was pretty cool."

By the end of his career, Corgan had served more years than anyone in the U.S. Lighthouse Service, about 50, according to Peter Annin, executive director of the Gull Rock Lightkeepers.

Annin also discussed the process that placed Gull Rock Light into the Lightkeepers' hands, and some of the work that's been done since.

He said the process started in 2000 when Congress passed the Lighthouse Preservation Act, which turned over historic lighthouses the Coast Guard couldn't afford to maintain to local government, nonprofit or private hands.

"Gull Rock was going to be orphaned," he said. "In '04 the Gull Rock Lightkeepers were formed and partnered with the Michigan Conservancy to receive and restore it."

McDonald said the Manitou Island Light was turned over to the Keweenaw Land Trust through the same process.

Since then, Annin said, the Lightkeepers have invested around $200,000 and 1,000 man-hours in the light station, with about three quarters of that money coming through grants. Last year's single lighthouse cruise, he said, raised about $1,500 each for his group and the Land Trust's Manitou Island restorations.

"Generally speaking we can get $2 for every $1 from private sources," he said.

Since 2004, he said, the Lightkeepers have replaced the roof and the floors, which had pancaked into the basement of the building, despite the logistical difficulties of bringing materials to the remote island.

The Manitou Island property, which the Land Trust, working with the Audubon Society, has also recognized as a bird habitat, is being renovated with a slightly different goal — to make the building useful again as a secure overnight stop for bird observers, while maintaining as much history as possible.

Currently, said McDonald, the trust is raising funds to repair the crib dock on the North Bay of Manitou — the only dock on the island — and hope to complete work on the dock next summer.

"Once we get the dock repaired, it will make the rest of the work easier," he said.

Captain Kilpela said he was happy to be able to help the lighthouse restoration effort. For mariners, he said, the lighthouses are "a symbol of the old ways of navigating."

Brian Jentoft, the son of a Great Lakes sailor who drove up from L'Anse for the cruise, said he was glad he'd been able to make the trip, rain or no rain.

"I think these things are national monuments worth preserving," he said of the lighthouses.

The Daily Mining Gazette


Lookback #241 – Maine burned near Marine City on July 16, 1911

7/16 - The wooden steamer Maine caught fire and burned in the St. Clair River while up bound with a cargo of coal on July 16, 1911. The blaze was discovered in the cargo hold at about 10:30 p.m. and the Captain chose to run the ship aground on the Canadian side of the river. This enabled all of the crew to reach safety.

Maine had been built at Cleveland in 1862. Initially, the 138 foot, 9 inch long vessel carried both passengers and freight. It was valued at $22,000 in 1866 but it burned, for the first time, while docked at Port Huron in 1880. The hull was rebuilt as a bulk freighter by Dunford & Alverson and often used in the lumber trade where it carried 300,000 board feet at capacity.

Maine burned to the waterline again at Buffalo on April 15, 1898, but was rebuilt at Bay City and resumed service.

The third fire finished the Maine and some time after the blaze of 103 years ago today, the remains of the hulk were towed into deeper water and scuttled.

Skip Gillham


Help wanted: City of Toronto: Marine Engineer 2

Job Classification Title: Marine Engineer 2 Requisition # 1977276X
Work Location: Jack Layton Ferry Terminal Toronto
Job Type: Seasonal, Full-Time
Temporary Duration: 13Weeks
Salary/Rate: $28.91 / Hour
Number of Positions Open: 2
Interested applicants are requested to send their resume and cover letter to the City of Toronto's website. Please visit, by July 24 to view entire job postings referenced above.


Updates -  July 16

News Photo Gallery


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
Michipicoten and Hon. James L. Oberstar loaded ore at the Upper Harbor on Monday.

St. Marys River
The research vessel Spencer F. Baird was downbound from the MCM drydock Monday morning, heading back to Cheboyagn, Mich. Algoma Montrealais, Canada’s last steam-powered vessel, was upbound for Duluth in the early afternoon.

St. Clair, Mich. – Bob Markus
Paul R. Tregurtha arrived at the DTE St. Clair Power Plant at about 4:45 Monday with a load of coal from Duluth.

Buffalo, N.Y.
On Monday, American Mariner was on her way to Lackawanna with an ETA of about 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday.

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
On Monday, Stephen B. Roman unloaded cement.


Minnesota Power, Duluth Port reach wind shipment milestone

7/15 - Duluth, Minn. – Minnesota Power and the Duluth Port reached a milestone this past weekend when the 15th ship bearing wind generation equipment destined for Minnesota Power’s growing renewable energy installation in North Dakota sailed into the harbor beneath the Aerial Lift Bridge.

The BBC cargo ship Peter Roenna was expected to arrive in Duluth late Sunday night carrying over two dozen renewable wind energy components after a voyage from Brande, Denmark, where the equipment is manufactured by Siemens A.G. Two other shiploads of Siemens wind equipment bound for North Dakota arrived at the port in June; two more are expected before the end of September.

Since the port first started handing these project cargoes for Minnesota Power, a total of 15 shiploads of wind energy equipment – including these nacelle cooling units and generators – have crossed the Atlantic Ocean, sailing through the St. Lawrence Seaway and across the Great Lakes into Duluth. The components are then loaded onto trucks for delivery to the Bison Wind Energy Center near New Salem, N.D.

Duluth Seaway Port Authority


Lookback #240 – Manitoulin went aground at Sandusky on July 15, 1986

7/15 - The self-unloader Manitoulin was a frequent caller at the coal-loading ports on the south shore of Lake Erie. The vessel loaded there for steel making plants or electric generating stations. It was 28 years ago today that the ship lost power and went aground near Cedar Point at Sandusky, Ohio. Manitoulin was released with the aid of tugs and operated to the end of the 2000 season.

Manitoulin was built at Lauzon, Quebec, and delivered to Canada Steamship lines on July 6, 1966. The 730-foot-long self-unloader brought manganese ore from Contrecoeur, Quebec, to Ashtabula, Ohio, on its first trip.

Over the years the ship endured a collision with the salty Saint Marcel in the Welland Canal in December 1971, a minor fire to the conveyor while undergoing winter work at Port Weller on Jan. 24, 1977, and another grounding west of Montreal on Sept. 18, 1986.

Manitoulin opened the shipping season along the Welland Canal on April 4, 1977, and was the first laker up bound in the Seaway, second ship overall, for the 2000 season.

The ship tied up at Sorel on Dec. 27, 2000, and remained idle until sold to Turkish shipbreakers. It departed under tow of the tug Akhtiar on June 11, 2002, and arrived at Aliaga, on July 23. Scrapping got underway immediately.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  July 15

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the BBC Kibo, BBC Switzerland, Erasmusgracht, Federal Mackinac, Harbour Krystal, Lita, Nogat, Oslo Bulk 2, Peter Ronna, Sten Bergen, and Tina Theresa


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

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Joseph H. Thompson unloaded stone into the Upper Harbor hopper on Sunday. An ore load was scheduled before departure.

St. Marys River
High wind from the WNW dropped the water level in the Rock Cut low enough that the downbound Paul R. Tregurtha went to anchor at Nine Mile Point in the late afternoon Sunday to await improved conditions. She hove anchor in the evening. The saltie Emilie also dropped the hook for a short time after dinner, waiting for congestion at the locks to ease.

Milwaukee, Wis. – Chris Gaziano
Algosteel arrived during the morning Sunday with a load of salt. The G.L Ostrander with barge Integrity departed for South Chicago after arriving in Milwaukee late Saturday night. Shortly after the departure of the G.L. Ostrander, the Samuel de Champlain with barge Innovation arrived from South Chicago and took their place alongside the LaFarge terminal. Three out of the four Great Lakes Fleet steamers were in the river Sunday: Philip R. Clarke, Arthur M. Anderson and John G. Munson.

Detroit River
Algoma Montrealais was upbound Sunday with a cargo of cement for Duluth.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The US brig Niagara was open for tours at the Central Wharf this past weekend.


Long winter affecting Lake Michigan water temperature

7/14 - The long, cold winter of 2013-14 is having a chilling effect on Lake Michigan. The National Weather Service said last Thursday that the surface water temperature of the Great Lake is about 5 degrees colder than the 20-year average.

The surface temperature is based on satellite imaging of the water.

The temperature varies depending on location, with temperatures in the 40s shown in the northern part of the lake, in the mid-50s in the central part and in the low to mid-60s in the southern part.

Below the surface temperatures taken by equipment on buoys are also below normal, dropping down to near 40 60 feet below the surface.

Temperatures are not expected to warm up anytime soon.

"As the long range forecast is calling for below normal temperatures to settle over the western Great Lakes next week, no significant warming of Lake Michigan is expected through mid-July," the weather service said.


Shipwreck hunters find Air Force plane that went down in '53

7/14 - Rochester, N.Y. – They hunt shipwrecks for fun, but explorers Jim Kennard, Roger Pawlowski and Roland Stevens recently added a new category to the list of discoveries they've made on the floor of the Great Lakes: a C-45 Air Force plane.

The trio, from Rochester, N.Y., found the aircraft at the bottom of Lake Ontario, solving a mystery that has endured since 1952. The plane went down unmanned after its five-man crew parachuted to safety when its engine failed. The Coast Guard searched for the plane at the time, but where it failed, Kennard, Pawlowski and Stevens succeeded.

"We were quite surprised when the image of an aircraft appeared on our sonar display as it was well beyond the mile offshore as reported by a few eyewitnesses," Kennard said on the group's website,

The plane, at a depth of more than 200 feet, was found with a remote-operated vehicle the men control from their boat.

"Part of the windshield was broken and the left side of the body behind the wing has been torn away," Kennard said. "Otherwise it is all there. This probably explains why no debris could be found floating on the surface of the lake during the searches conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Air Force."

The plane crashed during a routine flight from Massachusetts to Griffis Air Force Base in upstate New York on Sept. 11, 1952. It was about 8 miles south of its destination when it began losing altitude because one of its two engines had failed. Fearing a crash, Lt. Col. Charles Callahan and his four-man crew parachuted from the plane at an altitude of 2,500 feet. With one engine still functioning, the plane flew pilotless for another 65 miles before plunging into Lake Ontario.

Before he jumped, Callahan set the plane on autopilot and aimed it towards the coast, fearing the plane might otherwise crash into an inhabited area. Reportedly, the plane flew very low over the town of Oswego and circled over Lake Ontario before hitting the water.

Pawlowski told the plane will stay where it went down.

"We don't even touch it," he said. "We just take pictures and video and leave it there for others to enjoy. Each one of those wrecks is like a museum of its own."

Kennard and the shipwreck exploration team has worked Lake Ontario off Oswego for the last three years, making several important finds. Last season, the team found the schooner Atlas, lost in 1839, the schooner Ocean Wave, lost in 1890 and the Roberval, one of only two steel steamers to sink on Lake Ontario.

Pawlowski, a retired electrical engineer, says hunting shipwrecks is a dream retirement hobby. The men don't dive more than 130 feet or so, but do most of their searching with computers and the remote vehicle.

"We sit up on the boat with a beer in one hand and watch the ROV do its work," Pawlowski said. "You can't beat it."


World record attempt for the longest crossing of Lake Erie

7/14 - Vessel crews are asked to watch out for 16-year-old Annaleise Carr as she attempts a 75-kilometre swim across Lake Erie from Erie, Pa., to Port Dover, Ont., on July 25-26.

Carr will be accompanied by 1 kayak, 2 Zodiacs and 4 support boats. During daylight hours, a pacer will be allowed to swim with Annaleise. The flotilla will be moving in a diamond-shaped pattern around Annaleise as she swims.

She must complete the entire swim on her own. She cannot get out of the water. She can’t touch a boat or another swimmer. She must exit the water unassisted, under her own power.

Lake freighters are asked to slow down and divert as far from the group as possible. Cold water churned up by freighters can make or break a swimmer’s chances of crossing.


Lookback #239 – Daniel Pierce aground at Guanica, Puerto Rico, on July 14, 1964

7/14 - The American tanker Daniel Pierce spent most of its life in saltwater service. It was built at Wilmington, Delaware, for the Sinclair Refining Co. and entered service as E.W. Sinclair in April 1921.

The 391 foot, 6 inch long vessel had 22 cargo tanks. It was renamed Daniel Pierce in 1941 and taken over by the United States Navy as U.S.S. Shikellamy in 1943. The ship served in a refueling capacity in the South Pacific during World War Two and was decommissioned on Jan. 14, 1946.

It was returned to Sinclair and resumed trading as Daniel Pierce. Daniel Pierce was brought to the Great Lakes under tow through the Mississippi system in November 1951. The tanker was usually based on Lake Michigan but did make at least one trip to Toronto during her tenure on the lakes.

Daniel Pierce operated inland through 1963 and then, following a sale, left for the south. It had carried caustic soda and some petroleum products on the Caribbean and arrived at Guanica, Puerto Rico, in ballast from Guadeloupe to its first cargo of sulfuric acid on July 10, 1964. Over a period of days some acid began leaking into the bilges. The mix of acid and salt water led to the fear of an explosion and the vessel was beached as a safety precaution 50 years ago today.

Fortunately, the vessel did not blow up but it was soon condemned and broken up for scrap. The investigation of the incident questioned why such an old ship would be loading this type of cargo but things could have been much worse.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  July 14

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  July 14

The AMERICAN REPUBLIC (Hull#724) was launched July 14, 1980, by the Bay Shipbuilding Co., Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, for the American Steamship Co. She was renamed b) GREAT REPUBLIC in 2011.

While upbound in the St. Lawrence River on July 14, 1970, for Saginaw, Michigan, with a load of pig iron from Sorel, Quebec, the EASTCLIFFE HALL, of 1954, grounded in mud near Chrysler Shoal six miles above Massena, New York, at 03:00 hours but was able to free herself. A few hours later, approaching Cornwall, Ontario, she struck a submerged object and sank within a few minutes in 70 feet of water only 650 feet from the point of impact. The submerged object was believed to be an old aid to navigation light stand. Nine lives were lost. Divers determined that her back was broken in two places. After salvaging part of the cargo, her cabins were leveled and her hull was filled.

In 1988, the JOHN T. HUTCHINSON and tow mate CONSUMERS POWER passed through the Panama Canal heading for the 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.


Lookback #238 ­ Former Sunny Girl caught fire on July 13, 1993

7/13 - Sunny Girl was built at Kiel, West Germany, and launched on Jan. 12, 1957, for Olaf Pedersen's Rederi of Norway. The ship came to the Great Lakes in 1957-1958 on a time charter to Saguenay Shipping and made 11 more trips through the Seaway once that waterway opened in 1959.

The 257 foot, 1 inch long vessel was sold for a reported 225,000 pounds in 1962 and became Negus. On Dec. 16, 1973, under a fourth name of Navarino, the ship grounded and settled on the bottom in the Black Sea near the border of Romania and Bulgaria. It was refloated but had severe bottom damage and was towed to Varna, Bulgaria, on July 6, 1974.

Despite the extent of damage, the small size and 16-year-old status of the ship, it was repaired and returned to service. The vessel had a total of eight names and operated under the flags of Greece and Malaysia until a fire erupted in the engine room 21 years ago today.

Known as Cara Timur Tiga, the ship was in position 04.51 N / 113.40 E, near Miri, Sarawak, Malaysia, part of the island of Borneo, on a voyage from Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, to Pulau Pinang, Malaysia. The vessel was towed to Sibu, Sarawak, and laid up. This time there would be no repairs. The vessel was sold for scrap and broken up early in 1994.

Skip Gillham


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.


Wheat Board’s CWB Marquis launched in China

7/12 - Nantong Mingde shipyard launched a Great Lakes gearless bulk carrier with hull # MD151-GB-03 successfully the morning of July 8. Named CWB Marquis, it is 225.55 meters in length, 23.77m width, 14.7m depth, 9.5m draft, and has a green passport and LR class. There are five cargo holds with a total capacity of 31,200 tons. The owner is the Canadian Wheat Board, and the operator will be the Algoma Central Corp. This vessel will mainly load coal, iron ore and grain, and will voyage in the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway.


Algoma Harvester to be christened in Hamilton July 17

7/12 - Hamilton, Ont. – Algoma Central Corporation, Canada’s largest domestic ship owner, will christen its new environmentally and technologically advanced vessel M/V Algoma Harvester at a ceremony at the Port of Hamilton (Pier 26 South) Thursday, July 17 at 10:30 a.m.

Speakers will include Greg Wight, CEO of Algoma Central Corporation, Jim Baske, CEO of ArcelorMittal Dofasco as well as Kathy Baske, the vessel’s official sponsor. Mrs. Baske will perform the traditional blessing and christening during the ceremony.

Part of a $400 million investment in fleet renewal by St. Catharines-based Algoma Central, the vessel is 45 percent more energy efficient and is designed to operate with a fully integrated, closed loop, exhaust gas scrubbing system that eliminates 97 per cent of all sulphur oxide emissions.

Algoma’s Equinox-class vessels are part of an unprecedented fleet renewal that moves Great Lakes shipping into the 21st century. The Algoma Harvester will carry iron ore for companies like ArcelorMittal Dofasco as well as North American grain.

Algoma Central Corp.


USS Cod to re-enact World War II rescue of Dutch sub crew

7/12 - Cleveland, Ohio – For two days in early July of 1945, the crew of the USS Cod submarine had tried pulling the Dutch submarine 0-19 from a coral outcropping where it had run aground in the South China Sea.

Both vessels were exposed to the threat of Japanese attack in these waning months of World War II.

Finally the American and Dutch sub captains agreed that the effort was hopeless, and the 56 Dutch sailors were brought aboard the Cod.

To keep the 0-19 from falling into enemy hands, the Cod was forced to destroy one of its own allies' subs. It took two scuttling charges, two torpedoes and 16 rounds from the Cod's five-inch deck gun to do the job.

For nearly three days the American sub was crammed with 153 sailors until the Dutch crewmen could be taken to a safe port.

On July 12 that episode in the Cod's wartime history will be partly re-enacted at the site of the USS Cod Submarine Memorial, on North Marginal Road between East Ninth Street and Burke Lakefront Airport.

The 2 p.m. re-enactment, held each year on the Saturday closest to the July 9 anniversary of the rescue, will feature the last boatload of Dutch submariners coming aboard the Cod, raising of the Dutch flag and a deck-gun salute.

Then, a cake and punch reception will be held for the local Dutch community and the general public – perhaps not unlike the thank-you party that the 0-19 sailors later hosted for the Cod crewmen, which turned into a double celebration when they learned that the war had just ended .

"We love re-enacting this special moment in World War II, when saving lives was the mission, not destruction," said Paul Farace, director of the USS COD Submarine Memorial, in a news release. "The event was the only time in history when a sub of one nation came to the aid of a sub of a different nation."

The event is recorded on Cod's battle flag as a martini glass over the name O-19.

The USS Cod Submarine Memorial is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Sept. 30. Tours of the submarine include the two torpedo rooms, crew living spaces, and Cleveland-built diesel engines.

Admission to the reenactment is free between the hours of 1 and 3 p.m. For additional information call (216) 566-8770 or visit .


Port Reports -  July 12

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
The barge James L. Kuber and tug Victory arrived during the morning on Thursday to load and departed in the mid-afternoon on Thursday. Wilfred Sykes was expected to arrive at Port Inland early in the morning on Friday with the Joseph L. Block also arriving in the late afternoon on Friday. James L. Kuber returns on Saturday to load during the early morning.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Wilfred Sykes was expected to arrive at Cedarville on Thursday during the morning. Also due in on Thursday was the Pere Marquette 41 and Undaunted in the early afternoon. Calumet was also expected to arrive in the early evening on Thursday. Arriving on Saturday is the Joseph L. Block in the early morning hours.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Lewis J. Kuber loaded on Friday and was expected to depart around 6 p.m. Due on Saturday is the Joseph H. Thompson during the early morning. Two vessels are due in on Sunday. Arriving first will be the Great Lakes Trader in the morning followed later in the mid-afternoon by the Lewis J. Kuber. Great Republic is expected to arrive on Monday at noon. Rounding out the Stoneport lineup will be the Arthur M. Anderson arriving on Tuesday in the late morning to load.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Friday was American Steamship day at Calcite, as two of their vessels loaded at both docks. The H. Lee White loaded from the South Dock and was expected to depart around 10 a.m. Loading from the North Dock was the John J. Boland, expected to depart around 6 p.m. on Friday. The barge Ashtabula and tug Defiance were at anchor off of Calcite on Friday and were expected to load at the South Dock following the departure of the H. Lee White. American Mariner was also expected to arrive on Friday in the early afternoon, also loading at the South Dock. The Sam Laud is due on Saturday in the early morning, loading at the North Dock and the John G. Munson rounds out the Calcite lineup arriving on Saturday in the early afternoon for the South Dock. No vessels are scheduled on Sunday.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Great Lakes Trader was expected to arrive at the Torco Dock to unload an iron ore cargo during the late afternoon on Friday. Mesabi Miner is expected to arrive at the Torco Dock on Monday in the late afternoon and the Joseph H. Thompson is due to make a rare visit arriving Wednesday in the early morning. The James L. Kuber is also due on Wednesday in the morning along with the Hon. James L. Oberstar. CSL's Baie St. Paul is also due to arrive at the Torco Dock on Wednesday in the late afternoon. Algosteel is due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock on Wednesday in the early morning and CSL's Baie Comeau is due to arrive at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock Saturday, July 19 in the early afternoon. At the CSX Coal Dock, the John J. Boland is due to load on Sunday during the mid-afternoon. Algoma Olympic loads on Monday in the late morning. The Saginaw is due on Friday, July 18 in the early morning, with three vessels due to load on Monday, July 21. James L. Kuber is due in first that day in the early morning followed in the early afternoon by the John J. Boland. H. Lee White rounds out the schedule Monday, July 21 in the late afternoon. Four other ships were also in port at the time of this report. The tug Huron Service and barge remain tied-up in Toledo. The Andean of Cyprus registry and the Emilie of Panamanian registry were at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock, while further upriver at one of the grain elevators was the Marshall Islands-flagged Federal Yoshino. There is still no activity aboard any of the three ASC vessels that are in long-term lay-up in Toledo.

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
English River unloaded cement on Friday.

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
The classic sidewheel ferry Trillium made a short warm up test run just before noon Friday. There are several special events happening on the Toronto Islands this weekend and the Trillium will be put into service to handle the expected heavy passenger traffic. Toronto's mostly idle cruise ship terminal will be seeing some activity next month. According to the Pearl Seas Cruises website, the new Marshall Islands-flagged Pearl Mist cruise ship will be making a series of 10 and 11 day cruises between Toronto and Chicago.

Port Cartier, Quebec
The new bulk carrier Algoma Harvester arrived in Port Cartier early Friday morning for its first load, iron ore pellets destined for Hamilton.


Lakes limestone trade down 15 percent through June

7/12 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes total 7,952,201 tons through June, a decrease of 14.7 percent compared to the same point in 2013. The decrease is even slightly larger when compared to the trade’s long-term average through June: 16.2 percent.

Loadings out of U.S. quarries stand at 6.8 million tons through the second quarter, a decrease of 15.7 percent. Shipments from Canadian quarries total 1.1 million tons, a decrease of 8.6 percent.

The totals are testimony to the effects of the brutal winter of 2013/2014. The ice conditions were such that only one limestone cargo had moved by April 15. A number of the lower-horsepower river class vessels that serve the limestone trade had to delay their sailings well into April because of heavy ice.

Lake Carriers’ Association


New salties due to arrive in Montreal

7/12 - Montreal, Quebec – Three new saltwater vessels are expected to arrive in Montreal for their first Great Lakes/Seaway system visits. The tanker Harbour Krystal of the Bahamas flag is the former tanker Clipper Krystal, which first came inland and in 2007. The ship will be heading to Clarkson, Ont., and is coming from Brunsbuttel, Germany. Also expected in Montreal on July 13 is the German-flagged BBC Switzerland, arriving from Baie Comeau, Quebec, and eventually going to Toronto, Ont. This vessel is similar to BBC Europe, BBC Germany, BBC Asia, Panagia, Pantanal, BBC Scandinavia, BBC Greenland and BBC Austria, all of which have visited the Great Lakes/Seaway. Lastly, the Gibraltar-flagged tanker Sten Bergen is also expected in Montreal on July 15. This vessel is coming from Amsterdam, Netherlands and eventually will be heading to Hamilton. Sten Bergen is similar to two other tankers, the Sten Aurora of Norwegian flag which first came inland and visited in 2010, along with the Sten Suomi, also of Norway which first came inland and visited in 2009.

Denny Dushanae


Port Calcite collaborative relaunches Department of Interior fuel barge

7/12 - Rogers City, Mich. – The Greenstone II, a U.S. Department of Interior fuel barge, has been relaunched at Port Calcite upon completion of drydocking, repair work, and inspections.

The barge was hauled out at the Port Calcite facility in late May by Port Calcite Collaborative’s 440-ton Manitowoc 16000 crane. Schwartz Boiler of Cheboygan, Mich., performed the blasting, painting, and repair work. Upon inspection and approval by the U.S. Coast Guard, the barge was returned to the water in late June. It has departed for the transit back to its homeport of Houghton, Michigan.

Built by Fraser Shipyards in 2004, the 70’ long, 65-ton Greenstone II is a double-skinned fuel barge commissioned by the U.S. National Park Service for operation in Isle Royale National Park.

Port Calcite press release


Columbus ship replicas to visit Lorain

7/12 - Lorain, Ohio – Replicas of two of the Spanish ships that brought Columbus to the West Indies in 1492 will dock in Lorain on Aug. 7.

Authenticity was sought in construction of the ships, said Capt. Stephen Sanger of the Columbus Foundation Inc., the British Virgin Islands-based, for-profit corporation that owns them. The replica of the Nina was built by about 20 men by hand without electricity or modern tools. Work took 21⁄2 years and was completed in 1991.

The Pinta took about three years to build and was completed in 2005. Sanger said some electricity was used. Both ships use modern equipment to sail.

The company chose not to build a replica of the Santa Maria due to its size, Sanger said. The ship was used as a cargo ship in 1492. Sanger said it would have needed water at least 14 feet deep to dock. The Nina and Pinta need about seven feet.

The Nina has visited more than 1,000 ports including 10 trips to the Panama Canal. The Pinta has visited about 250 ports.

Lorain, where the ships will stay until Aug. 12, is one of at least 12 stops they will make this year and is part of the Great Lakes portion of the annual voyages. Ticket sales to tour the ships pay for voyages, Sanger said.

The ships visited Lorain in 2010.

Sanger, 27, said he had a lot of sailing experience while growing up in the Virgin Islands. However, he said most of the crew are volunteers who first boarded the ships as tourists. Sanger, hired in 2008, said besides historical lessons, the goal of the tour is to encourage young people to learn about sailing.

“Everyone should do it at a young age,” he said.

Replicas of the Nina and Pinta are scheduled to dock at Black River Landing, 421 Black River Lane, Lorain, on Aug. 7 and depart on Aug. 12. Tours begin Aug. 8. For tour and ticket information, go to



Lookback #237 – John B. Cowle lost via collision on July 12, 1909

7/12 - The John B. Cowle (i) was a product of the Jenks Shipbuilding Co. and it was launched at Port Huron, Mich., on Oct. 2, 1902. The 440-foot-long steamer went to work for the United States Transportation Co.

The John B. Cowle was loaded with iron ore when it collided with, and sank, the wooden Canadian steamer Erin in the St. Clair River, near Marysville, Mich. on May 31, 1906. Five lives were lost and nine sailors were rescued from the Erin. The latter had been built by Louis Shickluna at Port Dalhousie in 1881 and went down quickly with the bow in U.S. waters and the stern on the Canadian side of the river.

A second collision, 105 years ago today, resulted in the loss of the John B. Cowle. It was again carrying iron ore when it was struck amidships by the Isaac M. Scott off Whitefish Point, Lake Superior. Eleven members of the crew perished.

The Isaac M. Scott was up bound on its maiden voyage at the time of the accident on July 12, 1909. This vessel only lasted for four years, as it was one of the casualties of the Great Storm of November 1913.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  July 12

New Video on our YouTube Channel Engineers’ Weekend and BoatNerd picnic, 2014


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.


Canadian Miner removal to begin in earnest Monday

7/11 - Sydney, Nova Scotia – The real work of removing the former Great Lakes freighter Canadian Miner from the shores of Scatarie Island is about to get underway.

With the impending closure of the local lobster season, the bulk of the work of removing the wreck will begin, said Gary Campbell, president of Nova Scotia Lands. In consultation with RJ MacIsaac Construction of Antigonish, the successful bidder on the project, the decision was made to wait until the fishing season ended to begin that stage of the project. Since the tender award was announced in late May, efforts have been focused on the preparatory work necessary to proceed with removing the derelict bulk carrier from the protected wilderness area, and most of that regulatory work has been completed.

The province awarded the $11.9-million contract to RJ MacIsaac Construction to remove the wreck.

“It will be gearing up big time on Monday,” Campbell said. “Things are starting to look up. … We’re pretty confident that we’re ready to get up and started.”

Waiting for the lobster season to close only affected the timeline by about a week and avoided the complication of forcing fishermen to move their traps, Campbell said. He said fishermen have co-operated with the removal effort.

About 85 per cent of the demolition is to be conducted from land. Campbell said there will be in-filling in the area between the shore and the ship to allow crews to work from a stable base.

There is currently no cellphone service in the area, so technicians are due on site today to take steps to ensure there will be adequate coverage for people working on the project.

The first health and safety meeting on the project is scheduled for Monday and an office has been set up at the Coastal Discovery Centre in Main-a-Dieu.

A camp will be set up on the island for workers, so regulatory approval for installation of water and sewer services for it had to be sought for the protected area.

A technical advisory committee is in place, including representation from the Canadian Coast Guard and Environment Canada.

Campbell said no unanticipated challenges have been experienced to date and RJ MacIsaac Construction hasn’t reported any difficulty in obtaining qualified workers. In addition to equipment operators, cooks and labourers will be needed. Local fishermen will also help transport people to the site by boat. Department of Natural Resources helicopters, as well as helicopters from a private company, will also be available.

“There are some pretty good companies already here in the Sydney area, construction companies with heavy equipment and that kind of thing,” Campbell said.

The shipwrecked bulk carrier broke free of its towline as it was being hauled by a Greek oceangoing tug across the Atlantic to Turkey in 2011, where it was to be used for scrap. It's been stranded in the protected wilderness area ever since.

A previous attempt by a New York-based company to salvage the Canadian Miner resulted in the company walking away from the job, blaming government bureaucratic hurdles it said were put in place by the previous NDP government.

Cape Breton Post


Port Reports -  July 11

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Daniel Lindner
USCG Hollyhock departed Sturgeon Bay on Thursday and was eastbound in the Mackinac Straits at 7 p.m. on Thursday. The 225-foot buoy tender/icebreaker suffered stern and fantail damage after a collision with the 1,004 foot Mesabi Miner on Jan. 5. The damage, however, did not affect the ship's operation, so she did not arrive Sturgeon Bay until May for repairs. The cutter did not have a destination listed at the time of this report.

St. Clair River – Bob Markus
Thursday morning, the Indiana Harbor was unloading at the DTE St. Clair Power Plant.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Thompson was entering Lorain harbor at 12:45 p.m. Thursday.

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
On Thursday the tug Everlast and barge Norman McLeod unloaded fuel oil for the Oswego steam station.


Lakes water levels coming back, but not full laker loads

7/11 - Cleveland, Ohio – The rise in Great Lakes water levels has yet to translate into full loads for the U.S.-flag freighters moving iron ore, coal, limestone, cement and other cargos. Vessels continue to routinely leave port with less than a full load on board.

The largest iron ore cargo moved by a U.S.-flag laker through the Soo Locks in June totaled 69,576 tons. The record iron ore cargo for the “Head-of-the-Lakes Trade” is 72,300 tons and was carried in 1997, a period of near record-high water levels.

The deepest draft ever recorded for a transit of the Poe Lock is 29’ 03” in 1986. If a 1,000-foot-long U.S.-flag laker could transit the lock that deep today, the vessel would be carrying 72,727 tons.

Vessels in the coal trade continued to depart loading docks with capacity to spare. The largest coal cargo through the Soo Locks totaled 67,992 tons, nearly 5 percent less than the record of 70,903 tons.

Vessels in the short-haul trades below the Soo Locks likewise are still unable to maximize their carrying capacity. A river-class laker that delivered 13,000 tons of limestone to a dock along the Saginaw River was still 3,000 tons short of its rated capacity. A 14,000-ton cement cargo discharged in Detroit and Cleveland represented only 80 percent of the vessel’s rated capacity.

“The rise in water levels has allowed vessels to carry larger cargos than a year ago,” said James H.I. Weakley, President of Lake Carriers’ Association. “However, water levels will begin their seasonal decline in the fall, so the fact even more carrying capacity will be unusable makes the recent passage of the Water Resources Reform and Development Act even more important to the Great Lakes Navigation System. That legislation designates the Lakes as a system in terms of dredging and increases spending from the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund.

“Passage could not have come at a better time, for it is clear higher water levels cannot themselves restore the Great Lakes Navigation System to even functional, let alone project dimensions,” he said. “Only increased funding will end the dredging crisis on the Great Lakes. It was gratifying to see the House of Representatives add nearly $58 million to the Corps’ national budget yesterday. Surely some of those dollars will come back to the Lakes.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers estimates approximately 18 million cubic yards of sediment clog Great Lakes ports and waterways and pegs the cost of dredging that volume at more than $200 million. The Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, the depository for a tax levied on cargo to pay for dredging, has a surplus of more than $8 billion.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Lakes legislators play key role in boost to Corps funding

7/11 - Toledo, Ohio – Great Lakes legislators played a key role in Wednesday’s vote in the House of Representatives to increase the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ national budget by nearly $58 million.

Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI), along with Rep. Janice Hahn (D-CA), authored the amendment to the House’s FY15 Energy & Water Appropriations bill and Representatives Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Dan Benishek (R-MI) and Rick Nolan (D-MN) took the floor to support the measure.

The additional funds will push the Corps’ national dredging budget to the level specified in the recently enacted Water Resources Reform and Development Act (WRRDA), which should result in more dredging dollars for the Great Lakes.

Following passage of the amendment, Congressman Huizenga said “Properly dredged harbors along the Great Lakes are critical to Michigan’s economy and vital to job creation throughout West Michigan. Passage of this amendment demonstrates that harbors, including those in the Great Lakes, are a priority.”

During the floor debate, Congresswoman Kaptur stressed that “waterborne shipping is the most efficient mode of moving goods in and out of this country.” Rep. Benishek stated “All Americans depend on the Great Lakes for transportation of goods and services.” Rep. Nolan focused on the dredging crisis, noting the Great Lakes “are operating at 80 percent of capacity. It’s costing us $3 billion in annual business, jobs, growth and income.”

“Passage of the Hahn-Huizenga amendment was a litmus test,” said James H.I. Weakley, President of Great Lakes Maritime Task Force, the largest labor/management coalition ever to promote shipping on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. “This sends a clear message that the House is serious about keeping the promise it made when passing WRRDA just seven weeks ago.”

Weakley, who is also President of Lake Carriers’ Association, thanked all 30 Great Lakes House members who voted for the amendment. “Support for ending the dredging crisis has always been bipartisan and this vote is another sterling example of our delegation coming together for a common good.”

John D. Baker, 1st Vice President of GLMTF and President Emeritus of the ILA’s Great Lakes District Council, stressed the need for dredging has never been as great as it is right now. “The brutal winter of 2013/2014 has everyone on the Lakes trying to play catch up. Cargo movement in March and April was a fraction of normal volumes and the St. Lawrence Seaway recorded its latest opening ever. Every ship needs to utilize every inch of draft available to it.”

Tom Curelli, 2nd Vice President of GLMTF and Director of Operations for Fraser Shipyards, Inc., cautioned that the higher water levels have not lessened the need for dredging. “Even the best loads right now still represent a loss of 3-4 percent of the vessel’s carrying capacity. The gap will start to grow again when water levels begin their seasonal decline in autumn. Dredging is still the only way to restore the Great Lakes Navigation System.”

Paul Doell, 3rd Vice President of GLMTF and Legislative Director for American Maritime Officers, urged continued adherence to the funding levels called for in the WRRDA. “It will take several years to fully remove the dredging backlog on the Lakes. More than 18 million cubic yards of sediment clog our ports and waterways. Congress must again and again insist that the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund only be used for its intended purpose: Dredging.

Great Lakes Maritime Task Force


Lookback #236 – Chembarge No. 4 scuttled in Lake Huron on July 11, 1964

7/11 - It appeared that the steamer H.J. McManus had gained a reprieve when it was converted to an acid tanker barge and renamed Chembarge No. 4 in 1964. The ship did not survive the year.

Originally a bulk canaller in the Eastern Steamship Co. fleet, it was built at Hull, England, in 1925 and crossed the Atlantic for the canal trades as Judge Kenefick. Eleven years later, it was part of Eastern's original ten ship sale to the Upper Lakes & St. Lawrence Transportation Co. in 1936 and the vessel retained the same name in their service.

The 261 foot long Judge Kenefick operated until the opening of the Seaway and then sold to the Mid-Lake Line in 1960. It returned to service the next year as H.J. McManus and carried considerable coal and some grain over a two-year period.

Following a sale to Marine Salvage, the ship was towed to Ramey's Bend in Port Colborne and stripped to the deck. It was resold to Tank Truck Transports and taken to Sarnia during the week of May 28, 1962. There the hull was converted to carry sulfuric acid. It may have operated briefly under tow but also saw service as a storage hull.

Acid began leaking into the bilges so it was decided to scuttle the ship in Lake Huron as a safety precaution. The tugs Aburg and Atomic took Chembarge No. 4 to a deep part of the lake and the barge went down, bow first, 50-years ago today. At last check, the pilothouse still survived. It was used at Ramey's Bend for many years as a storage shed but was last noted surrounded by grown up trees and bushes.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  July 11

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  July 11

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

On this day in 1943, the new 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.


Lakes iron ore trade down 17 percent at mid-year

7/10 - Cleveland, Ohio - Iron ore shipments on the Great Lakes total 19.2 million tons through the end of June, a 17 percent decrease from a year ago and the trades long-term average. Higher water levels have not been able to offset the interminable delays suffered during the winter of 2013/2014.

Shipments from U.S. ports through the second quarter stand at 16.8 million tons, a decrease of nearly 19 percent compared to a year ago. While several cargos in June topped 69,000 tons, even the best loads still represented a shortfall from the vessels rated capacity, and the months top load 69,576 tons was still 2,724 tons shy of the record through the Soo Locks: 72,300 tons.

Iron ore shipments from Canadian ports in the Seaway total 2.4 million tons through June, a slight decrease compared to a year ago. The lack of shipments from Pointe Noire reflects the closure of Wabush Mines in eastern Canada.

Lake Carriers Association


Port Reports -  July 10

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick and Bruce Lolmaugh
Tug and Barge Joyce L. VanEnkevort and Great Lakes Trader spent Wednesday at the harbors in Marquette. The pair unloaded stone at the Lower Harbor and moved to the Upper Harbor for ore.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Manitowoc was outbound from the Saginaw River early Wednesday afternoon after unloading at the GM Dock in Saginaw. Inbound Wednesday evening was the Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber, calling on the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City to unload.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Saginaw unloaded at the 9th street pier Wednesday and was outbound clearing the Charles Berry Bridge at 8:15 p.m. She departed stern first.

Montreal – Rene Beauchamp
BBC Kibo arrived at the Pointe-aux-Trembles anchorage in Montreal for Seaway inspection on Wednesday. She was expected to leave for Erie a few hours later. She is on her first trip and is a sister ship of BBC Xingang which transited the Seaway in April-May.


Efforts to save oldest Great Lakes ship abandoned

7/10 - The Great Lakes Steamship Society is throwing in the towel on saving the J.B. Ford as a museum ship. A statement released on July 7 read:

“The J.B. Ford’s time on these freshwater oceans is coming to an end. After several years of efforts by the Steamship Society, we sadly decided at last month’s board meeting that we must halt our efforts to save the entire vessel.

“The 1903-built Ford has been the main focus of our Society since its inception and has had successes and failures like any group. However with mounting costs to preserve and stabilize the vessel and waning support for this particular vessel, we decided it would be best to let the venerable old workhorse go.

“We are not, however, abandoning her completely, Lafarge is still working with us to recover artifacts and significant items from the vessel. We are also hoping to be able to save her forward cabins, but this too in the short term may prove unfeasible. But we are trying regardless of the difficulties faced. The board of directors is still working with people in Alpena and also Lafarge at another opportunity that has less question marks and so far seems to be significantly less expensive, but also appears to have a great deal of support behind it. At this point it is not official, but the Great Lakes Steamship Society is exploring the option of focusing its efforts on the former flagship of Huron Cement, the S.T. Crapo, docked in Green Bay, Wis. We hope that soon we will have some news and information regarding this change in direction and that we can continue to count on your support as we have these past several years. If you get a chance to snap a photo of the Ford, be sure to do so, as her scrapping is imminent, and likely to happen before winter sets in. Thank you again for all your support. We will keep the news coming as we have it."


HHL Elbe the latest cargo ship carrying wind turbine parts to arrive in Muskegon

7/10 - Muskegon, Mich. - Muskegon's port is no stranger to large ships, buut people in the area might have noticed a new addition when they woke up on Tuesday, July 8.

The Hansa Heavy Lift (HHL) Elbe, a 454-foot cargo ship, has been docked at the Mart Dock on Muskegon Lake since Monday night. According to witnesses, the ship passed through the Muskegon Channel around 9:30 p.m.

The Liberian flag-flying vessel is owned by HHL and is one of many ships in the German-based company's fleet. According to its website, HHL specializes in the transportation of heavy-lift, project and break-bulk cargoes across all oceans of the world.

Upon its arrival in Muskegon, the Elbe, which was built in 2008, was carrying several wind turbine parts, including 36 blades, 11 generator units called nacelles and four containers with assorted parts.

According to Ed Hogan, vice-president of operations for Port City Marine Services, the parts are bound for the Beebe Community Wind Farm in Gratiot County south of Mount Pleasant and north of Lansing.

This is the first of four shipments expected to take place as part of the project this year. Three more are expected in August, Hogan said.

Seven shipments of wind turbine parts arrived in Muskegon in 2012.

Before arriving in Muskegon, the vessel had made several stops in Canada since departing from Bremerhaven, Germany on June 18, according to Marinetraffic.

"Saltwater vessels come into the Great Lakes all the time, but it's pretty rare for Muskegon these days," Hogan said. "We're working to get more ships in here, though, because there may be opportunities for outbound cargo. Potentially, we can reload these ships with West Michigan products and create some real opportunities."

Hogan said the unloading process got off to a rough start Tuesday morning thanks to storms in the area, but he is hopeful it will only take a couple of days.

MLive Muskegon Chronicle


U.S. investors mulling over purchase of Captain John's Restaurant

7/10 - Toronto, Ont. A potential buyer is kicking the weather-beaten lifeboats of Captain John’s Restaurant on behalf of a group of U.S. investors who think the rusting relic could be revived as a key Toronto-area waterfront attraction.

Entrepreneur John Scales plans to return to the city at the end of July to scout out two possible spots for relocating the ship, both within 40 kilometres of the downtown core. They have great views of the city and show what he says is the ship’s best face ¬from the side rather than the bow.

“It does not belong where it is,” says Scales, 67, who says he has been involved in four other efforts to revive and repurpose old ships.

“We have a business plan that we think could work quite well: It could be a convention centre, a restaurant, an intimate theatre or any number of things.”

But the Yugoslavia-built ship, the Jadran, is being hobbled by a few challenges, quite apart from more than $1.7 million in outstanding mortgage, realty taxes, insurance, berthing and other fees that its owner, “Captain” John Letnik has amassed since 2002.

The largely gutted, 90-metre ship ¬ now technically considered a barge ¬ can’t be towed outside of the Great Lakes because of insurance and maritime restrictions.

Plus there seems to be little enthusiasm among waterfront officials for doing more than just scrapping the ship, says Scales, who was here June 23 with a ship’s surveyor, trying to assess the feasibility of a fix-up.

Since returning to his home in the Boston area, Scales has been trying to get blueprints of the Jadran from Lloyd’s ship registry in London in preparation for making an official offer for the ship and then getting it right into dry dock for repairs and restoration.

But a lot has to fall into place before that: Scales said investors have to be sure they have a firm lease on an alternative waterfront location before spending $3 million to $5 million to breath new life into the 56-year-old ship. They also need assurances that hydro, water and waste removal system can be put in place.

So far, they’ve only scouted out alternative locations via Google Earth.

“I’m having some difficulty with people who are sick and tired of this ship and just want it gone. Their frustration and aggravation is, in my opinion, clouding the imagination and conceptual vision that could go into making it good for the investors and for the city,” he said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

There are other issues, as well: The ship was arrested by a sheriff last spring and a Federal Court has ordered that it be advertised for sale. That just got underway this week with a July 31 deadline for bids, said Toronto Port Authority spokesperson Erin Mikaluk in an email to the Star.

“We’ve recently been in contact with a potential buyer, and have and will continue to work with all buyers who express a genuine interest in purchasing the ship.”

Port Authority officials “have worked very hard” since last May to provide Scales with any information he needs, with the exception of queries around alternative locations because those are outside the authority’s control, said communications vice president Deborah Wilson.

It’s been two years now since city officials turned off water to the long-time waterfront attraction and shut down the restaurant, on which Letnik owed more than $1 million in taxes and other fees as of last December.

He also has $650,000 worth of mortgages outstanding, according to a statement of claim filed by the Port Authority with the Federal Court last December.

Any sale would likely be contingent on waiving those liabilities.

In the meantime, 75-year-old Letnik is pressing ahead with a $1.2 million lawsuit he launched against the Port Authority in January, claiming it has effectively sabotaged his efforts to find a buyer by refusing to provide a long-term lease on its current water slip at the foot of Yonge St. or another site nearby.

Port Authority officials have said there are no sites under their control on Toronto’s waterfront that could accommodate the parking and other services needed.

Waterfront Toronto declined comment saying that the Port Authority is acting as the lead agency in the sale.

Toronto Star


Lake Michigan water level on rise after years of decline

7/10 - Thick winter snowpacks and heavy spring rains that have raised Lake Michigan by about 2 1/2 feet from its record low in January 2013, at least temporarily alleviating more than a decade of persistently low lake levels.

The extra water has slid up shores, helping to replenish wetlands and shoreline habitats, blanketing hazards, cushioning boat launches and boosting cargo ships full of coal, iron ore and limestone.

Although Lakes Michigan and Huron are not projected to hit any record highs in the coming months, scientists predict that they could approach or exceed their historical long-term averages for the first time in more than a decade.

Formed by retreating glaciers more than 10,000 years ago, the Great Lakes hold an estimated 6 quadrillion gallons of water. Water from Lake Superior ¬ the headwater of the system ¬ runs down to Lakes Michigan and Huron before flowing into Lake Erie, over Niagara Falls into Lake Ontario and eventually the Atlantic Ocean.

Lakes Michigan and Huron, which are considered one body of water connected by the Straits of Mackinac, are mostly fed by precipitation and runoff and have drifted beneath their long-term average since the late 1990s.

In January 2013, the average water levels in Lakes Michigan and Huron dipped to 576 feet, the lowest point since modern record-keeping began in 1918.

The all-time high of 582.3 feet was set in October 1986, representing a sizable range of about 6 feet.

The lakes tend to follow yearly cycles, swelling in the spring and summer and shrinking in the fall and winter, but they have never in 95 years of recordings remained below average for so long.

The last two years of relatively heavy winter and spring precipitation, however, have led to this year's stronger-than-usual seasonal rise, according to Keith Kompoltowicz, chief of watershed hydrology for the Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District.

“We saw a tremendous amount of snow,” Kompoltowicz said of this winter. “We haven't seen snow like that in a long time.”

In fact, the snowpack around the Michigan basin this year was 30 percent higher than at any time in the past decade. The past two months have also supplied above-average amounts of rain, quenching parched.

Last month, for instance, the higher water levels meant that one laker leaving from Duluth, Minn., was able to take 2,300 more tons of iron ore onboard than at the same time last year, according to Glen Nekvasil, vice president of the Lake Carriers' Association. Nekvasil estimated that the extra cargo, when turned into steel, would be able to make almost 3,000 more cars.

“Thank goodness we have more water here, because we really need to make up the cargo we lost,” said Nekvasil, pointing out that record-breaking ice cover this winter also slowed Great Lakes shipping down considerably.

“We're not home free,” he said.

Indeed, some scientists have said this year's rise is simply a blip in the context of long-term lake levels that many expect to continue to drop because of climate change. They also point out that given the lakes' tendency to fluctuate, the trend could quickly reverse.

In 2008 and 2009, for example, Lakes Michigan and Huron also were closing in on average levels, but subsequent dry conditions pushed them back down.

Chicago Tribune


How much sewage is in Lake Ontario? The city doesn’t have to say

7/10 - Toronto, Ont. - Raw sewage flows into Lake Ontario and the city doessn’t have to tell the public. One water advocacy group is hoping to get the city to change that.

“There’s two reasons it’s important: one is for health recreational water users know that there is sewage in the water and they can take precaution,” Lake Ontario Waterkeeper’s Mark Mattson said in an interview Monday.

“But secondly, it’s important that the people of the city know there’s a problem.”

During the widespread flooding of Toronto on July 8, 2013, when close to 120 mm of rain fell in the span of a few hours, more than 1 billion litres of raw sewage flowed into Lake Ontario.

The city, in some areas, uses old combined sewer overflows: On one side of the pipe is raw sewage that flows to a treatment plant; on the other is stormwater rushing towards Lake Ontario.

The two streams are separated by a divider but heavy rain can sometimes fill the space above the divider, allowing sewage and stormwater to mix.

The city tracks the leaks and reports them to the province but doesn’t make the information public.

Kingston and Ottawa both release information about raw sewage leaks. So does New York State.

So why the discrepancy? It’s a municipal decision.

Environment Minister Glen Murray said in an interview Monday cities should “absolutely” release the information.

But he wouldn’t say whether the province would force Toronto to do so.

“Every city and town is expected to meet standards and to meet their own plan,” he said.

The city does have a warning systems for Toronto’s beaches, letting recreational users know whether it’s safe to go in the water.

But Mattson says that warning system takes too long to update and only covers the city’s beaches.

“We only have ten beaches in Toronto,” he said. “It might cover two kilometres of waterfront. We have over 55 kilometres of waterfront, so anyone using the waterfront needs to know in those other areas whether the water is fit for recreational water use.”

Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, the group behind the lawsuit, is a Toronto-based environmental advocacy group that focuses on Lake Ontario and the Great Lakes Basin.

The legal appeal was filed at 5 p.m. Monday. Global News has requested comment from the city but has not received a response.

The city can expect more heavy rain events as extreme weather becomes more frequent. Murray said the province should look at upgrading infrastructure so inadvertent overflow doesn’t happen.

“In five or ten years we’re going to be dealing with much more extreme events that are going to lead to more overflows in our sewage system and more pollutants going into our lake,” he said. “We have to start looking at new standards.”

Global News


Historic lighthouse to return waterfront

7/10 - Port Clinton, Ohio - A restored 1896 lighthouse will soon reeturn to the Port Clinton waterfront as a beacon for visitors and history lovers.

The roughly 26-foot-tall wooden lighthouse stood on the Portage River’s west pier until 1952, when it was removed and taken to a local marina.

For the last couple years, a volunteer crew worked to replace rotten boards, install a new copper roof, and repaint the winding, interior gray steps, green accents, and white tower.

The job is nearly complete. A few finishing touches ¬ such as straightening the vent ball atop the octogonal lantern house and hanging the door¬ remain.

The Port Clinton Lighthouse Conservancy, the group in charge of the restoration, hopes to have the lighthouse installed on the north side of Derby Pond at Water Works Park by late summer or early fall.

“These old breakwater lights are almost nonexistent,” said Rich Norgard, conservancy president. “The old, wooden lights either burned or just rotted away. We are just very fortunate.”

The picturesque structure is woven into Port Clinton’s history and appears on the city seal. It is the Lake Erie community’s second lighthouse; an 1833-vintage stone lighthouse was demolished a few years after the wooden one was built.

A kerosene lantern provided its beacon before it switched to electric power and was eventually decommissioned.

Eventually the lighthouse will have non-navigational illumination, but the group will need Coast Guard approval, Mr. Norgard said.

In 1952, a local marina owner was hired to remove the lighthouse from the pier and it was taken to what is now Brands’ Marina. It remained there until recent restoration efforts, work currently taking place in a boat storage facility where the ceilings are high enough to accommodate the tall structure.

The lighthouse’s owner, Darrell Brand, plans to give it to the conservancy, which will enter into an agreement with the city to place it along the waterfront, Mr. Norgard said.

Visitors sought out the lighthouse while it was displayed on marina property.

“It’s amazing how many people are running around this country looking for lighthouses,” said Mr. Brand, who wanted the lighthouse placed in a publicly accessible spot near the water.

He regularly stops by to check on the restoration’ s progress, as a volunteer crew carefully works to complete the project. They examined layers of paint to determine the original color scheme, and devised a way to pick up the structure and move it using a crane.

Volunteers saved everything they could as they paid close attention to historic details. John Smothers, who helped lead the restoration efforts, pointed out a few of the many features preserved in the restoration.

“The engineering is incredible and the workmanship. Thesee joints here, this is original, we didn’t touch these,” he said.

They searched for a window lock that best fit the original hardware and kept the latches that secure cabinet doors on the first floor. They even made special tools to clean out the tongue and groove areas.

Donations funded the work, estimated at $40,000 to $50,000, and the conservancy is accepting money to help with ongoing maintenance and other needs, Mr. Norgard said.

The conservancy’s plan is to build a foundation at the waterfront, where the lighthouse will sit on four piers.

In late May, the city applied to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for a submerged-lands lease of about four acres along the shoreline, according to ODNR spokesman Eileen Corson. The review process typically takes about three months.

The conservancy, which is awaiting federal nonprofit status, would seek to sublease a 25-by-30-foot rectangle of that land near the pond for the lighthouse, Mr. Norgard said. Its location was a previous topic of debate between the city and conservancy.

Port Clinton Mayor Vincent Leone could not be reached for comment.

Those who have dedicated themselves to restoring the lighthouse believe it will attract visitors to Port Clinton.

“This is part of the character of the city, so this is something the city should sort of latch onto. This is our lighthouse, this is part of our identity as a coastal community,” Mr. Norgard said.

Toledo Blade


Lookback #235 – Rahane received severe bottom damage on July 10, 1938

7/10 - Rahane spent its early years under the banner of the Rahane Steamship Co. The ship was built at Wallsend, England, in 1924 and came to Canada for the canal trades. It handled both bulk cargoes as well as package freight.

The ship was sold to the Sarnia Steamship Co., in November 1933 as a replacement for their lost John J. Boland Jr. The name was not changed but the vessel did receive a new stack and cargo boom during these years.

It was 76-years ago today that Rahane ran aground on a shoal in the American Narrows section of the St. Lawrence. The vessel was down bound with cargo that included steel, package freight and some grain. The lighter Cobourg came alongside and removed enough cargo to allow Rahane to float free. However, as a result of the severe bottom damage, the vessel was listed as a total loss.

The ship was repaired and resumed service as A.A. Hudson for the Northwest Steamship Co. in 1939. It operated through the end of the 1962 season and was tied up Owen Sound. Following a sale to offshore interests, the vessel was refitted at Port Dalhousie with work that involved moving the pilothouse aft. Still known as A.A. Hudson, it left for the sea in the fall of 1965.

Saltwater service between Florida and the Caribbean islands was not a success. There were boiler problems and the ship was often idle. Another sale brought a new name of Hudson Trader in 1968 but the ship was impounded at Palm Beach for non-payment of dockage fees.

It likely did not see much additional service and Hudson Trader was reported stripped at Atlantic Beach, near Jacksonville, in 1971. Â It was probably scrapped there later in the year.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  July 10

Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - New pictures in the Cliffs Victory, Consumers Power, Leon Falk Jr., and Thomas Wilson galleries.


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.


Port Reports -  July 9

Cedarville, Mich. - Denny Dushane
The Joseph H. Thompson loaded at Cedarville on Monday. Cason J. Callaway was also expected to arrive during the late evening hours on Monday to load. The Michipicoten was expected to arrive on Tuesday during the early morning hours and rounding out the schedule is the Wilfred Sykes which is due to arrive on Wednesday in the late evening hours.

Port Inland, Mich. - Denny Dushane
The Joseph L. Block was expected to arrive in Port Inland on Monday in the early afternoon hours. Following them and due to arrive on Tuesday in the late morning hours was the barge Lakes Contender & tug Ken Boothe Sr. Rounding out the schedule is the Joseph L. Block returning to load on Wednesday in the early morning hours.

Calcite, Mich. - Denny Dushane
The John J. Boland loaded at the South Dock on Monday and they were due to depart at 3 A.M. on Tuesday. Three vessels were expected to arrive on Tuesday all for the South Dock with the Lewis J. Kuber arriving first in the morning followed by the Buffalo in the early evening and they were to be followed in the late evening by the Arthur M. Anderson. There are no vessels scheduled for Wednesday.

Stoneport, Mich. - Denny Dushane
The barge Pathfinder and tug Dorothy Ann loaded at Stoneport on Tuesday and they were expected to depart around 1:30 p.m. There are two vessels due to arrive on Wednesday both in the morning with the Manitowoc due in first followed by the Philip R. Clarke. For Thursday there are two more vessels scheduled with the Pathfinder returning to load at noon followed by the Lewis J. Kuber in the early evening. Rounding out the schedule is the Joseph H. Thompson which is due to arrive on Friday during the late evening hours.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
After spending the night at the Burroughs North dock in Essexville, Manitowoc proceeded upriver Tuesday morning, stopping at the GM dock in Saginaw to unload. She was expected to be outbound sometime overnight.

St. Clair - Bob Markus
The Walter J. McCarthy Jr spent most of Tuesday at the DTE St. Clair Power Plant, unloading coal. When the McCarthy departed that evening, the Paul R. Tregurtha moored and began unloading.

Toledo, Ohio - Denny Dushane
The H. Lee White loaded coal at the CSX Coal Dock on Tuesday. Also due at the CSX Coal Dock to load is the John B. Aird on Thursday in the early morning hours. The H. Lee White is due back at the CSX Coal Dock to load on Saturday in the late afternoon. Algoma Olympic is expected to arrive at the coal dock on Tuesday, July 15 in the late afternoon. Two vessels are due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock with stone cargoes and they are the Algosteel due on Tuesday, July 15 at noon and they are followed by the Baie Comeau of CSL which is due to arrive on Saturday, July 19 in the morning. A flurry of vessels are due at the Torco Dock with cargoes of iron ore and they are the American Mariner due on Thursday during the early morning. Great Lakes Trader is due on Saturday during the early morning. The James L. Kuber is due on Sunday also in the morning hours. Mesabi Miner is due on Monday in the late afternoon hours. Due to arrive on Tuesday, July 14 is the Joseph H. Thompson making a very rare visit and due in the early morning hours. The Hon. James L. Oberstar is also due to arrive on Tuesday, July 14 in the morning hours. Baie St. Paul of CSL is also due to arrive on July 14 during the late afternoon hours. Several other vessels have been in and out of port in the last few days and among them are the Saginaw which arrived on Monday to unload a cargo of grain products from Thunder Bay. The salty Emilie of Panamanian flag arrived also on Monday. The Manitowoc arrived on Saturday and departed on Sunday and finally the tug Huron Service arrived on July 3. There is still no activity aboard the Adam E. Cornelius, American Fortitude and the American Valor all of which are currently in long-term lay-up in Toledo.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Monday the Cuyahoga was on her way down the river after unloading at the Lake & Rail Elevator. The Rebecca Lynn and barge A-397 had departed Buffalo on their way to Detroit.

Sorel-Tracy - René Beauchamp
The departure of Phoenix Sun from Sorel-Tracy seems imminent. The letters TF were recently replaced by two stylised birds on her rusty stack. Although flying the Panama flag, the port of registry Québec was still painted on the stern.


National Museum Funds Discovery of Airforce Plane Wreck

7/9 - The National Museum of the Great Lakes announced the discovery of the wreck of a U.S. Air Force C-45 aircraft abandoned during flight by its crew in 1952 has been located in deep water off Oswego, New York. Crippled by the failure of one of its two engines the plane continued on a 65 mile pilotless flight until it crashed into Lake Ontario. Shipwreck explorers Jim Kennard, Roger Pawlowski and Roland Stevens located the aircraft while surveying a section of Lake Ontario for historic ships. The group is funded by the National Museum of the Great Lakes as part of its efforts to preserve and make known the important history of the Great Lakes.

On September 11, 1952, the C-45 was on a routine flight from Bedford, Massachusetts to Griffis Air Force Base near Rome, New York. The left engine began failing about 40 miles southeast of Utica. The aircraft started to lose altitude about 8 miles from Rome, NY. Believing the plane would crash after one engine was disabled, the pilot, Lt. Col. Callahan, ordered his crew and passengers to parachute. Jumping at an altitude of 2500 feet the three Air Force Officers and two civilians landed safely. It was the first time any of them parachuted from an airplane.

Prior to leaving the plane Callahan set the automatic pilot on a heading he believed would take it clear of any inhabited area. The aircraft, which had been headed towards the earth was now lighter by nearly 1,000 pounds and gained altitude. The increased height changed the course of the C-45 to a northwest heading for the next hour and 10 minutes until its fuel ran out. At 11 PM the aircraft was reported flying very low over Oswego. The owner and an employee of Rudys Refreshment Stand, west of town, saw a plane circling out over the lake just before it plunged into the water. They both reported that, a powerful light, like that of a searchlight, appeared for several seconds after the crash.

The search for the missing plane began immediately by three Coast Guard cutters. In addition, C-45 trainers, C-47 transports, and B-25 bombers combed the crash area for two days. When there was no wreckage to be found the search was called off.

Crew of U.S.A.F C-45
Lt. Col. Charles A. Callahan 32 Pilot (Monticello, Miss)
Lt. Sam Sharff, 31 (New York City)
Lt. Col. G. S. Lambert (Newport News, Va)
William P. Bethke - civilian technician (near Rome, NY)
Joseph M. Eannario civilian observer (Rome, NY)

During the past three years our shipwreck exploration team has focused its search efforts on locating historic shipwrecks in Lake Ontario off Oswego, New York. Last season we reported several significant discoveries that included the oldest confirmed schooner Atlas, lost in 1839, the schooner Ocean Wave, lost in 1890, and the Roberval, one of only two steel steamers lost in Lake Ontario. In addition to shipwrecks there are several aircraft that have been on our watch list including a B-24 lost in the lake in 1944, a C-47 lost near Sandy Pond in 1944, and the C-45 near Oswego. We were quite surprised when the image of an aircraft appeared on our sonar display as it was well beyond the mile offshore as reported by a few eye witnesses.

We obtained detailed sonar images of the wreck of the C-45 by utilizing high resolution DeepVision side scan sonar. These images provide an almost aerial photographic image of the wreck and allow us to understand how the wreckage lies on the bottom of the lake. The sonar search was followed up by deploying a VideoRay Pro IV remote operated vehicle to collect video of the wreck site. We were amazed to see that the C-45 is almost totally intact. The fiberglass nose cone is missing as are the vertical stabilizers. One of the blades of the left propeller broke off and lies nearby on the bottom. Part of the windshield was broken and the left side of the body behind the wing has been torn away. Otherwise it is all there. This probably explains why no debris could be found floating on the surface of the lake during the searches conducted by the US Coast Guard and US Air Force.


Lookback #234 Silver Bay laid up at Toledo on July 9, 1973

Service in the Kinsman fleet ended for the bulk carrier Silver Bay when it tied up at Toledo on July 9, 1973. After 56-years of operation, the ship appeared to be bound for the scrapyard before it got a reprieve.

Robert S. Pierson, grandson of R. Scott Misener, was looking to start a small fleet on the Canadian side of the lakes and decided that the idle Silver Bay would be a good candidate to build on. He purchased the ship early in 1975 and it loaded soybeans at Toledo for Toronto passing down the Welland Canal on March 29 still as Silver Bay.

While at Toronto, the vessel was renamed Judith M. Pierson and thus began the Soo River Company. They added additional tonnage in subsequent years until a change in financial fortunes led to the company going into receivership in 1982.

This first member of Mr. Pierson's fleet joined P. & H. Shipping later in 1982 and was renamed Fernglen for two trips before tying up, this time for good, at Toronto on November 10, 1982. Fernglen was sold for scrap in 1985 and dismantled at Port Maitland.

Prior to becoming Silver Bay, this ship had sailed as William A. Amberg from 1917 to 1932, then as Albert E. Heekin before becoming Silver Bay in 1955. Silver Bay was operated by the Wilson, Republic Steel and Kinsman fleets before tying up for the latter 41-years ago today.

Skip Gillham


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.


Port Reports -  July 8

St. Marys River
Due to a problem with the section of the railroad swing bridge that spans the Canadian lock, recreational vessel traffic has been restricted to vessels of 12 feet or less in height. The bridge is in the closed position, permitting train traffic. It may be out of service for a week or more while a new part is machined.

Munising, Mich. – Luke Archer and Rod Burdick
American Mariner was unloading coal for Neenah Paper on a sunny Monday morning.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin - Chris Gaziano
The Federal Yukina and the Federal Danube both came in Monday morning. The Bradshaw McKee and barge St. Marys Challenger also made their way in during the morning. They were finished up at the St. Mary's terminal by early evening and heading out for the lake.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The tug Zeus and her tank barge, Robert F. Deegan, called on the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City on Sunday. The pair completed their unload and were outbound for the lake Monday afternoon. Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber were inbound on the Saginaw River early Monday morning, calling on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. The pair were back outbound later in the afternoon. Manitowoc entered the Saginaw River Monday afternoon, tying up at the Burroughs North Dock in Essexville. She did not immediately put out her boom and it was still in the cradle hours after arriving.

St. Clair, Mich. - Bob Markus
Monday the American Integrity arrived at the DTE St. Clair Power Plant with a load of coal. At 9:10 p.m. she was still unloading and the Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was anchored in Southern Lake Huron waiting for the American Integrity to finish.


Lookback #233 – Agawa Canyon hit Welland Canal abutment on July 8, 1977

7/8 - Agawa Canyon was carrying a cargo of salt for Kingston when it got into trouble traveling through the Welland Canal on July 8, 1977. The ship lost power approaching Bridge 12 and struck the abutment leaving a gash in the port bow. The workers at Port Weller Dry Docks soon had the repairs completed and the carrier went back to work in the Algoma Central fleet.

This 646 foot, 6 inch long self-unloader was Hull 195 from the Collingwood shipyard. It was launched on August 27, 1970, but an explosion there on September 1 left one worker dead and another seven injured.

Despite the incident, Agawa Canyon began service on Nov. 20, 1970, and managed a few trips before the end of the navigation season. The vessel put in 40 years of trading carrying a variety of aggregates to ports on all of the Great Lakes and down the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The ship was retired at Montreal at the end of the 2009 season and was sold to Turkish shipbreakers the following year. Following a transatlantic and Mediterranean tow, Agawa Canyon arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, to be dismantled on October 17, 2010.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  July 8

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Andean, BBC Carolina, Erasmusgracht, Federal Hunter, Federal Maas, Federal Yoshino, Isa, Kirkeholmen, Mottler, and Peter Ronna.


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

Marinette, Wis. - Daniel Lindner
The new research vessel Siquliaq departed Marinette on Sunday evening after spending about a month in port. She is due to arrive next in Cleveland, Ohio, at 3 p.m. on July 10.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
The Rebecca Lynn - A-397 tug-barge combo was eastbound on the lake and headed for Tonawada on Sunday. Defiance-Ashtabula departed around midnight Saturday night, bound for Marblehead, Ohio.


Port Colborne’s Riverland AG sends test load out on Cuyahoga

7/7 - Port Colborne, Ont. – Riverland AG put its new vessel loader system to the test when the Lower Lakes Towing Ltd. vessel Cuyahoga docked at the grain storage facility Sunday morning.

“This makes us more versatile in the grain work we do. This is huge for us,” said facility manager John Robinson, as the ship was being loaded.

The Cuyahoga, he said, would be taking soft winter grain over to a Riverland AG facility in Buffalo, N.Y. “They’re low and we’re making space for a new crop coming in shortly,” said Robinson.

There are nine Riverland facilities in the U.S., the only Canadian location is the one in Port Colborne along the Welland Canal.

The grain being loaded Sunday came from local farmers, and from as far away as Chatham, Goderich and north of Toronto. Though 85% to 90% of the grain that moves in and out of the facility, formerly known as Robin Hood Multifoods, goes by truck, it also moves by rail.

Robinson said the company is looking at using ships more and bringing in a couple of loaded vessels with grain from out west.

Riverland’s Port Colborne location can hold 2.2 million bushels of grain in the elevator portion of the large building that also used to produce flour. Robin Hood Multifoods was taken over by the J.M. Smucker Company in 2004, which sold to Horizon Milling in 2006.

Robinson said the Port Colborne facility was closed in 2008, and purchased by Riverland AG (then known as Whitebox Commodities Holding Corp.) in April 2009.

“We came back in May 2009 and have been shipping and receiving since then. There’s no more production here … just storage, with grain in and out.

Mayor Vance Badawey visited Riverland along with Welland MPP Cindy Forester and Welland MP Malcolm Allen to watch the ship being loaded. “This is great news … it shows Port Colborne is a transportation hub,” said Badawey, who has been promoting the city as a multimodal hub for years.

Erie Media


Lookback #232 – Condarrell lost power and hit the wall at Lock 2 on July 7, 1981

7/7 - The small freighter Condarrell only operated in 1981. The ship had entered service in the spring on May 13 and tied up for good at Toronto on November 17. While it lasted another 33 years, the vessel only moved while under tow.

This ship was upbound in the Welland Canal on July 7, 1981, when it lost power entering Lock 2 and struck the wall. It was damaged in the accident and had to turn back to Toronto for repairs. After years in the pulpwood trade as D.C. Everest, it had begun working as the steel carrier Condarrell at the start of the 1981 season.

Built at Kingston as D.C. Everest in 1953, the ship usually traveled between Marathon, Ontario, on the north shore of Lake Superior, to Green Bay, Wisconsin. Save for a grounding on the St. Marys River in May 1965, the vessel provided consistent and reliable service over the years.

After being retired as a powered carrier, the ship saw duty in a variety of capacities. It was used to train sea cadets, help clean contaminated soil, occasionally lighter stranded freighters and as a fireworks platform off Toronto for Canada Day celebrations.

The name D.C. Everest was returned in later years and the vessel was broken up for scrap by International Marine Salvage in the outer harbor at Port Colborne earlier in 2014.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  July 7

News Photo Gallery


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

Milwaukee, Wis. – Chris Gaziano
Federal Mayumi arrived Saturday morning and was assisted into Terminal one by G-Tug Oklahoma.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
Defiance - Ashtabula came in Sunday around 2:30 p.m. for the Sand Supply Co. Landing on the City Ship Canal.


Lookback #231 – Rosedale aground in Lake Superior on July 6, 1893

7/6 - Dense fog covered parts of Lake Superior 121 years ago and it caused the steamer Rosedale to lose its way and run aground on Knife Island. The vessel was upbound and light when it came ashore at 11 miles per hour.

Rosedale hit land at almost a right angle and the bow stopped well out of the water. Refloating the ship turned out to be easier than first thought, and the vessel was back in the water again on July 10. After going to Superior for repairs, the Rosedale returned to work on July 22.

The ship was part of the Canadian Northwest Steamship Co. and had been built at Sunderland, England, in 1888. It arrived inland in the early summer and, over the years, had several owners before becoming part of the original Canada Steamship Lines fleet in 1913.

The July 6, 1893, grounding was not the only incident in the ship's career. It landed on Rock Island Reef off Wellesley Island, on the St. Lawrence, on April 4, 1897, and on Charity Shoal, near the mouth of the St. Lawrence, on Dec. 4, the same year. The latter accident resulted in heavy damage and the ship was abandoned as a total loss.

After undergoing repairs at Kingston, Rosedale resumed Great Lakes trading until being requisitioned for war service. It returned to the Atlantic in 1916, only to be sunk, in a collision with the Luella, in the Bristol Channel, while carrying coal from Cardiff, Wales, to Bordeaux, France on April 8, 1919.

Skip Gillham


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

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Pere Marquette 41 and tug Undaunted are expected to arrive during the early morning hours on Saturday to load. Wilfred Sykes is also expected to arrive on Saturday in the mid-afternoon along with the Joseph L. Block, which is expected to arrive in the early evening on Saturday. Due to load on Sunday in the early morning will be the American Courage.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Lee A. Tregurtha was expected to arrive at Cedarville during the early afternoon on Friday, July 4. Michipicoten is due to arrive on Saturday in the early morning. Rounding out the schedule are two vessels due in on Sunday with the Joseph L. Block arriving during the late morning hours followed by the Herbert C. Jackson in the early evening to load.

Stoneport – Denny Dushane
Joseph H. Thompson loaded at Stoneport on Friday, July 4th and they were expected to depart around noon. Two other vessels were expected to arrive on Friday, July 4th with the Great Republic due in first in the evening followed by the Kaye E. Barker in the late evening to load. Due in on Saturday will be the Philip R. Clarke arriving during the late evening to load. Rounding out the schedule and due to arrive in the early morning on Sunday will be the Arthur M. Anderson.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Lee A. Tregurtha making a rare visit loaded at the South Dock and they were expected to depart around 10:30 a.m. Due to arrive on Saturday for the North Dock will be the Lewis J. Kuber in the late morning. There are no vessels scheduled for Sunday. Due in on Monday in the early morning hours will be the Michipicoten for the South Dock. Two vessels are due for arrivals on Tuesday, July 8th with the Lewis J. Kuber due in first in the early morning hours loading at the South Dock and also due to arrive in the mid-afternoon will be the H. Lee White loading at the North Dock.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dishane
Algosoo was expected to arrive at the CSX Coal Dock on Friday, July 4th at 4 p.m. however they would not begin load operations until 6 p.m. American Mariner is due at the coal dock on Saturday in the early morning followed by the Manitowoc also on Saturday in the morning hours to load. The John J. Boland is due at the coal dock on Saturday during the early afternoon hours to load. The Algosteel is due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock on Tuesday, July 15 in the late afternoon. John J. Boland is due at the Torco Dock with an iron ore cargo on Saturday during the early morning hours. The tug Huron Service with a barge arrived back in port on Thursday and the tug Avenger IV also arrived on Thursday however, they departed Toledo on Friday. The salty Skawa of Liberian registry also departed Toledo on Thursday enroute for Goderich to load. Also arriving on Thursday was the tug John Francis making a quick in and out, as they departed later on Thursday. There has still been no activity aboard Adam E. Cornelius, American Fortitude or American Valor, all of which are currently in long-term lay-up in Toledo.

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
The Cypriot bulker Mottler has completed unloading sugar at Redpath and awaits the arrival of the pilot and the assist tug prior to departure. The English River is unloading a load of cement at the Lafarge Poulson Street facility.


New USS Detroit to be commissioned in 2016 ceremony along Detroit River

7/5 - Detroit, Mich. – The sixth U.S. warship to be named after Detroit will be commissioned in a grand ceremony along the Detroit River in 2016, the Navy League announced Friday.

The ship is being built in Marinette, Wis. and will sail to Detroit for its commissioning from the Menominee river at the Michigan-Wisconsin border in spring 2016, officials said in the Independence Day announcement.

“There will be many opportunities for Detroit-area residents to show support for their namesake ship and her crew, not only during commissioning week, but at events leading up to commissioning," said retired Navy Capt. John McCandless, head of the Navy League's Metro Detroit council.

The 389-foot long, 7.5-million-pound littoral combat ship will sail after the ceremony to its home port in San Diego.

The Navy League describes littoral combat ships as "fast, agile, focused-mission platforms designed for operation in near-shore environments yet capable of open-ocean operation." The USS Detroit will be the seventh such ship to join the U.S. Navy fleet.

The ship will have a crew of 50 and will be powered by two diesel engines and two Rolls Royce MT30 gas turbines. It was built with 2,000 tons of steel and 500 tons of aluminum, enough aluminum to make 65 million 12-ounce pop cans, according to Lockheed Martin.

“It‘s so fitting that we will commission the USS Detroit, which embodies the next generation of our Navy’s capabilities, in a city focusing on new horizons,” said Barbara Levin, the ship's sponsor and wife of U.S. Sen. Carl Levin.

She'll break a bottle of champagne over the ship's bow as it launches into the Menominee River in a separate ceremony this fall.

“As the USS Detroit’s sponsor and a lifelong resident of Detroit, I am truly proud that we will have this opportunity to introduce a great ship and a great city to one another," Barbara Levin said.

M Live


Lookback #230 – Former Nassau Cay abandoned in sinking condition on July 5, 1975

7/5 - The T-2 tanker Nassau Cay came to the Great Lakes in 1960 during its brief tenure with Coastwise Tankeroil Ltd., part of Transit Tankers & Terminals. Among its stops was a quick visit to Port Weller Dry Docks.

The ship was built by the Sun Shipbuilding Co. and launched at Chester, Pa., as Blackwater on Aug. 8, 1944. It was sold to Imperial Oil and came into Canadian service as Imperial Toronto in 1947. Too big for the waterways connecting to the Great Lakes in that era, the 524-foot-long tanker operated between South American ports and Canadian oil refineries at ports such as Montreal.

The vessel joined the parent Esso fleet as Esso Nassau in 1958 and became Nassau Cay in 1960. The vessel moved under the flag of Greece as Dimitrios in 1961 and rebuilt as a bulk carrier, with new fore and mid-body sections, in Italy during 1963.

Another sale brought a final name of Nicholas C. in 1975 and the ship was carrying wheat from Sorel, Quebec, to Basrah, Iraq, when it got into trouble off Beira, Somalia. Apparently the vessel ran out of fresh boiler water and the powerless bulk freighter began drifting. It was subsequently abandoned, in sinking condition, 39 years ago today and was never seen again.

Skip Gillham


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.


Port Reports -  July 4

Duluth, Minn. – Daniel Lindner
Algoma Central's 1962-built steamer Algoma Montrealais arrived Superior at 10:15 a.m. on Thursday to load iron ore pellets on her first trip of the 2014 season. Interlake's 1,000 foot Stewart J. Cort had departed from BNSF #5 at 12:45 a.m. with her ore cargo, leaving the dock open for the Montrealais. On Thursday, Algoma Montrealais was at BNSF #5 loading ore, and the chemical barge Spartan II and her tug, Spartan, were at Hallett #8 discharging calcium chloride. On the Duluth side of the harbor, CSL Niagara was at CN, Duluth loading iron ore pellets. John G. Munson was due to arrive in the late evening for Hallett #5 to discharge stone, and then for CN, Duluth to load iron ore pellets. CSL Niagara was expected to depart from CN around midnight. In Superior, Algoma Montrealais was due to depart from BNSF around midnight. For Friday, CSL Assiniboine is expected to arrive Duluth just after midnight to fuel at Calumet Fuel Dock before shifting to BNSF in Superior to load. American Integrity is due to arrive in the early morning for Midwest Energy to load coal. The Spartan/Spartan II is due to depart Duluth from Hallett #8 around noon. Walter J. McCarthy Jr. is expected to arrive mid-afternoon for Midwest Energy to load coal after American Integrity finishes up. The Integrity is then expected to depart from Midwest Energy in the late afternoon on Friday. Algosteel is expected to arrive in the late afternoon for CN, Duluth to load iron ore pellets. Lastly, John G. Munson is due to depart from CN in the evening. In Superior, CSL Assiniboine is expected to depart from BNSF late Friday evening.

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
A busy Thursday morning at the Upper Harbor found Herbert C. Jackson unloading coal, John J. Boland loading ore and Michipicoten at anchor waiting to load.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The tug Undaunted, pushing the barge Pere Marquette 41, was upbound on the Saginaw River during the late afternoon on Thursday. The pair called on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City to unload and was expected to be outbound early Friday morning.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Algorail was on her way out of Lorain at 8 a.m. Thursday.

Port Colborne, Ont.
The pilothouse and unloading boom have been removed from Algoma Transfer, which is in the process of being scrapped by Marine Recycling Corp.

The saltwater bulk carrier Fritz remains at the Wilson Hill anchorage, opposite Upper Canada Village. The vessel has been at anchor since June 12th with undisclosed engine problems. Many locals are annoyed with the constant generator noise, and reports of black smoke and apparent flushing of grey water has many concerned.


Waterspout spotted On Lake St. Clair Thursday

7/4 - Grosse Pointe, Mich. – A “tornado over water” attracted onlookers Thursday morning on Lake St. Clair, when a waterspout appeared near Grosse Pointe. Many people stopped and took photos of the funnel from the shore as it appeared at roughly 8:15 a.m., remaining intact for about 5 minutes among cloudy skies, according to the National Weather Service and the City of Grosse Pointe Farms.

As cool air with light rain showers passed over the warmer water in the lake, the resulting convection caused the waterspout, said Weather Service meteorologist Sara Schultz. She said such features can be dangerous for people on the water.

“They’re a lower-end tornado — a tornado over water,” Schultz said. She said it’s not out of the ordinary to get them this time of year, now that the lake water is warmer.

But there aren’t more in the near forecast: The 4th of July weather looks to be in the mid-70s with sunshine, and warm weather is to continue through the weekend, she said.

Detroit Free Press


Ships with Great Lakes connections going for scrap

7/4 - Marine News, the monthly journal of the World Ship Society, reports the following ships with Great Lakes connections going for scrap in the July 2014 issue.

Daniella first came to the Great Lakes as Stellaprima in 1989, the year the vessel had been built. It returned inland again in 1993 after becoming b) Daniella three years earlier. The heavy lift carrier stopped at Toronto in May 2006 and loaded six railway locomotives. Three were delivered to the United Kingdom and three more to Rotterdam, Holland. Following a sale to Turkish shipbreakers, Daniella arrived at Aliaga on March 6, 2014, and scrapping got underway on March 10 by Simsekler Gida Gemi Sokum.

Demetra came through the Seaway under the first name of Argut in 1995. At the time the five year old freighter was flying the Russian flag and was headed to Chicago, in ballast, to load steel. The vessel had a total of eight names and subsequent registry in Netherlands Antilles, Malta, St. Kitts, Panama and the United Kingdom. The ship was sold to Turkish shipbreakers as h) Demetra earlier this year and arrived at Aliaga on March 16, 2014, and scrapping began on March 24.

Karia was a Seaway trader under several names beginning as Doric Javelin in 1982. It was sold and renamed b) Federal Inger in 1989 and became an annual inland caller from 1989 through 1995. It returned as d) Seaglory in November 1996 and made a total of six trips through the Seaway under this name. The vessel was detained at Toronto in November 1999 and eventually sold. It had three more names but never returned to the Great Lakes. The ship arrived at Alang, India, as h) Katia on March 4, 2014, and scrapping got underway on April 4.

Mistral was the former Trident Venture and Ikan Sepat. Built in 1984, Trident Venture came through the Seaway in July of that year under the flag of Liberia. It was later registered in Greece and, after become Ikan Sepat in 1990, the ship flew the flag of Singapore. Its first trip to the Great Lakes in October 1990 brought steel to Cleveland and Chicago before leaving with a cargo of coal. The ship was a frequent inland caller but did not return after becoming c) Mistral, with registry in Cambodia, in 2012. A sale to shipbreakers at Alang, India, led to the ship's arrival there on March 21, 2014 and scrapping got underway on March 30.

Compiled by Barry Andersen, Rene Beauchamp and Skip Gillham


Toledo’s National Museum to hold Marine Mart Aug. 9

7/4 - Toledo, Ohio – The newly-opened National Museum of the Great Lakes will hold a Marine Mart on Saturday Aug. 9, in its Community Room and exterior patio overlooking the US 280 Bridge. The Marine Mart will feature antiques, collectibles, photographs, books and other material related to the Great Lakes as well as other maritime regions. Admission to the Marine Mart is free with a paying admission to the museum.

The National Museum of the Great Lakes will have a large booth of books and other material that has been de-accessed from its collection over the years. Vendors interested in participating in the Marine Mart should contact James Lundgren at Interior booth spaces that benefit from air conditioning are limited to approximately eight vendors and are available on a first come first serve basis after the museum approves their request to participate. Exterior booth spaces will be under a tent and will have immediate access to the air-conditioned space. There is a $10 fee to participate, which gives the vendor an eight-foot table and two chairs.

The Marine Mart will open at 10 a.m. to the general public but there will be a special members’ only preview at 9 a.m. for members of the National Museum of the Great Lakes / Great Lakes Historical Society.

National Museum of the Great Lakes


Voting still open for Capt. Treece’s photo

7/4 - Capt. Eric Treece of the steamer Wilfred Sykes is closing in on first place in a photo contest sponsored by the Weather Channel. To vote for his image, click here


Lookback #229 – Tug Grand Bank sank in Lock 4 Welland Canal on July 4, 1959

7/4 - It was 55 years ago today that the Canadian tug Grand Bank sank in Lock 4 of the Welland Canal. The tug was pushing a scow when it was swamped on the starboard side and went down in the lock. Five crewmembers made it to the safety of their barge but the captain perished.

This was originally a U.S. Army tug. It was built at New Orleans in 1940 and went to work as ST-1923. The small, diesel powered vessel was sold to McNamara Marine in 1957 and renamed Grand Bank.

The sinking of July 4, 1959, was not the first time Grand Bank had gone to the bottom. A few months earlier in the year, while at Toronto, the 53 foot long tug sank after a collision with a dredge.

Grand Bank was refloated and refurbished after each of its times on the bottom. The ship was later sold for West Coast service and headed to British Columbia where it has traded as Nanaimo Clipper and Salvage Warrior. In 1997, it was based in Delta, BC and was again known as Grand Bank. The vessel may still be in service.

Skip Gillham


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 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 San Esteban de Pravia, Spain, in 1976 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.


Port Reports -  July 3

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
John J. Boland unloaded coal Wednesday evening at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock.

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Pere Marquette 41 and tug Undaunted are expected to arrive on Saturday in the early morning. Wilfred Sykes is due to arrive on Saturday in the early afternoon. Joseph L. Block is also due to arrive on Saturday in the late afternoon. Rounding out the schedule on Sunday is the Lakes Contender in the late afternoon/early evening.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Pere Marquette 41 and tug Undaunted were expected to arrive during the late afternoon on Wednesday. Wilfred Sykes was also due on Wednesday in the late evening. Lee A. Tregurtha is expected to arrive on Friday, July 4 at noon. Rounding out the schedule are two vessels due on Sunday, with the Joseph L. Block arriving early morning followed by the Herbert C. Jackson in the late evening hours.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Peter R. Cresswell loaded on Wednesday and no departure time was listed. Also expected to arrive at to load on Wednesday was the Pathfinder in the late afternoon followed also by the Joseph H. Thompson in the late afternoon/early evening. There are two vessels scheduled to load on Thursday at Stoneport, with the Lewis J. Kuber arriving in the early morning followed later by the Great Lakes Trader in the late evening hours.

Milwaukee, Wis. – Chris Gaziano
Algoway departed during the day Wednesday after arriving Tuesday night with a load of salt. The crew of the Algoway was treated to a nice fireworks display as they made their way in Tuesday night.

Saginaw River, Mich. – Todd Shorkey
Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber entered the Saginaw River overnight, calling on the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City early Wednesday morning. Commercial vessel passages for the month of June totaled 14. This is a decrease of 10 as compared to the same period last season and it is also below the five-year-average of 18. Looking at the number of commercial passages for the year to date, there have been 25 so far in 2014, a decrease of 20 as compared to the same time period last season and well below the five-year-average of 41. These numbers represent a decrease of 42 percent for the month and 45 percent for the year compared to 2013.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
CSL's Whitefish Bay unloaded an iron ore cargo Wednesday at the Torco Dock. The Great Lakes Trader was also expected to arrive at Torco on Wednesday at noon, however they would be waiting the Whitefish Bay's departure before they could get in and unload. John J. Boland is due at the Torco Dock on Saturday in the early morning. There are two vessels due to arrive at the Torco Dock on Monday with H. Lee White arriving at noon followed by the Joseph H. Thompson making a rare visit in the late evening. The Algoma Progress was expected to arrive at the CSX Coal Dock to load on Wednesday in the early evening. Two vessels are due at the coal dock on July 4th with the Algosoo arriving first in the late morning followed by the American Mariner in the late evening. Manitowoc is due at the coal dock to load on Saturday during the late morning hours along with the John J. Boland also due to load Saturday at about noon. Rounding out the schedule is the H. Lee White, which is due to arrive on Monday in the early evening to load at the CSX Coal Dock. Algosteel is expected to arrive at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock on July 15 in the late morning hours. The salty Skawa remains in port and unloading at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Joseph H. Thompson was inbound at 5:40 a.m. Wednesday. She departed at 3:50 p.m.


Two former ULS Port Weller built ships are soon to be, or already history

7/3 - Ambassador (ex Canadian Ambassador) was sold Indonesian in 2011 and renamed Pramudita but burned on Sept. 12, 2013 while discharging coal at the port of Banten and has presumably been scrapped. Pioneer (ex Canadian Pioneer) has discharged her final cargo and is now in transit to the scrapyards at Aliaga, Turkey. Both vessels were built at Port Weller Drydocks, Port Weller, Ont., and saw service on the Great Lakes for Upper Lakes Shipping as well as on saltwater.

Ted Wilush


Storm forces officials to dump sewage into Lake Michigan

7/3 - Chicago, Ill. – The hard rain that pummeled Chicago earlier this week forced officials to open the locks and sluice gates that protect Lake Michigan, releasing a noxious mix of sewage and storm runoff into the water supply for 7 million people in Chicago and the suburbs.

After a surge of murky, debris-strewn water overloaded the city's underground labyrinth of sewers and stormwater tunnels, officials at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District relieved the pressure by opening gates on the North Shore Channel in Wilmette at 11:23 p.m. Monday.

About an hour later, the locks at Navy Pier were flung open, allowing millions of gallons of runoff as well as raw and partially treated wastewater into the lake. The Wilmette gate was closed again at 5:50 a.m., followed by the Chicago locks at 7:10 a.m., said Allison Fore, a district spokeswoman. Estimates of how much sewage-laden river water flowed into the lake won't be available for several days.

Chicago water officials typically start adding more bacteria-killing chlorine to the region’s drinking water in these situations. City officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment this morning.

Despite construction of the $3 billion Deep Tunnel project, Lake Michigan has been hit harder by sewage overflows in recent years, mostly because of a handful of monsoon-like storms that quickly fill the giant stormwater tunnels winding below Chicago and the Cook County suburbs.

Climate change is projected to increase the frequency of rainfall greater than 2.5 inches a day, the amount that can force runoff into Lake Michigan, according to a study by scientists from the University of Illinois and Texas Tech University. By the end of the century, the number of big storms could jump by a whopping 160 percent.

Chicago Tribune


Lookback #228 – Orient Lakes was struck from U.S. Navy List on July 3, 1946

7/3 - The bulk carrier that came through the Seaway as Orient Lakes in 1962 was constructed as a Liberty tanker. It was built at Los Angeles in 1943 and originally named Sanford B. Dole.

The vessel was immediately taken over by the United States Navy and served the country in wartime as U.S.S. Giraffe. It was assigned to refuel naval ships and saw service around the Ellice Islands, Okinawa and Japan. This vessel carried 108 officers and crew and received two battle stars for its efforts to help secure victory.

The ship resumed its original name after it was struck from the U.S. Naval list on this date 68 years ago today. It was returned to the United States Maritime Commission and laid up until sold for commercial service in 1948.

The vessel was rebuilt as a dry cargo ship at Newport News, Virginia, in 1949 and sailed as d) Eilene, e) Seapender, f) Ragnar Naess, and g) Ocean Daphne before becoming h) Orient Lakes in 1961. Under the flag of Liberia, the latter vessel made five trips inbound through the Seaway from 1962 through 1965.

Following a sale to Japanese shipbreakers, Orient Lakes arrived at Hirao on June 24, 1967, and was dismantled by Matsukura Kaiji K.K. later in the year.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  July 3

News Photo Gallery


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.


Port Reports -  July 2

St. Marys River
After laying over at the Carbide Dock for about 24 hours for unspecified reasons, the tug Victory / barge James J. Kuber were upbound Tuesday evening headed for Essar Steel to unload. Other upbound traffic after dinner included Alpena, Frontenac and Mississagi. As midnight approached, the steamer Algoma Montrealais was inbound at DeTour.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
The Sturgeon Bay-based tug Mary Page Hannah has been renamed Donny S. According to waterfront reports, Selvick Marine Towing Co. was recently sold to Sarter Marine Towing, owned by long-time Roen captain Donny Sarter.

St. Clair, Mich. – Bob Markus
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. arrived at the DTE St. Clair Power Plant early Tuesday morning. At 8:25 p.m., she was still unloading, while the Paul R. Tregurtha was approaching from the north to unload once the McCarthy finishes.


Seaway saltie traffic shows an increase

7/2 - As of July 1, 2014 the Eisenhower Lock at Massena, N.Y. saw a total of 129 saltwater vessels make 144 transits for the 2014 season. That represents an increase of 21 transits from the same period during the 2013 season and also an increase by 20 transits during the same period during the five-year average from March/April-June 2009-13.

There were also 19 new salties that made transits through the Eisenhower Lock for the first time. The list of the new vessels include Adfines Sea, BBC Chile, BBC Xingang, Beatrix, Diana, Duzgit Endeavour, Fionia Swan, Fortunagracht, Fritz, Larsholmen, MCT Breithorn, Nordic Mari, Olza, Prosna, Reggeborg, Skawa, Songa Challenge, Songa Peace and Tina Theresa. Both Larsholmen and Nordic Mari made one transit earlier in the season with their former names Hellespont Crusader and Clipper Mari.

Denny Dushane


Great Lakes in a welcome turnaround

7/2 - Ephraim, Wis. — Like a slowly draining bathtub, this sparkling inlet of Lake Michigan had seen its clear, cool waters recede for years.

Piers that once easily reached the water had gone high and dry. Fishermen did not dare venture into the shallow water looking for smallmouth bass, lest their propellers scrape bottom. And residents of Ephraim, a village on a peninsula that juts into Lake Michigan, were so alarmed that the county paper asked in a headline in April of last year, “Will the Great Lakes Rise Again?”

But after reaching historic lows in 2013, water levels in the Great Lakes are now abruptly on the rise, a development that has startled scientists and thrilled just about everybody with a stake in the waterfront, including owners of beach houses, retailers in tourist areas and dockmasters who run marinas on the lakeshore.

Lakes Michigan, Huron and Superior are at least a foot higher than they were a year ago, and are expected to rise three more inches over the next month. Lake Ontario and Lake Erie are seven to nine inches higher than a year ago.

In Ephraim, a town on the waters of Green Bay that in summer becomes a pristine playground for sailing, swimming and kayaking, residents have marveled at the lake’s comeback, as the water has risen to a level that they had not seen in close to 15 years.

“When the water was going down for years, we all wondered, ‘How far is it going to go?’ ” said Stuart Chomeau, 58, as he peered at his dock, which he said now has close to 30 feet more water under it than it did last year. “This is a welcome change.”

Norma and John Bramsen, who live in Baileys Harbor, Wis., on the shore of Lake Michigan, said the returning lake levels had been the talk of the town all spring and early summer, after more than a decade of their watching the frustratingly low waters recede from their beachfront home.

“It’s been quite dramatic, actually,” Mr. Bramsen said. “Every time you lose a foot in the lake level, it means that the lake is that much farther away. We’ve been wringing our hands over this for years.”

Scientists say the reversal of fortunes for the lakes is partly a result of the most bone-chilling winter in memory for many Midwesterners. The thick and long-lasting ice cover on the lakes kept the water colder and slowed evaporation. Heavy snowfall and a rainy spring allowed the lakes to make even more gains.

= “We’ve had a rebound that we haven’t seen in many, many years,” said Gene Clark, a coastal engineer with the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute in Superior, Wis. “We’ve been historically below average, and now we are finally back to above-average water levels. At this time last year, I was talking to Wisconsin state legislators about what was happening, why the levels were so low and what could the State of Wisconsin do about it. It was very much a crisis.”

The International Joint Commission, a group with members from the United States and Canada that advises on water resources, completed a five-year study in April 2013 concluding that water levels in the lakes were likely to drop even farther, in part because of the lack of precipitation in recent years brought on by climate change. The low lake levels in the last decade or more caused a host of frustrating and expensive problems: shoreline erosion, parched wetlands and disruptions to marinas along the Great Lakes. Homeowners on Georgian Bay of Lake Huron complained bitterly that the low water had marred their once-idyllic cottages.

Countless marinas on Lake Superior, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan resorted to dredging their harbors in recent years, a messy and time-consuming process. At the Baileys Harbor marina, operators bought their own dredger three years ago, a $60,000 purchase, and have been forced to dredge repeatedly so that boats could maneuver in and out.

“We were getting very worried,” said Jim Ahlen, the assistant harbor master. “Boaters were saying they were going to have to find another marina. We’re losing customers that way. The charter boats were looking elsewhere. It was tough scratching up here for a lot of years.”

This year, Mr. Ahlen said with relief, the marina called off plans to dredge again. The Washington Island Ferry Line, which transports passengers and cars dozens of times a day across a narrow passage known as Porte des Morts (named by French explorers for its perilous waters), had difficulty maneuvering its boats through low waters. Last year, operators said they might have to discontinue winter ferry service because of the water levels, which would have effectively stranded residents on the island.

“Everybody was panicking,” said Bill Schutz, the office manager of the ferry. “Looking around now, it’s unbelievable how much the water has come up.”

Keith Kompoltowicz, the chief of watershed hydrology for the Army Corps of Engineers, said this year’s higher lake levels would allow shipping to operate more efficiently, since freighters could carry heavier loads.

“Marina owners are able to sell more boat slips — they don’t have to worry about whether a slip is deep enough for a certain boat,” he said. “Recreational boaters can access more locations. It’s been a while since we’ve seen water levels react this way.”

Residents on the lakes are holding their breath with hope that the gains of recent months will not be undone. Climatologists predict that the levels will rise even more in the coming months, following the natural cycle in which levels are at their lowest in late winter, rise throughout the spring and finally hit a peak in late summer.

Drew Gronewold, a hydrologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said Lake Michigan and Lake Huron had been in a period of persistently low water levels for 15 years, since a rapid decline in the late 1990s. He called the rise from the records lows of December 2012 and January 2013 “remarkable.”

But, he added, it is difficult to predict water levels more than six months in advance, because of all the factors like precipitation that can influence them.

“It obviously puts a lot of strain on people,” Mr. Gronewold said of the uncertainty and the shifting water levels. “When the water gets very high, we get stressed. We don’t like it when houses are falling in the lakes. And when it’s very low, ships can’t move. But the natural variability of the system is important to the health of the coastal ecosystem.”

An owner of the South Shore Pier in Ephraim, Dave Nelson, surveyed the harbor, where pontoon boats, sailboats and paddle boards were neatly stowed. “It’s a relief to see so much water now,” he said. “We just hope it stays this way.”

The New York Times


Great Lakes levels rising – Lake Erie boaters pleased

7/2 - Erie, Pa. – Water levels in the great lakes are up dramatically from historic lows of 2012 and 2013. Several factors are responsible for the rising waters, the frigid winter for low evaporation, plus lots of snow and a wet spring.

The western Great Lakes levels are up a foot or more. Presque Isle State Park Manager Harry Leslie confirmed that Lake Erie is up about 7 or 8 inches from last year, and as much as 18 inches from the fall of 2012. "It's really tough to predict lake elevations more than about six months out," said Leslie, "so right now things look really good for Lake Erie and the upper Great Lakes, they've rebounded from record lows over the past several years."

For boaters, the drop was making slips close to shore at the Presque Isle Marina too shallow and some boat launches including the Niagara boat launch on the park, impossible to use. The rising levels this year are making a big difference. "Oh yes, a world of difference for all of us," said Greg Hall who operates a repair and restoration business called Boatworks. "This is actually one of the best years we've had for a long time."

As the cycle goes, Harry Leslie expects Lake Erie levels to go up a couple more inches this season, but he believes it won't be high enough to cause erosion concerns.



Lookback #227 – Sandcraft sank in collision at New York City on July 2, 1950

7/2 - Sandcraft served on the Great Lakes for close to 20 years. The vessel was laid down for British interests as War Laurel and built at Chicago in 1918. The 2,054 gross ton steamer was taken over by the United States Government and, later that year, left the inland seas for saltwater service as b) Lake Clear.

After being idle in the Reserve Fleet, the ship was sold and returned to the Great Lakes. It was converted to a sandsucker at Sturgeon Bay in 1924 and served several construction projects under the name c) Sandcraft.

It returned to the Atlantic in 1943 only to sink following a collision with the American Liberty ship Melrose in the Narrows at New York on July 2, 1950. The accident occurred despite clear weather. The outbound Sandcraft was struck on the starboard stern quarter and sank in about 10 minutes.

Both ships were found at fault for the loss. Unlike many other Liberty ships, Melrose never visited the Great Lakes and was scrapped by Brodospas at Split, Yugoslavia, after arrival as e) Uskok on May 6, 1967.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  July 2

News Photo Gallery should be updated tomorrow, sorry for the delay.


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.


U.S. shippers side with Canadians in protest of inspection fees

7/1 - Windsor, Ont. – Canadian shipping companies aren't the only ones rallying against increased inspection fees proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Since CBC News first reported the department wants to raise the fee for agricultural quarantine and inspection services of ships from $496 to $825 US per inspection, it has learned several U.S. companies also oppose the proposed fee increase.

The United States Department of Agricultural Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service says the increase is needed to recover costs of performing the inspections that are designed to find contaminants, pests, invasive species and non-compliant packaging, among other things.

The USDA is also proposing the elimination of the annual fee cap of charging a maximum of 15 times per vessel.

Lake Carriers’ Association (LCA) represents 17 American companies that operate 57 U.S. vessels on the Great Lakes.

The freighters carry raw materials such as iron ore and fluxstone for the steel industry, aggregate and cement for the construction industry, coal for power generation, as well as salt, sand and grain.

"Some of those American vessels do return from Canada more than 15 times per year, so the cost to the industry would top $200,000 US," the association wrote in a letter to the USDA, opposing the fees.

Both the Lake Carriers’ Association and Chamber of Marine Commerce state their dry bulk cargoes would be unlikely to nurture invasive pests.

"We applaud the Department of Agriculture’s efforts to stop invasive species and diseases from entering our country via imported plants and animals," the Lake Carriers’ Association wrote. "Our industry likewise shares that commitment and even though our members’ vessels never trade beyond the Great Lakes, they employ a number of best management practices to limit the potential that their ballast water might spread a non-indigenous species brought to the Lakes in the ballast water on a vessel entering from the oceans."

The Chamber of Marine Commerce's estimates increased inspection costs for Canadian ships could more than double under the new rules and puts Canadian shipping companies at a disadvantage.

“They are unjustified on the grounds of environmental risk and would make Canadian Great Lakes vessels less competitive against U.S. Great Lakes ships carrying the same products in the same waters," the chamber's president, Stephen Brooks, said in a media release.

However, Laura M. Blades, director of public affairs of the American Great Lakes Ports Association, says U.S. shippers could have it just as bad if the fee increase is approved.

"Stephen Brooks’ quote infers that the USDA’s proposed fee hike and cap elimination impacts only Canadian vessels. That is false," she wrote in an email to CBC News. "The proposal would not affect the competitive nature of U.S./Canadian vessels carrying the same products in the same waters since all vessels would be affected by the fee increase."

The increase only affects U.S. ships transporting cargo from Canada to the U.S.

U.S. ships travelling from a American port to American port — from Duluth, Minn., to Detroit for example — are exempt.

"The commercial vessel user fee is not applicable to a vessel that travels from a U.S. port of entry to a U.S. port of entry," Marelis M Sanchez of the USDA wrote in an email to CBC News.

The commercial vessel user fee must be paid by any international ship, including Canadian ones, upon arrival at a port of entry into the customs territory of the United States.

The United States Department of Agricultural Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service says the increase is needed to recover costs of performing the inspections.

The fee increases were proposed in April. A final ruling is expected in December.

As of June 13, a coalition of more than 30 organizations, including the Canadian/American Border Trade Alliance and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, opposes the proposed fees.

CBC News – Windsor


Port Reports -  July 1

St. Marys River
Tug Victory and barge James L. Kuber were escorted upriver by the USCG on Monday to the Nine Mile anchorage. After several hours there, they headed for the Carbide Dock to tie up for reasonsunknown. During the afternoon, the Purvis tug Avenger IV and barge PML 9000, downbound from Essar with steel coils, anchored in the same area for engine repairs. After a temporary fix, the pair headed back upbound to the Purvis Dock for more permanent repairs.

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Pere Marquette 41 and Undaunted arrived at Port Inland during the early morning on Sunday to load. H. Lee White was also expected to arrive at Port Inland Sunday. Manistee was expected to arrive on Monday in the late evening. Pere Marquette 41 and Undaunted are due back to load on Tuesday in the early morning.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Cason J. Callaway was expected to load on Monday in the mid-afternoon. Calumet is expected to arrive on Tuesday at noon. Wilfred Sykes is due on Wednesday in the early afternoon.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Buffalo loaded at the South Dock in Calcite on Monday and was expected to depart around 4 p.m. Also loading on Monday was the H. Lee White at the North Dock with no departure time given. Lewis J. Kuber was also expected to arrive on Monday, loading at the South Dock in the early evening. Lee A. Tregurtha is expected to arrive for the South Dock sometime this week. There are no vessels scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, although the Tregurtha may be arriving possibly on Tuesday morning.

Stoneport – Denny Dushane
Algorail loaded at Stoneport on Sunday and was due to depart around 5 a.m. Monday morning. There were no vessels expected to load on Monday. Four vessels are on the schedule for arrivals on Tuesday with the Kaye E. Barker arriving first in the late morning, followed by the John G. Munson at noon. The Peter R. Cresswell also arrives during the evening on Tuesday and the Philip R. Clarke is due in the late evening on Tuesday. For Wednesday, the Pathfinder is expected to arrive in the early morning hours to load.

St. Clair, Mich. – Daniel Lindner
The new PJ 170-class yacht Bliss entered the St. Clair River on her way downbound at 8:30 a.m. on Monday. The 170-foot ship posted a destination of Halifax, N.S. Bliss had departed Sturgeon Bay, Wis., earlier on Sunday after being built there by Palmer Johnson. At the same time, the charter yacht Freedom was downbound in the St. Clair River, destined for Detroit. Other traffic on the river on Monday included the upbound Algocanada, Hon. James L. Oberstar, Algomarine, Edgar B. Speer, Kaministiqua, Kaye E. Barker, and Frontenac, and the downbound Joseph H. Thompson/Joseph H. Thompson Jr., Atlantic Huron and Walter J. McCarthy Jr.

Detroit, Mich. – Ken Borg
Mississagi was loading coke at Zug Island in River Rouge, on the original channel of the Rouge River on Monday.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Vessels due to load coal at the CSX Coal Dock include Saginaw which was due on Monday during the late evening hours to load. Algoma Progress is due on Wednesday at about noon. American Mariner is due on Friday, July 4th in the late afternoon. Both the John D. Leitch and John J. Boland are due to load at the CSX Coal Dock on Saturday. The Leitch will be arriving in the early morning and the Boland loads later in the morning. Manitowoc is also expected to arrive at the CSX Coal Dock on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Baie Comeau of Canada Steamship Lines is expected to arrive at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock on Sunday, July 20 just after midnight. Vessels arriving at the Torco Dock to unload iron ore cargoes include - Whitefish Bay from Canada Steamship Lines arriving on Canada Day, July 1 in the early evening hours. Great Lakes Trader is due on Wednesday at about noon. James L. Kuber is due on Friday, July 4th in the early morning hours. Rounding out the schedule will be the John J. Boland and the Calumet both due on Saturday in the morning hours. The Boland arriving early morning and the Calumet later in the morning. There were several other vessels that have arrived and departed Toledo in the past few days. Among them was the Kaye E. Barker, which arrived on Monday to unload at the Torco Dock. The Cuyahoga arrived from Sarnia on Sunday to unload at one of the grain elevators. She departed Monday morning after unloading. John G. Munson arrived also on Monday to unload a stone cargo at the Midwest Terminal Dock. Algomarine also arrived with a stone cargo to unload at the Midwest Terminal Dock on Sunday. She departed from Toledo on Monday morning after unloading. The John J. Boland arrived in port on Sunday and is at the one of the docks along the Maumee River. The salty Skawa of Liberian registry is at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock unloading cargo. Tug Michigan and barge Great Lakes

Buffalo, NY – Brian W
English River was unloading cement at Lafarge Monday.


Return to yesteryear at Tashmoo Days on Harsens Island

7/1 - Harsens Island, Mich. – “Having a Good Time at Tashmoo” is the message two young ladies wrote in 1915, placed in a bottle and threw it into the St. Clair River near the Tashmoo Park. It was 97 years later before a local diver found the “message in a bottle” and, with the help of the Harsens Island Historical Society, finally delivered it to the descendants of Salina Pramstellar and Tillie Esper and to the rest of the world in 2013.

Return to yesteryear at Tashmoo Days 2014, which will be held at the original site of Tashmoo Park (now Tashmoo Marina), 3272 South Channel Drive, Harsens Island, on July 19 from 10 a.m.-7 p.m.


Lookback #226 – Whitefish Bay aground off Whiskey Island on July 1, 1964

7/1 - The downbound and grain-laden bulk carrier Whitefish Bay went aground off Whiskey Island in the St. Lawrence 50 years ago today. The 730-foot-long, Canada Steamship Lines, steamer was stuck for parts of three days until six tugs were able to pull the big laker free on July 3, 1964.

This, the first Whitefish Bay, was only three years old at the time of the stranding having been built at Lauzon, Quebec, in 1961. As one of the earliest 730 footers, it set several cargo records until being rebuilt as a self-unloader in 1969.

The reconstruction took place at Port Arthur and the ship rejoined C.S.L. as b) Quetico in 1969. It was the first upbound trader in the Welland Canal the following year. It also took guests on a commemorative ride from Lock 3 to Lock 4 on August 9, 1972, as part of the 40th anniversary celebrations of the opening of the Fourth Welland Canal.

In 1983, following the removal of her self-unloading gear, this ship resumed service as a standard bulk carrier and reacquired the name c) Whitefish Bay. It continued to operate as such until tying up at Sorel on Dec. 18, 1989. While not officially retired until 1992, the ship was sold for scrapping in China that year and departed, under tow, on Sept. 30, 1992. The vessel arrived at Zhangjiagang, China, in February 1993, for dismantling.

Coincidentally, the current Whitefish Bay was built in China and sailed from there in 2013, 20 years after the arrival of its namesake freighter.

Skip Gillham


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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