Algoma into its second dry docks lease with Algoma Discovery
7/31 - St. Catharines, Ont. – Algoma Central Corp. is into its second, short-term lease this year at the Port Weller dry docks. Its bulk carrier Algoma Discovery, built in the 1980s, is in for a short and undefined time for dry-dock maintenance work that's done periodically.
A previous three-month lease, earlier this year, was for a similar overhaul on the Algoma Enterprise.
"Every five years, we have to go through a formal process where some of the work involves the underside of the ship," said Algoma's chief financial officer Peter Winkley. "It needs to be put up on blocks, and the water drained, in order to get access to it."
Winkley said he "couldn't comment on who's specifically getting hired for the work on the Discovery," nor was he aware of the number of people employed.
"They are primarily our normal crews through Algoma ship repair," he said. "There may be some short-term (workers) that were previously workers at the yard, but I can't comment on that specifically." The Discovery has been at the docks for about a week.
The previous dry docks tenant, Seaway Marine and Industrial, went bankrupt in 2013. That shut-down put more than 100 people out of work.
Kyle Groulx — a business representative for International Brotherhood of Boilermakers Local 128 representing the former hourly workers there — previously told The Standard that many have since found other employment.
During January's project at the docks, Groulx said some Boilermaker members were currently working on the Enterprise as seasonal workers.
A representative for the Boilermakers was away this week and not available for follow-up comment.
Winkley said a possible long-term lease from the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. isn't being considered at this point.
St. Catharines-based Algoma Central Corp. operates the largest Canadian-flag fleet of dry and liquid bulk carriers on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence waterway.
Since 2009, Algoma's purchase of three coastal class vessels and other state-of-the-art Equinox Class ships has meant more than $560 million in investment to its domestic dry-bulk fleet renewal.
St. Catharines Standard
Petro-Nav brings in tanker help again
7/31 - Petro-Nav Inc has applied for a coasting license to use the Antigua and Barbuda flag tanker Sloman Herakles to make multiple trips in the Levis, Montreal, Oakville, Sarnia range between the dates of August 10 and August 31. A previous application to use the same ship ran from July 3 to August 2.
Port Reports - July 31
St. Marys River
Shipwreck in Ludington shallows possibly Saugatuck schooner, archaeologist says
7/31 - Ludington, Mich. – A wooden hulk showing up in the shallows of Lake Michigan near Ludington is no surprise to one Michigan official.
The shape of the ship could be clearly distinguished on Wednesday, July 29, in the shallows of the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area north of Ludington – roughly a mile's walk south from the Nurnburg Road parking area.
"About 10 years ago I visited a shipwreck then on the shoreline north of Ludington," Michigan's Maritime Archaeologist Wayne Lusardi said in a written statement Wednesday. "With higher lake levels over the last few years I suspect that the same wreck is now inundated in very shallow water near shore."
Lusardi said the site he visited measured 94.5 feet in overall length – the size of hundreds of smaller schooners that were built on the Great Lakes between the 1840s and 1870s.
"Most of these schooners were rigged with two masts, could carry about 150 tons of cargo, principally lumber, grain, salt or coal, and were manned by a crew of four or five," Lusardi said. "Much of the fleet operating in or around Ludington was involved in carrying lumber to Chicago from ports in Western Michigan."
Jim Fey, a self-described "nautical nut" and board member of the Mason County Historical Society, said he planned to visit the site this weekend and take measurements of the wreck.
"We can narrow it down to a few ships, I think," Fey said. The work is difficult because many ships were lost in waters near Big Sable point. "It's a treacherous area -- there are a lot of sand bars.”
The shipwreck recently seen in the shallows could be one of many schooners lost in that area -- one example is the Lizzie Doak, which ran aground there in 1892.
But Lusardi said it could prove to be The George F. Foster, which was built by Jacob Randall in 1852 at present-day Saugatuck, then called Newark. The Foster was 93.6 feet long, 21.5 feet wide, and measured 123 tons.
"Bound from Grand Haven to Chicago with a load of lumber, the schooner was blown off course by an autumn gale and wrecked in October 1872," Lusardi wrote. "The Foster's class, dimensions, and location correspond favorably with the archaeological remains located near Ludington, though further research is required to make a positive identification."
Visitors are welcome to look at the wreck, but are asked not to dig on it or otherwise disturb the site, he said.
"The wreck will likely be reburied naturally as it has been covered and uncovered many times already," Lusardi wrote.
Notices to Shipping #19 and 20 issued
Montreal - Lake Ontario Notices to Shipping #19 and 20 have been issued.
Lookback #621 – Cedarbranch exploded and burned on July 31, 1965
It was a half-century ago that the Canadian tanker Cedarbranch (ii) suffered an engine room explosion and massive fire that kept Montreal firefighters on the scene for 48 hours.
The 260 foot, 11 inch long member of the Branch Lines fleet eventually settled on the bottom with a toll of 2 dead and two more injured.
After being salvaged later in the year, Cedarbranch was towed to Sorel and repaired. In the process the ship was lengthened to 290 feet, 10 inches increasing carrying capacity by about 2,000 barrels of product.
Cedarbranch had been built at Sorel in 1951 and had served in the canal trades until the Seaway opened in 1959 and continued to mix Great Lakes and St. Lawrence service.
The crew were in position the save the lives of 18 sailors from the burning coastal freighter Cap Diamant in the Gulf of St. Lawrence on Nov. 10, 1966.
Following a sale to Johnstone Shipping in 1978, the vessel saw some service as b) Secola before tying up at Sorel late in 1979. It was resold to Mexican interests and departed for Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean service as c) Kito Maru on Dec. 5, 1979.
The ship arrived at Brownsville, Texas, for scrapping on Feb. 24, 1985, ending a career that made international news 50 years ago today.
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.
Isle Royale Queen IV runs aground
7/30 - Copper Harbor, Mich. – The Isle Royale Queen IV, operating out of Copper Harbor, ran aground Tuesday while on an evening cruise. U.S. Coast Guard was contacted by the Negaunee dispatch and told that the excursion vessel had run aground inside the harbor.
Lt. J.G. Derek Puzzouli of the Sault Ste. Marie Coast Guard station said in response to the call, Guardsmen from Coast Guard Station Portage in Dollar Bay were dispatched to the scene.
"By the time they (the crew from Portage) reached the scene," Puzzuoli said, "the passengers had already been gotten off the Queen by good samaritans in the area with boats."
The vessel had run aground on rocks near Porter's Island, on the north side of the harbor, but its crew was able to get the vessel free without assistance, Puzzuoli said.
The Coast Guard trailered a small boat at the Portage station in Dollar Bay, and launched it from the Copper Harbor marina, Puzzouoli said, but by the time they got to the scene, everything was under control.
There were no injuries, the Isle Royale Queen suffered no apparent damage in the incident and there was no fuel or oil leakage as a result of the mishap, said Puzzuoli, but the Coast Guard remained on the scene to monitor the situation.
The incident is under investigation by the U.S. Coast Guard Marine Service Unit out of Duluth, which investigates marine accidents. The Isle Royale Line Ferry Service, which operates the Isle Royale Queen, was unavailable for comment.
The Mining Gazette
United Taconite to be idled: Another blow for the mining industry
7/30 - CEO of Cliffs Natural Resources announced Wednesday on the company's earnings call that the company is going to idle United Taconite, which includes the mine in Eveleth and the plant in Forbes.
Lourenco Goncalves cited pellet inventory as the reason for the shutdown. He also said they are going to do the idle in a way that they can promptly bring back operations.
Around 500 people work at United Taconite, according to a statement from Cliffs in September of last year. That's when they celebrated 50 years in business. Goncalves thanked all of the employees who've worked hard to reduce their production costs.
He said the one good thing about idling UTac is it gives them a chance to start developing the transformation of the plant needed to make a certain pellet for ArcelorMittal.
Goncalves mentioned they have a partnership with NUCOR to develop Direct Reduced Iron grade pellets, for a DRI facility in the Great Lakes.
Port Reports - July 30
Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Outline of shipwreck revealed near Ludington
7/30 - Grant Twp., Mich. – The full outline of a roughly 60-foot-long shipwreck is now showing under a few inches of Lake Michigan water off the shore of the Nordhouse Wilderness Area north of Ludington.
Chris Newhouse of Ann Arbor and his wife, Cathey, found the wreck while hiking about a week ago in the Nordhouse Dunes, about three and a half miles south of the U.S. Forest Service Lake Michigan Recreation Area.
Chris reported it is also about a mile south of the Nurnburg Road parking area.
Wayne Lusardi, maritime archeologist for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, isn’t sure what boat it is at this time. He said there are probably about 40 shipwrecks off shore near Ludington, including the Lizzie Doak, an 75-foot boat that sunk near the shore on Aug. 30, 1892.
“This year there’s a lot of sand that’s been moving around and a lot of near-shore wrecks are considerably more exposed than they have been in the past,” Lusardi said.
Kenneth Morris, a petty officer 1st class at Manistee’s U.S. Coast Guard station, said the wreck is not on Coast Guard charts.
Ludington Daily News
Great Lakes Commission gets $3.4M for Little Rapids Cut project
7/30 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The Great Lakes Commission is getting more than $3.4 million for a regional partnership focusing on habitat restoration in Sault Ste. Marie.
U.S. Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters of Michigan on Tuesday announced the support through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The funding is for the ongoing Little Rapids project, which also involves state and local agencies.
Officials have said construction will begin next year on a 625-foot bridge on the St. Marys River, an important step toward repairing more than a century of environmental damage.
The river links Lakes Huron and Superior. Navigation projects have disrupted its water flow, and bottomlands around Sault Ste. Marie were coated with industrial discharges. The project is designed to restore more natural currents and produce 50-to-70 acres of fish spawning habitat.
Lookback #620 – Lyngenfjord backed into at Montreal on July 30, 1965
The Norwegian freighter Lygenfjord was among the most common overseas callers to the Great Lakes in the early years of the Seaway. It had not been built for the new waterway, having been completed at Gothenburg, Sweden, in February 1948, but adopted well to the inland trading pattern as a member of the Norwegian-American Line.
The 422 foot long carrier began Seaway trading with four trips in 1959 and, by the end of 1967, had tallied 35 trips in and out of the new system. Cargoes varied but, on the first trip in May 1959, Lyngenfjord unloaded ferro-chrome at the Electromet Dock along the Welland Canal at Welland.
The only real blip occurred 50 years ago today when Lyngenfjord was minding her own business at a Montreal dock when another Seaway regular, the Salmela, backed up too far and hit the stern of the moored Norwegian freighter. Fortunately the damage was not significant.
In 1970, Lygenfjord was sold and renamed b) Amronto and, then became c) Eastern Valour in 1976. This Panamanian flag carrier was laid up at Karachi, Pakistan, on Dec. 7, 1979, but not sold to local shipbreakers. Instead, the vessel traveled to Kaohsiung, Taiwan, arriving on May 3, 1980, for scrapping by the Chi Yung Steel Enterprise Co.
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.
Port Reports - July 29
Port Weller, Ont.
Phoenix reaches Pakistan
7/29 - The bulker Phoenix, formerly Phoenix Sun, reached the anchorages off Karachi, Pakistan July 21. When it sailed form Canada after an extended layup in June it was said to be heading for Dubai to be rebuilt. However it has bypassed that port and appears likely to be headed for the scrapyards instead.
St. Lawrence River North Channel around tugboats closed to boats
7/29 - Cornwall, Ont. – As cleanup begins in earnest this week on the sunken tugboat Lac Manitoba, the federal transport ministry has shut down the St. Lawrence River to boat traffic.
There had originally been a plan to have a small strip of water against the north shore of Cornwall Island open to boats but that has changed.
The area of the St. Lawrence River that is closed is around the tugboats Lac Manitoba and LCM 131, in the area of the Three Nations Bridge. The closure started Friday and will be in effect until Aug. 5.
The Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System’s original draw-down of the river to control the current (which would have affected levels in Lake St. Louis and Lake St. Francis) was cancelled Thursday until further notice.
Soo USCG community center dedicated to memory of Capt. Jimmie Hobaugh
7/29 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – Representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard 9th District, Sector Sault Ste. Marie, the Coast Guard Foundation and Capt. Jimmie H. Hobaugh's family named and dedicated the newly-built Capt. Jimmie H. Hobaugh Community Center during a ribbon-cutting ceremony July 27 in Sault Ste. Marie.
Hobaugh was the commanding officer on Coast Guard Cutter Woodrush when it responded to the wreck of the motor vessel Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975. He was also commanding officer of Group Sault Ste. Marie and acted as on-scene commander and oversaw the seven-month salvage operation of the Coast Guard cutter Mesquite when it ran aground in 1989.
After he retired from the Coast Guard, Hobaugh participated in numerous community service organizations and projects in Sault Ste. Marie, including a stint as director of the museum ship Valley Camp. He passed away in December 2014.
The project cost approximately $650,000, and the Coast Guard Foundation donated approximately $400,000 to the project. The community center has a gym and lounge area for Coast Guard members and their families.
Lookback #619 – City of Saginaw 31 damaged in a fire at Manitowoc on July 29, 1971
One has to wonder how the history of the rail car ferry City of Saginaw 31 might have been different had it not been for the fire of 44 years ago today. The vessel was at Manitowoc, Wis., for reconstruction work when the blaze broke out. As a result, heavy damage was sustained to the top deck and accommodation area with damage listed in the range of $400,000 to $750,000.
Instead of having a future, the ship was declared at total loss. It was laid up and then sold to Marine Salvage of Port Colborne in 1973 and resold to Spanish shipbreakers. The tugs Salvage Monarch and Helen M. McAllister brought the former ferry down the Welland Canal on June 25, 1973, and the Polish tug Koral took over at Quebec City on June 29. They reached the destination of Castellon, Spain, on July 19, 1973, and, along with the retired laker John P. Reiss, a second part of the tow, the two aging steamers were broken up for scrap.
City of Saginaw 31 had been built at Manitowoc in 1929, and joined the Pere Marquette Railway fleet for service between Manitowoc and Ludington, Mich. The 3-hour, 46-minute-long trip carried freight cars, automobiles and up to 168 passengers. It was advertised as a “healthy alternative” for the auto traveler.
The vessel moved under the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway in 1947 and continued in service until the unfortunate fire of July 29, 1971.
Updates - July 29
Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the BBC Elbe, BBC Ohio, Edward Schulte, Elbeborg, Fortune, Harbour Leader and Nordana Sky.
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
Rising Lake Erie damages property, swallows beaches
7/28 - Buffalo, N.Y. – The star-spangled banner still waves in Lake Erie – but in much deeper water. The 4-by-6-foot Stars and Stripes that was anchored between some rocks in Grandview Bay a few years ago had a purpose beyond patriotism: to warn boaters of shallow water and a field of debris from an old dock.
But those rocks and remnants of that dock are now submerged, along with most of the flagpole, as Lake Erie’s rising waters now lap toward the bottom of Old Glory. That’s because the lake has added a lot of water over the last few months – about 2.9 trillion more gallons, or roughly the equivalent of 4.4 million Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Just a couple of years removed from unprecedented declines in water levels – when Lake Erie dropped every month in 2012 and ran as much as 9 inches below normal between May 2012 and June 2013 – its depth ballooned in June and July because of as much as 400 percent more rainfall in some areas of the Great Lakes watershed this spring and summer.
Lake Erie is averaging 573.31 feet above sea level this month, according to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers data. That height hadn’t been reached since June 1998.
The lake is now about 24 inches higher than in July 2012. For swimmers and water enthusiasts in this popular spot, what used to be ankle-deep water is now waist-deep.
And according to the Corps of Engineers, this period of high water – levels are forecast to remain as much as 14 inches above normal over the next couple of months – could further exacerbate shoreline flooding and erosion, especially if even more rain falls.
Residents got a taste of that last week when a deluge from thunderstorms flooded streets, driveways and yards. With the water table already high, the ground was saturated. Throw in clogged drainage ditches around the neighborhood and the water quickly raced through the area, seeking ever-lower ground as it moved toward Lake Erie. But debris and a washed-out gravel roadway dammed up some areas as the water approached the already-bloated lake.
Residents are still drying out their yards and basements. That will be something to keep an eye on, especially as summer turns to fall, given the Corps of Engineers’ projections.
When November gales whip up, seiches – storm surges – are often created on the eastern end of the lake. Those storm surges are measured in feet.
Sustained periods of high water in the 1980s, combined with storms, led to significant damage along the lake shore, Pinkel recalled. Hoover Beach was wiped out. Sand dunes near Bennett Beach washed out into the lake. Cliffs in Hamburg and Derby eroded, pulling shale into the lake.
Lake Erie isn’t the only water body affected. Lake Huron and Lake St. Clair, which feeds Lake Erie through the Detroit and St. Clair rivers, are up more than 6 and 17 inches over normal, respectively, according to Corps of Engineers data. Further north, Lake Superior is more than 8 inches higher than normal.
Corps of Engineers officials said dramatic rainfall in the lakes’ watersheds caused the rapid rise in the water level.
“That is a direct result of the extremely wet weather in the Lake Erie basin in June and July,” said Keith Kompoltowicz, chief of watershed hydrology for the Corps of Engineers in Detroit. “Parts of the Lake Erie basin over the last 35 days have two, three or four times the normal amount of precipitation.
“That causes all the rivers and streams that feed the lakes to run high and the rainfall that falls down on the lake itself has caused the level of Lake Erie to rise over the last six weeks or so,” Kompoltowicz said.
A survey of meteorological data from seven major metropolitan areas around the Lake Erie watershed shows every city has had above-average precipitation between May and July – some dramatically higher. Nearly 23 inches of rain has fallen in Fort Wayne, Ind., during that time, about double its average. Both Cleveland and Toledo have received roughly 60 to 70 percent more rain than normal.
The higher lake waters have to go somewhere. In Lake Erie’s case, that’s down the Niagara River and over Niagara Falls. So does that mean more water going over the Falls this summer?
“Not necessarily,” according to Keith R. Koralewski, chief of the Corps of Engineers’ water management team. “The higher levels can cause higher flows out of Lake Erie, but the power entities – New York Power Authority and Ontario Power Generation – can withdraw as much water as they need and/or can handle as long as the flow over the Falls meets … criteria set forth by the 1950 treaty between both countries.”
Koralewski said the theory of more water going over the Falls was “plausible” if the U.S. or Canada weren’t retaining extra water. But he said that, through June, the flow over Niagara Falls “has been fairly steady” during daytime hours.
“There was no upward trend even though the Lake Erie outflow had increased during that timeframe,” Koralewski said.
The New York Power Authority declined to provide real-time flow data of the river above the falls, but a historical analysis of the Niagara River flow at Buffalo may provide some support for the hypothesis of more water flowing into the river.
Only in eight years between 1900 and 2013 did the mean July monthly flow of the Niagara River at Buffalo exceed 7,000 cubic meters per second, according to public data from the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. When compared with Corps of Engineers data, those eight years – 1973, 1974, 1976, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1997 and 1998 – also represent the top eight years for Lake Erie water levels on record.
And earlier this month, high water levels in the lower Niagara River resulted in suspended operation of the Maid of the Mist and Hornblower tour boats after the Niagara River Control Center conducted a daytime “spill” of water over the falls.
Port Reports - July 28
Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Daniel Lindner
3 takeaways from American Great Lakes Ports Association's meeting in Muskegon
7/28 - Muskegon, Mich. – More than three dozen people connected to the shipping industry came to the Port of Muskegon to talk shop and get a closer look at West Michigan's Port City.
The American Great Lakes Ports Association met in Muskegon July 22-23 at Grand Valley State University's Michigan Alternative & Renewable Energy Center. Local officials and businessmen swapped ideas for growing the industry and increasing traffic on the Great Lakes.
Here are a few of the presentations and discussions from the two-day meeting:
1. A businessman's boat-building success story. Ken Szallai, president of the Milwaukee-Muskegon cross-lake boat ferry Lake Express, talked about his efforts to build a boat -- a process that, he said, took 15 years of his life.
Having "the first high-speed auto ferry" on a fixed route in the Great Lakes was seen a challenge to the status quo, he said. When financing finally came through, he only had 11 months to finish designing the boat, build the boat, adjust the docks, and train workers, he said. Everyone working on the boat pitched in and somehow the work was completed.
He remembers taking possession of the aluminum-hulled catamaran at a Southern shipyard a few months before it started ferry service.
"One of the proudest moments of my life was going down to Mobile, Alabama," he said. "It was a beautiful, late spring evening. ... I knew for that one moment the ship was mine."
He also remembered coming to Muskegon for the first time and being greeted by thousands of people, "ten deep on either side" of the channel.
2. An innovation that could change Great Lakes shipping. A new system for treating ships' ballast water was discussed by Marc Gagnon, Director of Government Affairs and Regulatory Compliance for Montreal-based Fednav Limited, an ocean-going dry-bulk shipping company.
Ballast water is typically taken on ships for stability when traveling to a port to pick up a load. The safety practice is thought to have played a role in the introduction of invasive species such as zebra mussels and round goby fish.
Gagnon was frank about the current situation: "Michigan is a problem" from a shipping perspective because of rules about discharging salt water ballast. He also gave an overview of U.S. EPA and Coast Guard rules that will require ships to have ballast water controls in place by 2021.
But he said his company had found a ballast treatment system that will remove much of the problem:
"We are sure about the future of the Great Lakes, because we are building ships to come on the Great Lakes," he said.
The treatment system, JFE Ballast ACE, works by filtering the ballast water and adding chlorine during intake, he said. An agent neutralizing the chlorine is added before the ballast water is released.
The new system can be installed for less than $500,000 on a new boat, he said. Testing on the system has begun and "we hope it will be one of the first systems approved ... for fresh water."
3. Encouragement for the long haul. Muskegon County Commissioner Ben Cross, who is chairman of the county's Port Advisory Committee, said he was encouraged by discussions with other attendees.
"We're not unique by any means," he said. "All other ports started out like us."
He particularly enjoyed talking with ports that have been working at it longer.
"I don't think they just, all of the sudden started doing it," he said. "All in all, we've had our hurdles and had our obstacles, but I believe we're gaining traction. We're making progress."
SS Badger plans two new shoreline cruises
7/28 - Ludington, Mich. – Lake Michigan Carferry will offer a new fall shoreline cruise aboard the S.S Badger on Saturday, September 5, along the Manitowoc shoreline headed toward the Two Rivers Kite Fest.
The next day, September 6, the Badger will offer a “Go Green or Go Blue” sports-themed shoreline cruise out of Ludington. Know your fight song and be the best dressed in your teams colors and qualify to win free round trip passes.
Tickets are available for purchase online or by stopping in at the Ludington Ticket Office or calling 800-841-4243. Shoreline cruises will go on rain or shine. For more details, visit ssbadger.com
Montreal - Lake Ontario Notice to Shipping #18 issued
Lookback #618 – Mihalis Angelos ran aground leaving Toronto on July 28, 1961
The Greek freighter Mihalis Angelos made two trips to the Great Lakes. It had just departed Toronto with a load of scrap steel destined for Japan when it ran aground 54 years ago today. The long voyage was interrupted, but once the Greek-flagged freighter was released, it was able to continue the trip.
This general cargo carrier was built for the British Ministry of War Transport and completed as a) Empire Masefield in October 1941. The 447 foot, 6 inch long vessel was attacked by aircraft and damaged in a bombing raid off Flamborough Head along the North Sea coast of England on Jan. 13, 1942. But the ship survived and passed, later in the year, to the government of Belgium as b) Belgian Seaman.
It remained under the flag of Belgium after the war becoming c) Anvers in 1946 and d) Clervaux in 1952. Originally a coal-fired steamer, the ship was converted to burn oil in February 1949.
It began trading as Mihalis Angelos in 1960 and was back through the Seaway in 1962 for one last inland voyage.
Sold again in 1966, the vessel now flew the Panamanian flag as f) Gloria for the Celestial Shipping Corp. Following a resale to Taiwan shipbreakers, it arrived at Kaohsiung on Dec. 7, 1967, and was broken up in the weeks ahead.
Updates - July 28
News Photo Gallery we had the wrong link for a few hours yesterday morning, this is the correct one.
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.
Federal Margaree suffers engine room fire
7/27 - Sunday night the Federal Margaree reported a fire in their engine room fire while docked at the Nicholson's Detroit dock on the Detroit River. The vessel reported the fire was extinguished at 11:15 p.m. and the crew was inspecting the space for damage. There were no reported injuries, check back for updates.
Port Reports - July 27
St. Marys River
Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Lookback #617 – Alberta in serious collision off Whitefish Point on July 27, 1884
The newly-completed passenger and freight carrier Alberta sank the wooden steamer John M. Osborne, in fog 3.5 miles off Whitefish Point on July 27, 1884. The accident of 131 years ago claimed three lives.
Alberta had been built at Whiteinch, Scotland, and came to Canada in the fall of 1883 for the Canadian Pacific Railway fleet. The 270 foot long hull was cut in two for passage through the old canal system leading to Lake Erie and was then rejoined at Buffalo. It entered service on May 13, 1884, departing Owen Sound for Port Arthur.
This vessel also spent two years trading between Windsor and the Canadian Lakehead but was most at home on the Georgian Bay-Lakehead run. Alberta was taken to Collingwood in 1911 and lengthened but, in later years, it operated in a freight-only capacity.
The Depression sent Alberta to the wall in the 1930s but it resumed service between Port McNicoll, Milwaukee and Chicago beginning in 1938.
At 60 years of age, the ship was retired at Port McNicoll in 1944 and then scrapped at Indiana Harbor, Ind., in 1947 after a plan to tow the hull to the Gulf of Mexico fell through .
Updates - July 27
News Photo Gallery 172 new images, please continue to send in your pictures.
Today in Great Lakes History - July 27
On 27 July 1884, ALBERTA (steel propeller passenger/package freight vessel, 264 foot, 2,282 gross tons, built in 1883, at Whiteinch, Scotland, by C. Connell & Co.) collided in fog six miles north north west of Whitefish Point on Lake Superior with the JOHN M. OSBORNE (wooden propeller "steam barge", 178 foot, 891 tons, built in 1882, at Marine City, Michigan. The OSBORNE had two barges in tow at the time. ALBERTA stayed in the gash until most of OSBORNE's crew scrambled aboard, then pulled out and the OSBORNE sank. ALBERTA sank in shallow water, 3 1/2 miles from shore. 3 or 4 lives were lost from the OSBORNE, one from ALBERTA in brave rescue attempt while trying to get the crewmen off the OSBORNE. This was ALBERTA's first year of service. She was recovered and repaired soon afterward. She was the sister of the ill-fated ALGOMA which was lost in her first year of service. The wreck of the OSBORNE was located in 1984, 100 years after this incident.
On 27 July 1900, the steel freighter RENSSELAER (Hull#402) was launched in Cleveland, Ohio, by the American Ship building Co. for the Pittsburgh Steamship Company.
1897 – SELWYN EDDY and MARIPOSA collided head-on in dense fog off Manitou Island, Lake Superior. The damage was light, as both ships were proceeding slowly due to the conditions.
1912 – G. WATSON FRENCH, later the first ALGOWAY, was in a collision with the MATAAFA in Lake St. Clair and the latter was heavily damaged and almost sank.
1931 – The Canada Steamship Lines bulk canaller BARRIE went aground at Les Ecureuils Shoal in the St. Lawrence while enroute to Quebec City.
1944 – The FORT PERROT was damaged by a torpedo in the English Channel south of Hastings, while providing support for the ongoing invasion of Normandy and the liberation of Europe. As c) DORION, this ship made two trips to the Great Lakes in 1959. The vessel was scrapped at Yokohama, Japan, as e) ANTONIOS S. after arriving on June 17, 1963.
1987 – The ANDREW H. went aground off Cornwall Island, in the St. Lawrence, after experiencing steering problems. The ship, loaded with steel for Dofasco in Hamilton, was lightered by MAPLEHEATH and released on August 2. The cargo was reloaded at Valleyfield. The ship first came inland as EKTOR in 1976. It arrived at Alang, India, for scrapping as e) BLUEWEST on January 31, 1998.
1999 – The SPIRIT OF 98 went aground on a rock in the Gulf of Alaska 40 miles southeast of Juneau, forcing the passengers to abandon the ship. Flooding was checked and the ship released and repaired. As c) VICTORIAN EMPRESS, the ship saw passenger service on the St. Lawrence and came into the Great Lakes to Lake Ontario beginning in 1990.
Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series from the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.
Port Reports - July 26
Mainstee, Mich. - Brian Ferguson
Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Eastland remembered: A century later, groups work to memorialize 844 killed
7/26 - Chicago, Ill. – It was 100 years ago that thousands of employees of Western Electric's Hawthorne facility were looking forward to a day of fun and fellowship. Men, women and children, dressed in their finest, arrived at the Chicago River near the Clark Street bridge to board one of several ships that would take them across Lake Michigan to Michigan City's Washington Park. There, they planned to picnic and then take an evening cruise back to the city.
However, 844 of those who had purchased their tickets to board the SS Eastland would die before the ship left dock. The ship, with some 2,500 people aboard, rolled at the dock, dumping people in the water and trapping others inside. It was, and still is, the greatest loss of life on the Great Lakes, often compared to the sinking of the Titanic three years earlier.
The Eastland Disaster, however, never rose to the infamy of the Titanic. Those aboard, said Ted Wachholz, founder of the Eastland Disaster Historical Society, weren't rich or well known. They were hardworking people, many first- or second-generation immigrants.
The Eastland was the first ship to load that day, said Jim Retseck, co-president of the Michigan City Historical Society. There were five other ships ready to take passengers across the lake. There were 7,000 tickets sold that day at 75 cents each, said Retseck, adding that was a lot of money for workers who averaged an income of $14 to $16 per week.
"In the early 1900s, Michigan City's lakefront was a playground. There was a beach and restaurants. There was a new electric merry-go-round and a water slide," he said.cThis would have been the fifth year for the trip and company picnic.
The Eastland, Retseck said, had a history of being an unstable ship.
"Sydney Jenks, the architect of the ship, was not a ship builder," Retseck said. "The Eastland was built as a cargo ship."
It was 38 feet wide, 265 feet long and built to ride high in the water, he said, adding it was built for speed, not stability. The theory of why it rolled that day, he said, was because people ran to the port side to wave to people boarding another ship. However, there was no other ship boarding.
"They could have been waving to a boat passing. There was a fire boat and a boat with a movie camera that day," he said.
Bottom line, the SS Eastland rolled, leaving 175 widows and 83 widowers. Along with 228 teens, 58 infants and young children died.
Wachholz said there was a trial after the disaster, but no one was found guilty in the deaths of the 844 people. Earlier this summer, the Eastland Disaster Historical Society, along with professors from the John Marshall Law School, held their own trial.
"It had a terrible track record for 12 years. It was well know for being an unstable ship. They would modify it, but never test it," said Wachholz, adding shortly after the tragedy, the responsibility of inspecting ships was moved to the U.S. Coast Guard.
For decades, the tragedy was just a footnote. Retseck has been researching the Eastland disaster for about 40 years.
"I've always been interested in the Great Lakes history, especially Lake Michigan," he said. "I've been interested in the Eastland for 40 years. It was forgotten. It was the worst loss of life on the Great Lakes."
For Wachholz, it was more personal. His wife's grandmother, Borghild "Bobbie" Aanstad, then 13, was a survivor. He, his wife and his sister-in-law founded the organization 17 years ago.
Three years ago, Wachholz left his job in finances for a nonprofit to devote his full time to making sure not only the 844 were remembered, but also the survivors and those involved in the rescue efforts.
While there is no brick and mortar museum, the society has an extensive website documenting the tragedy and those involved. There is also a historical marker at the site and a memorial in the Bohemian National Cemetery where many victims of the tragedy are buried. A photo exhibit will be on display through Labor Day at the Nisei Lounge along the Chicago River and a beer — the 844 — has been brewed especially to remember the tragedy.
Retseck's and Wachholz's groups both are planning memorial services this weekend. In Chicago, it will be a three-day event that Wachholz said will attract hundreds of people from as far as Ireland and Hawaii to commemorate the disaster.
In Michigan City, a memorial made up of 844 six-inch anchor chain links, will be dedicated.
Lake Michigan water levels rapidly rise after record lows
7/26 - Milwaukee, Wis. – Water levels on Lake Michigan have undergone a remarkably quick transformation and are now more than 3 feet higher than January 2013 when they hit an all-time low.
Some areas of metro Milwaukee that once enjoyed wide strips of sandy beaches as recently as a year or two ago have been swallowed by rising lake levels, causing property damage and coastal erosion. Yet the change has been a boon for commercial shippers, which now can carry more cargo.
"It's been a very dramatic rise from the record low," said Anne Clites, a physical scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.
Water levels have been rising on all of the Great Lakes, according to the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Great Lakes lab. Lake Michigan now stands about 1 foot higher than the long-term average.
The lab's researchers say that unusually wet conditions in 2013 and 2014 played a major role in ending a 15-year period on Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and Lake Superior when water levels were below average. Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are considered a single body of water.
In an article written in March by Clites, colleague Andrew D. Gronewold and other researchers in Earth & Space Science News, the scientists reported: "The recent surge represents one of the most rapid rates of water level change on the Great Lakes in recorded history and marks the end of an unprecedented period of below-average water levels that began in 1998."
The lab's researchers, and other scientists, have concluded higher precipitation, combined with two cold winters, were key factors for why the lakes are higher today.
Extensive ice cover the last two winters has not only limited evaporation, but Clites said it's kept Lake Michigan water cooler longer in the summer. Cooler water slows evaporation. Frigid temperatures in the winter of 2013 and 2014 produced the most ice cover on the Great Lakes in at least 25 years, the research lab found.
"The levels of Lake Michigan and Huron in particular are like a bank account," said Paul Roebber, a professor in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences. Rainfall is the income, and evaporation is the withdrawal.
Roebber said that although rainfall usually drives lake level changes, the recent fluctuations are due more to changes in water temperatures that affected evaporation.
A key factor driving lower water levels was a period of more than a decade of warmer temperatures and lower-than-average precipitation.
"We were actually breaking 80 degree (water) temperatures for several summers during the period from 1999 to 2013, which is unheard of in the historical record before that," Roebber said.
Lake Michigan-Huron water levels on July 20 stood at 579.92 feet. That is about a 1-foot higher than the long-term average of 578.80 feet, according to NOAA and Army Corps of Engineers data.
Lower water levels limited how much cargo shippers could carry, said Jim Weakley, president of the Lake Carriers' Association.
The trade association represents 16 American companies that ship bulk goods like iron ore, limestone and coal.
"For every inch of navigational depth, our 1,000-footers carry an extra 270 tons of cargo," he said.
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Lookback #616 – Norwegian tanker Rogn ran aground near Iroquois on July 26, 1948
The first Rogn to come to the Great Lakes was a small Norwegian tanker. It had been built in 1941 and taken over, while on the stocks, by the German Navy. It was used as a fleet oiler after being completed and then returned to the owners in May 1945.
The ship ran aground off Toussant Island, near Iroquois, Ont., during a visit to the Great Lakes on July 26, 1948. The 205 foot, 11 inch long tanker was in ballast and on charter to the McColl-Frontenac Oil Co. at the time the steering gear failed. The tugs Salvage Prince and Salvage Queen pulled the vessel free on July 28 and it went to Montreal for inspection and repairs before resuming its inland service.
Rogn visited the Great Lakes as late as 1952 and was then sold and renamed b) Rugen before the end of the year. It remained under the flag of Norway until another sale, this to Greek interests, and a rename of c) Piraeus III in 1968.
After forty-years of service, the aging tanker was sold for scrap in 1981 and work at dismantling the hull got underway at Perama, Greece, on Aug. 27 of that year.
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.
Future of Boblo boat Ste. Clare hangs on the dock
7/25 - Ecorse, Mich. – Dr. Ron Kattoo is running out of options, and that means the Boblo boat Ste. Claire might be running out of time.
The 105-year-old steamer has been tied up at U.S. Steel in Ecorse for more than two decades, but the vessel is being evicted to allow for work along the shoreline this fall. That means Kattoo, who has owned the Detroit icon since 2007, needs to find a new home for the old boat — and he needs to do it fast. The problem is, he hasn’t been having much luck.
Even though there’s no set date for the steamer to be out, “even after finding a new home, moving her won’t be a quick process,” Kattoo said. “The longer we wait, the more peril she is in.”
Just how much peril are we talking?
“If I can’t find anywhere to take her, I’m afraid that we might have to end up scrapping her,” he said. “I don’t want to see that happen, but I’m running out of options here. We can’t stay where we’re at.”
Kattoo needs a dock or slip that is 200 feet long and 16 feet deep, and both for ease of restoration and of relocation, it needs to be near Detroit.
Though it seems like almost anyone would be happy to have such a cherished piece of Detroit history and their childhood sitting at their back doorstep, it isn’t quite that simple.
The last two decades have not been kind to the steamer. Paint has peeled. Wood has rotted. The Ste. Claire’s pilothouse has been removed and parts of the stern have been disassembled. In short, the boat doesn’t look as good as you probably remember it. Kattoo says it will take about $500,000 to get the boat “sitting pretty” enough to be tied up along a public area, where work could continue, and the doctor says he’s “about 80%, maybe 90%, there.”
Detroit Free Press
All laid off workers at Minntac being called back
7/25 - Duluth, Minn. – Finally some positive news for the mining industry. The laid off steelworkers from Minntac are being recalled within the next few weeks, according to the union. Lawmakers confirmed their start date is expected to be in September.
"I think overall this is good, positive news right now. Initially the company was talking about being up and running in early fall as the best case scenario," said Rep. Jason Metsa, of Virginia.
U.S. Steel had started a partial shutdown of its largest taconite plant at the beginning of June. Approximately 400 people were laid off, and the remaining workers were on a 32-hour week schedule.
About 70 maintenance folks have just returned to the plant. Which leaves about 300 who are still on layoff.
"I feel confident people will be back to work, and families will be getting needed paychecks as we roll into back to school time," Metsa added.
U.S. Steel's other facility, Keetac, remains in idle mode with about half of their workforce on layoff. Union leaders from there are hopeful they get call back notices soon as well.
Shipping link to Europe off to sluggish start, but Port Authority still optimistic
7/25 - Duluth, Minn. – An arrangement that would connect the Port of Duluth-Superior with western Europe is off to a slower start than expected.
Originally billed in 2014 as a monthly service from the Netherlands to Duluth's Clure Public Marine Terminal, the Amsterdam-based dry cargo specialist Spliethoff's first vessel of the season reached the Twin Ports just last weekend.
The 448-foot Florijngracht anchored on Lake Superior off Duluth for a couple days docked at the terminal this past Monday night.
"I don't want to be pessimistic, but we were disappointed," said Ron Johnson, trade development director for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. "These things happen."
Johnson explained that the strength of the American dollar coupled with a slumping European economy made it so that too many available ships were chasing a limited amount of cargo.
Spliethoff vessels made three voyages into Duluth last year. The company operates 50 relatively small ships — "tweendeck vessels," its website says — and has access to 100 ships total within a greater Spliethoff Group. Its nimble versatility is part of the Spliethoff appeal, allowing smaller companies with smaller loads access to the world's shipping lanes.
But, "there were so many ships available, especially bigger ships coming to the (East) Coast, that they cut their rates and it makes it difficult for Spliethoff to cut rates," said Johnson, who added Spliethoff would have been "crazy to operate just to lose (its) shirt."
For its part, Spliethoff is not giving up on the interior of North America. It is currently shipping twice monthly into Cleveland, a spokeswoman said, and also has reached ports in Milwaukee, Detroit and Toledo, Ohio. In June, Spliethoff's 411-foot Faglegracht became the first European ship to call on the port of Monroe, Mich., since the 1960s.
The port director there, Paul LaMarre III, told the Monroe News, "This is proof that our capabilities are far-reaching."
Spliethoff, too, continues to see value in reaching farther inland on the Great Lakes.
"Duluth is the key to the interior of the Upper Midwest of the United States and also branches to Manitoba, Alberta and Saskatchewan," said Spliethoff spokeswoman Jamie Tolis from the company's Montreal office. "It's ideally situated for us."
Inbound cargoes have buoyed the company's Great Lakes ventures to date. The Florijngracht, visible from Duluth as it anchored on Lake Superior in recent days, was set to unload generators from Finland. But it was scheduled to leave Duluth empty. "What's been tricky right now is outbound," Tolis said.
Tolis explained that Midwestern companies' logistical chains are well-oiled to ports on the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico. Using the Port of Duluth-Superior may yet prove to be more economical and cost-efficient, she said, but there has been hesitancy in making the leap.
"Rome wasn't built in a day and this is going to take time to talk to people and to show them Duluth," Tolis said. "It's the innermost of the Great Lakes. We're getting there. We firmly believe in it. We're definitely invested."
Project cargoes, machinery and specialty grain products are the targeted outgoing cargoes, Tolis said.
While disappointed, the local port authority is willing to walk before running at full speed with Spliethoff.
"The company has been around for almost 100 years," Johnson said. "It's a well-managed Dutch company. We're confident the volume is going to pick up."
Duluth may have to get creative, he said, even if it has to utilize rail to other ports during the winter.
"We've got to fit into a nine-month slot and that's always been an issue," Johnson said of the traditional January-through-March shutdown of the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., at the eastern end of Lake Superior. "Hopefully, we can build up this volume and get some type of rail service to bridge the winter."
Denying Spliethoff the chance to build credibility in the Midwest would be ill-advised, Johnson said. "Smart folks," he said, "don't just drop their sources."
Duluth News Tribune
Many Great Lakes ports face challenges similar to Muskegon's
7/25 - Muskegon, Mich. – Representatives from many Great Lakes ports were in the same boat this week – both figuratively and literally.
The American Great Lakes Ports Association held its summer meeting in Downtown Muskegon Wednesday and Thursday, July 22 and 23.
The first day ended with a tour of the Port of Muskegon on the Port City Princess, with representatives from ports across Michigan mixing with professionals from the shipping industry as well as federal and local government officials.
"It gives everybody kind of a chance to talk and exchange business cards," said Muskegon County Board of Commissioners Chairman Terry Sabo.
Some of the more than 40 out-of-towners on the boat talked to West Michigan natives, and they saw some familiar themes on the shoreline of Muskegon Lake, where more than 400 acres of industrial property will likely be redeveloped in the next 5-10 years.
"They all are tackling the same challenges," said American Great Lakes Ports Association Executive Director Steven Fisher. Many have an industrial legacy on the waterfront and are making efforts to re-develop brownfield areas.
"Muskegon has better infrastructure than most," Fisher continued. "We have many ports that are not deep enough. ... You guys don't have to worry about that."
Also like Muskegon, communities are looking to increase traffic at the ports they do own. Robert Brown was there to represent the City of Sault Ste. Marie, which owns a 1,100-foot deep water dock. Once used for shipping out loads of carbide, it's now primarily used by cruise ships and as an emergency port.
"It's phenomenal for ships that come through Lake Superior that get damaged," Brown said. The dock is also getting more cruise ships in the summer, but the city manager has taken a proactive approach to finding more use for the facility.
Part of the work to generate more shipping activity centers around marketing and education. For instance, a newly launched website of the Great Lakes Seaway Partnership offers extensive industry news and information about the "economy, safety, and sustainability" of Great Lakes shipping.
The upper Midwest has often been dubbed the "rust belt," but there's at least one person in Washington, D.C., who understands how inaccurate that term really is. Betty Sutton is a native Ohioan and former congresswoman who now administers the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, linked to the U.S. Department of Transportation.
"I think a much better name for us is the 'opportunity belt' and the water is the key to that opportunity," Sutton said. "One thing we haven't done is realize the collective volume."
The Great Lakes region served by the seaway accounts for one quarter of the U.S. gross domestic product, she said, one half of North America's manufacturing and services industries, and contains almost a quarter of the continent's population. The Great Lakes region is the world's third largest economy - only the U.S. and China rank higher -- with an annual economic output of nearly $5 trillion.
Her office has a boots-on-the-ground representative, Adam Schlicht, who assists in economic development.
"It's an exciting time to be in Muskegon," he said at the end of the boat tour.
MLive Muskegon Chronicle
Port Reports - July 25
Burns Harbor, Ind.
Breakwalls and Docks #47 – William Edenborn sunk as a breakwall at Cleveland
(Note: We started this series on June 7 with the James J. Hill and we conclude with its partner in the Gordon Park reclamation project. If any readers can suggest other lake ships that spent time as a breakwall or dock, we would add them at a later date.)
William Edenborn was built at West Bay City, Mich., and launched on June 27, 1900. The 497 foot long bulk carrier loaded a Great Lakes record 7,521 tons of iron ore at Ashland, Wis., on August 10, 1900, and topped that standard before larger ships took over the record breaking.
Originally part of the Wolvin fleet, it joined in the formation of the original U.S. Steel fleet in 1901.
William Edenborn operated through the 1957 season and was laid up. Following a sale to the city of Cleveland, the ship was sunk as a breakwall during a land development project. The former member of the U.S. Steel fleet has been covered with landfill and helps protect Gordon Park as a recreational area.
Lookback #615 – Rappahanock wrecked off Jackfish Point on July 25, 1911
The wooden bulk carrier Rappahannock was wrecked 104-years ago today. The 320 foot long steamship was loaded with a cargo of coal when it began to leak on Lake Superior while headed to Duluth.
The situation was created by 75 mph winds and complicated by the fact that the barge Montezuma was following at the end of a towline. Efforts to beach Rappahannock near Jackfish Point were not successful. The hull broke up and eventually went down in about 80 feet of water. All on board were rescued by the crew of the Sacramento, another nearby wooden steamer.
Rappahannock was built at West Bay City, Mich., and was valued at $150,000 when it was launched on June 15, 1895. The ship served the Davidson Steamship Co. and usually carried iron ore. For a period of time in 1902-1903, the vessel worked on charter to the Algoma Central Steamship Line but was returned to Davidson at the end of the 1903 season.
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.
New CWB Marquis christened at Thunder Bay
7/24 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – On July 22 at 15:00 hours, the CWB Marquis was christened at the Mission Terminal in Thunder Bay, Ont., by the Canadian Wheat Board. The ship sat freshly painted and gleaming in the summer sun, dressed in marine signal flags, which were set up in an international coded message She had had also hoisted flags for every nation that the ship transited on her delivery voyage of 15,800 nautical miles from China to Canada.
The ship's naming sponsor was the Canadian Wheat Board's Chief Strategy Officer, Mrs. Dayna Spiring, who offered the following:
"I dedicate this ship, the motor vessel CWB Marquis. May God guard her, and guide her, and keep all those who sail in her."
With those words, the name bunting, made of CWB colors, was lowered, and a bottle of champagne was smashed on the bow.
The ship was introduced by Ian White, President & CEO of the Canadian Wheat Board. The benediction was carried out by the Rev. Ed Swazye from the Thunder Bay Missions to Seamen. The ship is commanded by Captain Seann O'Donoughue and Chief Engineer Victor Gordynskii.
Following the ceremony, the ship was opened up for tours, given by the officers and crew. The public was able to see how modern and spacious the ship is, and how much digital technology is in her. The ship’s crew had spent many long hours over the past weeks preparing the ship, painting, buffing, and shining her up for this day.
The ship's cook, Manse, reputed to be one of the best cooks on the lakes, had a legendary spread of food for the visitors and crew, that lives up to the reputation of how good the food is on a Lake ship.
This ceremony was carried out for the ship and her expected 40 year service lifespan. The ship primarily carries Wheat Board Grain from the Lakehead to the coast for export, and has carried over 360, 000 metric tonnes of cargo since she went into service this spring.
Capt. Seann O'Donoughue
Port Reports - July 24
Rochester, N.Y. – Tom Brewer
Montreal - Lake Ontario Notice to Shipping #17 issued
7/24 - Click here to read the notice: Salvage Operations Delayed
Breakwalls and Docks #46 – Pinebranch sunk as breakwall at Mulgrave, Nova Scotia
The retired tanker Pinebranch had been laid up for five years when the hull was sold and sunk as a breakwall off Mulgrave, Nova Scotia. The ship had last sailed for the Branch Lines in 1955 and then tied up at Sorel, Que., where it was idle until taken east and sunk off Mulgrave, NS in 1960.
This vessel had an extraordinary career. It was built at Chicago in 1895 and first traded as the consort barge Malta of the Minnesota Steamship Co. It joined U.S. Steel in 1901 but, at 302 feet long, this was one of the smaller consorts and was sold to Canadian interests in 1912.
Renamed b) Thunder Bay, the vessel was managed by the Canadian Northwest Transportation Co. and used to carry grain, usually under tow of Paipoonge, to the Georgian Bay ports.
Thunder Bay was resold to Cuban interests in 1918 and cut in two at Collingwood for the trip out of the Great Lakes. But the deal fell through and the vessel, now on the St. Lawrence, was shortened and rejoined at Montreal. Rebuilt as a steamer, it worked in the bulk trades through the old canals for Canada Steamship Lines, still as Thunder Bay.
The Depression era sent this small ship into retirement at Kingston about 1930 but it got another reprieve with a sale in 1937. The hull was towed to Sorel and rebuilt there by Marine Industries Ltd. as the tanker c) Pinebranch in 1940. The vessel was leased to Britain and operated by the British Ministry of War Transport but remained on the North American side for most of the war. It became d) Empire Stickleback in 1945 and did not cross the Atlantic until later that year.
It was back at Sorel in late March 1946 and became e) Pinebranch again for service along the St. Lawrence and into the Great Lakes before becoming a breakwall in 1960.
Lookback #614 - Coastal Cascades sank at the dock on July 24, 1960
The tanker Coastal Cascades was being used as a storage hull when it sank at the dock at Montreal on July 24, 1960. The ship had seen limited service in 1959 after being idle at Cascades beginning in 1957. It was being used by Canadian Petrofina Ltd. at the time it settled on the bottom.
The hull was refloated in August 1860 and soon sold to Ballast Metals & Equipment for scrap. The former freighter and tanker was broken up at Montreal in 1961-1962.
Originally the French-built freighter Charpentier, the vessel had been operated in coastal service by the French Government before becoming b) Vernon in 1922 and coming to Canada as c) Cedar Bay in 1923. It saw service for the Tree Line Navigation Co. in the bulk and package freight trades, but was sold to Lloyds Tankers Ltd. in 1936 and rebuilt as a tanker at Port Dalhousie, Ont.
Renamed d) Joan Virginia, the vessel carried various grades of petroleum and, in 1947, moved to Transit Tankers & Terminals Ltd. They changed the name to e) Coastal Cascades in 1952 and the ship was active mostly on the St. Lawrence and on Lake Ontario routes for the company.
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.
Deep in Lake Michigan, divers find pristine shipwreck lost in 1899
7/23 - Lake Michigan – It was 3:30 a.m. and Jeff Voss was tired. Voss, a tool & die shop owner when he's not diving on shipwrecks, had been at the wheel since midnight, kept awake by Red Bull and the monotonous duty of keeping the boat on course while simultaneously monitoring the sonar.
Somewhere below, a phantom lay waiting. Voss and his fellow wreck sleuths had been patiently combing a 10-square-mile grid of Lake Michigan off Muskegon for the past three days in a modified 25-foot Bayliner, "mowing the lawn" with side-scan sonar in search of lost propeller steamer that had slipped gently below the icy lake surface more than 116 years ago.
Voss was about to go wake fellow searchers Jack van Heest and David Trotter to hand-off the boring job when the sonar picked up a structure. Paydirt..
"All of a sudden — boom. There it was," Voss said. "The bottom out there is flat and then this big image shows up on the print out."
Excited, Voss yelled for the others to wake up and record the GPS coordinates of the discovery. Trotter, a 40-year veteran of Great Lakes shipwreck hunting, rubbed the sleep from his eyes as he looked down at the sonar image.
"Yep," he said. "That's it for sure." It was June 5, 2015 and the grave of the John V. Moran was a mystery no more.
Although Trotter was sure the big target on sonar was the Moran, the rest of the Michigan Shipwreck Research Association (MSRA) team wanted to be absolutely certain before ringing the dinner bell on the discovery announcement.
The Holland-based wreck hunting team had watched with dismay as a pair of treasure hunters from Muskegon had chummed the waters earlier this year with an announcement of a discovery they thought was the "Holy Grail" of Great Lakes wrecks — explorer Robert de La Salle's Le Griffon — but which turned out to be a 19th century tugboat with boilers and steel riveting.
Diving on the Moran was the only way to know for sure. Unfortunately, the wreck is located under 365 feet of cold lake water — as deep as the deepest wreck ever dived in Lake Michigan, the Carl D. Bradley, which rests about 380 feet down 12 miles southwest of Gull Island. Diving such wrecks requires significant technical skill and hours of decompression on the ascent.
Valerie van Heest and Craig Rich, MSRA co-directors, felt any scuba dives should be delayed until August or September. In the meantime, they turned to the Michigan State Police department's Underwater Recovery Unit, which owns a remotely operated submersible that can operate at depth for hours. A scuba diver would be limited to roughly 15 to 18 minutes on the Moran. The state agreed to join the dive, which took place July 8.
"This was a good training dive for them because it was so deep," said van Heest, a Holland graphic designer, author and local historian.
When the ROV reached the wreck, its cameras showed a ship sitting upright on the bottom, entirely intact, looking for all the world as if it were still moored at the dock. It's unequivocally one of the best-preserved wrecks in the Great Lakes, she said.
"Not a railing is missing," said Rich, a master diver and former Holland City Council member. "The mast is standing. The lights are standing. The anchors are in position. There's even glass still in the windows. The only thing missing from this wreck is the smokestack."
Prior to July 8, the last time anyone saw the Moran was Sunday, Feb. 12, 1899.
The 214-foot steamer, built in 1888 in Bay City, Mich., was only 11 years old when it took its final voyage — a routine, Muskegon-bound dash across an ice-covered lake that left Milwaukee at noon on Feb. 9 carrying a cargo of flour, animal feed, peas, oil cake and other miscellaneous freight.
The Crosby Transportation Company had owned the ship for less than a year. The $50,000 cargo was the largest the Moran had yet carried. The flour on board, 9,550 barrels of it, was of a select brand destined for Amsterdam.
At some point in the voyage, ice created a hole in the hull and the ship began to flood. As water began to overwhelm the pumps, Captain John McLeod, fearing a boiler explosion, ordered the crew of 24 into the lifeboats.
Thankfully for the crew, the Moran had been paced across the lake by sister steamer Naomi, which heard the distress whistle. The ship pulled alongside around 12:30 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 10 and took the stricken vessel's crew aboard.
The Naomi tried for several hours to tow the ship, which was sinking by the stern. When that proved to be futile, everything of value was stripped, the cargo was transferred or thrown overboard and the Moran was abandoned to her fate.
Because the sinking occurred along a heavily trafficked route, several other ships passed by the Moran as it slowly settled into the water. The last confirmed sighting of the ship happened a couple days later, on Sunday afternoon, when a passing railcar ferry reported seeing the ship still afloat.
The ship's owners tried to mount a rescue mission, but an equipment failure on the dock in Milwaukee delayed the expedition.
Cold and alone, the Moran slid under the ice, not to be seen for more than a century.
When ships sink from a gash or immediate hull breach, wreck hunters typically find the vessel's upper decks missing — usually blown apart from the force of internal air pressure escaping the incoming rush of lake or ocean water. Such is the case with the Moran's identical sister ship, the Eber Ward, which rests in the Straits of Mackinac; sunk there 10 years after the Moran went down.
The Moran, however, is remarkably intact.
"The fact that we're seeing this in such perfect condition confirms a slow sinking," which is a very rare occurrence," said van Heest.
The MSRA team has found numerous wrecks and partnered on the discovery of others since inception in 2001. The group has a "hit list" of undiscovered Lake Michigan wrecks that include the Andaste, a steamer lost in 1929, and the Chicora, a steamer lost in 1895. Both sunk with all hands during a storm.
Because there were no casualties on the Moran, the wreck's location was better known. However, that's no guarantee of discovery. Tiny variations in the historical account can have a major impact on a potential search grid.
In the Moran's case, there was debate as to whether the ship was closer to Grand Haven than Muskegon. Van Heest said the group recently found primary documents during their research that helped winnow a manageable search grid.
"You're connecting the dots," she said. "You're thinking outside the box, trying to hone in on primary sources — never what someone else has written in books. You go old newspapers, court documents, company records, enrollment papers."
The group is holding onto the ship's location for the moment. Dives are planning to answer further archeological questions and determine where, exactly, water initially breached the hull. The team also hopes to explore the ship's interior.
The discovery and documentation efforts on the John V. Moran, as well as other local shipwrecks, was put on display Wednesday in the exhibit "Mysteries Beneath the Waves" at the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven.
Shipwrecks like the Moran, lost on the same Michigan-to-Wisconsin route that the Lake Express ferry runs today, "help connect us with our past. That's one of the most extraordinary things about a discovery," said van Heest.
OSU-Michigan argument on Jet Express ferry leads to fight, assault arrests
7/23 - Port Clinton, Ohio – The Border Battle played a role in getting two people arrested and locked up at the Ottawa County Jail. A Michigan-Ohio State football argument on the Jet Express allegedly prompted a fight that resulted in assault charges.
Witnesses say the rivalry argument turned physical between two couples with a woman pulling another woman’s hair and the two men throwing punches at each other. The Border Battle rages every November … but on the water in July?
"That's ridiculous,” says Gary Mahoney, a Sparty fan about to board the Jet Express.
Around 1:45 Sunday morning Port Clinton police arrested a couple from Oregon, Ohio. They’re accused of assault on the Jet Express as the boat was headed to the dock.
The fight between 25-year-old Ashley Artiaga, 31-year-old Ian Schuster, and complete strangers on the top deck, allegedly began because of an argument over Michigan-Ohio State football.
"They were arguing, cursing at each other,” says Ben Freeman, a witness from Cincinnati who was in town for a fishing trip. “As the argument went on, the Michigan fan's girlfriend stood up, pulled the hair of the Ohio State's fan's girlfriend … the wife, actually. He tried to defend his wife by shoving the Michigan fan's girlfriend. The Michigan fan stood up and tried to defend his girlfriend. And after that they mutually started to fist fight and swing on each other. It was crazy.”
"It happens,” says Todd Blumensaadt, owner of the Jet Express. “They get very passionate about their teams."
Blumensaadt says these boats make seven thousand trips a year to Put-in-Bay and Kelleys Island from the Port Clinton dock. "We haul a lot of people, bring a lot of people together,” says Blumensaadt. “This was like 1:42 a.m., so I'm guessing there may be a few drinks involved in this one."
The Jet Express puts extra security on the boats on the weekends.
A few times a year they have to call police, but Blumensaadt says, "No gun fights, no knife fights. We have a security table here. Everybody is checked. You're not allowed to have a weapon on the boat."
Meanwhile, folks boarding the Jet Express are baffled that the college football rivalry landed two people in handcuffs.
"It seems kind of silly,” says Larry Money of Port Clinton. “But maybe certain people get into it. I know people are that way and I really don't understand why. You've got to know when to draw the line,” says Mahoney. “Sports are good, but when it reaches that point, obviously it's way overboard."
Twin Ports Report
7/23 - Oceangoing traffic has been steady at Duluth-Superior recently. Polish Steamship Co.'s Isolda loaded grain at Gavilon last week and is now down bound for Montreal and Italy. German-owned HHL Amur arrived over the weekend and delivered wind turbine components to Port Terminal #1. She shifted ahead to Port Terminal #2 on Tuesday evening and is now preparing her holds for a load of grain. Dutch multipurpose carrier Florijngracht spent a few days at anchor waiting for the HHL Amur to clear her berth. She arrived Tuesday evening and spent Wednesday unloading machinery (at least some of it containerized) at Port Terminal #1. Her visit may be part of Spliethoff's new Great Lakes freight service. Florijngracht was due to clear Duluth Wednesday evening bound for Thunder Bay and a load of grain.
Federal St. Laurent loaded grain at CHS1 Monday and Tuesday, clearing Tuesday evening. Bluebill arrived Wednesday afternoon and will spend the next week or so at Port Terminal #4 discharging pipe, possibly from Greece. She may load grain at Duluth-Superior next week. Federal Katsura is due Thursday to load wheat at CHS1, either before or after HHL Amur. Chestnut is due in port this weekend after delivering bulk sugar from South America to Toronto. German-owned multipurpose carrier Fortune is due this weekend, reportedly to load grain. She's arriving direct from overseas via the Suez Canal, a trade pattern that several similar ships have used while delivering wind turbine components to Duluth this season, so it's not out of the question that she might be delivering cargo as well. HHL Elbe is due Duluth during the first week of August, also likely with wind turbine components on board.
With all the recent general cargo activity, the Port Terminal had a near full house Wednesday evening. Florijngracht was preparing to depart Berth 1 after unloading. HHL Amur was reconfiguring her holds for bulk cargo at Berth 2. Laker Buffalo, laden with limestone for the Graymont lime plant in Superior, was fueling at Calumet (Berth 3). Bluebill was at Berth 4 preparing to discharge pipe. Canadian tug Molly M1 with deck barge HM8 was at Berth 6, waiting for Florijngracht to vacate Berth 1 so they could unload project cargo. The only vacant berth Wednesday evening was number 7, the site of the Holcim (soon to be CRH) cement terminal.
Breakwalls and Docks #45 – Ville Marie II was used as a dock at Victoria Pier, Montreal
Laviolette was an automobile ferry built for the city of Trois Rivieres, Que. It was a product of the Marine Industries shipyard at Sorel and completed in September 1947. The 176 foot long vessel cost $450,000 and operated between Trois Rivieres and St. Angele. It was designed to carry 750 passengers and 66 automobiles. It served on this route until replaced by the Laviolette Bridge across the St. Lawrence in 1967.
The vessel later operated between Ile Aux Coudres and Baie St. Paul and was taken to Norfolk, Va., prior to being sold to Greek interests. This latter deal fell through and Laviolette returned to the Great Lakes under tow and, in October 1976, was drydocked at Port Weller.
It was towed to Sarnia and, in 1977, renamed b) Blue Water Belle by Avery Cruise Lines for passenger service out of Sarnia. But, due to dispute with the city, it operated only briefly. The ship came to Toronto late in 1979 and did see service in harbor cruises in 1980.
It was renamed c) Caledonia in 1981 but the owners were forced to declare bankruptcy. The ship left for Montreal on Nov. 8, 1982, and arrived two days later under her own power.
The 36-year-old vessel was renamed d) Ville Marie II in 1983 but was unable to obtain Canadian Coast Guard permission to sail. It was moored at Victoria Pier as a venue for buffets and dances. It also served as a dock for the small harbor ships Montreal and Concordia.
Finally, in May 2001, Ville Marie II was sold for scrap and towed to Sorel by McKeil Marine tugs to be broken up. It was not an easy job and part of the hull capsized and sank there on March 15, 2002.
Skip Gillham with René Beauchamp and André Guévremont
Lookback #613 – Tanker barge En-Ar-Co exploded at Toronto on July 23, 1934
En-Ar-Co was a former powered east coast collier. It was built at Chester, Pa., as a) Berks for the Pennsylvania and Reading Railway and launched on April 29, 1874. The ship came into Canadian registry as b) W.S. Calvert in 1906 and was then rebuilt as a tanker barge for the National Refining Co. in 1909 to carry oil in bulk.
It was later part of the Canadian Oil Co., (White Rose) and was renamed c) En-Ar-Co in 1921. The ship had been idle when sold in 1934 and was undergoing a refit for a return to service on behalf of Lloyds Tankers Ltd. when there was an explosion and fire 81 years ago today.
Owner John Russell, and three firemen, perished in the deadly events of July 23, 1934. The ship was salvageable and converted to a coal barge and lighter by the Pyke Salvage and Navigation Co. A deck crane was installed. While often idle at Kingston, En-Ar-Co saw service on Lake Ontario and along the St. Lawrence.
Its last job in July 1965 was to remove the molten rubber from the hold of the fire damaged Orient Trader at Toronto. The end came in 1969 when the 95-year-old hull was towed to Hamilton and broken up by United Metals.
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.
Tugboat salvage operation kicks into gear at Cornwall
7/22 - Cornwall, Ont. – The company responsible for the removal of two capsized tugboats from the St. Lawrence River released a statement announcing the blocking off of part of the river for the removal of the one of the tugboats.
Meanwhile, the Coast Guard has been responding to concerns about oil appearing on the water.
The two tugboats, Lac Manitoba and LCM 131, capsized on June 22 when strong currents overwhelmed the boats as they approached the Seaway International Bridge. Nadro Marine Limited owns the Lac Manitoba and Waterfront Construction owns LCM 131. The removal of both tugboats is being handled by McKeil Marine Limited.
Removal of the boats was delayed earlier this month due to strong currents that prevented workers from reaching the tugs.
In a statement released on July 17, Nadro announced that they were to be establishing a safe zone on Monday, July 20. They expected the safe zone to be in effect until around Aug. 15.
"For public safety, we are reminding everyone to remain outside of the boundaries to ensure we can efficiently move ahead with salvage of the Lac Manitoba," Nadro Marine general manager Jamie Nadrofsky said in the statement.
On Monday, crews were seen working on a barge around the Lac Manitoba. The barge was anchored via mooring lines attached to the Seaway International Bridge.
Over the weekend, pictures were sent to The Standard Freeholder via social media of oil appearing in the water.
Nadro declined to comment on the oil in the water or provide any further details on the expected timeline for removing the tugboats, deferring to McKeil. McKeil did not respond to questions regarding when both tugboats can be expected to be removed.
According to the superintendent of the Canadian Coast Guard's Environmental Response program JJ Brickett, the salvage team's contracted pollution response company responded to a spill from a piece of equipment being used in the recovery operations on Friday. A biodegradable hydraulic fluid leaked from a winch line. Brickett estimated the quantity to be approximately 100 litres.
"Canadian Coast Guard Environmental Response personnel were on scene to monitor the response; the product dissipated," Brickett said via email. "All that was observed was a sheen which was deemed at the time to be unrecoverable."
Brickett noted that the Coast Guard is taking precautions and using a hazing device to scare away birds from the area.
Ferry Armand-Imbeau II Launched at Lévis
7/22 - Chantier Davie Canada Inc. of Lévis, Quebec (also known as Davie Shipyards) recently launched a new duel-fueled ferry for the Societe des Traversiers du Quebec.
Hull # 723 was launched on July 18 using marine air bags. The vessel is the first of two identical open-deck ferries intended for the route across the Saguenay Fjord at Tadoussac. The 302-foot-long vessels will be able to carry up to 110 vehicles in 8 lanes.
Each vessel will be powered by two Wärtsilä six-cylinder 6L20DF and two Wärtsilä nine-cylinder 9L20DF engines that can burn liquefied natural gas or marine diesel fuel. It is believed that hull #723 will be named the Armand-Imbeau II, while hull #724 will be named the Jos-Deschênes II. They are the first dual fuel LNG ferries built in North America.
Port Reports - July 22
Port Colborne - John Agnew
Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
Addendum to Tuesday’s Port Reports
The new barge under construction to be mated up with the Moran tug Leigh Ann Moran at Sturgeon Bay will be named Mississippi.
Seaway notices to shipping
Lookback #612 – Transamerica caught fire at Milwaukee on July 22, 1967
The West German freighter Transamerica was a regular visitor to the Great Lakes for the Poseidon Line. The ship began coming inland with one trip in 1960 and, by the end of 1967, had made a total of 25 transits in and out of the Seaway.
Generally, the work was routine, delivering and picking up various cargoes at both Canadian and American ports scattered around the edge of the lakes. A stop at Milwaukee 48-years ago today was interrupted by a fire that broke out in the machine shop during welding work. Fortunately, quick action minimized the damage and the ship was able to continue its work.
Transamerica was built at Burntisland, United Kingdom, and was completed as Thorshall on Oct. 30, 1948. The 387 foot, 6 inch long freighter was registered in Norway and saw considerable Canadian service linking eastern Canada with south and east African ports.
It joined Poseidon as Transamerica in 1960 and remained in their service until a sale late in 1967 brought a new name of c) Emma Menthanitis and new trading under the flag of Greece. As such, the ship was back through the Seaway in 1968.
Another sale in 1974 retained Greek registry but now as d) Pantin. It moved to Cyprus as e) Panodi in 1977 and stayed Cypriot becoming f) Aristoteles in 1978. Following a sale to Pakistani shipbreakers, the former Seaway regular arrived at Gadani Beach on March 9, 1978, and was broken up for scrap.
Breakwalls and Docks #44 – Former barge Jean-Raymond serves as a dock at Beauharnois
The barge Jean-Raymond was built at the U.S. Navy shipyard in Philadelphia. The keel was laid on May 29, 1939, and it was launched on Aug. 17, 1940.
This was an unusual experimental vessel. It was named Catapult Lighter No. 1 but was better known as AVC 1. The ship entered service on Dec. 17, 1941, but was not a success.
The intent was to use AVC 1 to launch large seaplanes via an on board, catapult. The 424 foot long vessel was known as the “Silver Queen,” but the Navy had trouble with the catapult system being unreliable. The ship had also been designed to be powered, but the installation of an engine was cancelled and the vessel always served as a barge.
In 1956, the ship underwent a refit at Jacksonville, Fla., after being sold to private interests, and was renamed Pulpwood No. 1. Again it saw little active service, and it is believed to have served at a stationary pulpwood storage barge at a U.S. east coast location.
Pulpwood No. 1 arrived at Halifax on June 29, 1979, and was renamed Jean-Raymond on Sept. 3. The vessel departed on Dec. 4, 1979, for reported service in the pulpwood trade but once again saw little activity. It later joined Techno-Barges Inc. and was up bound in the Seaway on Nov. 14, 1988, with the tugs Techno-Venture and Techno-St. Laurent, carrying steel products on a voyage from Becancour, Que., to Erie, Pa.
The barge was mostly idle and, in 2011, was sunk as a dock at Beauharnois to facilitate the scrapping of the ship Kathryn Spirit. The latter was tied up there but work on dismantling the vessel was halted by politicians over environmental concerns. Both Jean-Raymond and Kathryn Spirit remain at that location.
Jean-Raymond is currently owned by 7917414 Canada Inc., a subsidiary of Excavation Rene St-Jean Pierre Inc. of Sherbrooke, Que.
Skip Gillham with Rene Beauchamp, Andre Guevremont and Bill Schell
Updates - July 22
Saltie Gallery updated
with pictures of the Beatrix, Chestnut, Clipper Makiri, Fagelgracht, Federal Katsura, Federal Mackinac, Federal Nakagawa, Federal Rhine, Fortune, Harbour Leader, Timber Navigator, and Trinityborg.
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.
Foreign steel cuts lakers’ ore float in June
7/21 - Cleveland, Ohio – With foreign steel now commanding nearly 32 percent of the U.S. market, it was inevitable that iron ore cargos hauled in U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters would take a hit, and that hit came in June. Cargos totaled 4.4 million tons, a decrease of 17 percent compared to May and 10 percent compared to a year ago.
“Although not unexpected, the slowdown in iron ore is troubling,” said James H.I. Weakley, President of Lake Carriers’ Association. “On average it takes about 1.5 tons of iron ore to make a ton of steel, so foreign steel that is dumped into the U.S. market takes ore and other cargos off the lakes.
“It is imperative that the government enforce our trade laws, and if they are ineffective, our legislators need to enact ones that protect American workers and industries. Unfair trade has decimated the American steel industry and its suppliers more than once since the early 1980s. Even right now three U.S.-flag lakers that are well-suited to the iron ore trade are idle, and there’s little prospect they will see service this year.”
Weakley further noted that two blast furnaces in the Great Lakes region have been banked and two large iron ore mines, one in Minnesota and one in Michigan, have been idled. Other ore mines have scaled back production.
Foreign steel’s intrusion into the U.S. market has been growing steadily over the past few years. Just five years ago imports accounted for 20 percent of the market.
Shipments of all the various cargos in U.S.-flag lakers totaled 10.3 million tons in June, a decrease of 1.4 percent compared to a year ago. Even though limestone cargos increased 11 percent to 3,052,346 tons, that trade too felt the impacts of unfair trade in steel. Shipments of fluxstone, used as a purifying agent in the steelmaking process, were down because of unfair trade in steel.
Year-to-date, U.S.-flag carriage stands at 31.6 million tons, an increase of 17 percent over the iced-over first half of 2014, but 1.6 percent off the 5-year average.
Lake Carriers’ Association
Port Reports - July 21
Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Daniel Lindner
Ludington, Mich. – Brian Ferguson
Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
Breakwalls and Docks #43 - Eastern 3 sunk first as a dock, then as a breakwall at Sept-Iles
While not a dock or breakwall around the Great Lakes, the former Liberty ship Eastern 3 has served in that capacity at the St. Lawrence port of Sept-Iles. As such, it will be familiar to many of the sailors who trade into the Seaway from that location.
Eastern 3 was built at New Orleans, La., and launched on May 17, 1945. It was completed as a) Beckley Seam for the United States Government in July 1945 and was one of only 24 special Liberty colliers to be built. These ships had the stack on the stern and none ever came to the Great Lakes although one, the Osprey, ventured inland as far Montreal.
Beckley Seam was sold to the Mystic Steamship Division of Eastern Gas & Fuel Associates in 1946. It was renamed b) Malden the following year and was active in the coal trade.
Listed at 443 feet, 8 inches in overall length, the 6,700 gross ton bulk freighter operated until being converted to a barge at New Orleans in 1963. The boilers and machinery were removed and the ship resumed service, under tow, as c) Eastern 3.
The vessel was towed to Sept-Iles, Que., about 1973 and sunk as a dock facing for a tug company. It was deleted from Lloyds Register in 1973-1974 but the hull remains on location but now serves as a breakwall rather than as a dock.
Skip Gillham - with help from Rene Beauchamp
Lookback #611 – Waccamaw ran aground in the St. Lawrence on July 21, 1911
The American bulk carrier Waccamaw was built at Toledo in 1900 and, after working on the Great Lakes, saw some service along the Atlantic seaboard. The 257 foot long, 1,359 gross ton vessel could easily move in and out of the inland seas.
Waccamaw ran aground in the St. Lawrence 104 years ago today. While I lack specific details of the accident, the ship required repairs to 30 hull plates and this work was carried out at Buffalo.
In 1916-1917, Waccamaw was chartered to Canada Steamship Lines for ocean trading and then went overseas to serve the French Government as Royan in 1917. It returned to North America, name unchanged, when purchased by the George Hall Coal & Shipping Co. in 1921.
Now registered in Canada, the vessel worked in the canal trades and this continued after joining the regular C.S.L. fleet in 1926.
The Depression sent Royan to the wall at Kingston about 1929 and it remained idle until sold to Les Chantiers Manseau Ltee. in 1937 and then to Marine Industries Ltd. in 1938. The ship was taken to Sorel and may have seen limited St. Lawrence service before being scrapped, likely at Sorel, in 1945.
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.
Lake Erie ferry boats involved in near miss Saturday
7/20 - Saturday's fun in the sun on Lake Erie turned dark when the Jet Express and Pelee Islander had a close call at the Jackson Street Pier.
Jet Express boat No. 4 was pulling out into the narrow channel for the 2:40 p.m. departure, said Capt. Lance Woodworth, general manager of the Put-in-Bay Boat Line Co., known as the Jet Express.
There were 145 passengers onboard the Jet Express. It is unknown how many the Pelee Islander had on board. “Our captain went to turn for a routine port to port turn," Woodworth said. "The boat did not respond as he expected."
It was then the captain pulled the lever into reverse and a collision with the Pelee Islander was avoided. The Jet Express turned around and went back to the dock. The passengers departed the ferry. “Safety is our priority,” Woodworth said.
Mechanics inspected the systems but could find nothing wrong.
The No. 4 boat recently had two new engines installed, a $1 million project. Woodworth doesn't believe that had anything to do with what happened. He will continue to investigate to determine what led to the close call.
By 4 p.m. the boat was back in service, ferrying people across Lake Erie to the islands.
A man on the Pelee Islander said he had never experienced anything similar in the 25 years he has been crossing the waters of Lake Erie to visit Sandusky. “It was close," the man said, declining to give his name. "I would say 5 meters.”
A couple sitting at the back of the Pelee Islander also discussed what they experienced. The boat was coming into dock when the couple looked up to see the Jet Express very close. “We heard the horn sound,” the woman said.
Local businessman Shaun Bickley, who is a licensed captain, was on shore and witnessed the event. He said the Pelee Islander was running west in the lower channel. “The Jet pulled out and entered the federal channel. The Pelee Island Express had the right of way. I can't tell you why the Jet Express pulled out like it did,” Bickley said.
Witnesses said the Jet Express left the dock and entered the channel too fast. Woodworth was not on the boat and could not comment on that allegation.
Bickley called the Coast Guard to report what he witnessed. Lt. Ryan Junod, public information officer for the Coast Guard, confirmed they received two complaints.
The Coast Guard talked to Jet Express officials, but as of Saturday evening had yet to talk to those with Pelee Islander. Junod said the Pelee Islander did not file a complaint.
There were no injuries. The Coast Guard has not heard that either captain is alleging a violation of the rules of the water. Unless that changes, there is nothing further for the Coast Guard to do, Junod said.
Port Reports - July 20
Water levels in Lake Huron highest they've been in 17 years
7/20 - Barrie, Ont. – Waters levels in the Great Lakes are the highest they’ve been in nearly two decades.
According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, water levels in Lake Huron went up five centimetres in June. It may not sound like much, but that's on top of 20 centimetres the lake has gone up since May of last year.
The lake reached record lows in late 2012, but precipitation amounts in the Lake Huron basin have been 18 per cent higher than the long-term average this year, which has helped boost inflows of water. Levels are now higher than they have been in 17 years.
Tour boat operator Kevin Johnston says ice cover over the past two winters has also helped reduce evaporation.
“So we are losing water if it isn't frozen in the winter and in the spring and summer that will lead to lower water levels,” he says. “So having those snappy cold days in February has helped at least from what we can see here.”
Water levels are expected to remain stable through the month of August. Typically water levels start to go down in the autumn.
Breakwalls and Docks #42 – Remains of Renvoyle became a dock for a yacht club at Ashtabula
Renvoyle received bow damage that resulted when it got caught turning in the current at Port Huron on June 1, 1967. The ship struck and sank the Sylvania which was unloading on the Port Huron side of the river. Only the sunken Sylvania sailed again while Renvoyle headed to Kingston for lay up. It went unrepaired.
Renvoyle was later awarded to the Tomlinson Corp., owners of Sylvania, in a limit of liability procedure. It was towed to Fairport, Ohio, sold at auction, taken to Ashtabula and then broken up for scrap in 1968.
Part of the hull was saved for use as a diving and salvage barge and recent evidence indicates that this section of the ship has survived longer than had been believed. It appears that the last of the Renvoyle was ultimately sunk as a dock facing beyond the bridge and up the Ashtabula River from the harbor. This would put it at the location of the Riverside Yacht Club.
Renvoyle had been built at Wallsend, England, and crossed the Atlantic as a) Glenledi in 1925. Originally of canal-sized dimensions, it was immediately lengthened at Collingwood using steel that came from overseas as cargo on that first trip.
Glenledi joined Canada Steamship Lines in 1926 and was renamed b) Renvoyle (ii) in 1927. It operated in the package freight and grain trades and was a favorite among the ship watchers for its trim appearance and lines.
In 1936, Renvoyle came to the rescue of fleetmate Emperor on storm tossed Lake Superior and, in Nov. 1950, picked up another CSL ship, the Weyburn, listing badly after the cargo shifted on Lake Ontario.
Skip Gillham with help from Brian Pyke
Lookback #610 – Zenica ran aground at the Poe Reef, Straits of Mackinac, on July 20, 1969
The Yugoslavian general cargo carrier Zenica had an embarrassing accident 46-years ago today. The ship was bound for Chicago, with what was termed a mixed cargo, but was traveling without a Seaway pilot when the accident occurred on July 20, 1969.
The 352 foot long, Swedish built freighter dated from 1952 and required lightering to Marquis Roen before tugs could pull the vessel free. It had to be towed unceremoniously from the lakes for repairs.
Originally named Ilehos, the ship became b) Zenica in 1958 and it began Seaway trading with three trips inland in 1960. It was a regular caller around the lakes loading cargoes such as synthetic rubber at Sarnia and bagged beans at Bay City, as well as delivering cryolite to Milwaukee. There two to three trips annually and a total of 22 to the end of the 1967 season with more to follow.
The vessel moved under the flag of Panama as c) Pea I in 1972 and, before the end of the year had Cypriot registry as d) Assimakis and for service between European and Africa ports. Additional sales brought the name of e) Skopi and then f) Constanza, (both Greek flag) in 1976. It was finally sold to Pakisani shipbreakers and anchored off Karachi on May 24, 1980. A berth was opened for the ship and it was beached on June 1 where the hull was broken up for scrap by Adam Corp. Ltd.
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.
USS Little Rock launched at Marinette
7/19 - Marinette, Wis. – The nation's ninth littoral combat ship, the USS Little Rock, was launched into the Menominee River at the Marinette Marine Corporation shipyard on Saturday.
The ship's sponsor, Mrs. Janee Bonner, christened Little Rock (LCS 9) with the traditional smashing of a champagne bottle across the ship's bow just prior to the launch.
"It is such an honor and a privilege to serve as the sponsor of the future USS Little Rock and to be a part of this major milestone along the way to her assuming her place as part of the great U.S. Navy fleet," Bonner said.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, who served as an officer aboard the cruiser USS Little Rock, presented the keynote address.
Following christening and launch, Little Rock will continue to undergo outfitting and testing before delivery to the Navy later this year.
"This future USS Little Rock will use interchangeable mission modules that empower her to face a variety of high-priority missions, from Anti-Surface Warfare to Anti-Submarine Warfare to Mine Countermeasures," said Vice President of Littoral Ships & Systems, Joe North. "She is ideally suited to navigate the reefs and shallows in the Asia-Pacific, as so well demonstrated by USS Fort Worth on her current deployment."
The Little Rock is one of seven littoral combat ships under construction at Marinette Marine.
The Lockheed Martin-led industry team is building the Freedom variant, and has already delivered two ships to the U.S. Navy. USS Freedom (LCS 1) successfully deployed to Southeast Asia in 2013 and is currently operating out of her homeport in San Diego, California. USS Fort Worth (LCS 3) is currently deployed in Southeast Asia, serving in the U.S. 7th Fleet to strengthen international relationships, engage in multi-regional naval exercises and further LCS capabilities using manned and unmanned assets.
Milwaukee (LCS 5) was christened and launched in 2013, and is slated to be delivered to the Navy this fall. Detroit (LCS 7) was launched in 2014. Sioux City (LCS 11) is in construction, and Wichita (LCS 13) had its keel laid in February 2015. Billings (LCS 15), Indianapolis (LCS 17) and St. Louis (LCS 19) are in the construction phase.
Port Reports - July 19
Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
Next phase in Buffalo River recovery kicks off with habitat restoration, shoreline improvements
7/19 - Buffalo, N.Y. – As the 10-year effort to remove toxic sediment from the Buffalo River nears completion this summer, the focus now shifts to shoreline access and habitat restoration along this once-dead river.
After nearly five years of planning and design work, construction is beginning at RiverBend and seven other locations along the Buffalo River that are essential for removing the river from the federal list of Great Lakes Areas of Concern by 2016.
To celebrate this next phase in the river's restoration, New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Congressman Brian Higgins, together with other state officials and local leaders, met Monday across from the RiverBend site. Restoration work there will transform the shoreline into a healthy and viable ecosystem and enhance recent economic development activity at this former brownfield site.
"This revitalization effort is a product of a thoughtful and historic public-private partnership that is restoring habitats and strengthening our local economy," Hochul said. "It was almost unheard of decades ago to imagine this site attracting new outdoor recreational opportunities - like fishing and boating - to our beloved shorelines. Today, it is clear that this investment has finally brought this dream into a reality."
"Federal investments combined with community-based action are bringing the Buffalo River back to life and breathing new life into our city," Higgins added.
When fully implemented, the projects will restore nearly two miles of shoreline and 20 acres of habitat at eight sites on the lower Buffalo River: RiverBend (east and west shorelines), River Fest Park, Blue Tower Turning Basin, Old Bailey Woods, Ohio Street Boat Launch, Toe of Katherine Street Peninsula and Buffalo Color Peninsula.
Approximately $4.7 million from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) is being provided for the restoration work through a regional partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Great Lakes Commission. NOAA and the GLC have partnered with Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper to design and implement the restoration projects by 2016. The GLRI is a federal program that is cleaning up heavily polluted areas and addressing other problems in the Great Lakes.
"The Buffalo River restoration is a global example of the how the health of our economy is directly linked to the health of our water, ecosystems and surrounding communities," said Jill Jedlicka, Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper executive director. "This groundbreaking collaboration of public, private and nonprofit sectors helped transform a regional economy that now values clean and accessible waterways as a critical component to economic revitalization and improved quality of life for our residents and visitors.”
The upcoming work builds on more than two decades of planning by local, state and federal partners, including Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Forest Service. In addition to habitat and brownfield improvements, the projects will increase natural and stable shoreline, treat stormwater, enhance and restore habitat, control and manage invasive species, reduce erosion and control sedimentation.
Over the past decade, the Buffalo River Restoration Partnership has leveraged more than $75 million to remove toxic pollutants from the river and implement other significant improvements. In one of the largest river cleanups in the history of the Great Lakes, nearly 1 million cubic yards of heavily polluted sediment is being removed from the Buffalo River and the City Ship Canal.
Breakwalls and Docks #41 – Douglass Houghton part of Ontario Place in Toronto
As mentioned earlier, the Government of Ontario purchased three retired steamers from Upper Lakes Shipping and placed them on the bottom off the Canadian Exhibition Grounds in Toronto as protection for the landfill being used for the creation of Ontario Place and the adjacent marina. The Douglass Houghton was the third of the trio to be sunk settling on the bottom in August 1969.
This ship had been built by the Globe Iron Works and launched at Cleveland on June 3, 1899. It carried two stacks at the time and, at 475 feet in overall length, was heralded as the largest ship on the Great Lakes.
It was soon in the news for another reason. On Sept. 5, 1899, the Douglass Houghton grounded in the St. Marys River, below the Soo Locks and was struck by its trailing consort barge John Fritz, and sank. This plugged the St. Marys River to all navigation for five days and when the ship was finally refloated, there were 322 vessels waiting in line.
Douglass Houghton was sold to Upper Lakes in 1945 and came into the Canadian grain trade and often towed her old running mate John A. Roebling. Because the bridge of the Douglass Houghton was aft of the #1 hatch, the arrangement could cause the occasional problem during loading or unloading operations.
This vessel operated to the end of 1967 and was idle at Toronto when sold for its new career as a breakwall. An imitation bridge has been put back on the bow as an observation vantage point and this is the most easterly of the three hulls at that location.
Lookback #609 – Former Faro caught fire on July 19, 1982, and became a total loss
The first Faro to enter the Seaway was a World War Two vintage Liberty ship that made a single visit to our shores in 1965. It ran aground off the coast of Japan on Jan. 4, 1966, and was a total loss.
The next Faro to come to the Great Lakes was a Norwegian bulk carrier that had been built at Bremerhaven, West Germany, in 1960. This 504 foot, 7 inch long vessel was a Seaway trader in 1970.
It was sold for Greek flag service as b) Argolicos Gulf in 1974 and operated for another eight years. A fire broke out in the galley while the ship was moored at Ghazaouet Roads, Algeria, on July 19, 1982, and spread throughout the after end of the ship.
After 22 years of service, the owners did not consider this vessel worth the cost of repairs. It was sold to Spanish shipbreakers and arrived at Cartagena under tow on Oct. 1, 1981. There the hull was broken up by D. Jose Navarro beginning on Oct. 28.
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.
High lake levels vex docking for Mackinac sailboat race
7/18 - Mackinac Island, Mich. – Two years ago, large sailboats with deep keels in the annual Mackinac sailing races were moved from the state harbor to the old island coal docks because of low water conditions. How things have changed.
As sailors get ready to shove off for this weekend's annual Bell's Beer Bayview Mackinac Race from Port Huron to Mackinac Island, sailboat race committee officials issued a warning that some docking facilities may not be available on the island because of higher water levels.
The floating dock, which was installed to help sailors safely exit their boats during low water levels, is now awash with water, making it slippery and treacherous to traverse. Wooden pallets have been stacked on the structure at the old island coal docks to let sailors access their boats.
Race officials have said some boats will have to dock at Straits State Harbor in Mackinaw City after the race. That means sailors who expected to have easy access to the island and their boats will have to take a ferry to and from the island, which can take 16-25 minutes.
Harbormaster Derrick Horn, of the Mackinac Island State Harbor, has been on the island 15 years.
"I haven't seen it this high since I started working here," Horn said. "It's nuts. We measure the water levels each spring, and it has risen three to five feet over the past couple of years. It's up 10-12 inches since last year."
"It's an amazing recovery," Mark Veenstra of Racine, Wisconsin, said when asked about lake levels. His 33-foot sloop, Monitor, was docked at the island's State Harbor, where none of the docks were underwater.
Water levels on the Great Lakes have risen substantially from record lows in just two years. Lakes Huron and Michigan rose three feet or more between January 2013 and December 2014, ending what researchers have called an unprecedented 15-year stretch when lake levels fell below long-term averages.
The State Harbor on the picturesque island can handle 170 boats, but the numbers increase to more than 300 when the race fleets arrive each July. Bell's Beer Bayview organizers say they expect the largest number of boats in the race in recent years. This past weekend the marina was packed with sailors and boats from the Chicago-to-Mackinac Island race.
The rate at which the lakes has risen is remarkable, said Andrew Gronewold, a researcher at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor. The Great Lakes system saw unusually high increases last September and October.
Researchers point to the last two bitterly cold winters, which caused early ice cover that reduced evaporation rates, and increased snow cover and substantial rainfall over the Great Lakes basin.
Rare Eastland disaster photos discovered in Tribune basement
7/18 - Chicago, Ill. – The photographs capture the aftermath of one of Chicago's worst disasters: rows of sheet-covered bodies inside a temporary morgue, two women crying while clutching a baby in a blanket, a Coast Guard crew hauling a woman out of the river, the Eastland flopped over in the water like a plastic toy in a bathtub, dozens of people atop its side, awaiting rescue.
But the most noteworthy images in a trove of glass-plate negatives recently discovered in the Tribune's basement archives are the views from inside the doomed excursion steamer, a vantage point rarely before seen, photo historians say.
"You've definitely found something special," said Greg Foster-Rice, an associate professor at Columbia College Chicago who specializes in the history of photography.
The collection of nearly 100 black-and-white images document one of the most tragic, yet often overlooked, days in Chicago history. On July 24, 1915, the Eastland listed to its side in the Chicago River between LaSalle Drive and Clark Street. More than 840 people died, many of them trapped inside the vessel as water poured in when the ship tipped over only a few feet from the riverbank.
Many of these photographs have never before been published. They add fresh, striking perspectives to that fateful day as the 100th anniversary of the Eastland disaster approaches. They also provide a unique glimpse into the world of newspaper photography at a time when images of breaking news or action were rare. In 1915, and for nearly 20 years afterward, daily newspapers mostly relied on text, sketches or posed photographs because cameras and the process of taking, producing and printing photographs was limited, time-consuming and costly.
There has been renewed interest in the Eastland in recent months as the centennial approaches. In addition to this collection, moving film clips of the disaster and rescue attempts recently surfaced.
Employees of Western Electric Co. and their families, about 2,500 in total, had boarded the SS Eastland for a trip to Michigan City, Ind., for a company picnic. Before the ship left, it began listing and swaying from side to side, eventually tipping over and capsizing on the south bank of the river.
The images from the Tribune archives were found inside two cardboard boxes in the newspaper's dimly lit, temperature-controlled basement archives five floors below Michigan Avenue in Tribune Tower. Marianne Mather, a photo editor at the Tribune, discovered the Eastland images in December as she searched for other images for the paper's Sunday Flashback feature.
Over 800 people died when the SS Eastland capsized in the Chicago River on July 24, 1915. Now, 100 years later, recently unearthed photos from the Chicago Tribune and recently discovered film from various newsreel sources have given historians a new look at this American maritime tragedy.
The negatives were among the photography collection amid boxes stacked seven high on metal shelves in a corner of the basement room that also contains paper copies of the Tribune, dating back more than 100 years, and also old copies of the now-defunct Chicago American, Chicago Herald and Examiner and Chicago Today newspapers. Inside the boxes, Mather found 95 glass-plate negatives with photos of the Eastland rescue and the immediate aftermath of the disaster. About half of the negatives are 4-by-5 inches, the others 4-by-6.
Among the photos are interior shots of the Eastland after the disaster, images that are of particular note to historians.
"It's unique that we see so many interior views of the boat because of what we know of the Eastland is the exterior. They're really nice, clear interior views of the aftermath of the disaster," said Leigh Armstrong of Armstrong-Johnston, a Chicago historical image research and archiving consulting firm. "It's always fun to find things in the attic or the basement. ... These certainly broaden our knowledge of the Eastland disaster and make it more real 100 years later."
Both Foster-Rice and University of Chicago art history professor Joel Snyder said the photos from inside the Eastland were taken with bulky, professional cameras using artificial lighting to illuminate the scene. Foster-Rice said the photographer made conscious choices to frame the shots, and likely used the man who can be seen leaning over the water in one image as a point of reference and scale. He also said the photos would have taken quite a bit of time to set up, considering all of the equipment needed to take the images.
"There's significant effort," Foster-Rice said. "In order to get these, they would have had to lug heavy equipment that would have been very dangerous to set up, especially if they were going to lug it down into the water in the inside of this ship to take these photos. That's pretty impressive."
Foster-Rice and Snyder also said the shots of the temporary morgue were made with long exposures because of the blurred figures on the edges of the frames and likely were taken with a camera using a tripod. Foster-Rice added that the photos are taken to give scale to the tragedy by allowing the viewer to see the size of the building holding the bodies.
The images found in the Tribune archives supplement a collection of previously published Eastland images, including the one the paper published on Page 3 the day after the accident. That photo, credited to Mike Psaris, shows victims in the water and the rescue underway about eight minutes after the Eastland flipped, under the headline "Amazing Photograph of Eastland Disaster."
It is unclear who took the photos in the newly published collection. Most photos at the time, if they were published, ran without crediting the photographer.
It wasn't until the mid-1930s, Foster-Rice said, with photography and printing technology improving and competition from weekly magazines and radio heating up, that daily newspapers began to publish more action photographs. By that time, the Eastland disaster was already a memory.
Photographers with the city's eight daily newspapers raced to the scene on that summer Saturday morning as word of the Eastland quickly spread to newsrooms.
Lyman Atwell of the Herald, Robert Hollihan Sr. of the American and Godfrey Lundberg and Fred C. Eckhardt of the Tribune also took photos that day.
Another photographer was Jun Fujita, a 25-year-old Japanese immigrant who had been taking pictures in Chicago for about a year. Fujita ended up capturing one of the iconic photos of the day, a picture of a firefighter with an anguished look on his face holding a dead boy.
Graham Lee, Fujita's great-nephew, who found many of his relative's other photos from the Eastland disaster in green metal boxes years later, said photographs of the Eastland captivate the public.
Lee's grandfather — Fujita's brother — gave Lee the green metal boxes containing many of Fujita's images. When Lee was developing the photos, he discovered several of the Eastland disaster. Many of those photos are not part of the Eastland Memorial Society's collection.
Eckhardt, in an interview published in the Tribune in 1962, recalled how he saw the steamer listing in the river as he headed to work on the open platform of an elevated car crossing the Wells Street Bridge. When he arrived at work, the newsroom was getting calls about a boat capsizing on the river. Eckhardt grabbed his camera and ran down to the river, looked for a good vantage point and began taking photos.
"I ran down the riverbank on South Water Street (now Wacker Drive) and almost got pushed into the river by people who were throwing chicken crates into the water, hoping the survivors could grab them and save themselves," Eckhardt said. "There were a lot of old loft buildings on the south side of the street. ... I climbed up a steel ladder on one of them to the second floor, and there I made my picture of the scene. I was lucky. It was a gloomy morning and clouding over rapidly. But I was a few minutes ahead of the heavy rain. ... I got back to the office in time to make the first edition and then returned to the river and worked all afternoon and night."
St. Lawrence Seaway sees drop in second-quarter cargo shipments
7/18 - Massena, N.Y. – Though the St. Lawrence Seaway saw an increase of general cargo shipments in June, its second-quarter total shipment percentage is coming up lower than that of 2014.
According to the Great Lakes Seaway Partnership, 10.4 million tons of cargo went through the Seaway between April and June, an 8.4-percent decrease from last year’s shipping numbers during this time period.
Nancy Alcalde, spokeswoman for the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, said poor weather conditions at the beginning of the year affected shipping. Additionally, 2015’s shipping numbers have been less than 2014’s, which, she added, was a strong year.
In particular, Ms. Alcalde said a decrease in certain commodities has reduced cargo shipments: iron ore shipping decreased by 12 percent, coal by 33 percent and Canadian grain by 17 percent.
Ms. Alcalde said global iron prices have dropped because of low demand and an economic downturn in China, which uses two-thirds of the world’s iron tonnage. Global coal demand has also decreased.
In terms of Canadian grain exportation, Ms. Alcalde noted several factors that contribute to a reduction in tonnage. Compared to 2013, the amount of grain collected in fall 2014 and exported in the following months was not as high. However, Ms. Alcalde noted that U.S. grain exports are up 17 percent.
So far this year, there have been three ship-related incidents that have closed the Seaway, including the cruise ship Saint Laurent, which was damaged after it struck a concrete wall in the Eisenhower Lock on the St. Lawrence River. The incident halted Seaway traffic for nearly two days. Despite the delay, Ms. Alcalde said the closure was too brief to have had any significant impact on shipping costs.
While a lack of shipping certain materials is hindering overall numbers for the Seaway, Port of Oswego Authority Executive Director Zelco Kirincich said Oswego’s port is expecting a record year in aluminium shipping. Mr. Kirincich said aluminium is in extremely high demand because of its use in U.S. automobile manufacturing.
“You can’t keep up,” Mr. Kirincich said.
Wade A. Davis, executive director of the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority, said he would not comment on the current state of Seaway shipment rates for “competitive” reasons. However, he did say it has been a “good season thus far.”
Watertown Daily Times
Conservation authority warns of high lake water levels
7/18 - Windsor, Ont. – The Essex Region Conservation Authority is urging homeowners to plan for potential flood damage with lake water levels reaching a 17-year high.
“At this point in time, we are mirroring levels that we had in 1998,” Tim Byrne, ERCA’s director of watershed services, said Tuesday at the Windsor Yacht Club. “1998 is the second-highest Great Lake water levels recorded. That’s throughout the Great Lakes basins, not just Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie.”
The effects of the high water levels have already been seen in recent weeks.
“The setup in Lake Erie two weeks ago was as much as five feet — 1.3 metres from starting water level. In the southeast Leamington area, we were looking upwards of 3 1/2 metre waves. Very significant wave conditions,” Byrne said.
He said that large waves were also observed on Lake St. Clair, causing damage to boats, docks and boat lifts. The water damage was caused by strong northeast winds which are uncharacteristic in the summer months, but more common in the fall and winter.
“The wind forces and tips the lake towards us. Northeast is our worst-case scenario for a wind situation. All of Lake Erie is pushed down the western basin up into the Detroit River. Lake St. Clair is also forced to push into the Detroit River.”
Lower lying areas adjacent to the lakes are affected, including western Lakeshore, Tecumseh, east Windsor, southeast Leamington, Point Pelee, Kingsville, Cedar Beach and Big Creek.
ERCA recommends that private property owners call their local municipality, or conservation authority to seek technical advice for pre-emptive measures to help reduce damage.
“People should not, on their own, undertake weekend warrior work where they think they might be fixing something,” Byrne said. “They could be creating more of a problem on their property or a neighboring property.”
Byrne said that the highest Great Lake levels were recorded in 1985-86, when they were just 0.4 metres higher than they are today.
“We almost made it through the entire ’85-’86 period without having to face a northeaster, so we were lucky and we got through it,” he said.
Byrne said it wouldn’t take much given these high water levels to cause damage, especially in the winter months during freeze and thaw cycles.
He said 30- t0 40-kilometre winds from the northeast are not uncommon, but are dangerous with current lake levels.
The high water levels are a result of cold winters that cause ice coverage over the Great Lakes, preventing evaporation. Although local rainfall has exacerbated the issue, it is a minor contributing factor to the high water levels.
Byrne said that the threat is serious, and now is the ideal time for full assessments of properties near shores.
“We’re not trying to fear monger, we’re trying to inform. People need to understand the threat that potentially is looming,” he said. “Not wait it out and say ‘hopefully we’ll make it by.’”
UT research vessel dedicated at Great Lakes museum
7/18 - Toledo, Ohio – A $350,000, custom-made research vessel is roving Lake Erie with crews of scientists collecting water samples and other information about Toledo’s drinking water supply and the lake’s health.
The 28-foot boat owned by the University of Toledo was dedicated Friday at the National Museum of the Great Lakes along the Maumee River.
Manufactured by North River Boats/Almar Boats in Roseburg, Ore., the boat is being used by UT researchers and scientists at the university’s Lake Erie Center.
Researchers will continue to use the center’s other boat, a 25-foot fiberglass vessel named the Mayflier.
But officials said the new boat boasts features not available on the older vessel. A heated, enclosed cabin will allow researchers to continue work even in less-than-ideal weather. The new boat also has electrical power to plug in laptops, room for lab work, more deck space, radar, and GPS systems.
“All eyes are on Lake Erie right now as we monitor this season’s algal bloom and its potential to impact Toledo’s drinking water. After the water emergency last year, the community’s interest in the health and quality of lake water is heightened, and it’s looking to experts for guidance,” said UT President Sharon Gaber, during the dedication ceremony.
The work to acquire the new vessel began before a massive 2014 algal bloom prompted notices to avoid drinking water because it was contaminated with the toxin microcystin. The incident made national news and thrust the health of Lake Erie into the spotlight.
“These are Toledo’s shores, and the University of Toledo takes this challenge to heart. With these new resources and the government and community awareness now evident, I truly believe that this is a problem we can solve,” said Ms. Gaber.
Thomas Bridgeman, associate professor of ecology, is among the researchers who uses the new boat. He used it to launch a buoy about seven miles out from the city’s water intake location to monitor blue-green algae.
This is his 14th year conducting Lake Erie research.
“My students and I every time we go out there we’ve got a smile on our face. We just can’t believe how lucky we are to have this boat,” he said.
Also attending today’s event was Ohio Department of Higher Education Chancellor John Carey, former UT president Lloyd Jacobs, Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson, and students who will spend time conducting research and study on the new boat.
The new boat has not yet been named.
Breakwalls and Docks #40 – John Fritz part of the Lakeview breakwall since 1968
The consort barge John Fritz was one of five ships of this type that saw service as a breakwall or as a dock. It was sunk, along with two other consorts, off the Lakeview Generating Station west of Toronto.
The vessel was built by F.W. Wheeler & Co. at West Bay City, Mich., and joined the Bessemer Steamship Co. on completion in 1898. The 450 foot long by 50 foot wide vessel carried as much cargo as a steamer of similar size but with a 50 percent reduction in crew. The economic advantages for that era were obvious.
John Fritz moved to the Pittsburgh Steamship Co. in 1901 and came to the Upper Lakes & St. Lawrence Transportation Co. in 1945. In the early years it was often towed by the Douglass Houghton but with Upper Lakes, it was frequently partnered with Maunaloa II.
After being retired at Goderich, the John Fritz saw service as a grain storage barge but was sold to Ontario Hydro. It loaded stone at Port Colborne and came down the Welland Canal under tow of the tugs G.W. Rogers and Traveller on Sept. 15, 1968.
The first destination was Hamilton where United Metals was contracted to remove the deck cabins. Once that was done, the ship was taken to the site of the Lakeview Generating Station and sunk on Oct. 31, 1968. The hull lies to the outside of, an parallel to the Brynbarge and John A. Roebling.
Canadian registry was not closed until Sept. 30, 1983.
Lookback #608 – Irish Maple sank small ship in River Mersey collision on July 18, 1960
The Irish Shipping Line sent 14 different freighters to the Great Lakes once the St. Lawrence Seaway was open. One, the Irish Maple, was in a collision on the River Mersey 55 years ago today.
The larger Irish Maple had been built at West Hartlepool, England, and launched on Oct. 3, 1956. It was completed on Feb. 24, 1957, but at 476 feet long by 61 feet wide, was too large for the canals leading to the Great Lakes of that era.
On July 18, 1960, Irish Maple was in a collision with the 479 gross ton British flag carrier Denbigh Coast in the Crosby Channel of the River Mersey. The 1937 vintage, Dutch-built, vessel sank as a total loss.
It was not until 1966, when it made two trips inland, did we see Irish Maple sailing the Great Lakes. It returned on two more occasions in 1967 but was sold the next year becoming b) Aliakmon Pioneer and moved under the flag of Greece.
Another sale in 1979 brought the name of c) Annoor and Panamanian registry. The ship survived another two years before being sold to Pakistani shipbreakers and its final trip ended at Karachi on Oct. 24, 1981. The hull was dismantled for scrap by the Sind International Trading Co.
Today in Great Lakes History - July 18
On this day in 1974, Interlake Steamship decommissioned the COLONEL JAMES PICKANDS after 48 years of service due to continuing problems with her boilers and engines.
AGAWA CANYON struck an abutment at Welland Canal's Bridge 11, at Allanburg, Ontario, on July 18, 1977, while downbound with salt for Kingston, Ontario, and sustained a 30-foot gash just above the waterline at the port bow.
The canal tanker COMET (Hull#705) of the American Ship Building Co., at Lorain, Ohio, entered service on July 18, 1913, for ocean service. Sold Mexican and renamed b.) COMETA in 1928. She returned to the lakes in 1936, renamed c.) COMET for Cleveland Tankers. She was lengthened in 1940. She was scrapped at Ashtabula, Ohio, in 1973.
The WILLIAM J. FILBERT was in collision with the KINSMAN INDEPENDENT, of 1907, at the Burlington Northern Dock on July 18, 1970, when the Steel Trust steamer lost control in the current entering the slip.
The entire forward superstructure of the b.) JOHN DYKSTRA, a.) BENSON FORD of 1924, including the forecastle deck, was delivered to South Bass Island in Lake Erie on July 18, 1986, on the barge THOR 101 towed by the tug GREGORY J. BUSCH. The superstructure was moved for use as a summer home where it remains. The hull of the DYKSTRA was sold to Marine Salvage, Port Colborne, Ontario and was towed from Cleveland, Ohio, July 10th by the tugs ARGUE MARTIN and GLENBROOK to Ramey's Bend arriving there on July 12, 1986, where she was scrapped.
WILLIAM A. REISS was launched July 18, 1925, as a.) JOHN A. TOPPING (Hull#251) at River Rouge, Michigan, by Great Lakes Engineering Works for the Columbia Steamship Co.
WILLIAM G. MATHER completed her sea trials on July 18, 1925.
On 18 July 1858, ANDROMEDA (2-mast wooden schooner, 112 foot, 568 tons, built in 1848, at Madison Dock, Ohio) was carrying 800 barrels of salt from Oswego to Chicago. She sprang a leak suddenly and foundered 20 miles from Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The crew escaped in her boat, many just in their underwear. They arrived at Manitowoc the next day.
On 18 July 1872, the schooner D. L. COUCH of Detroit (formerly AVCORN) sank about 10 miles from Long Point on Lake Erie. Two lives were lost.
The wooden propeller freigjhter N. K. FAIRBANK (205 foot, 980 gross tons) was launched in Marine City, Michigan by W. B. Morley on 18 July 1874. She was then towed to Detroit, where her engines were installed by William Cowie. She had two direct-acting condensing engines 34 foot x 32 inches on one shaft and her boiler was installed on her main deck. She only lasted until 1895, when she stranded and burned near Port Colborne, Ontario. The remains of the hull were sold to Carter Brothers of Port Colborne and it was rebuilt and enrolled as a new vessel with the name ELIZA H. STRONG. The STRONG lasted until she burned in 1904.
1911: The wooden steamer TAMPA sank in the Detroit River after a collision with the JOHN W. GATES of U.S. Steel. The former was raised and moved to Marine City and then, after being partially dismantled, was sunk in 1915 as a breakwall to halt erosion off the Belle River.
1938: ISLET PRINCE (ii), enroute to Owen Sound for a new service, stopped for the night behind Chantry Island, Southampton, and was struck by lightning. The ship caught fire, but all on board were rescued before the vessel sank the next day.
1954: LAKE GADSDEN was built at Manitowoc, in 1919, and lost near Corrubedo Light, off the coast of Spain, as g) SAN NICOLAS after going aground. The vessel slid back into deep water and sank.
1960: IRISH MAPLE, a Great Lakes visitor beginning in 1966, sank the 479 gross ton DENBIGH COAST in the River Mersey after a collision. IRISH MAPLE remained in service until reaching the scrapyard at Karachi, Pakistan, as c) ANNOOR on October 24, 1981.
1967: NEW YORK NEWS (iii) buckled and sank while loading salt at Pugwash, NS. The ship was raised and towed to Halifax in two sections for repairs. It survives in 2012 as e) WOLF RIVER, but has not operated for years.
1984 PANAGIOTIS S., a Seaway trader beginning in 1975, suffered severe fire damage aft in the Gulf of Aden, while on a voyage from Antwerp, Belgium, to Calcutta, India. The ship was a total loss and, while sold and renamed d) OTIS, it was taken to Gadani Beach, Pakistan, for scrapping. PANAGIOTIS S. had also visited the Great Lakes as a) VIZCAYA in 1972 and EMILIA LOVERDOS in 1975.
Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Jody Aho, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series from the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.
Port Reports - July 17
Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
Severe algae bloom in store for Lake Erie
7/17 - Toledo, Ohio – Researchers are warning that Lake Erie may be in for one of the biggest algae blooms in recent years.
A new report from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, which has begun routinely putting together bloom forecasts, found that heavy rains throughout the month of June could lead to the largest bloom of harmful algae in the Great Lake since a record-setting event in 2011 covered 2,000 square miles of water in swirling green slime.
"This forecast allows all those who need to plan to have advance warning," said Richard Stumpf, an oceanographer with NOAA's National Centers for Coastal Science. That means cities will be prepared to start water treatment and organizations that monitor lake quality can be at the ready.
The cyanobacterial algae found in Lake Erie can decimate fish populations by consuming oxygen in the water and creating so-called dead zones. It also produces toxins that are harmful to humans, restricting access to swimming and other lake activities, and requiring drinking water to be treated and filtered.
Blooms are common in August and September -- but some blooms are worse than others. NOAA measures the severity on a 10-point scale. The bloom of 2011 -- the worst observed in the lake -- ranked a 10. Last year's bloom measured 6.5 on the index, which was high enough to contaminate the drinking water of 400,000 people in Toledo.
The estimate is that this bloom is likely to measure 8.7 in severity, and possibly as high as 9.5.
Algae requires a balance of nitrogen and phosphorus to grow. Lakes, Erie included, have plenty of the former, but don't naturally contain enough phosphorus to sustain a major bloom. However, a rainy June caused massive agricultural runoff, feeding the western part of the lake with phosphorus primarily from soil and fertilizer.
Nutrient measurements taken in the lake from March through June, referred to as the spring nutrient load, were at a record high, suggesting a big bloom to come.
Stumpf said that though the forecast is dire, conditions will vary with the winds and "much of the lake will be fine most of the time." The bloom is expected to begin this month and peak in September.
"Last summer's Toledo water crisis was a wake-up call to the serious nature of harmful algal blooms in America's waters," said Jeff Reutter, Ph.D., senior advisor to, and former director of, The Ohio State University's Sea Grant program and Stone Laboratory, in a statement. "This forecast once again focuses attention on this issue, and the urgent need to take action to address the problems caused by excessive amounts of nutrients from fertilizer, manure and sewage flowing into our lakes and streams."
Governor christens Shepler's Miss Margy ferry
7/17 - Mackinaw City, Mich. – On Sunday, July 12, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder christened the Miss Margy, an all-aluminum 85-foot ferry manufactured for Shepler's Ferry by Moran Iron Works in Onaway.
The total price tag of the project – which is using products and services of 20 Michigan businesses – is $3.8 million.
At the christening ceremony, CEO Bill Shepler said he was determined to build the state-of-the-art, 281-passenger ferry in Michigan. It is the company's sixth and largest passenger ferry in Michigan.
"When my parents – including my mother, Margaret, Miss Margy's namesake – started this business, they never dreamed that 70 years later they would be helping to lead one of the most robust tourism economies in the nation," Shepler said in a release.
"The state and this region have been crucial to the success of our third-generation business, and we wanted to make sure we gave something back."
According to Moran Iron Works, the boat took more than 12,000 man-hours to build. Gov. Snyder joined Shepler in a ceremonial breaking of a bottle of champagne on the bow to christen the new ferry.
The Miss Margy will make her maiden voyage to Mackinac Island later this summer. It features an air-conditioned cabin, as well as a ventilation system to remove interior condensation from windows during inclement weather. The ferry has a top speed of about 40 mph.
Final work on Miss Margy is being done in a huge tent that has been attached temporarily to the Shepler's Marine Service building, where the christening was held. Spectators can also see work being done inside.
Updates on Miss Margy as she nears completion will be posted on the Shepler's Mackinac Island Ferry Facebook page at facebook.com/sheplersferry.
Breakwalls and Docks #39 – Rapids Queen sunk as breakwall off Yacht Club at Toronto
Rapids Queen served Canada Steamship Lines from 1913 until 1929. It operated in the passenger trade between Prescott and Montreal until it was sold.
Originally the Columbian, the ship was built at Chester, Pa., in 1892, perhaps on speculation, before it joined the Richelieu & Ontario Navigation Co. As an American registered vessel, it began service using Ogdensburg, rather than Prescott, as its western terminal.
Over the years, the vessel had a variety of routes and was rebuilt from time to time. In addition to St. Lawrence service, it sailed on Lake Superior, Lake Erie and various Lake Ontario routes becoming b) Brockville in 1905 and c) Rapids Queen in 1909.
The ship was laid up at Kingston in 1938 and was sold to the Canadian Dredge & Dock Co. for conversion to the oil bunkering barge d) C.D. 110. It operated at different locations until 1959 when it was tied up along the LaSalle Causeway at Kingston. The hull eventually settled by the stern.
It was pumped out, sold to the Queen City Yacht Club and arrived at Toronto on June 11, 1978. It was subsequently sunk as a breakwall in Toronto Bay off their property and remains in that capacity.
Lookback #607 – Hamonic burned as a total loss 70 years ago today
The beautiful passenger liner Hamonic was at the right place at the wrong time. The ship was moored at her Point Edward, Ont., berth on July 17, 1945, when a nearby warehouse caught fire. The flames spread to the wooden upper works of the ship but Capt. Horace Beaton calmly backed his vessel from the dock and ran Hamonic aground downstream in a safe location.
From there, all on board were evacuated without any loss of life although a stevedore drowned in a rescue attempt. One of the many heroes of the day was a crane operator who lifted many terrified passengers from the front of the burning ship.
Hamonic was Hull 22 from the Collingwood shipyard and it sailed on its delivery voyage to Sarnia on June 12, 1909. It arrived the next day and began regular service between Sarnia, the Canadian Lakehead and Duluth on June 23, 1909. The ship served well on this route and carried packaged freight as well as up to 475 travelers.
Following the fatal fire of 70-years ago, the ship was towed to Sandwich by the tug Helena, on to Windsor and eventually to Hamilton with the tugs Atomic and Patricia McQueen taking the last trip to the scrapyard of the Steel Company of Canada. The trio arrived June 8, 1946, after an overnight stay at Port Weller and the once beautiful ocean liner of the lakes was dismantled.
Interestingly, both tugs involved in the final voyage of Hamonic survive. Atomic remains an active part of the McKeil fleet as b) Jarrett M. The Patricia McQueen, known as d) Jiggs since about 1980, has been idle at Port Dover, Ont., for many years and was recently reported in a semi-submerged condition at that Lake Erie port.
Today in Great Lakes History - July 17
On this day in 1902, the JAMES H. HOYT, the first boat with hatches constructed at 12-foot centers, loaded 5,250 tons of iron ore in 30.5 minutes on her maiden voyage. Several days later, the cargo was unloaded at Conneaut in three hours and 52 minutes.
On this day in 1961, the C&P dock in Cleveland set a new unloading record when they removed more than 15,000 tons of ore from the holds of the E. G. GRACE in 3 hours and 20 minutes.
The ASHCROFT was towed out of Quebec City on July 17, 1969, in tandem with the steamer SIR THOMAS SHAUGHNESSY by the Polish tug JANTAR for scrapping at Castellon, Spain.
The BROOKDALE, of 1909, lost her self-unloading boom overboard in the Detroit River during a wind and rainstorm on July 17, 1980, while loading salt at the Canadian Rock Salt Dock at Ojibway, Ontario.
The Cleveland Tanker's COMET was towed from Toledo to Ashtabula, Ohio, on July 17, 1973, where she was broken up during the summer and fall of 1973.
WILLIAM J. FILBERT was launched in 1907, as a.) WILLIAM M. MILLS (Hull#348) at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. for the Weston Transit Co. (William M. Mills, mgr.).
On her last trip, the COLONEL JAMES PICKANDS arrived at Cleveland, Ohio on July 17, 1974, with a load of iron ore.
Mohawk Navigation's GOLDEN HIND loaded her first dry bulk cargo on July 17, 1954. She had been rebuilt from the Imperial Oil Ltd.'s tanker a.) IMPERIAL WOODBEND.
On 17 July 1856, TINTO (wooden propeller, 135 foot, built in 1855-56, at Sorel, Quebec) caught fire and burned to a total loss only 2 miles from shore. She was between Snake Island and Nine Mile Point on Lake Ontario. 18 lives were lost. The survivors jumped into the water and were picked up by a boat from shore. A newspaper article stated that she had no lifeboat aboard. Her machinery was later recovered and installed in the AVON.
On 17 July 1883, B PARSONS (2-mast wooden schooner, 218 tons, built in 1856, at Vermilion, Ohio) struck the north pier while entering the harbor at Charlevoix, Michigan during a gale. She sank crosswise in the channel and blocked passage into the harbor for two weeks until she broke up enough to allow vessels to pass. In December, the steam tug S S COE towed the hulk a half mile down the beach and abandoned it.
The Canada Steamship Line's HAMONIC burned at her pier at Point Edward bear Sarnia, Ont., on July 17, 1945. A warehouse next to the HAMONIC 's pier burst into flames from a fire that began from a gasoline motor for conveyor equipment being repaired by workmen. The flames and smoke were carried by a breeze to the HAMONIC. Almost in a matter of minutes the HAMONIC was doomed. She was aflame at dockside. The captain and the engineer were able to move the ship down the dock from the raging flames from the warehouse. Many of the passengers were able to get ashore. Some passengers went ashore by climbing into the bucket of a crane, which hoisted them on shore to safety. Every one of the passengers and crew were saved.
1933: SONORA and WILLIAM NELSON were in a collision in the Bar Point Channel, Lake Erie. The two ships were found at equal fault. The former was scrapped at Ashtabula in 1961 while the latter arrived at Bilbao, Spain, for dismantling as c) BEN E. TATE on July 12, 1969.
1989: SHEILA YEATES, a tall-ship visitor to the Great Lakes, hit an ice pack in fog on the North Atlantic and eventually sank 430 miles south of Greenland after an attempt to tow the leaking ship to safety failed. All on board were saved.
Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Jody Aho, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series from the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.
OPG rejects natural gas, biomass option for Nanticoke Generating Station
7/16 - Nanticoke, Ont. – The Nanticoke Generating Station's days as a major producer of electricity are over. The province stopped burning coal at the plant in 2013 and has now written off the possibility of converting NGS to natural gas or biomass.
Ontario Power Generation announced its decision in a news release Wednesday. The sprawling 800-acre complex may be given over to a solar farm some time in the future. But as for the buildings and related infrastructure, OPG “will no longer preserve and staff Nanticoke GS.”
In an interview, OPG spokesperson Neal Kelly said the eight boiler units and associated technology at Nanticoke could be removed and put to work elsewhere.
“They will either be re-purposed, reused or resold,” Kelly said. “A number of things could happen with these infrastructure assets.”
In its prime, NGS was the largest coal-fired generating station in North America. Its eight boilers combined for a peak output of 4,000 megawatts. With 650 workers, the plant was one of the local area's major employers.
The end came soon after the McGuinty government was elected in 2004. Due to NGS's production of sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxide and other smog-causing pollutants, Premier Dalton McGuinty pledged to end all coal-fired power generation in the province within several years. Several deadline extensions were needed before the last coal was burned in December of 2013.
The future of the coal-fired plant in Lambton is somewhat brighter. OPG stopped burning coal at the 2,000-megawatt facility two years ago. However, due to its proximity to a high-capacity natural gas line, the Lambton plant will continue to be maintained by a workforce of 25.
“Lambton is the more prudent risk for preservation,” Kelly said. “But that doesn't mean it will be used in the future.”
Come what may, OPG has no plans to sell the Nanticoke site. With NGS's transmission corridor and its proximity to Lake Erie, Kelly said the province may one day see fit to re-establish a major power generating station in this location.
Marblehead Light gaining historic replica
7/16 - Marblehead, Ohio – A piece of maritime history is coming to the Marblehead Lighthouse State Park. Located near the mouth of Sandusky Bay on Lake Erie's North Shore, Marblehead Light is one of the oldest on the Great Lakes.
A replica lifesaving station, originally used to help boaters in the 1800s, is under construction just south of the lighthouse.
"We're so pleased with it," park ranger Diane Rozak said. "Lifesaving stations were integral for lighthouse keepers back in the day."
The replica station will attempt to recreate the original structure which stood near the present U.S. Coast Guard station from 1875 to 1921 in Marblehead. It is scheduled to open in time for next season.
It will include a full-size boat that would have been used during the late 1800s. These boats required oars and several people to push from the station into the lake. Rozak said they are building the station as accurately as possible, which includes its proximity to Lake Erie. For instance, the boat garage faces the lake and is very near the water. Originally, the station included a makeshift ramp that would help with getting the boat launched quickly.
"This will be another historically significant place for people to visit" Rozak said. The station will cost approximately $250,000 to build and fill, park manager Mark Manatt said. The Marblehead Lighthouse Historical Society has been collecting money for nearly 10 years through donations to help fund the project. Construction started in May.
The structure will include several rooms with displays and will look original both inside and out.
Port Clinton Lighthouse will shine again
7/16 - Port Clinton, Ohio – Port Clinton city council has approved an agreement to bring the historic Port Clinton Lighthouse back to the waterfront. Council, in a unanimous vote, approved the agreement after several changes were made to the contract language Tuesday night.
The lighthouse was built in 1896 on the west pier of the Portage River. It was decommissioned in the 1950s by the U.S. Coast Guard and moved to the D.B. Jeremy's & Sons Marina, which was bought in 1985 by Brand's Marina.
Brand's Marina owner, Darrel Brand, will sign ownership of the lighthouse over to the conservancy now that an agreement has been reached with the city.
The next step is for the city to work with the state to get what is essentially a sub-lease for the portion of land near Derby Pond. That land will tentatively be used specifically for the lighthouse if the state approves, which is considered likely.
Pipeline is called an aging, oily threat to Great Lakes
7/16 - Lansing, Mich. – There would never be a petroleum pipeline built today that runs underwater through the Great Lakes like the controversial Line 5, Canadian petroleum transport giant Enbridge's more than 60-year-old, parallel pipelines running through the Straits of Mackinac, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said.
And heavy crude oil — one of the most difficult substances to remediate if a rupture did occur, like the one in the Kalamazoo River in 2010 that led to the worst inland oil spill in U.S. history — will not be moved through Line 5, Schuette said Tuesday in releasing the findings and recommendations of a state pipeline safety task force that officials hailed as a means of protecting the environment and residents, and holding companies accountable.
But while the task force led by Schuette and state Department of Environmental Quality Director Dan Wyant called for greater scrutiny, restrictions and ongoing analysis of Line 5, environmentalists who want the pipeline shut down immediately said the state missed an opportunity to use its power to truly protect the Great Lakes and its residents by turning off the spigot.
If you believe these existing pipelines pose an immediate threat to the Great Lakes — and we do — the task force recommendations amount to a rearranging of deck chairs on Michigan's Titanic of oil pipelines," said David Holtz, chairman of the Sierra Club's Michigan chapter.
"What is needed, and needed now, is to shut down Line 5."
The task force's report and recommendations also failed to address issues related to Michigan's other myriad old, eroding, natural gas pipeline networks; and the slow pace of replacement by the state's two largest natural gas utilities, DTE Energy and Consumer's Energy, that the Free Press first reported on in 2013.
Still, some environmentalists did credit the task force with putting the safety issues related to Line 5 and other petroleum pipelines in Michigan on the front burner — possibly setting the stage to one day stopping the flow of oil through the Straits of Mackinac.
Mike Shriberg, regional executive director of the National Wildlife Federation's Great Lakes Regional Center, called on state officials to act with urgency on the task force's recommendations.
"Delay only further jeopardizes our environment and economy," he said. "It's time to stop playing Russian roulette with the Great Lakes."
The task force recommended:
■ Requiring Enbridge to disclose safety inspection information on the Straits pipelines.
■ Calls for independent analysis of the Straits pipelines, and an independent look at alternatives to them.
■ Statewide, the report calls for increased coordination between pipeline operators, local governments and first responder crews on spill response plans and emergency training.
Wyant said the task force's recommendations "hold pipeline operators more accountable and provide additional protection for our environment."
"The Great Lakes are Michigan's most precious resource and our top stewardship charge," he said. "While we recognize the importance of transporting energy to power Michigan communities, it cannot be at the expense of our environment."
Line 5 was built in 1953; a 645-mile, 30-inch-diameter pipeline running from Superior, Wis., eastward across the Upper Peninsula. The line splits into two, 20-inch-diameter, parallel pipelines underwater through the 4.6 miles across the bottom of the Straits of Mackinac. The pipeline then continues south through the Lower Peninsula, where it crosses the St. Clair River into Sarnia, Ontario.
A University of Michigan study commissioned last year by the National Wildlife Federation found the Straits would be the "worst possible place" for a Great Lakes oil spill, contaminating waters and shoreline in both Lakes Michigan and Huron through the waterway's often shifting currents.
"No amount of preparation would be adequate to prevent utter disaster if Line 5 fails," said Chris Kolb, president of the Michigan Environmental Council.
Enbridge uses the Line 5 pipeline to carry light crude oil and natural gas liquids. In a Feb. 10 letter to Schuette and Wyant, company officials stated: "There have never been any prior, current or future plans to move heavy crudes through Line 5."
Heavy crude oil is considered particularly problematic because it makes traditional petroleum spill cleanup methods less effective, as the oil sinks to the bottom in clumps and adheres with sediments and other materials. The 850,000-gallon oil spill on Enbridge's Line 6B pipeline near Marshall in July 2010 was diluted bitumen, or dilbit, a heavy oil product that prompted a more than 4-year, $1 billion cleanup.
In a statement, Enbridge officials called the pipeline report "important work for the state of Michigan."
"It is important that the people who live, work and recreate near pipelines know that the pipeline is operated safely, particularly in high consequence areas such as the Straits of Mackinac," Enbridge's statement reads.
"Enbridge will review the entire report and will work with the Michigan state government to further understand the recommendations and the additional analysis that is being proposed."
In addition to the state attorney general's office and DEQ, the pipeline task force included the Michigan Public Service Commission, Department of Natural Resources, Michigan Office of the Great Lakes, Michigan Department of Transportation and Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division.
Additional recommendations include considering legislation to require a state review of oil spill response plans, improved spill reporting and stiffer civil fines. The task force also recommended the legislature consider new laws or rule-making to improve pipeline siting in Michigan.
The task force's report was largely silent on the issue of Michigan's aging, crumbling natural gas pipeline infrastructure, and the slow pace at fixing it. A 2013 Free Press investigation found that Michigan had more than 3,100 miles of old wrought- and cast-iron natural-gas pipelines — the type federal regulators consider the most at risk of corrosion, cracking and catastrophic rupturing — and that the state's two largest utilities had replaced less than 15% of these pipelines — only 542 miles — in the past decade. Only four other U.S. states had more old, iron gas mains than Michigan, and DTE Energy had more wrought- and cast-iron gas pipelines in its system than all but one other utility in the country.
Detroit Free Press
Celebrate Lake Superior Days in Duluth this weekend
7/16 - The Lake Superior Marine Museum Association will take part in the regional celebration of Lake Superior Days on Friday, July 17, Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19 at the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center. A variety of interactive exhibits, presentations and free history pier walking tours (weather permitting) will be featured from 10:30 am to 4:30 pm daily.
LSMMA is sponsoring a special feature – Music in the Park! Saturday and Sunday from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. featuring the Western Harbor Music of Gerry Ouellette. Bring a lawn chair and come on down to enjoy the music and the great scenery. All activities and music are free and open to the public.
Outside the visitor center, Friday – Sunday 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. there will be staff from Minnesota Sea Grant, the Minnesota Coastal Program, The Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC), the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis River Alliance, Jay Cooke State Park and Lake Superior Magazine. Children’s activities will be held by Jay Cooke State Park on Friday and by the U.S. Forest Service on Saturday.
Lake Superior Marine Museum Association
Breakwalls and Docks #38 – Lackawanna was a breakwall and then went overseas for scrap
The steamer Lackawanna carried that name as part of the Bethlehem Transportation Co., and the Buckeye Steamship Co. fleets and briefly for Kinsman Marine Transit. When the ship was retired due to boiler trouble, it laid up at South Chicago.
Lackawanna was sold for scrap to Marine Salvage and resold for use as a breakwall off Nanticoke, Ont. It departed South Chicago under tow of the tug Amherstburg on June 11, 1970, loaded stone at Port Colborne on June 18 and departed between the tugs G.W. Rogers and Traveller for the Lake Erie community. It was sunk during the construction of a power plant.
Lackawanna was refloated in August 1973, resold to Marine Salvage and then to Spanish shipbreakers. Following a brief sojourn at Toronto, Lackawanna arrived overseas, at the port of Santander, under tow of the tug Jantar, on Aug. 23, 1974.
Built in 1908 at Ecorse, Mich., as the Daniel B. Meacham, it became b) Edwin E. Slick in 1916 before joining Bethlehem as c) Lackawanna in 1926. It survived a grounding off Passage Isle on July 28, 1908, another off the Keweenaw Peninsula on Oct. 25, 1908, and a collision in Whitefish Bay with the J. Leonard Replogle on May 6, 1923.
Lookback #606 – Swedish visitor Erholm in collision with the Frank Armstrong on July 16, 1958
The Swedish freighter Erholm was built at Aarlborg, Denmark. It was launched on Feb. 25, 1943, but, due to World War Two, it was not completed until July 1945. Originally known as a) Erland, the 258 foot long general cargo carrier sailed on the Baltic among Scandinavian ports for the Svenska-Orient Line.
This was one of the early post-war traders to the Great Lakes. It began inland service in 1946 and, in May 1948, was listed as arriving at Chicago with a cargo of coffee from Santos, Brazil. It was noted as the first direct shipment between those ports.
Renamed b) Erholm for the Swedish-America Line in 1951, the ship continued regular inland visits through the old canal system until the opening of the Seaway in 1959. It was 57-years ago today that the vessel was in a collision in northern Lake St. Clair with the Frank Armstrong of the Interlake Steamship Co. Fortunately, damage to both ships was listed as minor.
Erholm made six trips through the Seaway with three in each of 1959 and 1960 and was back as c) Otis in 1961 and 1962 but that was it. The ship became d) Maarit (Finnish flag) in 1962, e) Tuulikki (same) in 1968 but was laid up at Kristiansand, Norway, on July 13, 1969. It was sold at public auction and returned to work as f) Avra (Cyprus) in 1973, g) Elenos in 1976 and h) Dimitra K. in 1978.
Following a sale to Pakistani shipbreakers, the once familiar Great Lakes caller arrived at Gadani Beach on August 25, 1980, and was broken up by the Haideri Trading Agency Ltd.
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.
Great Lakes Towing expands with addition of four Great Lakes harbor tugs
7/15 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Great Lakes Towing Co., which operates the largest fleet of ship docking tugboats on the U.S. Great Lakes-Saint Lawrence Seaway, has announced the addition of four more tugboats to its fleet.
The four newly purchased tugs will be named after four of the Great Lakes – Michigan, Huron, Ontario and Erie. (A tug named Superior has been in service for years, operating in the port of Detroit.)
“These four tugs will be immediately added to the fleet, and provide some new life and operational stability to our day-to-day business,” says Gregg Thauvette, Vice President – Operations, The Great Lakes Towing Co. “The equipment and machinery onboard, including the towing gear and firefighting equipment, are ideal for our operations across the Great Lakes, and will help us to continue to provide harbor towing services to our customers in more than 35 U.S. ports, in all 8 U.S. Great Lakes’ states.”
In addition to the four newly purchased tugs, Great Lakes Shipyard is in the process of reactivating the tugs Louisiana and Pennsylvania from its existing fleet, both of which have been out of service for several years. Once completed and back in service, the Company plans to also reactivate the tugs Idaho and California, which were taken out of service over the last two seasons. The company is also in the process of drydocking, refurbishment and major maintenance on 15 tugs as part of the company’s ongoing major fleet overhaul program. The schedule for this program includes recently completed overhauls on Vermont, Missouri, New Jersey, Indiana, Arkansas, North Dakota, Kentucky, Florida and New York.
Overhauls are currently in progress on North Carolina, Rhode Island and Ohio. Next up for overhaul are Superior, Wyoming and Mississippi.
“As the Towing Company continues maintain and upgrade the tugs in its fleet, the shipyard will also continue to expand and grow,” said Joe Starck, president of the Towing Company and Great Lakes Shipyard.
“We are currently in progress of building one of two new tugboats for New York Power Authority (NYPA) Niagara Power Plant’s operations in Buffalo, N.Y., and we are also building two small work barges for the United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Rock Island District.
Great Lakes Towing Co.
U.S. construction rebound bolsters St. Lawrence Seaway traffic
7/15 - A surge in U.S. construction has led to strong demand for construction materials through the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway since the start of the season in April.
St. Lawrence Seaway officials say the transport of dry bulk cargo is at nearly 3 million metric tons, up 7.5 percent through the first part of the season, April 2 through June 30. Leading the way are 102,000 metric tons of stone, a 24 percent increase. Cement products saw a healthy upswing to 563,000 metric tons, a 9.5 percent increase.
Lower Lakes Towing, one of the largest carriers of construction cement and aggregates for the U.S. and Canada, has seen a rise in the demand for construction materials over the last two seasons, despite late starts due to ice conditions.
Materials have been heading to ports in Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee and Chicago as the U.S. construction market for residential and commercial projects rebounds. The Port of Green Bay in Wisconsin is seeing increased imports of cement that is being used for a major interstate project.
In addition to construction materials, U.S. grain also remains strong. Thus far, 470,000 metric tons of grain has come through the Seaway from April 2 through June 30, a 17.2 percent increase over the same time period last year.
The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority reported that general cargo shipments of steel, project cargo and aluminum has already surpassed 75,000 tons, accounting for a 17 percent increase in that important cargo category over last year.
Across the board, however, total year-to-date (April 2 through June 30) cargo on the Seaway was 10.4 million metric tons, down 8.4 percent, with iron ore down almost 12 percent and coal shipments down 32 percent. Despite the numbers, officials say that it’s still too early in the season to predict an outcome and are optimistic the Seaway will see a boost.
Chamber of Marine Commerce
Port Reports - July 15
Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
General cargo shipments dominate Seaway traffic in June
7/15 - Washington, D.C. – June was an active month for U.S. ports receiving a variety of general cargo shipments through the St. Lawrence Seaway.
“What’s notable about the June tonnage numbers were increases in the export of U.S. grain to Europe and the import of aluminum and steel to the ports of Cleveland, Toledo, Oswego, Detroit, and Burns Harbor. Cargo activity like this is a true reflection of just how hard our port representatives are working to market their operations to current and potential customers worldwide,” said Betty Sutton, Administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. “Also notable, is that commodities being moved in containers doubled when compared to the same time frame last year.”
Toledo’s cargo terminals have been busy through the month of June with total Port tonnage surpassing 3.1 million tons. “That’s a significant benchmark for this early in the shipping season putting the 2015 season on par with the success of the 2014 season,” said Joe Cappel, Vice President of Business Development for the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. General cargo shipments including project cargo, aluminum and steel are up 17 percent over last year. “We have witnessed increases in the general cargo category every year since 2010. This is evidence that our collective efforts to deliver excellent customer service, improve our facilities and develop new business are paying off.” Cappel added, “The port terminals have been busy not just with maritime commerce but also with vessel maintenance and repair work, robust rail to truck trans-loading activity, and new roadway construction projects that are part of our ongoing modernization initiative.”
June shipments at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor were nearly 13 percent higher than the previous year while the year-to-date total was up seven percent. “The port continues to be a preferred inland hub for large specialty cargoes and the craft brewing industry,” said Port Director Rick Heimann. “The increased popularity of craft brewing has brought multiple shipments of European-made beer tanks to the port in the past two years. We have handled over 40 fermentation tanks, generally in excess of 20,000 gallons apiece, for at least three different breweries in Illinois and Michigan.”
The Port of Cleveland launched the Cleveland-Europe Express liner service last year and that strategic investment has paid dividends for the Port. “International tonnage of steel and project cargo has increased 37 percent compared with this time in 2014,” reported Dave Gutheil, Vice President of Maritime and Logistics. “The total volume of shipping container traffic has increased by over 300 percent and we are connecting Greater Cleveland to over 30 countries across four continents now,” added Gutheil. “That is critical for our region to compete in the global economy.”
The Port of Oswego received its second barge of the season carrying another 11,000 metric tons of aluminum on McKeil barges, the bulk going to the local Novelis plant. “We continue to stay on target for another record year in aluminum shipments,” said Zelko Kirincich, Executive Director & CEO.
“The rate commodities are moving through the Port of Milwaukee is near the strong pace set last year,” said Paul Vornholt, Port Director. “We have been busy with steel arriving through the Seaway, and that follows last year’s near-record quantities. Cargo expected to move in the coming weeks will continue that trend.”
Great Lakes Seaway Partnership
Great Lakes Shipyard awarded drydocking contract for cutter Katmai Bay
7/15 - Cleveland, Ohio – The United States Coast Guard cutter Katmai Bay (WTGB-101), homeported in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., arrived at Great Lakes Shipyard, Cleveland, Ohio, for drydocking, inspection, maintenance, and repairs on July 8. The contract includes hull, propulsion and steering system inspections, as well as steel repairs, hull cleaning and painting. The 140-foot Bay-class icebreaking tug was hauled out on July 13 using the shipyard’s 770-ton Marine Travelift – the largest on the Great Lakes.
Unit missions for Katmai Bay include Icebreaking, Homeland Security patrols, lighthouse projects, law enforcement and public affairs. The Katmai Bay serves throughout the entire Great Lakes system. This is the third USCG icebreaking tug to be hauled-out using the Marine Travelift at Great Lakes Shipyard.
Great Lakes Shipyard has performed work aboard all of the USCG’s Bay class ice breakers, including the fleet- installation of new Avtron Main Propulsion Control Systems at the cutter home ports. The Katmai Bay received its MPC system installation at Sault Ste. Marie in 2012.
Great Lakes Shipyard
Report opposes using Straits pipeline for tar sands oil
7/15 - Lansing, Mich. – Banning heavy tar sands oil from ever flowing through the aging twin Straits of Mackinac pipelines is one of about a dozen recommendations included in a state task force report on the status and future of Michigan pipelines.
The report, released jointly by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and the Attorney General's office after a yearlong inquiry, mandates full insurance coverage for the 62-year-old Straits pipelines, owned by Enbridge Energy Inc.
The report also calls for independent assessments of the risk to the Great Lakes posed by the pipeline, and alternatives to its future operation. The pipeline's days "are numbered," said Bill Schuette, state attorney general.
The task force has reviewed documents and heard testimony from pipeline owner Enbridge Energy Inc., state university professors, federal regulators, business groups, environmental groups and other concerned citizens.
The report's key recommendations are:
• Ban transportation of heavy crude oil through the Straits pipelines.
Other recommendations included in the report would require action by the governor, state agencies and the Michigan Legislature. They are:
• Coordinate mapping of existing pipelines among state agencies.
Schuette said the company could have chosen to transport heavy crude through the pipeline prior to the task force recommendations.
Enbridge spokespeople were not immediately available Tuesday morning, but the company posted on Twitter that there have never been "any prior, current, or future plans to move heavy crude" through the straits pipelines.
For Sale: Three Michigan Lighthouses
7/15 - For sale: three working Michigan lighthouses. The catch? Buyers must be non-profit organizations that will maintain the historic structures and keep the lights on.
The U.S. General Services Administration, the agency that among other tasks manages much of the federal government's property, said on Friday it was looking to dispose of the "excess government real estate assets."
"Lighthouses like these in Michigan have deep roots and sentimental value as local historic landmarks. Through public sales, GSA helps the U.S. Coast Guard find owners for lighthouses that aren't critical to its mission," GSA Great Lakes Regional Administrator Ann Kalayil said in a statement.
The lighthouses are still active, but are no longer needed by the U.S. Coast Guard, which has made advancements in navigation technology, GSA spokeswoman Catherine Langel said.
The GSA is offering them through an online auction as part of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act.
Interested bidders must be non-profit groups; obtain a private use agreement from the state of Michigan, which owns the land on which the structures sit; and agree to maintain and operate the lights.
Up for sale are the Gravelly Shoal Light in Saginaw Bay in Lake Huron; the Spectacle Reef Light, also in Lake Huron; and the Isle Aux Galets Light Station, commonly known as the Skilligalee, 7 miles offshore from Cross Village in Lake Michigan.
The oldest of the three is the Spectacle Reef Light, an 86-foot tower constructed in 1874. The 52-foot Isle Aux Galets was built in 1888 while Gravelly Shoal is the newest, dating from 1939, and stands 65 feet high.
As of Monday afternoon, Spectacle Reef and Ile Aux Galets had garnered bids on the GSA's website (http://realestatesales.gov) of $10,000 and $5,000, respectively. The deadlines for bids were listed as TBD, or "to be determined."
Since 2000, more than 100 lighthouses have been sold or transferred out of federal ownership, with 73 given free to preservationists and 41 sold through similar auctions, the GSA said.
Reuters via Maritime Executive
Make a paper model freighter at National Museum on Saturday
7/15 - The National Museum of the Great Lakes will hold a Great Lakes freighter paper model-building workshop this Saturday, July 18 at the museum. Participants will begin to build a paper model of a Great Lakes freighter under the watchful eye and with the assistance of master by the master builder Bob May. Models will be completed later by the participants. The paper models are from Lake Freighter Minis. Participants can choose from the Col. James M. Schoonmaker, Willis B. Boyer, Regina, Cliffs Victory, Edmund Fitzgerald or the Walter J. McCarthy Jr. The cost of the program is $18.99 (model included. NMGL/GLHS members will receive a 10 percent discount. Reservations can be made by calling 419-214-5000 extension 0.
Remembering Vega Desgagnés
Vega Desgagnés (C822171) was a double-hulled, product tanker built by Valmet OY as Hull 307 at Helsinki, Finland, and launched on August 29, 1981. The ship had been ordered by the Shell Oil Company for their Dutch-flag fleet and was delivered in March 1982 as a) Shelltrans.
The 461 foot, 11 inch long by 69 foot, 8 inch wide by 35 foot, 2 inch deep tanker cost a reported $16.1 million U.S. It was listed at 8,806 gross tons and 3,279 net registered tons and had eight cargo tanks. These were equipped with heating coils and provided a space for 82,415 barrels or 11,546 tons of cargo at a mid-summer draft of 24 feet. It could discharge at a rate of 2,000 tons per hour.
Shelltrans was powered by two, model 9R32 Wartsila diesel engines that produced a combined 7,560 brake horsepower and a speed of 14 knots. It consumed fuel at a rate of 27 tons per day under a normal full load. Electrical power was supplied by two, 1,900 kilowatt and two 330 kilowatt diesel generators. It also had a pair of bow thrusters.
Shell renamed the vessel b) Acila in November 1994 and it remained under the Dutch flag until March 1997 when registry was changed to Douglas, Isle of Man. It was sold to Petro Marine S.A. in August 1999 and registered in St. Vincent as c) Balacan.
On July 26, 2001, the vessel was enrolled at Québec City as d) Vega Desgagnés for service for Groupe Desgagnés under Pétro-Nav. Inc. It was owned by the Royal Bank of Canada of Montreal and classed by Bureau Veritas Ice Class 1A tanker in compliance for worldwide trading.
Over the years, the ship made several trips to the Great Lakes. It was upbound through the Welland Canal for the first time on August 14, 2002, and opened the shipping season along the Seaway as the first up bound Canadian transit on March 25, 2004. The vessel had also taken part in the summer supply runs to the Arctic and been active in coastal and deep sea trading.
Vega Desgagnés was laid up at Montreal when it was recently sold to Panamanian-flag interests and will depart soon for new duties as e) Fort Abel.
Breakwalls and Docks #37 – Wiarton one of three hulls sunk as a dock at Hamilton
Wiarton (ii), Grovedale (ii), and Henry R. Platt Jr. (ii), were all placed on the bottom as a dock facing during an expansion of the Steel Company of Canada mill at Hamilton, Ont. Wiarton was filled with stone and lined up as the most easterly of the hulls in November 1972.
Wiarton had operated for Upper Lakes Shipping through the 1970 season and then tied up at Toronto. It had joined ULS as a short-term replacement during the expansion of the Canadian Great Lakes fleet in the early years of the St. Lawrence Seaway.
Originally the Thomas Lynch, it had been built at Chicago for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co. and completed in 1907. The 601 foot long ore carrier could handle 12,850 tons per trip.
After being idle at Lorain, Ohio, the ship was sold to Upper Lakes and entered service in their colors as b) Wiarton in October 1965. It was used to carry grain on the Great Lakes but also saw some service down the Seaway. After being idle at Toronto, the ship was sold to United Metals in 1971. The tugs Argue Martin and Judge McCombs took the vessel from Toronto to their Hamilton scrap dock on Oct. 8, 1971. Instead of being broken up, it was readied for its new career as a dock.
An anchor was removed and has been used to display a commemorative plaque marking the 40th anniversary of the opening of the Welland Canal in 1972. The plaque remains outside the St. Catharines Museum at Lock 3 of the Welland Canal.
Lookback #605 – Cadillac missed turn in fog, ran aground on July 15, 1977
The second Cadillac was loaded with a cargo of iron ore for Cleveland when it missed a turn while down bound in the St. Mary's River on July 15, 1977. The ship was not stuck for long as three tugs came to the rescue and pulled the 620 foot, 6 inch long freighter free the next day.
Cadillac was one of the Maritime Class of World War Two bulk carriers and was Hull 291 from the Great Lakes Engineering Works at River Rouge, MI. It was launched as Lake Angeline on Oct. 31, 1942, and traded to Cleveland-Cliffs, along with the Champlain, for obsolete tonnage.
Renamed Cadillac, the vessel entered service June 19, 1943, to load iron ore at Superior, WI.
In 1969, this ship became the first Maritimer to be converted to burn oil. This work was carried out at Manitowoc, WI.
Cadillac tied up at Toledo on Sept. 7, 1981, and never sailed again. It was sold for a proposed container service to Quebec City, but this never materialized. It was resold for scrap in 1987, and came down the Welland Canal, under tow of the tugs Tusker and Glenada, on Aug. 19-20, 1987, and cleared Quebec City, Sept. 8 in tandem with her old running mate Champlain.
The pair arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, on Oct. 30, 1987, and Cadillac was broken up by Cukurova Celik Endustrisi A.S.
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 Detroi
Push is on for completing new Soo Lock project
7/14 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – Deep in the river connecting Lake Superior and Lake Huron, construction has begun on a long-awaited project in the Soo Locks that will accommodate thousands of freighters traveling the Great Lakes Navigation System.
Workers built two dams and drilled through bedrock to add another lock to the Soo Locks, which pass about 4,000 vessels carrying nearly 80 million tons of cargo every shipping season.
The new $580 million lock would be just as large as the Poe Lock — the only lock in Sault Ste. Marie that is capable of allowing passage of the largest vessels, which carry tons of raw materials to the steel, power and construction industries supporting the nation's economy.
Five years have passed since the first stage of building, which took nearly a year and cost $17 million — but that has been the only construction on the new lock authorized by Congress three decades ago.
Pressure has since been mounting from lawmakers and those in the shipping industry to find funding to finish construction on the additional lock. But the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has shown that it is not economically justified, though a soon-to-be released report from U.S Department of Homeland Security is expected to demonstrate the opposite.
For now, advocates say a new lock is needed to avert any economic crisis if the 47-year-old Poe Lock became inoperable. If that were to happen, costs to the economy could escalate to upwards of $160 million, including some that are immeasurable.
"If the Poe Lock goes down, there is a large majority of the U.S. fleet that won't be able to go through the Soo Locks," said Mark Barker, president of the Cleveland-based Interlake Steamship Company, the largest privately held vessel operator in the nation. "It is imperative we have a redundant system to ensure we can maintain this critical supply system we have on the Great Lakes for the country's manufacturing sector."
The Soo Locks are part of the Great Lakes' 1,600-mile-deep water navigation system connecting channels from Duluth, Minnesota, to Ogdensburg, New York. They are on the St. Marys River, at the river's falls, in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. The city by the same name in Canada also has a lock at the river's falls but it is small and used only for recreational boats.
There are four parallel locks in the Soo Locks but only two are currently in operation: the Poe Lock, used by vessels up to 1,100 feet in length and 105 feet in width, and the MacArthur Lock, used by tour and recreational boats and smaller freighters. The Davis Lock is rarely used and Sabin Lock, which would be the site of the new Poe-sized lock, is decommissioned.
The 42-week shipping season generally begins in March, and ends in January, with vessels transporting iron ore, coal and other commodities from mines in Minnesota and northern Michigan. But iron ore and taconite are the primary commodities, supplied to steel mills along the Great Lakes to produce steel for automakers and other industries.
Of the 77.5 million net tons of freight that were recorded in 2014, 70 percent was restricted to the Poe Lock because of the size of the vessel carrying it. A report by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers showed that the if the Poe Lock were to shut down for 30 days, it could have an economic impact of $160 million.
The amount of commodities traveling through the lock with no backup alternative is why Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, recently began lobbying federal officials to fund the new lock to mitigate any unforeseen closures that would disrupt shipping in one of the largest economies in the world.
"There is a great sense of urgency to get this done," said Stabenow, co-chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force. "We are in a global economy. We are shipping in and out of those locks all the time. We cannot rely on just one lock that has 70 percent of the traffic going through it."
Sen. Gary Peters, who is also on the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, has joined Stabenow in trying to get the project funded. "This is really critical," said Peters, D-Bloomfield Township. "We are really concerned we have just the one lock. We need to have two locks. It is so apparent for the economy, but also for the entire country."
While minimal work has been done on the new lock, further construction has been impeded partly by a 2004 economic analysis by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The report showed the new lock would cost more than the benefits, and not justified economically.
"To meet administration policy, a project has to (have benefits exceeding costs) to be budgetable," said Kevin Sprague, an engineer with the Army Corps based in Sault Ste. Marie.
But that analysis included some assumptions that are very concerning, Sprague said. Chief among them: If the Poe Lock were out of service, commodities could be delivered by rail and or truck. But Sprague said that is not the case with iron ore, which must be delivered by ship.
Because of the problems with that analysis, federal funding is being secured by lawmakers to re-evaluate it. "We think that will bring the benefit-cost ratio much higher," Sprague said.
Meanwhile, a broader report from the Department of Homeland Security is in draft form, and was overviewed last month at a meeting of the Great Lakes governors and premiers from the U.S. and Canada.
Barker, who has a draft copy of the report but declined to release it, said it could be what is needed to finally kick-start the project.
He summarized Homeland Security's conclusion of the Poe Lock shutting down without a backup this way: "It is a critical piece of infrastructure for moving commerce. The country would go into a serious recession without it."
The Detroit News
Great Lakes iron ore trade dips in June
7/14 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway totaled 6.2 million tons in June, a decrease of 6 percent compared to May, and nearly 5 percent below the level of a year ago.
Loadings at U.S. ports totaled 5.5 million tons, a decrease of 7 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments from Canadian ports in the Seaway totaled 695,000, an increase of 19 percent, but in terms of tons, the trade rose perhaps five cargos for the month.
Through June, the Lakes/Seaway ore trade stands at 21.1 million tons, an increase of 10 percent compared to a year ago. However, when compared to the 5-year average for the first half of the year, the trade is off by 10 percent. Comparisons with the long-term average clearly illustrate how the severe ice conditions that prevailed on the Lakes from early January to late April of this year have impacted cargo movement.
Given that Great Lakes shipping is the nation’s raw materials lifeline, both houses of Congress are addressing the need for more U.S. Coast Guard icebreaking resources on the lakes. The House’s Coast Guard Authorization bill authorizes the Commandant to design and build a new icebreaker for the lakes. The Senate’s FY16 Homeland Security Authorization Act, once enacted, directs the Coast Guard to study if its icebreaking resources are adequate to perform that mission on the Great Lakes.
Lake Carriers’ Association
Tanker Vega Desgagnés no longer registered in Canada
7/14 - In Montreal, the tanker Vega Desgagnés has her name painted out. Although she was observed this week still flying the Canadian flag, her Transport Canada registry was closed on July 9.
The double-hulled tanker was built in Helsinki, Finland, in 1982 and was part of the Transport Desgagnés fleet. The Marine Traffic vessel location website lists the vessel as now registered in Panama, and AIS is reporting the new name of Fort Abel.
Samuel Risley temporarily reassigned to Canada’s east coast
7/14 - The Canadian Coast Guard ship Samuel Risley has arrived in Halifax for temporary assignment on the east coast. The Atlantic region is short of ships due to a mid-life refit of CCGS Earl Grey and the drydocking of CCGS Ann Harvey following a grounding. Samuel Risley, a near sister of Earl Grey, will cover that ship's territory on the Atlantic coast and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence until autumn, servicing buoys and navigation aids. As with all Canadian Coast Guard ships, it will be multi-tasked for search and rescue and fisheries patrols.
Lake Michigan water levels rising at near record rate
7/14 - Chicago, Ill. – Since hitting a record-low water level two years ago, Lake Michigan has been replenishing at an almost unprecedented rate, rising more than 3 feet since January 2013, according to government agencies.
Experts say the swift, unexpected resurgence has provided relief to commercial shipping, recreational boaters and wildlife. However, the rising waters have also contributed to significant erosion that threatens local beaches and may damage other shoreline properties as forecasts anticipate this pattern to continue through summer.
The Great Lakes are the world's largest source of freshwater, and some of those lakes have experienced a decade and a half of below-average levels. Lake Michigan lost 4 feet of water in the late 1990s, and its levels remained low for an unusually long period.
"It just stayed below average for 15 years, which was the longest persistent below-average (stretch) on record," said Drew Gronewold, hydrologist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "People were asking, 'Will the water levels ever go up again?'"
For the first time since the late 1990s, the water levels of the Great Lakes rose above their historical averages late last year. Lakes Michigan and Huron, at their highest levels since 1998, experienced the second-largest gain over a 24-month span since the Army Corps of Engineers began keeping records in 1918. For measurement purposes, the two lakes are considered one body of water because they are linked by a strait.
While a number of factors contribute to fluctuations in lake levels — including air temperature, humidity and wind speeds — research suggests that the catalyst of the 15-year drought was a strong El Nino, an ocean current that brought about warmer waters and greater evaporation rates.
"The bottom line was, in the Great Lakes, water was warming faster than the air," Gronewold said. "When you have warmer water temperatures and colder air, there is more evaporation."
The weather system's impact was exacerbated by hot, dry summers and winters with minimal snow, according to Keith Kompoltowicz, chief of watershed hydrology for the Army Corps of Engineers in Detroit. The combination of the dry spell and El Nino eventually culminated in water levels for Lakes Michigan and Huron plummeting to a record low of 576 feet, 2 3/4 feet below the historical average, in January 2013.
"For visitors, where there was water, there was the emergence of aquatic vegetation, and the nice sandy beaches became these overgrown weedy areas," Kompoltowicz said.
While 2 feet might seem minuscule, the impact on the shipping industry was colossal. For every inch of immersion a freighter loses to low water, it must forgo 270 tons of cargo, according to Glen Nekvasil, vice president of the Lake Carriers' Association, an organization that represents 16 American companies that transport raw materials, such as iron ore, coal and flux stone, for the steel industry.
At the time of the January 2013 drop, the decrease could have cost some of the large freighters as much as 7,000 tons of cargo per trip.
Because of restored lake levels, one freighter shipped nearly 70,000 tons of iron ore, almost a full load, across Lake Michigan in June, Nekvasil said.
The Great Lakes Basin has largely been rejuvenated thanks to rain-induced runoff and higher amounts of precipitation, which have continued in Chicago as the National Weather Service recorded more than 7 inches of precipitation in June — double the monthly normal. Lower temperatures also mitigated evaporation, in addition to ice cover from the past two winters affected by polar vortexes.
"All three components have led to a surge in water levels," Gronewold said. "It's not just more rain. It's not just less evaporation."
But Gronewold said it's hard to predict all the factors that might affect the lakes.
"Not a lot of people forecast the Arctic polar vortexes six months out, and those had a tremendous impact," Gronewold said. "There are a lot of long-term trends on the regional scale that have an indirect effect on long-term climate."
While water levels grew 3.1 feet in Lakes Michigan and Huron, bested only by a rise recorded in 1950-51, Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes, also saw dramatic gains from the beginning of 2013 through the end of 2014. It rose roughly 2 feet, its highest net increase ever recorded for a two-year period.
However, Lakes Michigan and Huron are currently less than a foot above average, far from when their levels swelled to a record 582 feet — more than 3 feet above average — in 1986, experts said.
The current lake levels are forecast to rise in July and August before receding for the following four months, prompting some concerns about storms conditions.
"With the higher water levels, it'll be interesting in the fall months to see if there are very strong storms that get the lake churned up with waves and the impact on the shoreline," Kompoltowicz said.
Isle Aux Galets Lighthouse on the auction block
7/14 - Cross Village, Mich. — A lighthouse off the coast of Cross Village is up for sale in an online auction. The Isle Aux Galets lighthouse, located on Skillagalee Island about eight miles west from the shoreline, is being sold through the U.S. General Services Administration.
The sale is through the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act, where the General Services Administration, the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Park Service develop an annual list of light stations that could be transferred to new ownership.
"Isle Aux Galets is available for sale because advancements in navigation technology have reduced the Coast Guard's requirement to own and operate houses," said Catherine Langel, a spokesperson with the General Services Administration. "While the USCG may continue to maintain active aids to navigation, the structures themselves are often no longer critical to the coast guard's mission needs."
Built in 1888, the lighthouse is on the National Register of Historic Places and remains an active light. The sale is pending on the requirement that the new owner maintains the light following the Secretary of Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.
The auction for the lighthouse began on July 1. The current bid is at $5,000, and bids must be in increments of $1,000. The auction has no set closing time yet, but Langel said a closing date will be announced in the near future.
Breakwalls and Docks #36 – Remains of Algonac a breakwall at Lakeside, Ohio
Algonac was built as an iron-hulled package freight carrier. It was completed at Wyandotte, Mich., as Syracuse in 1884 and joined the Western Transit Line of the New York Central Railroad for service between Buffalo, with way stops, on to Chicago.
The 280 foot long steamer was rebuilt as the passenger and freight carrier Lakewood in 1912 for trading under the banner of the Port Huron – Duluth Line. However, business was light and it became a package freight vessel again in 1915.
In subsequent years, the ship had several owners. It became a sand dredge, then as c) K.V. Schwartz, a self-unloading sand and gravel carrier before becoming d) Algonac in 1953. It was reduced to a barge a decade later and had a variety of owners.
The hull was idle at Toledo and scrapping slowly began there about 1969 but the lower part of the ship was taken to Lakeside, Ohio, where it has been used as a breakwall.
Lookback #604 – Elat in Welland Canal collision on July 14, 1966
The Israeli freighter Elat was built by Deutsche Werft A.G. at Hamburg, West Germany, and completed in September 1960 for the Zim Israel Line. The 550 foot, 2 inch long bulk carrier was registered at 15,263 gross tons and powered by a 9600 b.h.p. M.A. N. engine.
The vessel was lengthened to 676 feet, 2 inches in 1964 and it was re-registered at 19,234 gross tons by the time it came through the Seaway for the first time in 1966. On its second trip inland, 49 years ago today, Elat was in a collision with the historic Canadian bulk carrier Lemoyne (i) near Lock 2 of the Welland Canal and received some hull damage amidships from the meeting.
Both ships were repaired and Elat recorded a total of four Seaway transits that year and two more in 1967. On one of these trips the ship is noted to have loaded a record 18,000 tons of steel scrap at Detroit for Japan.
Following a sale to Taiwan shipbreakers, Elat cleared Singapore Roads on Aug. 15, 1982, and arrived at Kaohsiung by Sept. 7. Dismantling operations got underway on Sept. 11, 1982, after 22 years of service under the same flag and owner.
Updates - July 14
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.
Port Reports - July 13
Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
Wagenborg vessel Trinityborg expected to arrive in Montreal on July 19
7/13 - Expected in Montreal on July 19 is the Trinityborg of Royal Wagenborg Shipping. The vessel is arriving from Bremen, Germany, and will eventually be heading to Ashtabula, Ohio. This will be the first visit for the Trinityborg to the Great Lakes/Seaway system. Trinityborg, IMO Number 9546485, is the fourth vessel of a new series of ships, the T-series built at the Hudong Zhonghua Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., Shanghai, China. Trinityborg was launched at the shipyard on August 6, 2013 and was delivered on November 14, 2013. Thamesborg, first of the series, IMO Number 9546459, was launched on November 15, 2012 and delivered on January 31, 2013. Taagborg, IMO Number 9546473, was launched on January 30, 2013 and delivered on May 7, 2013. Tiberborg, IMO Number 9546473, was launched on May 10, 2013 and delivered on July 30, 2013. These four new vessels are 1A ice-classed, multipurpose vessels and all are geared with four 60 ton cranes. The T-series of ships are also an additional 30 meters in length. Each vessel is 172.28 meters in length and has a beam of 21.49 meters.
On November 13, 2013, the Hudong Zhonghua Shipbuilding Co., Ltd., Shanghai, China ended seven years of shipbuilding that started on September 27, 2006 with construction of the Amstelborg and concluded with the Alaskaborg. When construction started at the shipyard in 2006, it was intended that 6 vessels (and 2 optional) 1A ice classed, geared multipurpose vessels would be built at the shipyard in China for Royal Wagenborg Shipping. As it later turned out, the shipyard would go on and produce 21 vessels, with most of which being in the A-series. After construction ended on the vessels in November 2013, a new contract was signed by the shipyard for an additional series the T-series and four new vessels, the Thamesborg, Taagborg, Tiberborg and Trinityborg respectively, would all be added to the growing Wagenborg fleet list.
Reserve your space for our Detroit River cruise- August 8
On Saturday, August 8, we will repeat the popular Boatnerd Detroit River Cruise aboard the Friendship, with Captain Sam Buchanan. This year’s cruise will be four hours and will go up the Detroit River, and hopefully into the Rouge River. A pizza lunch will be delivered by the J. W. Westcott mail boat, with a cash bar onboard. Advance Reservation Cost is $36 per person. The cruise departs at 10 a.m. from Portofino's On The River in Wyandotte, Mich. Click here for details
Updated - Breakwalls and Docks #33 – Railcar carrier Ann Arbor No. 5 served at Palisaides
(Editor’s Note: Additional information has come forth since this report was initially published that corrects part of the narrative for Ann Arbor No. 5, so we are reprinting the report as corrected. Thanks to those who have helped set the record straight.)
The retired Lake Michigan rail car ferry Ann Arbor No. 5 served as a temporary breakwall during the construction of the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant near South Haven, Mich., from 1967 into 1970. It was the middle hull, with Chembarge No. 3 on the left and Imperial Hamilton on the right.
The winter of 1969-1970 was very hard on the ships, and the three hulls were all damaged. The forward section of Ann Arbor No. 5 was cut apart on location and the pieces loaded to a barge and taken to Holland, Mich., to be recycled.
The stern appeared to be intact and was refloated and taken in tow of Holland. But it began leaking and sank nose first into deep water.
In 2005, the final resting place of the stern section of Ann Arbor No. 5 was found during the search for the remains of a DC-4 aircraft that disappeared over Lake Michigan during an electrical storm, northwest of Benton Harbor, on June 23, 1950. All 58 on board the airliner were lost when Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 2501, from New York to Seattle, went down, making it the worst airliner loss in the United States to that date. While the barge was located in the search, the remains of the fuselage of the airplane remains a mystery.
Ann Arbor No. 5 was built at Toledo and launched, in a big ceremony with about 2,000 attendees, at 11:00 a.m. on Nov. 25, 1910. The ship featured electric lighting and had staterooms for passengers on the upper deck. The vessel soon began service across Lake Michigan between Frankfort and Manitowoc carrying rail cars and passengers for the Ann Arbor Railroad.
The 360 foot long ferry had a fine career until being sold for in 1966, traded to the Maritime Commission for existing tonnage and then resold to the Bultema Dock & Dredge Co. for non-transportation use in 1967.
Breakwalls and Docks #35 – Cape Transport served as a barge and dock before scrapping
The tanker Cape Transport spent more years in a non-transportation capacity than it did in active service. It operated as the bulk carrier Northcliffe Hall (i) from 1947 through 1956 and as a tanker from 1957, becoming b) Cape Transport in 1961, to the end of the 1974 season. This meant an active career of 27 years. For the next 32 years, until scrapping in 2007, it was a generally unused barge and a dock.
After tying up at Toronto on Dec. 24, 1974, the ship was idle until being stripped for barge work. It departed under tow of Princess No. 1 but did not clear the Seaway in time and spent the winter at Sodus Point, N.Y.
Renamed d) Wittransport II in 1978 the vessel never departed the Great Lakes. It went to Kingston in the fall of 1979, became involved in politics and lawsuits, moved to Deseronto in 1984 and was brought to Hamilton by the tug Stormont on Nov. 15, 1987. There, the hull was refitted as a tanker barge and towed to Toronto on Oct. 20, 1990, to removed contaminated ballast from the Cuban salty Sibanimar unloading sugar there. The latter, on its first trip through the Seaway, had previously traded inland as a) Antonio Maceo.
At some point, the name Cape Transport was restored and the ship was towed up the Welland Canal on Dec. 18, 1991, for Windsor where it was used to store vegetable oil. It was later taken to Amherstburg and used as a dock for the General Chemical Co. before being sold for scrap.
The final trip was under tow of Vigilant I and the destination was the Dean Construction slip at LaSalle, Ont., where the old bulk carrier/tanker/barge/dock was broken up for scrap.
Lookback #603 – Algonorth departed Thunder Bay on her last trip on July 13, 2012
It was three years ago today that the retired bulk carrier Algonorth followed the tug Anglian Lady out of Thunder Bay. The pair arrived at Purvis West, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, three days later and the laker was prepared for dismantling.
This ship had been built as the deep-sea bulk carrier Temple Bar and launched at Govan, Scotland, on Sept. 1, 1970. It was completed the following April for Lambert Bros (Shipping) Ltd. and sailed in diverse bulk trades around the world.
It was rebuilt at the Jurong Shipyard in Singapore in 1976, lengthened and converted for Great Lakes and Seaway trading as b) Lake Nipigon. It came to Canada via the Suez Canal and, after a refit at Port Colborne, was put to work in the ore and grain trades for Nipigon Transports.
The ship was chartered to Misener Transportation as c) Laketon (ii) in 1984-1985 and returned to Nipigon in Dec. 1985. It resumed trading as d) Lake Nipigon in 1986 but was sold to Algoma Central later in the year and became d) Algonorth in 1987.
Algonorth served well despite sustaining minor damage from a collision at Toledo on Nov. 15, 1992, and a small fire in the cargo of storage sugar at Toronto on Feb. 21, 2004. The vessel tied up for good at Thunder Bay on Jan. 1, 2009, and remained there until departing for the Sault Ste. Marie scrapyard on July 13, 2012.
Work on dismantling of the hull continues to proceed slowly.
Updates - July 13
Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the BBC Olympus, Chemical Aquarius, Duzgit Endeavour, Eeborg, Emilie, Exeborg, Federal Leda, Federal Nakagawa, Federal Rhine, Federal Satsuki, Federal Schelde, Federal St Laurent, Federal Yukina, Flevogracht, Floragracht, Garganey, Harbour Pioneer, Hanse Gate, HHL Amur, HHL Volga, Isolda, Labrador, LS Evanne, Pearl Mist, Pioneer, Princimar Equinox, Sichem Defiance, Solina, Sten Bergen, Timber Navigator and Tundra.
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.
Former Algoma Montrealais arrives at Aliaga scrapyard
7/12 - The tug Diavlos Pride has delivered the former laker Algoma Montrealais to the scrapyard on schedule. The latter, renamed Mont for the trip overseas, reached Aliaga, Turkey, on July 10 after the long tow from Montreal. The last steam-powered bulk carrier on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes will soon be dismantled.
Skip Gillham with Bill Bird
Sunday christening planned for new Mackinac vessel Miss Margy
7/12 - Mackinaw City, Mich. – There's a new Miss Margy in Mackinaw City.
The $3.8-million, 85-foot boat, which reprises an honored family name, is joining the fleet of five passenger ferries at Shepler's Mackinac Island Ferry Co. The first ferry built in northern Michigan, it will be christened Sunday at 3 p.m. at Shepler’s Ferry Marine Service on Huron Street in Mackinaw City by Gov. Rick Snyder and Bill Shepler, the son of William Shepler, founder of the family-owned ferry line that carries tourists from Mackinaw City and St. Ignace to Mackinac Island.
The former Miss Margy, named for William Shepler's wife, Margaret, was one of the company's first two ferry boats when it began in 1950 to carry visitors to what locals simply call the island, a popular summer tourist destination. Two other ferry services also run the route: the Arnold Mackinac Island Ferry and the Star Line.
"We know we had to have the capacity to continue to handle increased island traffic, along with the increasing demand for charter cruises, and we knew capacity is needed," said Chris Shepler, son of Bill Shepler. "Things are good on Mackinac Island, and things are good in the ferry boat world."
The vessel is state of the art, with three 2,000 horsepower engines, a climate-controlled interior with air conditioning and fog-free windows. The Miss Margy will carry 281 passengers at 40 mph. Shepler's will add up to 10 employees with the new vessel, adding to its high-season workforce of 210.
The ship was built at Moran Iron Works in Onaway, 50 miles south of its home port, and transported over land to Rogers City, where it made its way to the Shepler Marina in May for completion of its wiring, paint and seating.
William Shepler came home from World War II to his hometown of Mackinaw City and opened a snack shack for visitors traveling to the island, in the straits between the Upper and Lower peninsulas. Shepler added two charter boats, each carrying just six passengers and not considered ferries.
"The two boats, the Miss Penny and the Fiji, were Hacker Craft kits and there was no protection from the weather," said Chris Shepler, who as president of today's Sheplers Mackinac Island Ferry Co. is the third generation family member to run it.
Then, in 1950, William Shepler, who died in 1988, built a 30-foot cabin cruiser with twin gasoline engines, and named her "Miss Margy." That was the first enclosed ferry to the island for the company and could hold 24 passengers. Today, after 70 years of growth, the company has five ferries and one service vessel.
The Shepler family wanted to use all Michigan material, if possible. The aluminum came from Alabama; most of the other materials are from Michigan.
Some 12,000 construction hours over four months with specially trained welders put the all-aluminum ship together.
Arnold Transit, the oldest in the Straits of Mackinac that began service in 1878, also runs to the island. "We run two ferries out of St. Ignace, and two out of Mackinaw City," said Heather Tamlyn, sales and marketing manager for Arnold Transit. Two other catamaran ferries were sold at auction this spring. Star Line has six boats in its fleet, CEO Jerry Fetty said.
Port Reports - July 12
Phoenix has reached Red Sea on way to Dubai
7/12 - The saltwater bulk carrier Phoenix was headed down the Red Sea as of July 11 reportedly on the way to Dubai. The ship left Quebec City on June 9 after a period of idleness at Sorel.
The ship first came through the Seaway as the Italian freighter Sagitarius on Oct. 2, 1990, bound for Cleveland with a cargo of steel. It returned inland from time to time before becoming b) Bestar in 2010. It was sold to Vanguard Maritime Ltd. and registered in Canada as c) VSL Centurion in 2011 and headed up the Welland Canal for the first time on Nov. 14, 2011.
The ship was idle much of 2012 but did resume service as d) Phoenix Sun on Nov. 7, 2012, going to Hamilton to load for Sorel. But there were not many trips and the ship tied up at the end of the year at Sorel and remained there through 2013 and 2014 before being sold and resold. After a series of false starts, the vessel departed Sorel on May 24, 2015, but had to anchor at Trois Rivieres and then Quebec City before finally departing for Dubai.
Coast Guard details risks of Port Huron Float Down
7/12 - Port Huron, Mich. – About a month before thousands of people flock to the St. Clair River for the Port Huron Float Down, the U.S. Coast Guard will address city leaders about the risks of the annual event.
Members of the U.S. Coast Guard will make a presentation to the Port Huron City Council on Monday to discuss safety concerns related to the event, according to Operations Specialist Chief Gabriel Settel, assistant public affairs officer for the U.S. Coast Guard Sector Detroit.
“We would like to express to all that attend the Float Down this year to be aware of the hazards of the river and the overall safety concerns with the event,” Settel said in an email.
Each year, area authorities recommend caution before the unsanctioned event in which thousands of participants on flotation devices drift from Lighthouse Beach in Port Huron to Chrysler Beach in Marysville.
The route is nearly seven miles long and can take up to six hours depending on weather conditions. The packed waterways, commercial and recreational boating traffic, and the route’s proximity to the Canadian border can make assistance or rescue efforts difficult for authorities.
During the 2014 event, a 19-year-old Fenton man drowned while floating down the river with a group of about 40 friends. His friends told authorities Brady Morton decided to leave his raft to go swimming. He never returned to his raft. Morton’s body was found after a 4-day search that involved helicopters, rescue boats, sonar, remote operated underwater vehicles and cameras.
Settel said cold air and water temperatures have a quick effect on those taking part in the event, as do winds that blow flotation devices away from shore and toward Canada. “Safe alcohol consumption should be adhered to, if of age, and having a life jacket for everyone on the floats should be recommended,” Settel added.
This year’s Float Down will begin at 1 p.m. Aug. 16 at Lighthouse Beach in Port Huron, according to the event website.
Port Huron Times Herald
Breakwalls and Docks #34 – Charles Hubbard one of four sunk at Burns Harbor
In an unusual decision, the Charles Hubbard was launched on March 9, 1907, without any ceremony. It is almost certain that a shipyard or new ship owner would celebrate such an occasion but this vessel slid into the water without fanfare from the Toledo Shipbuilding Co. for the L.C. Smith Transportation Co.
The 458 foot long bulk carrier moved to the Great Lakes Steamship Co. in 1911 and joined the Wilson fleet in 1957. All three owners kept the same name and used the ship to carry iron ore, coal and grain on the upper four Great Lakes.
On July 21, 1959, the Charles Hubbard and the Swedish freighter Signeborg collided in western Lake Erie and the laker sustained considerable damage.
After being idle at Milwaukee for several years, the hull was sold, traded to the U.S. Maritime Commission, resold and taken to Burns Harbor for sinking as a breakwall. It remained on the bottom during the harbor construction project and it is believed that the hull was ultimately scrapped there but that has yet to be verified.
Lookback #602 – Monty Python ran aground off La Ronde on July 12, 1985
The Maltese freighter Monty Python departed Flushing, Netherlands, for its only Great Lakes voyage on June 9, 1985. The ship arrived at Detroit to load scrap on July 2 and was on its way back to the sea when it stopped at Montreal to top off.
This member of the Flying Circus Shipping Co. Ltd., fleet had the lines part and the ship drifted aground off La Ronde 30-years ago today. The salvage barge P.S. Barge No. 1, a) Edwin T. Douglass, was brought to the scene and 2,000 tons of scrap were removed from the fourth hold. There was no hull damage and, after being pulled free, Monty Python reloaded at Lanorie and resumed the voyage.
This 568 foot, 7 inch long bulk carrier was built in Spain and completed as Monte Zalama in August 1967. The Spanish flag freighter was in trouble early going aground off Navassa Island, an uninhabited U.S. island south of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on Nov. 11, 1969. It drifted off the reef the next day and was taken in tow. The voyage to Japan could not be completed and Monte Zalama was brought to Haiti and then back to Santander, Spain, for extensive repairs. The ship was lengthened amidships during this work with the overall length becoming 600 feet, 4 inches.
Monte Zalama was a Seaway trader in at least 1970 and 1971 but was laid up at Santander on Nov. 2, 1982. It resumed sailing as b) Monty Python in 1985 but was sold to Chinese shipbreakers not long after the accident at Montreal.
Monty Python arrived at Dalian, China, on Nov. 3, 1985, and was broken up for scrap.
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.
Ex-Boblo boat Columbia to travel to Buffalo for further restoration
7/11 - Windsor, Ont. – As a teenager growing up in Amherstburg in the late 1970s, I did what most kids did – I spent my summers working on Boblo Island. Each day I would climb aboard the Papoose ferry for a five-minute ride to the island’s amusement park. But the lucky passengers arrived after a 90-minute river cruise from Detroit on one of two steamers — the SS Columbia or the SS Ste. Claire.
I can still hear the distinct sound of the steam whistle blowing to announce an arrival or departure. That sound was silenced in 1991 when the ships stopped running, followed by the amusement park’s demise in 1993.
The steamers sat virtually abandoned and unprotected from harsh winters at a dock in Ecorse, Mich., slowly decaying until a group from New York called The SS Columbia Project began the slow work to breathe new life back into the 113-year-old Columbia.
Executive director Liz McEnaney estimates the restoration project will cost US$18 million.
Work on the hull was completed two weeks ago in a shipyard in Toledo, Ohio. Now the Columbia awaits the next step on her journey, which will see her eventually working again as an excursion steamer but this time on the Hudson River in New York state.
New York’s gain is our loss. No longer will we see her gliding quietly up and down the Detroit River.
I can recall the Columbia pulling up to dock at Boblo Island and all I would hear were the voices of excited children and happy adults ready to disembark to enjoy a day of picnicking and playing.
“The thing about a steam engine is the engine is perfectly silent,” McEnaney said. “That makes it quiet when it’s moving.” She said the boat’s whistle is in a private collection currently.
“We have to get the original whistle back because everyone describes the whistle as kind of this unmistakable sound,” McEnaney said.
Restoration work will continue once the Columbia is towed to Buffalo in August. The ship is expected to remain there until next summer when she’ll make a more difficult voyage to Kingston, N.Y., on the Hudson River.
“The majority of the work we’ll be doing will be when the boat gets to the Hudson River,” McEnaney said. “The summer of 2016 we’ll make the big tow to the Hudson River and the boat’s too big for the Erie Canal so it has to go through the Welland Canal, up the St. Lawrence Seaway and then down the eastern seaboard.”
The Columbia is registered as a National Historic Landmark and is America’s oldest surviving passenger excursion steamer. The ship, designed by Frank E. Kirby, was built in 1902 in Wyandotte, Mich. It took almost a year to stabilize the steel hull and repair over 900 rivets.
The boat’s superstructure is wood and shipwrights – artisans skilled in building vessels – will do the restoration work with guidance from New York’s historical preservation department, McEnaney said.
“They’ve been helpful in offering advice and guidance in making sure that we maintain as much of the historic fabric that we can,” she said. Much of the interior woodwork has rotted so a lot of replacement will need to be done.
McEnaney said the group has raised over $3 million through state grants, private foundations and individual contributions and a business plan has been developed to keep the project “sustainable because when she’s docked in New York she’ll also serve as an event space … able to hold over 500 people for a sit-down dinner.”
Donations can be made through the group’s website at sscolumbia.org.
McEnaney said the group earlier this week launched an oral history initiative and is looking for stories and memories from anyone who remembers riding on the Columbia. There is a link on the group’s Facebook page at SSColumbiaProject or you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“We want to make sure that those stories stay with the boat when she’s moved to New York and become part of the permanent exhibition,” McEnaney said.
Port Reports - July 11
Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
Manistee, Mich. – Brian Ferguson
Kingston exhibit shows how Seaway serves millions of people daily
7/11 - Kingston, Ont. – In the 1990s, when the Internet was first becoming popular, "information superhighway" was a term used by people to describe where they had gone looking for anything interesting online. But passing by just south of Wolfe Island is a superhighway of another kind, the marine superhighway, the Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway System.
Opening to the public on Saturday, an exhibit extolling the benefits of the Marine Superhighway and how it affects the daily lives of millions of people will be hosted at the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes in Kingston.
Sandrena Raymond, the museum's curator, has been working with staff and volunteers putting in long hours to get the exhibit ready.
The exhibit features maps, photos, new ship models, products that the ships carry, and hands-on interactive displays, one of which shows how a ship goes through a St. Lawrence Seaway lock and another how ships self-load and unload their cargo.
Souvenirs will also be on display from the opening of the seaway in 1959.
The museum will also have a real-time tracking display of all of the ships moving through the system, among other displays. The new permanent exhibit will stress how marine traffic in the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes affects the lives of millions of people living in Canada and the United States.
The Marine Superhighway stretches from the Lower St. Lawrence River at the Atlantic Ocean all the way to Duluth. Minn., on the western shore of Lake Superior, a distance of 3,700 km. It borders two provinces -- Quebec and Ontario -- and eight American states.
According to the marine museum, the corridor serves more than 100 million people living on its shores and beyond. Raymond said that without the system, items people take for granted today wouldn't be as available as they are or would cost much more.
"To me, what makes it important is we have the products we're so used to having," she said. "Opening up the seaway turned all these inner ports into sea ports. Everything is available to us now. It created a huge difference in the economy, allowing us to have the things we have."
Since the completion of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959, cargo ships no longer stop in Kingston. The superhighway connects 15 major and 50 regional ports and moves 180 million tonnes annually. One-quarter of the cargo is destined for or has come from ports in Europe, South America, the Middle East and Africa.
More than 225,000 jobs are provided in and along the shipping route.
The exhibit will also point out that transporting goods by ship is one of the most economical and environmentally friendly ways of doing business. An average-sized ship can carry 25,000 tonnes of cargo, equal to 225 rail cars or 870 trucks. Moving over water, rather than rail or highway, is much better and not a strain on highways and other infrastructure, Raymond said.
"With the congestion that we already face, it would be insane," she said. "With the amount of stuff being moved, it would not be feasible to do it by truck or by train."
According to the museum's research, the environmental impact of shipping, based on hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions, is significantly lower than its railway and trucking counterparts.
The exhibit will be open to the public in the Page Room at the museum starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Admission to the museum at 55 Ontario St. is $8.50 for adults, $7.75 for seniors, $6 for students and $4 for children five to 14 years old.
Sombra Museum exhibit features artifacts from unique shipping vessel
7/11 - Sarnia, Ont. – Nautical history buffs will have a rare opportunity to examine artifacts from a ship that frequented the St. Clair River during the 1850s.
Sombra Museum has unveiled a display documenting the life of the barque New Brunswick, a 129-foot sailing vessel built in St. Catharines that holds an important distinction in Canadian shipbuilding history.
“While it was very typical of the tall ships that you’d see on the St. Clair in the 1850s, it was unique in that it was the first North American-made sailing vessel to take a load of wheat across to England and back,” said the museum’s Allan Anderson.
“Normally, wheat would ship to Quebec and then it would be the bigger European and English ships that would make the journey across the ocean.”
Originally constructed in the 1840s, the New Brunswick was owned by the Merritts of St. Catharines, relatives of William Hamilton Merritt, the man responsible for building the original Welland Canal.
The ship made its maiden voyage in May 1847, leaving Chicago hauling 18,000 bushels of wheat. The vessel sailed down the St. Clair River and cleared the Welland Canal before making the journey to Liverpool, England.
For over 10 years the New Brunswick sailed the St. Clair, making the jaunt across the Atlantic, reflective of the new breed of ships that existed in the Great Lakes at the time. But in the summer of 1858, the ship met an early end.
In August, a powerful storm hit Lake Erie while the New Brunswick was transporting square oak timbers to Tonawanda, NY. Gale winds ripped the ship apart, killing all five of its crew members. The ship sank in 40 feet of water, not far from Wheatley.
For years after its early demise, rumours abounded about the ship’s cargo, said Anderson. Many believed the ship’s cargo contained a sizeable quantity of black walnut hardwood, at the time an incredibly valuable commodity.
“Everybody thought that they’d get rich,” Anderson said. “But nobody knew how to salvage the ship and claim it.”
It wasn’t until 120 years after the New Brunswick sank to the bottom of Lake Erie that a man named Mike Dilts was able to use fairly sophisticated technology to pinpoint the wreckage and salvage material from the ship.
Unfortunately for Dilts, the stories of black walnut weren’t true. After salvaging the oak timbers and over 200 artifacts from the ship, he couldn’t find any of the valuable hardwood in the wreckage. Dilts gave some of the artifacts he found from the New Brunswick – such as shoes, pulleys and chains – to a friend in Sarnia, Marty Cole, who recently provided the materials to the museum.
Now members of the public can take a glimpse at some of the finds from the New Brunswick, a ship that holds a prominent place in the evolution of North American shipping.
“It’s just a great find,” said Anderson. “It’s really reflective of shipping in the Great Lakes in that period, it pertains to shipwrecks, improvements in shipbuilding and the history of the St. Clair River.”
The Sarnia Observer
Breakwalls and Docks #33 – Railcar carrier Ann Arbor No. 5 briefly a breakwall.
The retired Lake Michigan rail car ferry Ann Arbor No. 5 served as a temporary breakwall from 1967 into 1969 during the construction of the Palisades Nuclear Power Plant near South Haven, Mich.
The ship was refloated and reported as scrapped but there is evidence to the contrary. It appears that the vessel was converted to a deck barge, still with the tracks attached, and used as late as 2005.
That year, the barge was involved during the search for the remains of a DC-4 aircraft that disappeared over Lake Michigan during an electrical storm, northwest of Benton Harbor, on June 23, 1950. All 58 on board were lost when Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 2501 from New York to Seattle went down making it the worst airliner loss in the United States to that date. Still no trace of the main fuselage has ever been located.
Ann Arbor No. 5 was built at Toledo and launched, in a big ceremony with about 2,000 attendees, at 11:00 a.m. on Nov. 25, 1910. The ship featured electric lighting and had staterooms for passengers on the upper deck. The vessel soon began service across Lake Michigan between Frankfort and Manitowoc carrying rail cars and passengers for the Ann Arbor Railroad.
The 360 foot long ferry had a fine career until being sold for “non-transportation” use in 1967. I have not seen any further word on the fate of the barge but it may still linger somewhere at an eastern Lake Michigan port.
Lookback #601 – Chembarge No. 4 scuttled in Lake Huron on July 11, 1964
Of the four ships rebuilt as barges for Tank Truck Transports, Chembarge No. 4 had the shortest career. The vessel had been towed to Sarnia during the week of May 28, 1962, and perhaps saw brief service under tow as well as for storage.
During the summer of 1964, sulfuric acid began leaking into the bilges and it was decided it was best to tow the ship into the deep water of Lake Huron. The tugs Atomic and Aburg took up the challenge 51-years ago today and sent the former canal-sized steamer to the bottom, plunging bow first, in 42 fathoms of water, at a location about 16 miles off Goderich.
This vessel had been built at Hull, England, and set out from Swansea, Wales, as a) Judge Kenefick, with 1,944 tons of coal for Toronto, on April 3, 1925. The 261 foot long bulk canaller joined the Eastern Steamship Co. and remained in their colors until being acquired by Upper Lakes and St. Lawrence Transportation in 1936.
It was sold to the Mid-Lake Line in 1960 and, beginning in 1961, operated in the Lake Erie coal trade as b) H.J. McManus but also took at least one cargo of grain to Toronto. The ship was sold to Marine Salvage late in the year, and the cabins were removed at Ramey's Bend.
The pilothouse survived for years as a storage shed at this location but a recent check of the site indicates that it has been removed.
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.
Salvage work suspended on tugboats
7/10 - Cornwall, Ont. – The Canadian Coast Guard reported Thursday evening that work to recover fuel from two capsized tugboats in the St. Lawrence River have been temporarily suspended due to strong water currents.
A release said the decision was made by the vessel's owner to protect salvage crew safety. The situation is “stable,” the release stated, with no observed pollution. Active sheening of oil on the water has not been detected for over a week.
Any sightings of soiled wildlife along the St. Lawrence River, Cornwall area, should be reported. A wildlife reporting hotline has been established at (519) 583-1080.
Minnesota Power to idle coal-burning power plant in 2016
7/10 - Taconite Harbor, Minn. – Minnesota Power, long the state’s most coal-dependent electric utility, said Thursday that it will stop burning the fuel next year at a large power plant on Lake Superior’s North Shore.
The utility, whose 144,000 northern Minnesota customers include power-hungry iron ore plants, said idling and eventually retiring the Taconite Harbor power plant in Schroeder, Minn., will save money and help meet a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
One of the three generating units at the plant already has stopped burning coal, and the remaining two will be idled in 2016, probably in the fall, the company said. To replace the plant’s power, the company said it intends to purchase electricity off the Midcontinent power grid, where favorable wholesale prices make it a good time to buy.
“The decisions we are making here are in the best interest of customers,” Al Rudeck, vice president of strategy and planning for the Duluth-based utility, said in an interview. “This is being done for economic reasons because of the wholesale market prices.”
Rudeck said the decision to idle the Taconite Harbor plant is not related to cutbacks in the taconite industry, its largest power user. The 42 power plant employees will be offered other utility jobs next fall, though plant won’t be retired until 2020, he said.
The utility, a unit of Duluth-based Allete Co., also said it plans to boost its energy efficiency efforts, add 33 megawatts of solar power and build up to 300 megawatts of natural gas-fired generation by 2030. A megawatt is 1 million watts.
These steps are part of Minnesota Power’s plan called Energy Forward announced in 2013. The goal is to get one third of the utility’s electricity from renewable sources, one third from natural gas and one third from coal. The utility, which once got nearly all its power from burning coal, now relies on it for about 75 percent of its energy.
“This is a critical step for Minnesota. As renewable energy like wind and solar continue to undercut the costs of new natural gas, they can provide a lower-cost, cleaner option than natural gas for new electricity,” said J. Drake Hamilton, science policy director at Fresh Energy, a St. Paul nonprofit that advocates for cleaner energy. “Those renewable resources, together with vastly improved energy efficiency, will allow Minnesota Power to shut down dirty, inefficient coal plants ….”
Rudeck said Taconite Harbor won’t be a potential site for a new natural gas power plant because there is no gas pipeline serving it. He said the company is working with community officials to repurpose the plant, but has no specific plans yet. Minnesota Power acquired it from a bankrupt taconite company in 2001.
The utility also recently stopped burning coal at its Laskin Energy Center in Aurora, Minn., after converting its two units to burn natural gas. The utility’s other coal power plant, the four-unit Boswell Energy Center in Cohasset, Minn., will remain in operation. The largest Boswell unit, which is part owned by another utility, is undergoing a $325 million pollution-control upgrade.
With Minnesota Power’s announcement, a total of 14 coal-burning generators at six Minnesota power plants are now retired or will be by 2020. The other plants are owned by various utilities, including Xcel Energy, Rochester Public Utilities and Otter Tail Power Co.
Port Reports - July 10
St. Marys River
Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Breakwalls and Docks #32 – C.S. Band, the former Owendoc, a breakwall off Port Elgin
In 1975, when its days as an ore carrier, pulpwood carrier, grain carrier and storage barge were over, the C.S. Band was sunk as a temporary breakwall off Port Elgin, Ont. The ship was refloated on Sept. 1976 and towed to Whitby, Ont. The vessel arrived at Toronto under tow of the tugs Colinette and Terry S. on Oct. 20, 1976, and scrapping got underway almost immediately. Work did not take long and was completed in Feb. 1977.
This was one of the consort barges. It was built at Chicago and launched as Martha on March 7, 1896. The 367 foot, 6 inch long carrier served the Minnesota Steamship Co. before joining U.S. Steel and their Pittsburgh Steamship Co. in 1901.
Martha was sold for work in the pulpwood trade as b) Florence in 1937 becoming c) Maureen H. in 1938 and d) Florence J. in 1939. Then, in 1949, it was purchased by the Paterson fleet and worked as their grain carrier e) Owendoc. As such, it was often towed by their steamer Quedoc (i).
Owendoc visited ports around Georgian Bay, Lake Huron and Lake Erie and was retired at Goderich. It joined the Goderich Elevator Co. as f) C.S. Band in 1962 and was used as a grain storage hull at that Lake Huron community for over a decade before its brief tenure as a breakwall.
Lookback #600 – Rahane, later A.A. Hudson aground in American Narrows on July 10, 1938
A grounding in the American Narrows of the St. Lawrence resulted in severe bottom damage to the Rahane on July 10, 1938. While the ship was salvaged and repaired, it was sold and renamed before returning to service.
Rahane had been built at Wallsend, England, in 1924 and came to Canada for the Toronto-based Rahane Steamship Co., under Canadian Terminal Steamship Ltd. It arrived with 2400 tons of coal from Swansea, Wales, and was soon engaged in the package freight trade.
The 261 foot long canaller was sold to the Sarnia Steamship Co. in November 1933 as a replacement for the lost John J. Boland Jr. It was given a new cargo boom and stack the following year and served Capt. R. Scott Misener until the fatal grounding.
Rahane was carrying a mixed cargo of steel, package freight and grain when it landed off Ironside Island 77-years ago today. The ship was listed with severe bottom damage but was released, after being lightered to the barge Cobourg, and repaired at Kingston.
The vessel joined the Northwest Steamship Co. the next year as A.A. Hudson. It resumed package freight service mainly sailing between Detroit River ports, Georgian Bay and Lake Superior destinations. However, during World War II, the ship spent some time, under requisition, trading along the Atlantic seaboard.
The pretty town of Wallaceburg was often a destination, but the welcome was not warm when the ship opened the navigation season there in April 1948. This was a period of union strife and armed S.I.U. pickets took over the ship for two days.
A.A. Hudson left the lakes during the fall of 1965 and was scrapped near Jacksonville, FL. as c) Hudson Trader in 1971.
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.
Great Lakes surface temperatures higher than year ago
7/9 - Grand Rapids, Mich. – Weather officials say water temperatures in the Great Lakes are higher than at the same time a year ago.
Warmer Great Lakes waters could help keep Michigan from having an extremely cold winter.
The data from the Great Lakes Environmental Research Center covers lake temperatures from Sunday and July 5, 2014. Lake Superior has the biggest difference in average surface water temperature, up 3.5 degrees this year to 48 degrees. Temperatures for Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are roughly 3 degrees higher on the surface than last year.
Surface temperatures are about 2 degrees higher on Lake Ontario and 0.4 degrees higher on Lake Erie.
First European cargo since 1960s unloads at Port of Monroe
7/9 - Monroe, Mich. – The Port of Monroe received its first European cargo since the 1960s Monday, signaling what Port Director Paul LaMarre III calls the port’s initiation into the modern, global transportation industry.
After a two-week journey from Bremen, Germany, the 411-footlong Faglegracht, a Spliethoff Lines container vessel out of Amsterdam, unloaded its cargo of windmill blades for Ventower and 127 sections of 40-foot long pipes for the Ohio gas line. What is Port of Monroe?
Port of Monroe is a commercial harbor established in 1932. It is located off E. Front St. and intended to provide easy access for cargo to the interstate and railway transportation networks in southeast Michigan.
After overseeing what he calls a significant increase in cargo coming through the port over the past three years, Mr. LaMarre, 34, who celebrates his three-year anniversary with the Port of Monroe this week, said this event marks a milestone in the port’s history and a preview of the kind of transportation services he hopes to see the port offer more often in the years to come.
“I think the Port of Monroe has not necessarily been seen as a potential gateway to international trade in recent history, but this is proof that our capabilities are far-reaching,” Mr. LaMarre said. “It essentially takes our port from being a highly productive domestic cargo hub and broadens its reach across oceans.”
Patric Drewes, 34, Chief Executive Officer of Carl Polzin, the logistics company handling the cargo, also acknowledged the importance of this venture. Mr. Drewes said that choosing a comparably small port like Monroe seemed a little strange, but intimate nature of the port proved beneficial in such a complex exchange due to the care everyone puts into their job.
“It is a big deal, and not just for the Port of Monroe,” Mr. Drewes said. “We hope this is the start of regular business. There are a lot of clean energy products coming into the Great Lakes, as well as gas and oil projects. In the Port of Monroe, we have definitely found a port that can handle this kind of cargo.”
Mr. LaMarre adds that the benefits of this operation extend beyond the port in terms of revenue and job creation. He says that the pipe being unloaded will be used in the natural gas line that will span from Ohio, through Michigan to Ontario, and the project will be staged in Dundee.
“We see Monroe potentially being a major spoke in the wheel of construction for the larger project,” Mr. LaMarre said.
According to Mr. LaMarre, the port’s opportunity to receive international cargo is attributable to several factors, including the significant dredging of the port over the past two shipping seasons, which deepened the main channel draft to a low-water average of 21 feet and the turning basin to 18 feet. Mr. LaMarre added that the recent rainfall and winter precipitation certainly helped, too, raising the water levels in the lake nearly 3 feet. The Faglegracht required a draft of 19 feet.
“While the rain has been a challenge to many, it has been of great benefit to the port,” Mr. LaMarre said.
The successful transportation required the coordination of six entities beyond the Port of Monroe, including: DRM Terminal Services and Barnhart Crane and Rigging for the unloading of the cargo in the port, Carl Polzin, Mund and Bruns cargo surveyors and Logistics Plus, and Spliethoff Lines. As Port Director, Mr. LaMarre said his responsibility was not only to identify the port’s capabilities, but to ensure adequate communication between every element of the operation.
Mr. LaMarre said no more European vessels are presently scheduled.
Monroe Evening News
Port Reports - July 9
Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Salt mine keeps Goderich alive, 'youthful'
7/9 - Goderich, Ont. – Deep under Lake Huron, five kilometres from shore, miners work in a cloud of fine particles, the beams from their headlamps piercing the darkness. The rooms and tunnels they have dug out are huge, the ceilings 20 metres from the floor.
Trucks load and scurry about, tipping their loads of freshly mined salt into crushers connected to long, fast-moving conveyor belts.
Some 500 people work in this mine in Goderich, Ont., exploiting a massive and almost pure deposit that is the small town's ace in the hole.
"There is salt underground in this seam for 100 years of mining, " said Gerry Rogers, the Compass Minerals executive in charge of the operation. "It will last a long time."
The company says the salt mine in Goderich, a town about 100 kilometres northwest of London, is the largest in the world. And business is good.
Almost all of the salt that comes out of the mine will be used as road salt, spread on highways and sidewalks in cities and towns around the Great Lakes.
Many of those cities have endured two tough winters in a row, which used up their stockpiles of salt.
They are now ordering more, which means the mine is near peak production this summer, trying to keep up with demand.
Ships call regularly at the port in Goderich to be loaded with freshly mined salt.
Derek Hoggarth, a recent hire, is grateful to have a well-paying mining job in a community he has called home "forever." "We're busy," he said. "It's a mainstay for 500-plus people. It's what is needed to keep the community alive and keep it youthful."
Goderich has had its share of job losses. A big Volvo plant that made road graders shut down in 2008, a move that eliminated 500 manufacturing jobs and damaged the town's economy.
Mayor Kevin Morrison said the blow was devastating to Goderich. And when a large manufacturing operation leaves, it can't be replaced.
"What we are finding is the days of the large industry coming to a community like this, it's gone," Morrison said. "You hear the doom and gloom throughout the province, throughout the country."
Goderich still has the mine, however. It is now the town's biggest employer. And it isn't going anywhere.
But some residents still worry about the future.
At the community ballpark, fans taking in a youth baseball game were lamenting the loss of stores and services in Goderich's beautiful downtown square, (which is actually round).
"The salt mine is OK, but that's the only thing we got," said Jan Kinahan. "We've lost a lot. The square has not recovered. There is no shopping around here for young people. They have to go to the city."
Beside her, Meiva Alves nodded in agreement. "I have a small motel," she said. "Things are closing, like Volvo and Zellers. Young people have no option."
Still, Goderich is better positioned than most small towns, with an employer that can't leave, producing a product that is needed every winter. And when bad weather hits, business gets even better.
Steel production rises by 6,000 tons
Raw steel production in the Great Lakes region rose to 628,000 tons last week, the second straight week it's increased.
Local steel output has been much lower than normal all this year amid a flood of imports that now account for a historic 32 percent of the total market share. Overall U.S. production trails 2014 by 7.6 percent.
Great Lakes steel production increased by 6,000 tons, or 0.9 percent, in the week that ended Saturday, according to an American Iron and Steel Institute estimate. Overall U.S. steel output fell by 2.82 percent over the same period.
Most of the raw steel production in the Great Lakes region takes place in the Chicago area, mainly Lake and Porter counties in Northwest Indiana. Indiana has led the nation in steel production for more than 30 years.
Production in the Southern District, which encompasses mini-mills across the South, plunged to 555,000 tons last week, down significantly from 597,000 tons the week before.
Total domestic raw steel production last week was about 1.684 million tons, down from 1.733 million tons a week earlier.
Nationally, domestic steel mills had a capacity utilization rate of 71.2 percent last week, down from 73.3 percent a year earlier. The capacity utilization rate had been a much healthier 79 percent at the same time a year earlier.
Year-to-date output has been 45.2 million net tons, at a capacity utilization rate of 72.4 percent, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.
NW Indiana Times
Tugs passing Halifax
7/9 - Two tugs bound for the Great Lakes passed Halifax, Nova Scotia Wednesday morning. Susan McAllister, newly acquired by Great Lakes Towing, is heading for Cleveland, Ohio. Mariya Moran is destined for Sturgeon Bay, Wis., to pick up a barge.
Enter Michigan History magazine's first ever "Picturing Our Past" photo contest
7/9 - Michigan History magazine is seeking submissions for the first annual Picturing Our Past photo contest.
The contest is open to all amateur photographers who are invited to submit a total of up to six history-themed images in any or all of the following categories: Landscapes, Living History, Monuments, Ruins, Structures, and Vehicles. Photos must be the work of the entrant and have been taken in Michigan (within land and lake boundaries). With the exception of Living History, all photo subjects must be 50 years or older.
For complete contest rules and submission guidelines, visit www.hsmichigan.org/publications/michiganhistory/photo-contest
Breakwalls and Docks #31 – Sidney E. Smith Jr. became a breakwall at Sarnia
The Sidney E. Smith Jr. (ii), sank on her starboard side in the St. Clair River on June 5, 1972, following a collision with the Parker Evans. All on board were rescued but the current created considerable stress on the hull and it cracked, with the bow falling off into deeper water.
This led to a major challenge for the salvagers and the ship had to be dealt with in two sections. The stern was refloated on August 6, 1972, and pulled ashore at Sarnia. The bow was brought to 100 feet from shore on Sept. 22 and the cabins were removed.
After considerable work and preparations, the two sections were sunk as a breakwall off the Sarnia Yacht Club.
The Sidney E. Smith Jr. was built as W.K. Bixby and launched at Wyandotte, Mich., on Nov. 5, 1905. It was delivered to the National Steamship Co. the following April and entered to ore, coal and grain trades.
The 500 foot long vessel was renamed b) J.L. Reiss in 1920 and converted to a self-unloader in 1933. It saw most of its work in the Reiss fleet before moving to the American Steamship Co. in 1969 and the Erie Sand Steamship Co. in 1971. The latter applied the name c) Sidney E. Smith Jr. (ii) in 1972 and the vessel only carried one or two cargoes before its final, fateful voyage.
Lookback #599 – Birchglen (ii) loaded record cargo of windmill components on July 9, 2010
The Canada Steamship Lines bulk carrier Birchglen departed Gros Cacouna, QC five years ago today with a record cargo of windmill components. It was the first of five scheduled loads for delivery to Burns Harbor, IN and eventual installation at Bloomington, IL.
The components were stored on deck and in the holds and the trip was hailed as largest single shipment of its type to date. The report indicates that the voyage equaled the work of 402 highway trucks.
Birchglen has been sailing for C.S.L. since 2003. It was built for lakes and ocean trading as a) Canada Marquis and first served the Misener fleet from 1983 until 1991. It was sold and renamed b) Federal Richelieu in 1991, c) Federal Mackenzie (ii), later that year and Mackenzie in 2001. All of these names traded through the Seaway and to various parts of the world.
The 730 foot long bulk carrier is now 32 years old and has had a long and interesting career on saltwater as well as fresh.
Updates - July 9
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.
Lakes limestone trade tops 4 million tons in June
7/8 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 4,042,766 tons in June, an increase of 6 percent compared to May, and 9-plus percent compared to a year ago. The June stone float is also the highest monthly total since July of 2014.
U.S. quarries shipped 3.3 million tons in June, an increase of 6.8 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments from Canadian quarries totaled 765,000 tons, an increase of 21 percent.
Year-to-date the Lakes limestone trade stands at 9.9 million tons, an increase of 24.4 percent compared to a year ago. Market conditions alone do not explain the increase. The ice on the Lakes was so formidable in March, April, and early May of 2014 that the limestone trade got off to one of its latest and slowest starts in recent memory. Other cargos were similarly impacted.
Congress is aware of the delays Lakes shipping has suffered these past two winters. As a result, the Senate’s FY16 Homeland Security Appropriations bill directs the Coast Guard to conduct a Great Lakes mission analysis study within 180 days of the bill’s enactment to determine the assets necessary to effectively and reliably keep commerce moving during the ice season, including consideration of a second Mackinaw-class icebreaker. The House’s Coast Guard Authorization Act authorizes the Commandant to design and build a new icebreaker for its Lakes fleet.
An icebreaker with capabilities that match the Mackinaw is estimated to cost $151 million. Cargos cancelled or delayed by ice these past two winters have cost the region an estimated 5,800 jobs and $1.1 billion in economic activity.
Lake Carriers’ Association
Carferry Badger designated as the continuance route of U.S. 10
7/8 - Ludington, Mich. – Since 1926, U.S. 10 has been broken into two segments by Lake Michigan between the port cities of Ludington, Michigan, and Manitowoc Wisconsin.
The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials have notified Lake Michigan Carferry that the route traveled by the Historic SS Badger will now be designated as the continuance route of U.S. 10.
AASHTO is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing highway and transportation departments in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico and work in tandem with Michigan DOT and WI DOT. AASHTO represents all five transportation modes: air, highways, public transportation, rail, and water.
“The Michigan Department of Transportation is happy to be a partner with the Michigan-based Lake Michigan Carferry Service and the Wisconsin Department of Transportation in creating this U.S. 10 designation across Lake Michigan,” said MDOT Chief Operations Officer Greg Johnson. “The ferry service plays an important role in the tourism industry, as well as the efficient movements of goods in our two states.”
The SS Badger transports passengers, vehicles and commercial traffic between the two ports from mid-May through mid-October. The ship is the last remaining operating coal-fired passenger steamship in the United States and is currently being considered for National Historic Landmark Designation from the United States Department of Interior.
The 410-foot historic Badger plays a major role in the connectivity of the U.S. 10 route by linking millions of travelers, hundreds of thousands of vehicles and commercial cargo throughout the upper Midwest.
“We are very pleased that both states recognize the current and historic importance of the Ludington to Manitowoc ferry route serviced by the SS Badger,” said Pat McCarthy, vice president of shore operations.
U.S. 10 is an east-west United States highway connecting the states of Michigan with Wisconsin, Minnesota and South Dakota by means of ferrying across 60 miles of Lake Michigan.
U.S. 10 is one of only two U.S. highways with a ferry service/connection.
Ludington Daily News
Port Reports - July 8
Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Monroe, Mich. – Mike Nicholls
Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Rochester, NY. - Tom Brewer
Bridge planned for St. Marys River, part of cleanup project
7/8 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mi. – Officials say construction will begin next year on a 625-foot bridge on the St. Marys River, an important step toward repairing more than a century of environmental damage.
The river links Lakes Huron and Superior. Navigation projects have disrupted its water flow, and bottomlands around Sault Ste. Marie were coated with industrial discharges.
The latest project in the Little Rapids area involves building the pedestrian and vehicle bridge between Sugar Island and another island (not the mainland) with a ferry landing. It's designed to restore more natural currents and produce 50-to-70 acres of fish spawning habitat.
The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality says it's expected to be the final action needed to remove the U.S. side of the St. Marys River from a list of heavily degraded Great Lakes sites.
9 & 10 News
National Museum remembers Eastland disaster
7/8 - Toledo, Ohio – On Saturday, July 18, the National Museum of the Great Lakes will remember the victims of the SS Eastland disaster with a program by PhD candidate Cailtyn Perry Dial. This July 24th is the 100th anniversary of the Eastland disaster. Perry will present her research, “Only the River Remains: Memorializing the Eastland Disaster 1915-2015” at 1:00PM at the Crown Plaza Hotel in downtown Toledo.
The Eastland disaster at the time was one of the worst transportation disasters in American history. Perry will discuss the disaster’s quick fade from public memory and efforts to restore its place in the public consciousness.
The program is $12 per person but free to members of the National Museum of the Great Lakes/Great Lakes Historical Society. RSVP’s are required and can be made by calling Ben at 419214-5000 extension 204 or emailing email@example.com. The Crown Plaza is located at 444 N. Summit St., Toledo, Ohio.
National Museum of the Great Lakes
Breakwalls and Docks #30 – Tampico now a dock at Frankfort, Mich.
7/8 - Tampico had a remarkable career on both Great Lakes and saltwater routes and managed to survive ocean service during both world wars. It served numerous owners without a change in name.
The ship was built at Toledo in 1900 and was intended for use in coastal and inland trading through the old canal system. But it was sold to a Seattle-based company and departed for Pacific coast trading.
Tampico returned east for the coal trade along the Atlantic seaboard in 1916 and came back to the lakes for additional service and refit at Ecorse, Mich., as a sand dredge in 1924. It was acquired by Nicholson Transit in 1937 and converted to a crane ship, again at Ecorse, the following year.
The U.S. Shipping Board took over Tampico in 1942 and it was refitted as a bulk carrier and went overseas, on loan to the British Ministry of War Transport, departing Canada with a cargo of coal in March 1945.
Tampico returned to the Great Lakes for Nicholson in 1947 and saw additional service until being retired. It was sold for scrap in 1961, resold and converted to a barge in 1963 and, after being idle at Detroit, was towed to Two Rivers, Wis., for use as a breakwall during the construction of a power plant in 1967.
After being refloated, the ship was brought to Frankfort, Mich., and sunk there as a dock facing, along with Adrian Iselin, at the eastern end of the harbor.
Lookback #598 – Edward L. Strong, later Wellandoc, in a collision on July 8, 1923
7/8 - The Edward L. Strong, a bulk canaller, was built at Trois Rivieres, QC and joined the George Hall Coal and Shipping Co. on completion in 1923. The 2,052 gross ton carrier was designed for the canal trades and usually handled coal, grain or pulpwood.
On July 8, 1923, the ship was in a collision with the Glendochart between Lock 17-18 of the old St. Lawrence canals at Cornwall. The damage was repaired and both vessels continued in service.
Edward L. Strong took on a bigger foe on April 25, 1925, when it was in a collision with the John L. Kling near Marine City and this time damage was listed as $4,321.61.
The vessel joined Canada Steamship Lines in 1926 and was renamed b) Sherbrooke in 1927. It went overseas during World War Two and operated under the British Ministry of War Transport in coastal service but the Sherbrooke is also listed as a supply carrier during the invasion of Normandy in 1944.
The ship did not immediately return to the Great Lakes and operated as c) Arosa and then d) Ida O. At some point the forward cabin was moved amidships and the ship saw Mediterranean service under the flag of Italy as Ida O.
N.M. Paterson and Sons brought the vessel back to the Great Lakes as e) Wellandoc in 1952 and it operated through 1958. It arrived at Port Dalhousie, under tow, in Sept. 1961 and was broken up there in 1963.
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.
Algoma Montrealais scrap tow progressing
7/7 - As of Monday morning, the former Algoma Montrealais, under tow of the tug Diavlos Pride as c) Mont for scrapping at Aliaga, Turkey, was south of Sicily and moving at 6.4 knots. They are due to arrive at their destination on Friday after having left Montreal on June 10. Algoma Montrealais was the last steam-powered Canadian bulk carrier on the Great Lakes.
Salvage on tugs slated to start Tuesday
7/7 - Cornwall, Ont. – Salvage operations on the two boats that sank in the St. Lawrence River on June 22 are planned to start on Tuesday. The Canadian Coast Guard has been watching very carefully to ensure there is minimal detriment to the environment and on Tuesday will begin lightering operations.
“Lightering is the process of removing oil or other hazardous chemicals from a compromised vessel to another vessel to prevent oil from spilling into the surrounding waters,” said Carol Launderville, communications advisor with Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Salvage crews will be conducting the lightering operations.
In the instances of ship source or mystery spills, the CCG leads the co-ordination of the environmental response, said Launderville.
The CCG is partnering with the commercial oil spill response company ECRC, the owners of the vessels, salvage crews and police to ensure public safety and protection of the marine environment.
“Officials from the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, the City of Cornwall, the Township of South Glengarry, the Eastern Ontario Public Health Unit, along with federal and provincial agencies are actively involved and taking measures to ensure public safety,” said Launderville.
MCA has a precautionary “Do Not Consume” water advisory for Pilon, Hamilton, Calquohoun and Dickerson Islands in effect until further notice. MCA said the advisory will remain in effect until salvage operations are complete.
The Eastern Ontario Health Unit has a precautionary advisory for residents who draw their water from the St. Lawrence River between Glen Walter and South Lancaster. Full details are posted on the Township’s website.
Cornwall’s water supply is drawn from above the RH Saunders Generating Station and therefore no water advisory has been issued from the city.
Once again, the CCG is asking if anyone sees any soiled wildlife along the river in the Cornwall area to report it to the wildlife reporting hotline that has been established for this purpose at 519-583-1080. So far, no calls have been received.
The CCG has issued a safety warning to other vessels who may be travelling in the area to avoid the salvage area.
Port Reports - July 7
2015 Round Island Lighthouse open house this Saturday
7/7 - Each year the Round Island Lighthouse Preservation Society and the National Forest Service hosts an open house to raise funds to put toward the Round Island Lighthouse. The lighthouse has an amazing history behind it and from the outside looks great but the inside is rough. The Preservation Society is working to raise money to put toward restoring the lighthouse
The open house will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. this Saturday, July 11, and the cost is $15 per person. On the tour you will learn the history of the lighthouse and walk through the entire lighthouse from bottom to top. The tour will take roughly 2 hours. Toward the end you can go outside on top of the lighthouse, which is a great place to get pictures of surrounding landmarks. You can get amazing photos of the Mackinaw Bridge, Mackinac Island and the ships that pass by, and ship pictures from Round Island that you can't get anywhere else. The tour will be guided by the Preservation Society and the Freeland Boy Scouts.
To get to Round Island, we will pick you up in a boat on Mackinac Island. This boat will carry you 3/4 of the way to Round Island. The island is very rocky, so we can’t pull a boat up to it. Therefore we have a rubber zodiac you will transfer into and that will take you to the rocky shore of Round Island. We would recommend that you put electronics in a Ziploc bag. Please no children under the age of 8. Be prepared to have to step into an inch of water at the shore while getting out of the zodiac.
In the event of bad weather, or waves that are too dangerous to navigate by our volunteers, we will have to cancel the open house, or close it down temporarily until conditions improve. Sometimes a cancellation comes about abruptly with sudden changes in conditions. We will do our best to convey a cancellation to the Mackinac Island Visitors Center and to the various ferry lines.
The Round Island Lighthouse is only open to the public one day each year. That day is this coming Saturday.
See roundislandlightmichigan.com/openhouse for more information.
Round Island Lighthouse Preservation Society
St. Lawrence Seaway Notice to Shipping issued
Click here to read the notice: http://www.greatlakes-seaway.com/en/pdf/navigation/ntsmlo20150706.pdf
Breakwalls and Docks #29 – Former Ridgetown sunk off the Credit River west of Toronto
7/7 - The retired bulk carrier Ridgetown has had two stints as a breakwall. The first was temporary, while the second has continued for the past 41 years.
No fleet has seen more of their ships end up on the bottom as a dock or breakwall than Upper Lakes Shipping. Ridgetown is one of eight former company vessels to be used in such a way and all eight are still serving where they were placed in Lake Ontario.
After operating through the 1969 season, Ridgetown tied up at Toronto for good on Nov. 17. The ship was sold to Canadian Dredge and Dock Ltd. in 1970 and came up the Welland Canal under tow on June 1, 1970. After loading stone at Port Colborne, Ridgetown was ushered up Lake Erie to Nanticoke and sunk there as a temporary breakwall.
When the work was completed, Ridgetown was refloated and arrived at Toronto, under tow of Salvage Monarch and Helen M. McAllister, on Sept. 5, 1973. The other two breakwall ships involved at Nanticoke, Kinsman Venture and Lackawanna, were resold for scrapping overseas, but Ridgetown was taken to the mouth of the Credit River, west of Toronto, and sunk off a marina on June 21, 1974. It is still there.
Ridgetown was built at William E. Corey and, when launched on June 24, 1905, was heralded as the largest ship on the Great Lakes. It served U.S. Steel until June 20, 1960, and, after a period of lay-up at Duluth, resumed trading for Upper Lakes Shipping as Ridgetown on Aug. 3, 1963.
Lookback #597 – Former Beechmore caught fire on July 7, 1978
The British freighter Beechmore was a frequent caller to the Great Lakes during the early years of the Seaway.
The 372 foot long motor vessel had been built at Burntisland, UK and launched on July 15, 1954, for the Johnston Warren Lines Ltd. It could carry in the range of 4,900 tons of cargo.
Beginning with three trips inland in 1959, Beechmore had a total of 12 voyages to our shores to the end of the 1962 season. It was renamed b) English Prince in 1965 and came under the flag of Cyprus as c) Mandraki in 1969. The latter was back through the Seaway again in 1971.
Another sale in 1962 resulted in the rename of d) Naftilos and the ship was back to the Great Lakes, still under Cypriot registry, in 1973. It became e) Mariber, Greek flag, in 1975 and this was shortened to f) Mari in 1977.
Mari was on a voyage from Rijeka, Yugoslavia, to Alexandria, Egypt, when it caught fire on July 7, 1978. The ship was beached near the Dugi Otok Islands of Yugoslavia, the next day and eventually sold to Yugoslavian shipbreakers. The hull was refloated on Sept. 22, 1978, and arrived at Split on Sept. 26 where it was broken up by Brodospas.
Updates - July 7
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.
Preparations for salvage of two sunken tugs in Cornwall continues
7/6 - Cornwall, Ont. – Salvage of the two sunken tugs near the Seaway International Bridge in Cornwall has not yet begun, the Canadian Coast Guard said last week.
In a release, the coast guard said several measures have been taken to ensure the safety of all on the waterway and the protection of the environment as the salvage plans are finalized and enacted.
As a result, a safety notice to shipping has been issued to advise all boaters to stay clear of the salvage area. A barge is secured to the bridge by a 300 foot long cable marked with an orange ball buoy and flashing yellow lights. The safety notice is being broadcast by coast guard radio out of Prescott and is also posted to the Canadian Coast Guard's website.
The drinking-water advisory posted by the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne for Pilon, Hamilton, Calquohoun and Dickerson islands remains in effect until further notice. This will be kept in place throughout salvage operations, as the MCA would have difficulties in reaching the affected residents should any pollution be released into the river during the vessels' salvage.
Transport Canada has done three overflights of the area so far, confirming no active sheening or release of fuel. Other flights will take place periodically to provide this visual confirmation as salvage gets underway.
The coast guard also said no reported sightings of soiled wildlife along the St. Lawrence have yet been reported to the reporting hotline. Any such sightings should be phoned into 519-583-1080.
The two ships sunk more than a week ago while making preparations for the demolition of the old high-level north channel bridge. That project has been underway for almost 12 months and the vessels would have been used to assist with the demolition of the centre span over the river.
16 rescued from burning boat on Lake Michigan
7/6 - Sixteen people were rescued from a burning cabin cruiser off Oak Street Beach Saturday afternoon, but no injuries were reported.
The fire apparently broke out near the engine compartment of the 50-foot boat around 2:30 p.m., according to Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford. Someone on the boat broadcast a mayday and both the Fire Department and the Coast Guard responded.
A Coast Guard boat pulled the people off while a Fire Department boat put out the blaze, Langford said. "It was on fire as the Coast Guard was getting them off," Langford said. "That was quick action by the Coast Guard."
He said all of the people taken from the boat declined medical treatment.
The fire boat continued to pour water on the cruiser an hour after the fire, Langford said, adding "It was a very hot fire.”
Port Reports - July 6
Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Burns Harbor, Ind. – Ian McLauchlan
Fairport, Ohio – John Unterwagner
Rochester, N.Y. – Tom Brewer
Breakwalls and Docks #28 – Chembarge No. 3 was also part of the Palisaides project
The retired N.M. Paterson & Sons bulk canaller Cartierdoc (i) was sold to Marine Salvage for scrap in 1961. The vessel had been idle at Kingston and then brought to Port Colborne in the spring of 1962. There, the hull was stripped to the deck and resold to Tank Truck Transport Ltd.
Renamed b) Chembarge No. 3, the vessel was towed to Point Edward, converted to a chemical barge and saw service in a storage capacity. It does not appear that the ship ever made a revenue voyage in the Chembarge fleet.
Chembarge No. 3 was later sold and brought to Ojibway, Ont., arriving on Nov. 18, 1963, under tow of the tugs Atomic and Aburg. There were initial plans to sink the hull as a breakwall off the Morton Salt Terminal but this did not happen. There was also a report that the ship would be sunk as a dock for Medusa Cement at Charlevoix, Mich., but this did not materialize either.
The ship remained idle until Oct. 28, 1967, when it left for Muskegon, Mich., behind the tug Muskegon. It was sunk later in the year off South Haven, Mich., in the Palisaides project, as a breakwall along with the former Imperial Hamilton and Ann Arbor No. 5.
Chembarge No. 3 broke apart on the bottom due to the winter's ice. The remains had to be clammed out and scrapped in 1969 – 1970.
As Cartierdoc, the ship had been built at Wallsend, England, and served well in the Paterson fleet. The 259 foot long freighter had a minor role in the opening festivities of the newly completed St. Lawrence Seaway on April 25, 1959. It was part of the second tandem lockage at St. Lambert, along with the Hastings, and is considered to have been the fourth ship up bound through the long-anticipated waterway.
Lookback #596 – Rapids Prince went aground in the Lachine Rapids on July 6, 1941
The passenger steamer Rapids Prince was en route from Prescott to Montreal when it went aground in the Lachine Rapids, near Montreal, on July 6, 1941. The vessel stranded in an awkward position and the 218 passengers had to be removed in motor boats. This member of the Canada Steamship Lines fleet was stuck for two months before it could be released and repaired.
Rapids Prince was built at Toronto by the Polson Iron Works in 1910 and joined the Richelieu & Ontario Navigation Co. for day service between Prescott and Montreal. It participated in the formation of Canada Steamship Lines in 1913 and the accident of 74 years ago today was not its first in the challenging stretch of water.
On July 29, 1912, the ship hit a rock in the Lachine Canal and had to be hand steered, from the stern, to Montreal. Rapids Prince hit so hard that the boiler was displaced by the force. The vessel also got stuck on Sturgeon Shoal, near Aultville, Ont., on Sept. 22, 1912, in fog but was released on Sept. 25.
During the summer of 1947, the rudder stock broke shooting the rapids at Rapide Plat and the ship came down stern first with the captain steering with the alternate use of the propellers.
Rapids Prince laid up at Kingston at the end of the 1949 season and arrived at Hamilton, under tow of the tug Rival, for scrapping at the Stelco plant during July 1951.
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
Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
Historic Lake Huron lighthouse, museum reopen for daily tours
7/5 - Goderich, Ont. – The Point Clark Lighthouse and Museum has reopened after almost five years of restoration and will offer daily tours until Labor Day. The 27-metre-tall lighthouse, a national historic site on Lake Huron 35 kilometres north of Goderich, still functions as a navigational aid.
Built between 1855 and 1859, the limestone tower is topped by a 12-sided lantern framed in cast iron. The style is typical of lighthouse towers in the region but rarely seen elsewhere in Canada. The federal government spent $3.7 million on the restoration, which included stabilizing exterior stones and replacing windows.
"Point Clark Lighthouse is a key stopping point on the Bruce Coast Lighthouse Tour, and an important contributor to this region's tourism economy," Ben Lobb, member of Parliament for Huron-Bruce, said Saturday at a reopening ceremony.
Huron-Kinloss Township has an agreement with Parks Canada to open the lighthouse to visitors and operates the lightkeeper's house as a museum.
Breakwalls and Docks #27 – Algomah a breakwall and a dock at Mackinac City
The wooden passenger and freight steamer Algomah was built in 1881 and used in the ferry service across the Straits of Mackinac. The 127 foot long, 486 gross ton steamer was constructed by the Detroit Dry Dock Co. and first served the Mackinaw Transportation Co.
Algomah served Northern Michigan communities out of Mackinaw City until it was retired in 1936. The former Bainbridge was renamed b) Algomah II and became the replacement vessel. Capt. William F. Shepler was the final captain of the original Algomah and the first master of the new Algomah.
After being laid up at Cheboygan, the first Algomah became a barge, but during World War Two it returned to Mackinac City. The hull was filled with rocks and the ship was sunk as a breakwall for small boats. It served well until the hull burned to the waterline
The remains were later incorporated into the Shepler's Mackinac City dock.
Lookback #595 – Former Trelevan burned at Halifax as Baffin Bay on July 5, 1973
Trelevan was built for the Hain Steamship Co. Ltd. of Great Britain. It was launched at Sunderland on March 15, 1949, and was completed in November. The 445 foot, 6 inch long by 56 foot, 6 inch wide general cargo carrier served Hain on saltwater routes until its first trip to the Great Lakes in 1961.
The ship, with a 9,486 deadweight capacity in the four cargo holds, was not a regular trader through the Seaway and was sold becoming b) Sydney Breeze in 1964. It came under the Canadian flag as c) Global Envoy in 1970 for Global Navigation Ltd.
On Aug. 22, 1971, Global Envoy cleared Montreal with supplies for various Arctic communities and visited Frobisher, Resolute, Arctic Bay, Pond Inlet & Clyde River. Then, on Oct. 25, 1971, the ship departed Churchill, Manitoba, with grain for Quebec City arriving to be unloaded on Nov. 5.
Global Envoy was laid up at Sorel for 1971-1973 before returning to service in May 1973, Bahamian flag, as d) Baffin Bay. It was contracted to carry grain from Montreal to Haiti but arrived at Halifax, under tow with engine trouble, on June 24, 1973. Then, on July 5, 1973, while docked there pumping bilge, a fire broke out in the engine room resulting in major damage.
Declared at total loss, the vessel was sold to Marine Salvage of Port Colborne and resold to Spanish shipbreakers. It departed Halifax under tow of the tug Elbe on Sept. 10, 1973, and arrived at Valencia, to be broken up on Oct. 4, 1973.
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
Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
Breakwalls and Docks #26 – Victorious one of three hulls off the C.N.E. in Toronto
The oldest of the three former Upper Lakes Shipping vessels sunk as a breakwall off the Canadian National Exhibition grounds in Toronto is the Victorious. It was built at Chicago in 1895 and spent its early years in the Interlake fleet as Victory.
The 400 foot long bulk carrier was lengthened to 475 feet at Superior, Wis., in 1905 and the work was listed as costing $75,000. This kept the ship competitive in the upper lakes ore, coal and grain trades.
It came to Canada for Upper Lakes in 1940 and the name was changed to Victorious. They made the vessel and important part of their grain fleet of ships and it served storage elevators from the Canadian Lakehead to the Georgian Bay ports, Goderich, Sarnia, Port Colborne and Toronto. However, in 1950, Victorious made history by unloading the first cargo of iron ore at the Dofasco steel mill in Hamilton.
Victorious arrived at Toronto on Dec. 6, 1968, carrying its final cargo. After this was unloaded, the ship remained idle. It was sold to the Government of Ontario in 1969 and, after the cabins were removed, the hull was scuttled on the bottom on July 21, 1969, for service as a breakwall.
Lookback #594 – Tanker Florence in collision off Les Escoumins on July 4, 1973
The tanker Florence was built at Stavenger, Norway, and was completed on Oct. 29, 1956, as Thorhild. The 522 foot, 6 inch long by 68 foot wide vessel was registered at 10,394 gross tons and could carry 16,202 tons of product in the 24 cargo tanks.
Thorhild served Tonnevolds Tankrederi A.S. until it was sold and registered in Liberia as b) Aquario in 1971. It remained under the Liberian flag on becoming c) Florence for the Wall Shipping Corp. a year later.
Florence entered the Seaway for the first time in 1973 and was temporarily delayed at Port Colborne on the trip back on June 28, of that year as the draft was too deep for traveling through the Welland Canal.
The vessel made the news 42-years ago today due to a collision with another tanker off Les Escoumins, Quebec. The accident of July 4, 1973, resulted in the St. Spyridon, loaded and inbound from Venezuela, being struck at the after cabin. The collision opened up the engineroom at the stern and both ships sustained major damage.
A minor oil spill ensued but 32,500 tons of Bunker C. oil was untouched by the accident. All 55 on board were rescued as St. Spyridon settled on the bottom but one member of the crew lost a leg. The cargo was lightered to Texaco Brave (i) and both ships were repaired for a return to service.
Florence was resold in 1975 and sailed as d) Bluebird before being purchased by Spanish shipbreakers. It arrived at San Esteban de Pravia on June 12, 1976, and was broken up by Desguaces Blanco.
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.
July 4, 1995 - While the United States celebrated its Independence Day, a small fleet gathered 20 miles off of Whitefish Point in Lake Superior as the bell from the wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald was raised and taken aboard the Purvis Marine Tug Anglian Lady. The bell would later be taken to Michigan State University in Lansing where it would be cleaned with the name EDMUND FITZGERALD applied on the bell once again. The bell was later to taken to the museum at Whitefish Point and put on display as a memorial to remember the 29 men crew. The next day divers placed a new bell inscribed with the names of the 29 men lost in the sinking.
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, Denny Dushane, 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.
Great Lakes' levels not expected to peak until August
7/3 - Muskegon, Mich. – It was only a couple of years ago when low water levels were impacting Michigan's boating industry. Those levels reached record lows in January 2013. The result: empty docks and boats stranded in unexpectedly shallow waters. Some marinas even had to lower their docks so boaters could get to their vessels.
Fast forward to 2015. Lake levels are now rising dramatically, over a foot in each of the past two years. And while that's good news for those heading to the water for the 4th of July weekend, there are some drawbacks.
Using the eyeball test alone, lakeshore residents can see Lake Michigan getting deeper. The lake is one foot higher than July 2014 and the Army Corps of Engineers expects the water level to increase two or three inches more before the likely peak in August.
Detroit Free Press
Port Reports - July 3
St. Marys River
Port Inland, Mich. – Raymond Hill
Cedarville, Mich. – Raymond Hill
Grand Haven, Mich. – Dick Fox
Calcite, Mich. – Raymond Hill
Stoneport, Mich. – Raymond Hill
Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Eastland disaster program at National Museum
7/3 – On Saturday, July 18, Caitlyn Perry Dial, PhD candidate, will present her research on the Eastland disaster at the Grand Plaza Hotel in downtown Toledo at 1 p.m. Dial's program "Only the River Remains: Memorializing the Eastland Disaster 1915-2015" examines how one of the worst transportation disasters in American history has been lost to the community's collective memory over 100 years.
The lecture is free to members of the National Museum of the Great Lakes but non members can attend for a $12 per person charge. RSVPs are required and can be made by calling Ben at 419-214-5000 extension 204. The Grand Plaza is located at 444 N. Summit St., Toledo Ohio.
Breakwalls and Docks #25 – Barge Erie sunk as breakwall near Port Burwell
After seeing service as a glamorous passenger ship and then as a lowly coal barge, the Erie was scuttled in 1973 as a breakwall in a cove east of the Port Burwell Coast Guard Station.
This hull was built as the sidewheel passenger excursion vessel Pennsylvania in 1899. It entered service for the Erie & Buffalo Steamship Co., but moved to the White Star Line as Owana in 1902.
Owana usually ran between Detroit and Toledo but also had trips to Port Huron and as an evening boat to the St. Clair Flats. It had several owners in the 1920s and then joined the Erie and Dover Ferry Line, as Erie, in 1927. It spent two seasons on the cross Lake Erie run but was laid up at Ecorse, Mich., when destroyed by a fire on Feb. 2, 1929.
The ship remained idle until it was rebuilt as the coal barge d) T.A. Ivey and resumed trading, under Canadian registry, in 1934. It was owned by Ivey Greenhouses and carried coal from Erie, Pa., to Port Dover, Ont., to supply fuel to heat their greenhouse operation.
The vessel was laid up at Port Maitland about 1963, was renamed e) Erie by Harry Gamble in 1968 before being sold again in 1973. While Canadian registry was listed as “closed” on Dec. 17, 1981, with “vessel scrapped,” there was a report as late as 2008 that the remains continued to be visible as a breakwall along the north shore of Lake Erie where it had been scuttled.
Lookback #593 – The former Mondoc (iii) appraised for $300,000 on July 3, 1997
When the third Mondoc finished Canadian service, it headed south for work among the West Indies and U.S. Gulf Coast ports. Beginning in 1997, the ship was based in Jamaica as b) Corah Ann.
Service was good for several years but 18 years ago today the vessel, now 35 years old, was at the end of the line and was appraised for $300,000. The guess is that it was sold for less and resumed trading under the flag of Belize.
The former Paterson freighter continued Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico duty until it was lost off the coast of Honduras on Jan. 18, 2000. It went down in a position listed as 16.15 N / 83.52 W and two of the crew were lost.
Mondoc was Hull 173 of the Collingwood shipyard and entered service on April 14, 1962. The 291 foot long vessel had a pair of Cole's cranes on deck and was useful in reaching ports inaccessible to larger ships and in coastal work.
Both Mondoc and sister ship Lawrendoc (ii) ended their days in the southern latitudes.
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.
Freighter docks at Waukegan Harbor for first time since 2012
7/2 - Waukegan, Ill. – For the first time since wave action from Superstorm Sandy blocked the entrance to Waukegan Harbor with sediment in October 2012, a bulk freighter was able to sail through the entrance channel last weekend to unload material for harborside business.
Whether or not that continues to be the practice is a $1.4 million question, or the amount the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says is needed each year to dredge enough sediment out of the channel to allow for deep-draft shipping.
"Due to the long-term beach (growth) north of the shorearm breakwater, the shoaling rate for the approach channel has increased to 80,000 cubic yards per year," reads a January 2015 Army Corps report on Waukegan Harbor. "If dredging work is not funded every year, winter storms will close the port to all commercial traffic."
The report added that although $4.5 million has been spent since last summer to dredge both the outer and inner areas of the harbor, "funding for low-tonnage harbors has been a low national priority," which could lead to Waukegan Harbor being served entirely by trucking and rail traffic.
"Loss of eight feet of depth in the approach channel from winter storm results in port closure. The increased transportation cost of shipping materials via other methods is over $2 million annually," the report stated, adding that a shift to truck and rail delivery "would increase annual emission rates by over 543 tons of harmful particulate matter."
The current state of the approach channel allowed for the June 21 arrival of the Buffalo, a 634-foot, 23,800-ton freighter operated by the American Steamship Co. The self-unloading Great Lakes bulk freighter sports a draft of 27 feet and reportedly is used to transport iron ore pellets, coal, limestone and gypsum.
The ship was moored early in the week in a slip near the city's three harbor industries — Lafarge Cement, National Gypsum and St. Mary's Cement, Inc. — and headed out by midweek.
Seventh Ward Ald. Lisa May, who chairs the City Council's Economic Development Committee, said Friday that she is "very concerned about the future of our harbor and continued funding for the annual maintenance dredging in the approach channel," especially if city roadways would have to take on extra trucks in the absence of shipping.
"When the commercial boats cannot enter our harbor, it increases the transportation costs for the businesses, resulting in higher costs of their products," May said. "Plus, by trucking the material in, there is major wear and tear on our infrastructure. (Our) bridges and roads are already compromised by the heavy duty usage, especially over the past two years."
May added that due to additional trucking after Sandy closed the harbor — including rigs hauling soil for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency projects — lakefront roadways like Sea Horse Drive, Pershing Road "and our bridges have deteriorated faster than they would've under normal traffic conditions.
"Nobody wants major trucking operations coming through the heart of their city," May said.
The Army Corps report called for a "dredged material management plan" to reduce the need for the $1.4 million annual cost of removing sediment from the approach channel. It noted that Waukegan Harbor is interconnected to 10 other commercial ports and serves as a safe refuge for ships heading to or from the Port of Chicago.
With the city's master plan for lakefront development focuses on residential construction around the harbor, May said she believes "there is potential for viability with a mixed-use harbor," adding that commercial shipping "keeps the feds interested in funding our harbor, (and) a lot of people find the barges interesting. It actually draws folks to our shore."
Container ship traffic a possibility for increasing Port of Muskegon traffic
7/2 - Muskegon, Mich. – Logistics professional Les Brand of Grand Rapids' Supply Chain Solutions spoke June 23 about the potential of container ships doing business in the Port of Muskegon.
Muskegon has the largest deep-water port on Michigan's west coast – but maintaining a steady stream of freight into that port is a concern this year with the planned closure of the power plant looming in the future.
The Army Corps of Engineers allocates dollars for port dredging based on the tonnage of freight to each port. Officials have said about half of all the freight shipped to the Port of Muskegon in recent years has been coal, burned by Consumers Energy B.C. Cobb power plant in Muskegon – which is scheduled to cease operations in April 2016.
But Brand had some encouraging words for the Muskegon crowd: other movers in the Midwest could be good partners in increasing shipping.
"Regional collaboration is what's going to make it work," he said.
He said that the Port of Cleveland in recent years has established the Cleveland-Europe Express, which moves cargo on a regularly-scheduled route between the Great Lakes and Europe via the Port of Antwerp.
"It cost the Port of Cleveland a significant amount to lease those boats," he said, but the program seems to be working.
At the same time, he said, Edison Chouest Offshore, also known as ECO, is seeking to put its boats on the Great Lakes.
"These are newer boats so we're using the good fuel, so to speak," Brand said. He said the size of the ships, once used for servicing offshore platforms, is comparable to the Lake Express, a Muskegon-Milwaukee passenger ship.
Another possible partner in the future could be Port of Milwaukee, which is a hub for rail traffic into the northwestern U.S. and Canada, he said.
The puzzle doesn't appear to be missing many pieces. "There's a significant amount of volume just in manufacturing," Brand said. "We wouldn't need any infrastructure to start this. All we need is some volume commitments."
He added that the B.C. Cobb shutting down on Muskegon Lake could be an opportunity in disguise as well.
"It makes more property available that could be strategically used to host this activity," he said.
Looking at the bigger picture, Brand talked about the logistics conditions that are causing the industry to look more closely at what he called "the rebirth of waterborne freight."
To start with, international business is becoming more commonplace.
"Instead of being driven by state-driven economics, the world is now driven by the marketplace," Brand said. He displayed a map of the world showing international shipping routes.
At the same time, there are some challenges to some of the old standbys of domestic transportation.
"Truck rates are going up," Brand said. "The driver shortage is getting more serious."
Port Reports - July 2
Grand Haven, Mich. – Dick Fox
Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
Fireboat to be named William Thornton
7/2 - A new firefighting boat will be named William Thornton, after Toronto's first-known fallen firefighter. Thornton, age 22, died in 1848, two days after responding with fellow volunteers to a major blaze in a block of King St. E. buildings near Church St. Falling parts of a building left him with serious head trauma.
The honor, pending city council approval, follows a 2003 ceremony in which the Toronto Fire Service put a marker on Thornton's barren grave in St. James Cemetery.
The decommissioned Canadian Coast Guard vessel will act as a backup to the current fireboat William Lyon Mackenzie and replace the Sora, another former Coast Guard vessel obtained by Toronto in 2006.
The Toronto Star
Canada creates huge Lake Superior conservation area
7/2 - The Canadian government has officially placed about half of its Lake Superior waters and much of its shoreline under its highest level of federal protection.
The Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area (NMCA) in the province of Ontario was formally established on June 24, according to the Canadian government.
The designation prohibits dumping, mining, oil and gas exploration and extraction in the lakebed, islands and shore areas within the sanctuary boundary. The guiding management principle is "ecologically sustainable use," said Parks Canada.
It covers a 10,000 square kilometer (about 3,800 square mile) area from Thunder Cape at the tip of Sleeping Giant Provincial Park in the west, to Bottle Point just east of Terrace Bay, and south to the U.S.-Canada boundary mid-lake.
Parks Canada, roughly equivalent to the U.S. National Park Service, calls it "one of the world's largest freshwater marine protected areas."
The agency said the protected portion of the world's largest freshwater lake deserved the designation because of the area's natural beauty.
“The Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area tells its own story through its many rich cultural, historical and natural characteristics, including First Nations history; unique geological features; dozens of shipwrecks; more than 70 species of fish along with critical spawning areas; shorebird and waterfowl staging areas; arctic and subalpine plants; and many breathtaking seascapes and landscapes."
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper first announced plans for the designation in 2007. Ontario legislator Bruce Hyer took credit for pushing the legislation through the Canadian Parliament earlier this month.
Breakwalls and Docks #24 – The first Algosteel was sunk at Burns Harbor
After receiving extensive bottom damage in a grounding at Sault Ste. Marie in 1966, repair costs to the first Algosteel could not be justified. The ship was tied up at Collingwood and retired.
Following a sale to United Metals and resale to the Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Co., the vessel departed Collingwood, under tow of the tug Amherstburg, on May 8, 1967. The destination was Burns Harbor and the hull was scuttled there as a temporary breakwall during the harbor development project.
Algosteel was launched at Wyandotte, Mich., on Nov. 21, 1907, and entered service the following April as Thomas Barlum. The 500 foot long laker was part of the Postal Steamship Co. until it came to Canada for the Algoma Central Railway in 1935. Renamed Algosteel, the ship was active in the upper lakes coal, ore and grain trades for 31 years.
It is suspected that this ship was broken up as the Burns Harbor project proceeded, but we cannot verify, with absolute certainty, its fate. But the alternative was being covered with fill in the land reclamation project.
Lookback #592 – Former Cunard Cavalier aground off Pakistan on July 2, 1990
Cunard Cavalier was five years old when it began Seaway trading in 1978. Prior to that, the 599 foot, 11 inch long bulk carrier served the famous Cunard Steamship Co. Ltd. on saltwater routes.
It handled a variety of cargoes but was specially strengthened for the transportation of iron ore.
The ship was sold in 1978 and registered in Liberia as Olympic Harmony. As such, it was back through the Seaway again before the year was out.
Another sale in 1987 led to registry in Cyprus as c) Saga and it remained under that flag after becoming d) Villar in 1990.
It was 25 years ago today that Villar ran aground off Port Muhammad Ben Qasim, Pakistan, while on a voyage to West Africa. Initial optimism on the chances of salvage was high, but the ship had to be abandoned on July 13.
It remained stuck until efforts to refloat the freighter succeeded on Nov. 30, 1990. Officials declared the hull a total loss and it was sold to Indian shipbreakers. It arrived off Alang on Feb. 4, 1992, and was beached two days later for dismantling.
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.
Marine news: Casualties & demolitions
7/1 - Marine News, the monthly journal of the World Ship Society, reports the following ships with Great Lakes connections going for scrap in the July 2015 issue.
Seaway salties: Atlantic Superior served Canada Steamship Lines on both the Great Lakes as well as the oceans of the world. It was engaged in the Pacific coast gypsum trade when it was sold for scrap last winter, and the 730 foot long self-unloader arrived at Xinhui, Guangdong, China, under her own power, on March 8, 2015, for scrapping. The ship had been built in sections, (bow at Thunder Bay, cargo and stern section at Collingwood in 1982 and had also sailed as b) M.H. Baker III from 1997 until returning to the original name in 2003.
Belize City arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, on March 29, 2015, for scrapping by Ege Gemi Sokum San Ve Tic AS. This former Russian and then Lithuanian bulk carrier had been built at Kherson, Ukraine, as a) Kapitan Reutov in 1976. It first appeared in the Seaway as b) Kapitonas Reutov in Aug. 1993 during a voyage with steel for Cleveland, Detroit and Chicago. It was back inland on subsequent occasions and had sailed as d) Belize City since 2001.
Blue Viship had been a Great Lakes trader as a) Super Vision beginning in 1987. The Panamanian flag bulk carrier returned on several occasions and made news in 1995 when the S.I.U. got involved in a crew dispute over back wages. The ship was sold and renamed b) Ophelia in 1996 and was back on the inland seas in June 1998 headed for Detroit. It became e) Inter Unity in 2003 and d) Blue Viship in 2008. The latter was under the flag of Mongolia. The last report has the ship sold to Vietnamese shipbreakers in 2014.
Indisun I is the first of two sister-ship tankers to go for scrap in this issue. The vessel had been built as a) Synnove Knutsen and entered service in 1992. It was a Great Lakes trader that summer headed to Valleyfield and Clarkson carrying a variety of liquid cargoes on both the inbound and outbound legs of the trip. The vessel was registered in Hong Kong as b) Indisun I in 2012 and was sold for scrap in 2015. It arrived at Alang, India, on March 11, and the dismantling of the hull got underway eight days later by RK Industries.
Indisun II, the second sistership, was also a chemical products tanker but it did not make a Seaway call until 2002 when it was still named Ellen Knutsen. The vessel had been built as a) Ellen Knutsen and it also entered service in 1992. Renamed b) Indisun II in 2013, the ship arrived at Alang, India, March 17, 2015, and scrapping commenced March 24.
Seagull D. dated from 1981 when it entered service as a) Saint Vincent. It came through the Seaway that first year with registry in the Philippines and returned in 1985 after becoming b) San Vicente Ferrer earlier in the year. It was also a Great Lakes visitor as c) Targa beginning in 1987. It carried five more names before arriving as the Lebanese flag bulk carrier i) Seagull D. on March 13, 2015. Scrapping got underway ten days later.
Tradewind came through the Seaway under its first name of Tradewind Express. It was completed in 1987 and was on the Great Lakes before freeze-up. The vessel was renamed b) Botany Tradewind in 1998 and has sailed as Tradewind since 2007. The 7171 gross ton tanker arrived at Alang, India, on March 27, 20i5, but work on breaking up the hull did not get underway until April 24.
Casualties: The Romanian-owned, Togo-flagged, Dominator began leaking in Datca Bay, off Turkey, on April 16, 2015. The crew was rescued by the Turkish Coast Guard and the ship was ultimately towed to Nemrut Bay, arriving for inspection on April 26. The vessel first visited the Great Lakes as b) Arma in April 1994, stopping at Toronto and Hamilton delivering pulpwood and then loading machinery and generators. Built at Bilbao, Spain, as a) Antonio Machado in 1981, the vessel had a total of 10 different names over the years. It was on a voyage from Iskenderun, Turkey, to Homs, Syria, with cement when the recent trouble began.
Great Lakes related: Algoma Progress, while not a Seaway salty, is listed this issue having arrived at Port Colborne on Dec. 30, 2014, under her own power. This member of the Algoma fleet was built as a) Canadian Progress in 1968 and operated through the end of 2014.
Compiled by Rene Beauchamp, Barry Andersen and Skip Gillham
Breakwalls and Docks #23 – Former Charles W. Johnson a recent addition to the list of docks
In 2008, the former lighter Charles W. Johnson was filled with a load of slag and scuttled to form a new dock facing at the Algoma Steel plant in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. This vessel was built as Hull 46 of the Collingwood shipyard and it underwent lake trials as Iocolite on Sept. 27, 1916. It was soon an active member of the Imperial Oil fleet of tankers.
The company utilized the vessel on coastal as well as Great Lakes routes with the ship venturing as far south as Mexico. Iocolite carried aviation fuel to Goose Bay, Labrador, during World War Two and often sailed in a convoy.
The name was changed to Imperial Kingston in 1947 and, in later years, it operated in the clean oil trade around the Great Lakes. The ship tied up at Port Dalhousie on Dec. 7, 1957, and, over the winter, the pilothouse was removed for installation on fleetmate Imperial Cornwall.
Following a sale to Marine Salvage, and resale to A.B. McLean & Sons, the ship headed to Sault Ste. Marie where it saw years of service as a lighter, lumber and fill carrier under the name Charles W. Johnson. The ship moved to Purvis Marine in 1994 and remained part of that fleet until becoming a dock facing.
Lookback #591 – Puerto Del Sol, lakes-built corvette, caught fire on July 1, 1971
H.M.C.S. Cobourg survived longer than a number of the Great Lakes built corvettes of World War Two. It was converted for cargo service and suffered a fire that gutted the upper works while undergoing repairs at New Orleans, on July 1, 1971.
The ship had been Hull 11 from the Midland shipyard and was launched there on July 14, 1943. The 208 foot, 4 inch long fighting ship spent most of its career on the Atlantic as a mid-ocean escort before being decommissioned on June 15, 1945.
Later that year, the vessel was rebuilt as the merchant ship Camco and later sailed on East Coast routes as Dundas Kent.
It was rebuilt again in 1951 and headed south for the fruit trade as Puerto Del Sol. It served well in the south until the fire of 44 years ago today left the ship on the bottom as a total loss.
The hull was sold to Consolidated Steel, towed to Brownsville, Texas, and dismantled there in 1972-1973.
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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