Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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Rand Logistics Acquires Two Voyageur Vessels

8/31 - On Tuesday Rand Logistics announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, Lower Lakes Towing, Ltd., acquired two conventional bulk carriers from the Voyageur group of companies for 25 million CAD (approximately U.S. $23.7 million). Additionally, the Company entered into a contract of affreightment with Voyageur for the exclusive use of a third vessel, and secured an option to acquire this vessel for 5 million CAD.

Lower Lakes management has negotiated or assumed long-term contracts with premier grain and other companies that are both current and new customers for these vessels. The majority of the cargo to be carried on the vessels will be grain. Voyageur will continue to provide all crew manning on the three vessels.

The acquisition was financed through an 18 million CAD (approximately U.S. $17.1 million) term loan increase from GE Canada Finance Holding Company. The balance of the purchase price was paid with Rand cash on hand, including cash raised as a result of recent exercises of Rand warrants.

Scott Bravener, President and CEO of Lower Lakes Towing, commented, “These vessels further diversify our revenue and customer base, and substantially expand our capacity in a market where demand exceeds supply. The customer contracts we have signed cover the full capacity of the two acquired vessels, and the majority of the third vessel. We are transferring a portion of our self-unloading business to these vessels, enabling us to pursue additional self-unloading cargo opportunities and maximize the utilization rates on the newly added vessels. The vessels also enable further penetration of our existing grain customers. Additionally, we are fortunate to be purchasing these vessels as they enter the most profitable months of the grain shipping season due to the seasonality of harvesting.”

Laurence S. Levy, Chairman and CEO of Rand Logistics, stated, “We are very enthusiastic about this acquisition and the benefits it brings to Rand. In addition to diversifying the Company’s customer base, this acquisition leverages our existing infrastructure and should be immediately accretive to earnings. This investment further validates our strategy of building our platform through opportunistic, in-market, ‘tuck-in’ acquisitions.”

The vessels are Canadian flagged, and operate in the conventional dry bulk trades on the Great Lakes. The two acquired vessels are 642 feet and 730 feet in length and were built in 1952 and 1983, respectively. The third vessel measures 609 feet in length and was built in 1967. The Company believes that the vessels have been well maintained and have long remaining economic life spans.

Rand Logistics, Inc. is a leading provider of bulk freight shipping services throughout the Great Lakes region. Through its subsidiaries, the Company operates a fleet of eleven self-unloading bulk carriers, including nine River Class vessels and one River Class self-unloading tug/barge unit, and three conventional bulk carriers. The Company is the only carrier able to offer significant domestic port-to-port services in both Canada and the U.S. on the Great Lakes. The Company's vessels operate under the U.S. Jones Act - which dictates that only ships that are built, crewed and owned by U.S. citizens can operate between U.S. ports - and the Canada Marine Act - which requires Canadian commissioned ships to operate between Canadian ports.

From Business Wire

Ed Note: The Voyageur Independent is 642', the Voyageur Pioneer is 730', and the Maritime Trader is 607-feet

 

Port Reports - August 31

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Vessel action in the Twin Ports early Thursday centered on salties visiting grain elevators that haven’t seen much action this season. Federal Kivalina was loading at AGP in Duluth while Federal Shimanto was loading at Peavey in Superior.
Upriver at Hallett 5, Federal Mattawa was loading bentonite.
Later in the day, Beluga Constitution was expected to call at the port terminal to unload wind turbines, and John D. Leitch and Mesabi Miner were expected at Midwest Energy Terminal. Presque Isle was due at CN/DMIR ore dock to unload limestone and load taconite pellets.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algorail arrived Wednesday night and after an all night power outage is now loading at Sifto Salt.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The passenger vessel Spirit of Nantucket arrived early this morning and tied up at Pier 51 South - the old fast ferry terminal.

Hamilton/Bronte - Eric Holmes
Thursday afternoon saw the Canadian Miner arrive, in Hamilton, at 2 p.m. going to Dofasco with iron ore pellets.
Atlantic Huron arrived at 2:30 p.m. going to Stelco with iron ore pellets. The Dean Construction tug Annie M Dean and a work barge arrived at 5 p.m. from the Bronte worksite.
Vega Desgagnes arrived at the Petro Canada Pier in Bronte at 5 p.m. Frontenac arrived at 6 p.m. going to Stelco with iron ore pellets.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The last few days all the cement carriers have been in and out of port. Early Wednesday morning the Samuel de Champlain/barge Innovation was at Lafarge.
Arriving next around 9 a.m. was the Steamer Alpena. It tied up under the silos to load for Green Bay, WI.
The G. L. Ostrander/barge Integrity came in on Thursday afternoon.

Kingsville - Erich Zuschlag
The Saginaw paid a visit to Kingsville Harbour Thursday morning and had some company in the harbour as the Jiimaan was loading for her morning trip to Pelee Island.

 

Neighbors fear amount of dust new limestone mill may create

8/31 - Lorain - Neighbors near a potential site for a limestone grinding mill and processing facility in Lorain say they are concerned about potential dust that could impact the area. Cleveland-based Oglebay Norton wants to build a limestone grinding mill and processing facility in Lorain on vacant land at 2001 Henderson Drive on the east side of the Black River.
The company said it will do everything it needs to do to comply with all laws and environmental regulations regarding dust emissions. That's no consolation to some neighbors. ''I would hate it (the facility),'' said Rose Jones, who lives nearby at 930 H St.

Residences at the intersection of Idaho Avenue and H Street, near Jones' home, would be some of the closest houses to the potential facility, about 1,200 feet away, said Chris Bauer, a planner in the city's Community Development Department. The facility would be about 1,500 feet from the homes on the southern part of Lehigh Avenue, Bauer said.

Jones said she's concerned about dust that could be created, especially because she and her 17-year-old daughter have asthma. She said she's also concerned about increased truck traffic. ''We have way too many trucks already,'' Jones said.

John Volak, 60, a Lorain firefighter who lives nearby at 904 H St., said he's also concerned about dust. ''That's quite a ways away,'' Volak said. ''But on a windy day, that (dust) could go all over the city.''

Limestone processing facilities can create dust said Marti Sinclair, air committee chair for environmental group The Sierra Club, and program director for the Environmental Community Organization in Cincinnati. Sinclair said dust could be a serious problem ''when you live with that dust and have it on your car, in your kiddy pool, in the summer time if you open your windows on a nice day, it gets all over your furniture.''

Michael Minkel, senior vice president of operations for Oglebay Norton said the company will meet all environmental standards it is legally required to. ''We would never operate any of our facilities anywhere, including Lorain, that did not comply with the EPA guidelines,'' Minkel said.

Oglebay Norton has received a permit for dust from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. Spokesman Mike Settles said potential dust could come from piles of limestone. The permit the company received allows no more than three minutes of ''visible emissions'' -- essentially dust blowing off the piles -- per 60-minute period.

Ways to cut down on dust include watering the piles down, enclosing the piles or creating a barrier against the wind or lowering the height of the piles, Settles said.
''Yes, there are things we can do if required. We can put a spray system on or things like that,'' Minkel said, however, he noted the company is not required to install a spray system.

When asked whether the company would go beyond the legal requirements to cut down on dust, Minkel was noncommittal. ''We will do everything that we need to do, everything we need to comply with our air quality permit,'' he said. He added that the firm would be willing to meet with interested citizens to explain more about the project. ''We are going to do what we need to have the facility be allowed to be built in the city of Lorain,'' he said. ''We'll address whatever issues we are required to do legally or environmentally required to do.''

Oglebay Norton operates many limestone quarries and lime and limestone processing plants. The company mines about 28 million tons of limestone a year and industrial sand, according to Minkel. The facility in Lorain would have the limestone brought in from Michigan via ships.

The city's zoning board of appeals meets at 9 a.m. Wednesday to consider the company's application. City Council would also have to approve that the facility is consistent with the city's Colorado Avenue Urban Renewal Plan.

From the Lorain Morning Journal

 

Lake Superior outflow set for September
New record low level for August

8/31 - Detroit - The International Lake Superior Board of Control, under authority granted to it by the International Joint Commission, has set the Lake Superior outflow to 1,560 cubic metres per second (m3/s) (55.1 thousand cubic feet per second (tcfs)) for the month of September. This is the outflow recommended by the regulation plan for the month of September and is the same as the August outflow.

The September outflow will be released by discharging about 1,446 m3/s (51.1 tcfs) through the three hydropower plants and passing most of the remaining flow through the control structure at the head of the St. Marys rapids. The gate setting of the control structure will be maintained at the existing setting equivalent to one-half gate open (four gates open 20 cm, or about 8 inches each). There will be no change to the setting of Gate #1 that supplies the Fishery Remedial Works.

This past month the water supplies to both the Lake Superior and Lakes Michigan-Huron basins were below their long-term averages for August. The level of Lake Superior remains below its chart datum level. It is estimated that a new record low monthly mean level will be set for August at 183.01 m (600.43 feet)(the previous record low August level was 183.02 m (600.46 feet) set in 1926).

Note that this is NOT an all-time record low (which is 182.72 m set in April 1926; approximately 28 cm (11 inches) almost a foot lower than the current level). Also, the estimated beginning-of-September level of 183.00 m (600.39 feet) is also a new record (the previous record was 183.06 m (600.59 feet), also set in 1926).

The level of Lake Superior is expected to fall slightly in September, and Lakes Michigan-Huron is also expected to decline. Currently, the Lake Superior
level is about 55 cm (22 inches) below its long-term average beginning-of-September level, and is 24 cm (9 inches) below the level recorded a year ago.

This past month the level of Lake Superior fell 2 cm (1 inch), while on average the level of this lake rises by 1 cm (1/2 inch) in August. The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron declined 4 cm (1 inch) this August, its usual decline in August. The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron is now about 55 cm (22 inches) below its long-term average
beginning-of-August level and is 8 cm (3 inches) lower than it was a year ago.

The Board continues to monitor conditions both on Lake Superior and downstream and will advise the International Joint Commission accordingly on those conditions.

USACE News Release

 

USCG reminds boaters to be safe this Labor Day weekend

8/31 - Cleveland - Labor Day weekend always Comes with two things: increase in boater traffic on the Great Lakes and the annual reminder by Coast Guard for all boaters to be safe and responsible when on the water.
The Ninth Coast Guard District, who will be working with other federal, state and local agencies this weekend, reminds all boaters to:

  • Get a vessel safety check or take a boating safety course. Both are conducted by the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and/or the U.S. Power Squadron, and will prepare your vessel for the boating season and educate the boat operator.
  • File a "float plan" with a family member or friend who is not boating with you; and stick to the plan. The world's only lifesaving device on paper can assist the Coast Guard with a search if you are in distress.
  • Wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket or personal floatation device at "all" times. The law requires you to have them on board; but the Coast Guard recommends you wear them at all times. The worst time to look for a life jacket is when you are already in distress.
  • Have a marine-band radio. If you are in distress, the Coast Guard can be reached on marine band radio channel 16: the distress channel. Use of a cell phone could provide rescuers with a false location of your distressed vessel.
  • Have a sound-producing or visual signal device on board your vessel. A horn, whistle, signal mirror or flare can signal rescuers that you are in distress.
  • Be vigilant and keep an eye out for (1) your fellow mariners and (2) anything that looks unusual on the water. "If you see something...say something."
  • Have a sober operator - don't boat under the influence. Alcohol affects judgment, vision, balance and coordination. The marine environment - motion, vibration, engine noise, sun, wind and spray - accelerates a drinker's impairment; and decreases coordination, judgment and reaction time.
  • Additionally, to those that will not be on vessels but in the water, the Coast Guard reminds the public to:
    swim in designated areas, use the "buddy system" when swimming - never swim alone, watch for boating traffic when swimming, do not consume alcohol before swimming

The public is asked to take these simple precautions to continue to make this a safe boating season.

For information on vessel safety checks, boating safety courses or safe boating practices, contact your local Coast Guard station or the Ninth Coast Guard District Public Affairs Office at (216) 902-6020.

USCG News Release

 

Lake Huron Lore Society announces public programs at Great Lakes Maritime Center

8/31 - Port Huron - On Saturday, September 22, the Lake Huron Lore Marine Society & the Algonac/Clay Historical Society will present the program "The 75th Anniversary of The of Building of Gar Wood's Miss America X,".

On Saturday, October 13, the program will be "Aboard The Charles C. West, 1940," with Ken Niemi.

Both programs will be presented at the Great Lakes Maritime Center at Vantage Point, 51 Water St., Port Huron, Michigan, beginning at 7 pm. The programs are free and open to the public.

 

Transportation Memorabilia Flea Market announced

8/31 - Port Huron - The annual fall Transportation Memorabilia Flea Market will be held at the Port Huron Seaway Terminal, 2336 Military St., Port Huron, Michigan, beginning at 9 am, on Saturday, October 20.

This flea market will feature Great Lakes marine items, as well as items from other forms of transportation.

This event is sponsored by the Port Huron Museum, Acheson Ventures, and the Lake Huron Lore Marine Society.

phone 810 982-0891

 

Updates - August 31

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - August 31

August 31, 1852 - The U. S. Congress passed an act requiring the president to appoint three officers from the Navy, three engineers from the Army and two civilian scientists to constitute the new Lighthouse Board. The Bureau of Lighthouses succeeded the Lighthouse Board in 1910.

On August 31, 1977, the BELLE RIVER entered service, departing Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, for Superior, Wisconsin. Renamed b.) WALTER J MCCARTHY JR in 1977.

In mid-August 1987, a peregrine falcon that had disappeared from Regina, Saskatchewan two weeks earlier landed on the deck of a lake freighter on Lake Huron. The bird was captured and taken to a bird sanctuary in Vineland, Ontario. The vessel name is unknown.

In mid-August 1985, the Belgium salty FEDERAL THAMES loaded 25,400 tons of low-concentrate chrome ore at Duluth's Hallett Dock and was bound for Sweden. This ore dates back to World War II when it was mined in Montana. Other shipments were to have been made later as well.

On 31 August 1906, CAVALIER (3-mast wooden schooner, 134 foot 268 gross tons, built in 1867, at Quebec City as a bark) was carrying cedar lumber when she struck a reef off Chantry Island in Lake Huron and sank. Her crew was rescued by the Chantry Island Lightkeeper. She was bound from Tobermory for Sarnia, Ontario.

On 31 August 1869, the schooner W G KEITH was launched at the Muir & Stewart yard in Port Huron, Michigan. She was named after her skipper/owner. Her dimensions were 126 foot X 26 foot X 8 foot 6 inches. She was built for the Lake Michigan lumber trade.

On 31 August 1900, efforts to free the newly launched steel steamer CAPTAIN THOMAS WILSON from the mud in the Black River at Port Huron, Michigan continued throughout the day. The launch had been watched by thousands the previous day and the vessel's stern stuck in the mud. On this date, the tugs BOYNTON and HAYNES tried to pull her free but were unable to do so. Finally 14 hydraulic jacks were used to lift the vessel and at 6:00 p.m. she was ready to be pulled by tugs. After a 15 inch hawser was broken in the first attempt, the tug PROTECTOR finally pulled the vessel free.

In 1982, The sandsucker NIAGARA, made its last trip through the I-75 Bridge with a cargo of sand for the Chevrolet Saginaw Metal Castings plant.

Data from: Joe Barr, David Swayze, Al Miller, James Neumiller, Jody Aho, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Activists board ship in Lake Erie

Nanticoke, Ont. ­ Five Greenpeace activists boarded a bulk ore carrier in Lake Erie that was carrying coal to the Nanticoke power plant. Activists arrived at the vessel aboard an inflatable craft launched from the Greenpeace vessel "Arctic Sunrise," a former ice breaker. The Algomarine crew radioed the Coast Guard to remove the activists, then veered away from the port to await the arrival of authorities. Higginson says prior to boarding, Greenpeace members painted a slogan on the vessel's hull.

A police boat arrived shortly after two activists chained themselves to the discharge boom and a third activist suspended herself from the vessel's stern, where they dangled precariously close to the rudder and made movement of the ship impossible. The trio was eventually cut down and hauled away by police to Cayuga, Ontario.

Ontario police Constable Paula Wright confirmed there was a large police presence at the scene and that three people were arrested, although she said the charges were still being sorted out. The Arctic Sunrise later attempted to block the ship's entry into Nanticoke. The captain of the Arctic Sunrise was issued an order under the federal Marine Transportation Security Act shortly after 4 p.m. to leave the area and dock elsewhere.

The dispute was ongoing late Thursday, with about 30 activist crew members and Greenpeace staffers on board the ship, Ms. Higginson said. Allister Paterson of Seaway Marine Transport, which manages the Algomarine for Algoma Central Corp., said the actions of the protesters put them all in serious danger. “You'd have to have a death wish, I think, to do something like that,” Mr. Paterson said of the stunt. Mr. Paterson said he can't understand how the protesters even managed to board the Algomarine. “The ship is 700-plus feet long and they're very high. It's an athletic feat to climb, there's no set of stairs. It's exceptionally dangerous, because if you fall and you go under, you're dead.” Ontario Power Generation spokesman John Earl said the plant notified police, increased security and warned the community in anticipation of the protest. “Of course our concern is that we want to ensure the safe reliable operation of our station — safe for our staff, safe for the community around the station and safe for Ontario consumers so that electricity supply isn't threatened.”

Once the stunt was over the Algomarine proceeded into port to unload its cargo of coal. The Nanticoke station is one four coal-fired electrical plants in Ontario that the government promised to shut down by 2007 ­ a deadline that was later extended to 2014.

Reported by: Philip Nash and Bill Bird

 

Port Reports - August 30

Lorain - Jim Reagan
The Michipicoten departed Lorain at 8 p.m. August 28 upbound passing the sun setting on Lake Erie. The Edward L. Ryerson departed the Port of Lorain at 7:45 a.m. August 29 backing out through the bascule bridge on the Black River.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The painting of Canadian Ranger continued August 29. She is expected to depart Toronto on Saturday for Port Weller Dry Dock, where the unloading gantry will be removed in pieces.
Canadian Transport was in with salt this morning and departed this afternoon for the Canal.
Stephen B. Roman remains in port. There was a work raft at her stern and she is ballasted down forward, suggesting propeller repairs.
Olympic Miracle continues unloading at Redpath Sugar dock.

 

Waukegan holds fast to harbor plan

8/30 - Waukegan -- The City Council ignored the advice of U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk Monday and declined to re-work an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that would clear the way for $24 million in federal funds to clean up Waukegan Harbor. The council met in executive session for one hour and 40 minutes to discuss the matter and emerged without comment or taking any action. In a statement released Tuesday, city officials showed no sign of changing course.

The provisions called for the city to withdraw its backing if the state did not provide around $4 million in funding, or if Congress fails to pass a bill that would eliminate industrial use of the harbor by 2012.

"The City Council met in special session last night to discuss the harbor remediation agreement," the statement reads. "Mayor (Richard) Hyde said that no action was necessary because the City Council stands firm in its position. The City cannot understand why the U.S. EPA has refused to sign the remediation agreement as modified by the city."

Last week, the EPA announced it was killing a deal to provide its share of a $36 million harbor clean-up due to the City Council's inclusion of two contingencies in Waukegan's end of the agreement.

Great Lakes National Program Director Gary Gulezian said last week that the contingencies "are not only unnecessary, but they have nothing to do with restoration." He added that the EPA "will not sign a project agreement that contains contingencies other than those that are included in our standard project agreements." The day after the EPA stance was made public, Kirk attempted to broker a deal by calling Waukegan officials and EPA Regional Administrator Mary Gade, setting up a scenario in which the deal would proceed if the city removed its provisions.

In the wake of Monday's inaction by the council, Kirk expressed his disappointment. "I am disappointed that Waukegan's City Council chose to back away from an agreement with the U.S. EPA to clean up Waukegan Harbor," the Highland Park Republican said in a statement released Tuesday. "It is unfortunate that a project paid for with $23.4 million in federal money -- as well as state and county funding -- will not be realized."

But Waukegan officials maintain that a clean-up of PCBs from the inner harbor has to be matched with a plan to ban industrial uses and open up the shoreline for residential development. "The city wants a non-industrial harbor, which is consistent with the Waukegan Downtown and Lakefront Master Plan. The community wants a clean harbor." therefore the City Council expects the federal government to take whatever means are necessary to start the final cleaned-up process."

From the Lake County News-Sun

 

Full Loads for U.S.-Flag Lakes Fleet in July
Would Have Easily Offset Idled Vessel Capacity

8/30 - Cleveland—The U.S.-Flag Great Lakes fleet saw its shipments slip 3 percent in July to 11,984,044 net tons.

The decrease can be attributed to three vessels being idled by a labor dispute. However, had the active fleet been able to carry full loads, the 365,000-ton shortfall could have been easily erased. Instead, lack of adequate dredging throughout the system again limited the amount of cargo that was carried.

The dredging crisis and its impacts are perhaps best illustrated by shipments of western coal from Superior, Wisconsin. While the July total – 1,959,003 tons – is one of the better months on record, shipments would have topped 2.2 million tons if the vessels had been able to carry full
loads.

The iron ore trade was similarly impacted. A 1,000-foot-long vessel was able to use only 89 percent of its carrying capacity in July, so the four loads it hauled came up short by 30,000 tons. Through July, U.S.-Flag carriage stands at 51.4 million tons, a decrease of 5.6 percent from the
same point in 2006, and only 1.7 percent ahead of the 5-year average for the first half.

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association

 

Efforts mount to open Buffalo lighthouse to the public
Landmark would be centerpiece of waterfront park

8/30 - Buffalo - The Buffalo lighthouse sits on 31 waterfront acres along Fuhrmann Boulevard that have been off-limits to the public since 9/11.

Still, visitors show up every day at the security gate, hoping for a chance to step into the 174-year-old landmark and enjoy one of the most beautiful views in the city. “They get upset when we won’t let them in,” said a U.S. Coast Guard sentry who asked not to be named. “Their next question is, ‘How do we find our way back to the city?’ We now [hand out] maps.”

While most public attention on developing Buffalo’s waterfront has focused on the historic canal wharf, momentum quietly has been building to allow the public into the difficult-to-access limestone lighthouse and turn the surrounding site into a public waterfront park. The site “provides a magnificent view of the lake and of the Niagara River and the city skyline,” said Julie O’Neill, president of Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper. “It’s a real regional treasure that’s been isolated and kept from the people.”

O’Neill said she can envision canoes and kayaks being launched from the site, which is across the mouth of the Buffalo River from Erie Basin Marina. The land could also support a range of activities, from recreational sports to a children’s playground and picnic tables. “It’s a gorgeous day, and less than 50 people will be going up this thing this year. It’s ridiculous, really,” said Thomas Johnston, president of the all-volunteer Buffalo Lighthouse Association.

Rep. Brian Higgins and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton have introduced legislation to turn the lighthouse site and adjacent Coast Guard facility into a park. And the Coast Guard, now under the Department of Homeland Security, has indicated its willingness to oblige, claiming the site is too large for its present needs and difficult to maintain.

The area around the lighthouse is another important part of the greenway being developed along the water’s edge, Higgins said. The southern border bumps up against Times Beach Nature Preserve, where 240 species of birds have been recorded since the wetlands opened to the public in August 2004. “I understand this period of heightened security, but this is one of the oldest standing structures in Buffalo. You can’t get to it, and you’re greeted by a fence that says ‘keep out,’ ” Higgins said.

The 1833 lighthouse — one of Buffalo’s oldest structures and one of the lake’s two oldest beacons — was entered onto the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 and designated a city landmark two years later. It’s owned by the Coast Guard, but the Buffalo Lighthouse Association was granted temporary control of the landmark 23 years ago and has spent about $300,000 on restoration and maintenance, including extensive re-grouting. The City of Buffalo spent about $100,000 on a brick path that leads to the lighthouse.

Johnston is eager for the public to have access again. He made that point on a recent day while showing off the expansive views of the city’s skyline and the vast lake — first from the ground and then from the lighthouse. Reaching the top of the octagonal- shaped tower requires climbing 50 winding steps, followed by an additional 24 steps up three successive levels. An opening on the third level allows visitors to step outside the 4-foot-thick walls, while the lantern room, above, contains the lens that is no longer active but is lit, symbolically, at a low level.

At night, the tower is highlighted using light technology developed for the Statue of Liberty centennial restoration. “We’re the Queen City of the Great Lakes. We’re the terminus of the Erie Canal. This is where Buffalo started. So why not have it so the people can go out and learn about it?” Johnston said.

The potential park is now dominated by a series of mostly temporary buildings used by the Coast Guard for maintenance and storage sheds, temporary sleeping quarters and offices, plus parking spaces. About 150 Coast Guard members work there.

Legislation sponsored by Higgins that passed the House Transportation Committee would turn over 20 acres of the site to public use. Clinton’s bill in the Senate would similarly require the Coast Guard to evaluate consolidating and relocating its Buffalo facilities and to present a proposal within a year. “This legislation is a win-win for the City of Buffalo and for the Coast Guard and a vital piece in continuing the momentum towards the waterfront’s economic resurgence,” Clinton said in a statement.

Last year, Coast Guard Rear Adm. John E. Crowley and Capt. Scott J. Ferguson, Buffalo Sector commander, wrote a letter to Adm. Thomas H. Collins, commandant of the Coast Guard, recommending consolidation to free up 20 acres for public green space. They cited the Coast Guard’s “timely opportunity” to contribute to the city’s waterfront development.

Other waterfront developments continue to reshape the future of the outer harbor. The nearby Pier restaurant is expected to be demolished within a month. And bids for construction will begin in the fall for a $48 million project designed to transform the disjointed and confusing Fuhrmann Boulevard into a four-lane parkway. A lot of questions will need to be answered, such as whether construction of a lift bridge to link the inner and outer harbors will be pursued. Money to convert the lighthouse site into a park also will have to be identified, as well as a decision made on what entity would have authority over the land.

But looking up at the lighthouse, not far from assorted artifacts and a row of large, red and green navigation buoys that the Coast Guard puts into the water, Johnston said he was encouraged by the political headway. “If you ever wanted to do something symbolically for Buffalo, this would be it,” he said. “That’s our history right there, that baby."

From the Buffalo News

 

Cottagers ask for help with lake levels

8/30 - Owen Sound - An American couple with a cottage at Red Bay appeared before South Bruce Peninsula council this week with an urgent appeal for the municipality to do whatever it can to help "fix the hole in the bucket" that's draining Lake Huron, Georgian Bay and the other upper Great Lakes.

The "hole in the bucket" Mike Bolo and his wife Mary Jane were referring to is the St. Clair River. It was last dredged in 1962 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. But the dredging went too far and exposed easily eroded layers of rock. Now the river is up to 10 feet deeper in places than it should be. And as a result "an extra flow of 2.5 billion gallons a day" of water is being drained from Lake Huron, said Mike Bolo. That's equivalent to a two-mile wide, 12 foot high river of water on its own, he told council, adding, "that's a huge, huge, huge amount of water."

Water levels in the Great Lakes normally go through high and low cycles. Currently the lakes should be in an upward, not downward trend, Bolo said. "What's going to happen when we start a downward cycle?" he wondered with a visible shudder. The impact of low water levels in Lake Huron and Georgian Bay are dramatic in this area, especially along the Bruce Peninsula's low-lying Lake Huron shore. Docks along the shore are high and dry. In the Oliphant area large expanses of lakebed have been exposed. Islands are now part of the expanded mainland.

The amount of Great Lakes' water flowing from Lake Michigan into the Mississippi River basin through a sewage canal at Chicago is a "drop in the bucket" compared to the extra flow going down the St. Clair River, Bolo said, in response to a question from Coun. Art King. The St. Clair problem can be fixed, he said, speaking of "excessive flow devices" that could be installed in the river to regulate the flow. Stone could also be put in the river where it's eroding.

"What can we do?" asked King. "Work together to help raise awareness to get both governments to fix the hole in the bucket," Bolo said.

He said he and his wife spent a day at the Owen Sound Salmon Spectacular fishing derby and circulated petitions calling on the U.S. and Canadian governments to take action. They gathered nearly 700 signatures there in one day, Bolo said. He added he hopes to soon have "hundreds" of copies of the petition in the hands of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound MP Larry Miller for presentation to Parliament. He asked for council's support to help do "all you can to get your government and ours in high gear to do something about it."

Mayor Gwen Gilbert asked the Bolos to leave blank copies of the petition at the municipal office for signing.

The St. Clair River was last dredged in 1962. Water levels in the upper Great Lakes soon fell to an all-time low in 1964. In 1970 the International Joint Commission started to study ways to slow down the flow in the St. Clair River. But that went "off track" when water levels rose to all-time high levels in 1986, said Mary Jane Bolo.

It was hard to keep people focused on the plan under those conditions. The IJC needs to start taking action again; "but this can't be another 16-year study," she warned.

From the Owen Sound Sun Times

 

Welland Gathering scheduled for September 14-16

The annual Boatnerd Welland Gathering has been planned for September 14-16 this year. The dates are earlier than prior years in an effort to enjoy better weather.

There will be slide shows on Friday and Saturday evenings beginning at 7:30. Vendor tables will be open at 6:00 p.m. both nights. Bring a tray of your best slides to share with the Gathering. Vendors who desire a table either/both night(s) - Please send an e-mail to DJWobser@aol.com

Evening events will be held at the Canadian Corps Assoc. #22, 7 Clairmont St., Thorold, which is located 3 blocks West of The Inn at Lock Seven.

Saturday morning at 10 a.m., there will be a walking tour of International Marine Salvage in Port Colborne. A great photo opportunity.

The St. Catharines Museum and Welland Visitors Centre, located at Lock Three, is offering free admission Saturday and Sunday, and the gift shop is offering 10% discount on selected items.

Plan now to attend this final event of the 2007 season. Additional details are available on the Boatnerd Gatherings Page.

 

Updates - August 30

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - August 30

On this day in 1964, the retired Bradley Transportation steamer CALCITE was awarded the National Safety Council Award of Merit. The CALCITE accumulated a total of 1,394,613 man-hours of continuous operation over 17 years with out a disabling, lost time injury. The CALCITE was the first Great Lakes vessel to ever receive this honor.

On 30 August 1893, CENTURION (steel propeller freighter, 350 foot, 3,401 gross tons) was launched by F. W. Wheeler (Hull#100) at W. Bay City, Michigan. The name was a pun to celebrate the ship as Frank Wheeler's 100th hull.

The CHARLES E WILSON was christened August 30, 1973, at Bay Shipbuilding Co., for the American Steamship Co., and completed her sea trials on September 6th. She was renamed b.) JOHN J BOLAND in 2000.

On August 30, 1942, the A H FERBERT ran aground in the St. Mary's River, just a day old. The vessel returned to the builder's yard in River Rouge, Michigan for repairs.

On August 30, 1988, the WILLOWGLEN, a.) MESABI, made its first visit to Duluth-Superior under that name. She loaded grain at Harvest States in Superior, Wisconsin, arriving early in the morning and departing in the ,early evening the same day. Her last visit to Duluth before this was in 1981 under the name c.) JOSEPH X ROBERT.

The H G DALTON entered service on August 30, 1903, for Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Transportation Co. Later b.) COURSEULLES in 1916, c.) GLENDOCHART in 1922, d.) CHATSWORTH in 1927, e.) BAYLEAF in 1942 and f.) MANCOX in 1951.

On August 30, 1985, the tug CAPTAIN IOANNIS S departed Quebec City with MENIHEK LAKE and LEON FALK JR in tow, bound for Spain to be scrapped.

On 30 August 1873, CAMBRIDGE (3-mast, wooden schooner, 162 foot, 445 tons, built in 1868, at Detroit, Michigan) was bound from Marquette, Michigan for Cleveland, Ohio with a load of iron ore. In rough seas, she was thrown onto the rocky shore near Marquette where she broke up. No lives were lost.

On 30 August 1900, thousands of people gathered at the Jenks Shipbuilding Company near the Grand Trunk Bridge on the Black River in Port Huron, Michigan to watch the launching of the large steel steamer CAPTAIN THOMAS WILSON. Superintendent Andrews gave the word and the blows were struck simultaneously at the bow and stern. Slowly the vessel started quivering slightly from deck to keel and then with a mighty rush, slid sideways into the river. Her stern stuck in the mud. Mrs. Thomas Wilson christened the ship.

Data from: Joe Barr, David Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, James Neumiller, Jody L. Aho, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Limestone Cargos Down 7.4 Percent in July

8/29 - Cleveland - Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 4.4 million net tons in July, a decrease of 7.4 percent compared to a year ago, and 5.2 percent off the month’s 5-year average.

While demand is sluggish in some key markets, the trade continues to be hampered by lack of dredging throughout the Great Lakes navigation system. July limestone shipments also were impacted by a labor dispute that continued to idle three vessels that regularly haul the product.

Through July, limestone shipments stand at 16.7 million net tons, a decrease of 11 percent compared to a year ago, and 8 percent behind the 5-year average for the January-July timeframe. The comparison to a year ago does in part reflect low inventories at several quarries when shipping resumed in late March.

Source - Lake Carrier's Association

 

Port Reports - August 29

Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Monday evening, the Arthur M. Anderson was loading at Stoneport. It was a nice evening with a breeze blowing and the full moon rising.
The John J. Boland loaded next, early on Tuesday morning.

Lorain - Jim Reagan
The Edward L. Ryerson entered the Port of Lorain at 3:10 am Tuesday with another load of iron ore pellets arriving to unload at the Jonick Dock.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Joe Block departed Fraser Shipyards in Superior sometime Monday night or early Tuesday.
Beluga Experience spent a very dusty afternoon Monday loading bentonite at Hallett 5 dock.
Early Monday, with low clouds and fog hanging over the lake and harbor, American Victory was proceeding slowly toward Duluth entry. It was expected to unload stone at Hallett 5 and then load at the CN/DMIR ore dock.
American Century was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal and Spruceglen was loading at Cargill B1 grain terminal in Duluth

Buffalo - Brain Wroblewski
Gregory J. Busch arrived with windmill parts at 7 a.m. on her way up to Republic Steel followed by the Grande Mariner heading for the Visiting Ship's Dock.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The Manistee came in light mid-morning and took a load of sand out of the Construction Aggregates Dock in Ferrysburg.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Canadian Ranger was being bunkered by Hamilton Energy early Monday, a sure sign that she will be back in service soon. After the Energy departed at 12:30 a.m. a crew was busy repainting the bow from a barge and scaffolding combo. Stephen B. Roman was also in port and the saltie Olympic Miracle remains at Redpath unloading.
The tug Patricia D. I went out this afternoon with "Keep Out" buoys which it placed in preparation for the upcoming weekend air show at the Canadian National Exhibition off Ontario Place.
A bit of excitement Monday afternoon as the 30-foot powerboat, Surface Interval, began taking on water in Humber Bay and had to be abandoned. The eight passengers who took to the water were rescued by a tender from the tall ship Empire Sandy, other pleasure craft which responded to the Mayday call, and Marine Unit 22. The powerboat did not fully sink and was recovered, towed into port and refloated by the Toronto Drydock Co.'s tug M. R. Kane.

 

Alder conducts oil spill drill outside Duluth

8/29 - Duluth - That isn’t a large orange whale on a stringer the Coast Guard Cutter Alder is pulling around on Lake Superior this afternoon. Instead, it’s part of a system used to clean up oil spills.

The Alder crew is conducting annual training with the Spilled Oil Recovery System, about 2? miles out from the Aerial Lift Bridge. The SORS allows the Alder to quickly begin mopping up oil spills in or near the Twin Ports. The system includes a floating boom attached to an outrigger. In a real spill, the Alder would cruise slowly -- at a maximum speed of two knots -- through the slick. Its movement would force oil to the back of the U-shaped, 42-foot-wide boom. There, a floating skimmer pump would suck up to 440 gallons of oil and water a minute.

“You can’t get 100 percent oil,” Lt. J.G. Kenny Pepper said today. “The desired ratio is 20 percent water, 80 percent oil. That’s the best you can hope for.”

The pump is fitted with cutting knives to chop up such possible obstructions as vegetation, garbage, plastics, aluminum cans, bottles, driftwood and dead fish, birds and small mammals. The pump’s operator can reverse the pump if necessary to spit out any blockage.

The pump sends oil and water into Sea Slugs — large orange, floating bladders. The Alder carries two — one with a capacity of 13,000 gallons, the other capable of holding 26,600. In a real spill, the Alder would likely work with other vessels.“ Once we had one Sea Slug filled, someone would probably come and take it away from us and we would deploy the other,” Pepper said.

Today’s drill consisted of pulling the SORS out of its cargo hold and deploying it on the Alder’s port side. While SORS can be deployed on both sides of the ship, doing so limits the Alder’s maneuverability. With SORS deployed and the skimmer pump in place, the crew slung one of the Sea Slugs along the Alder’s starboard side and began pumping lake water from the skimmer into the bladder.

Helping conduct today’s training are members of the Coast Guard’s Atlantic Area Strike Team and Ninth District Response Advisory Team. “They came onboard to help familiarize us with the equipment and to help us with the deployment of it,” Pepper said.

From the Duluth News-Tribune

 

Updates - August 29

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - August 29

August 29, 1996 - The NICOLET, which had been sold for scrap, left Toledo under tow of the McKeil tug OTIS WACK, arriving in Port Maitland, Ontario during the early hours of the 30th. Last operated in 1990, the NICOLET was built in 1905 by Great Lakes Engineering Work at Ecorse, Michigan as the a.) WILLIAM G MATHER (25), b) J. H. SHEADLE (55), c) H. L. GOBEILLE. The vessel spent the first 60 years of her life in service for the Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Company. After 1965, her ownership was transferred to the Gartland Steamship Company and eventually American Steamship Company.

On this day in 1974, unsuccessful negotiations on a major shipbuilding contract resulting in Litton Industries terminating operations at its Erie yard. The Litton yard had built the first thousand foot boat on the lakes, the STEWART J CORT, and the thousand foot tug-barge PRESQUE ISLE.

It is not often that a schooner tows a tug, but on 29 August 1882, the tug J A CRAWFORD was towing the big schooner JAMES COUCH to Chicago when the wind picked up and the schooner passed the tug. Captain Gorman of the CRAWFORD cut the engine and allowed the COUCH to tow him until they got close to the harbor. Then the schooner shortened sail and the tug finished the job of towing her into port.

On August 29, 1942, the A H FERBERT entered service for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co..

On her maiden voyage August 29, 1979, the INDIANA HARBOR sailed for Two Harbors, Minnesota to load iron ore pellets for Indiana Harbor, Indiana. In August, 1982, INDIANA HARBOR became the first U.S. flag laker to receive satellite communication.

On August 29, 1972 the lightship HURON was placed in an earth embankment at Port Huron's Pine Grove Park along the St. Clair River and was opened to visitors on July 13, 1974.

Canada Steamship Lines' ATLANTIC SUPERIOR returned from Europe on August 29, 1985, with a cargo of gypsum for Picton, Ontario.

On 29 August 1871, GEORGE M ABEL (2-mast wooden schooner) broke up on a reef near Port Burwell, Ontario.

On 29 August 1858, CANADA (3-mast wooden bark, 199 foot, 758 tons) was carrying a half million board feet of lumber to Chicago in bad weather when she settled just north of downtown Chicago. The next day during a salvage attempt, she blew southward, struck a bar off the old waterworks, broke her back, then broke up. She had been built in Canada in 1846, as a sidewheeler and was seized by the U.S. in 1849, and rebuilt as a bark in 1852.

August 29, 1998 - The BADGER was designated a spur route on the Lake Michigan Circle Tour.

Data from: Joe Barr, David Swayze, Al Miller, James Neumiller, Jody Aho, Russ Plumb, Lake Huron Lore Society, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

U.S. Steel to buy Stelco for $1.1 billion

8/28 - U.S. Steel Corp. said Monday it has agreed to acquire Stelco Inc. for $36.61 a share, or $1.1 billion, a move that will both strengthen U.S. Steel’s business with the automotive industry and benefit the company’s Great Lakes Works plant in Ecorse and River Rouge.

U.S. Steel said it expects the acquisition of Stelco to strengthen its position as a premier supplier of flat-rolled steel products to the North American market. Stelco’s Lake Erie Works is among the most modern integrated steel plant in North America.

“With major facilities located on both sides of the Great Lakes, this acquisition will significantly increase our ability to respond to market demands and our customers’ needs,” John Surma, U.S. Steel chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

Hamilton, Ontario-based Stelco emerged from bankruptcy in March, 2006 but lost $187 million for the year ending Dec. 31, due in part to lower demand from its automotive customers.

Charles Bradford, a steel analyst with Bradford Research-Soleil Inc. in New York City, said the acquisition of Stelco benefits U.S. Steel’s Great Lakes Works plant. “The major plant of Stelco is just a couple hours away, and that is the newest integrated plant in North America,” Bradford said. “There is actually some excess capacity for rolling at Great Lakes Works, and Stelco has excess slabs — about 900,000 per year. Some of that will go to Great Lakes for rolling and some will go to Granite City.”

"The Stelco acquisition will help Great Lakes Works," said Dawn Dayton, manager of communications and media relations for U.S. Steel's Great Lakes Works plant said in a statement sent to Crain's. "The acquisition, when completed, will become part of our supply chain and will strengthen our competitive position in the steel industry."

Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel also operates a steel plant in Granite City, Ill.

In 2006, Stelco produced 2.6 billion tons of steel for the nine-month period ending Dec. 31. After the acquisition, U.S. Steel will have annual raw steel capability of approximately 33 million tons.

The deal is expected to close by the end of this year

From Crain's Detroit Business

 

Port reports - August 28

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The St. Mary's Challenger came in to their terminal in Ferrysburg with a short load at 4 a.m. Monday and left at 10:30 a.m.
The ATB Lewis Kuber/Olive Moore came in for Verplank's Dock about 8 a.m.

Lorain - Jim Reagan
The Wolverine was observed departing the Port of Lorain at around 4 p.m. Monday, passing through the Bascule after discharging its cargo. At 4:40 p.m., the Michipicoten entered port light, drawing 12 feet, passing upbound through the bascule bridge.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer

Alpena was at the LaFarge silo in Milwaukee's inner harbor on Monday, unloading powdered cement.
At about 4 p.m. Monday, ocean vessel BBC Finland (reg. Naples, Italy) entered the Milwaukee harbor with the assistance of one Great Lakes Towing tug, then proceeded upriver to pivot in the inner harbor turning basin before berthing at the Heavy Lift dock to deliver windmill blades.

Niagara Falls - Robert
The unloading of the chilling towers, from the tug Herbert P. Brake and barge, has been delayed until Tuesday. The towers will be moved about 5 miles on land to a Praxair plant on Royal Avenue. The plant has a 600-crane with a 320-foot boom to set the towers.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Sunday saw the arrival of two vessels on the Saginaw River. The CSL Tadoussac was first in, calling on the Essroc dock in Essexville. She was followed later in the evening by the Lee A. Tregurtha who called on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville. The CSL Tadoussac completed her unload and backed from the dock and out of the river to Light 12 in the Saginaw Bay to turn. The Lee A. Tregurtha followed a short time later, also backing out to Light 12 to turn. Both were bound for the lake early Monday morning.

 

Difficult conditions blamed for freighter's grounding

8/28 - Muskegon - Wind and "tricky" currents are being blamed for causing the lake freighter Indiana Harbor to run aground Wednesday afternoon.

The 1,000-foot vessel was stuck on the sandy bottom of Lake Michigan outside Muskegon's outer pier heads for about four hours before the captain was able to wiggle it free. The vessel was delivering a load of coal to the B.C. Cobb plant.

Joel Blanchard, marine science technician at the U.S. Coast Guard station in Grand Haven, spent three hours on board the Indiana Harbor after it got stuck. He said it is standard procedure in marine incidents such as this for a Coast Guard official to assess any damage and learn of the captain's intentions for remedying the situation. "The captain did everything a reasonable person would do to avoid the situation," Blanchard said. "The wind and the current pushed him away from the entrance."

The incident is still being investigated internally by American Steamship Co., the company that operates the Indiana Harbor. The vessel was not damaged. "It's kind of a tricky approach into that port, tricky currents," said Rhonda Johnson, director of communications at GATX, parent company of American Steamship Co.

Low water levels and a need for additional dredging in Great Lakes ports are being called factors in the incident. Muskegon's commercial harbor is typically dredged every three years by the U.S. Corps of Engineers, and it is scheduled for dredging next year. The Corps and the Great Lakes shipping industry are pushing for additional funding from Congress to help alleviate the problems. Companies have had to lighten the loads on their freighters because of low water levels.

"It really is a crisis on the lakes," Johnson said.

Depths are shown to be as shallow as 24 feet in the area the ship went aground, somewhat south of the center of the inlet, indicating the ship was slightly off course. The ship's bow markings showed a draft of 26 feet. According to the Corps harbor survey map, the depth at the center of the harbor entrance is 26.5 feet.

From the Muskegon Chronicle

 

One of two Great Lakes cruise ships pulling out in 2008
Departure of MS Columbus leaves just Grande Mariner on inland waters

8/28 - Cleveland - Efforts to revive the once-thriving cruise industry on the Great Lakes have stalled, due in part to low water levels and a short sailing season.
Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, a German company, has pulled its popular ship, the MS Columbus, from the Great Lakes for next year and possibly beyond. That leaves just one ship, the 100-passenger Grande Mariner, sailing in the region in 2008.

Though disappointed, travel agent Chris Conlin said he remains convinced that the region will ultimately succeed as a cruising destination. "It's a temporary blip in the rebirth of cruising on the Great Lakes," said Conlin, owner of Michigan-based Great Lakes Cruise Co. "By next summer, I hope we'll be able to announce more capacity in the Great Lakes."

The Columbus, a luxury ship with room for 423, has been a mainstay in the region since the late 1990s. Built to cruise the Great Lakes, the ship is narrow and shallow enough to maneuver through the region's locks and tight waterways. But those waterways have gotten too tight in recent years. The water levels in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, for example, are down 3 to 4 feet since the late 1990s, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Cindy Tanenbaum, a spokeswoman for Hapag-Lloyd, said declining water levels in the Great Lakes contributed to the company's decision to remove the ship, at least temporarily. Just this year, Hapag-Lloyd dropped Sault Ste. Marie, on the St. Mary's River in central Ontario, from the Columbus' ports of call because of low water levels.

Three Great Lakes cruises on the Columbus remain this fall: a 10-day Toronto-to-Chicago sailing, starting Monday, Sept. 17; a 10-day Chicago-to-Chicago itinerary, beginning Thursday, Sept. 27; and a 10-day Chicago-to-Toronto cruise beginning Monday, Oct. 8. Ports of call include Mackinac Island and Traverse City, Mich.; Milwaukee; and Windsor, Ontario. All three trips are sold out.

The popularity of both the ship and its itineraries have never been an issue, said Conlin. "It constantly exceeds our customers' expectations." A majority of passengers are German, though Americans like it, too, said Conlin. Great Lakes cruisers tend to be older, experienced travelers who like the safe, accessible ports of call in the United States and Canada.

From Toronto, the Columbus will head to Miami, South America, Africa and eventually to the Mediterranean, where the Martin Randall Travel company has chartered it for a series of cultural cruises next fall. After that, it is headed for dry dock and interior renovations, according to Tanenbaum. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises will decide next year whether and when the Columbus will return to the Great Lakes.

Meanwhile, the Great Lakes Cruising Coalition, a group of cities and other organizations lobbying to bring additional ships to the area, will continue to try to boost the fledgling industry.

A hundred years ago, the lakes were teeming with passenger ships, a luxurious way to travel that fell out of favor by mid-century with the growth of the interstate highway system and the discovery of more exotic vacation destinations. Before 1997, the last passenger ship to call on the Great Lakes was the World Discoverer in 1975. This recent effort to revive cruising peaked in 2002, when seven ships offered overnight sailings throughout the lakes.

The remaining ship in the Great Lakes, the Grande Mariner, offers six-night Lake Michigan getaways, as well as a two-week Great American Waterways cruise, which travels from Chicago to Warren, R.I. The ship is owned by the American Canadian Caribbean Line.

Steven Olinek, deputy director of the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority and chairman of the Great Lakes Cruising Coalition, is disappointed that 2008 won't offer more choices for travelers. "There's a limited number of vessels that can come here," he said. "We've fought long and hard to build up the inventory."

Still, the coalition will continue to push the region, said Olinek, whose city is building a new pier and terminal, in part to attract cruise ships and other boats that would benefit Detroit's tourist industry. He compares the nascent cruise industry on the Great Lakes to Alaska in the 1960s, a once-remote location that is now a major cruising destination. "Unless people have been on the waters of the Great Lakes, they have no idea what's out there," said Olinek. "It's going to take a change in mind-set."

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer

 

Gun training method sought for Coast Guard

8/28 - Syracuse - The U.S. Coast Guard is still looking for a way to train crews on using machine guns on the Great Lakes.

A proposal to temporarily restrict access to areas of the Great Lakes, including Lake Ontario, so crews could fire live ammunition was withdrawn last year under public pressure. Since then, Coast Guard crews have trained with machine guns off the East Coast and at Fort Knox, Ky., said Chief Petty Officer Robert K. Lanier, spokesman for the Coast Guard.

If they have the machine gun aboard, they have been trained," Lanier said of crews on the Great Lakes. Last week, Coast Guard personnel on Lake Erie demonstrated alternative training equipment that uses lasers and sensors, Lanier said. There are no plans to try out the lasers on Lake Ontario, he said.

The Coast Guard added belt-fed machine guns to its Great Lakes fleet in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

From the Syracuse Post-Standard

 

Coal Surge Still Comes Up Short Because of Dredging Crisis

8/28 - Cleveland —Even though coal shipments on the Great Lakes increased 18.5 percent in July compared to a year ago, the dredging crisis effectively trimmed hundreds of thousands of tons from the month-end total.

Shipments from Superior Midwest Energy Terminal (SMET) in Superior, Wisconsin, are a case in point. Although the dock recorded its second-best month ever since starting operations in 1976 – 2,542,659 net tons – it would have shipped nearly 2.8 million net tons if each of the 53 vessels that loaded at SMET in July had been able to carry full loads.

The dredging crisis and falling water levels negated 10 percent of vessels’ carrying capacity over the course of July. Light loads were commonplace at other coal loading docks in July. It is possible that the dredging crisis reduced the coal trade Lakes-wide in July by 400,000 tons.

For the year, the Lakes coal trade stands at 19 million net tons, a decrease of 7 percent compared to the same point in 2006. Compared to the 5-year average, shipments are nearly 1 million tons off the pace.

More information is available at www.lcaships.com

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association

 

Updates - August 28

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - August 28

On this day in 1939, the RICHARD J REISS collided with the YOSEMITE on the St. Clair River. There were no casualties but damage to the Reiss amounted to $26,593.80 and damage to the YOSEMITE amounted to $23,443.09. The REISS was built in 1901, as the a.) GEORGE W PEAVEY. Renamed b.) RICHARD J REISS in 1917, c.) SUPERIOR in 1943. She was scrapped at Hamilton, Ontario in 1947. The YOSEMITE carried her name throughout her career, built in 1901, and scrapped at Buffalo, New York in 1954.

Capt. Frank R. West took his 8 year old son Robert and the boy's friend 8 year old Edward Erickson aboard the new schooner LOUIS MEEKER as guests on a trip carrying 27,000 bushels of oats from Chicago to Buffalo. There was hardly any wind and it took them four days to creep north as far as Pentwater, Michigan. On 28 August 1872, Captain West saw a storm coming and he had the sails taken in as a precaution. The winds came so suddenly and they hit the vessel so hard that the schooner was knocked over on her beam ends. Little Robert West, his dad and three sailors were lost when the vessel sank 15 minutes later near Big Sable Point. Peter Danielson dove and tried to cut away the lifeboat as the schooner was sinking and he almost drowned in that unsuccessful attempt. The mizzen gaff broke free and seven sailors plus little Edward Erickson clung to it until they were picked up by the schooner WILLIAM O BROWN six hours later.

Mr. Edwin H. Gott, 78, of Pittsburgh, died on August 28, 1986. The namesake of the 1,000 footer, he retired as Chief Executive Officer of U.S. Steel in 1973.

On August 28, 1962, the EDWARD L RYERSON set a Great Lakes cargo record for iron ore. The RYERSON loaded 25,018 gross tons of iron ore in Superior, Wisconsin, breaking by 14 tons the record held by the Canadian bulk freighter RED WING which was set in the 1961, season. The RYERSON held this record well into 1965.

The PERE MARQUETTE 22 was repowered with two 2,850 ihp four cylinder Skinner Uniflow steeple compound steam engines, 19 1/2", 43" dia. X 26" stroke, built in 1953, by the Skinner Engine Co., Erie, Pennsylvania and four coal-fired Foster-Wheeler water tube boilers with a total heating surface of 25,032 sq. ft. built in 1953. The repowering work was completed on August 28, 1954. Her 1954, tonnage was 3551 gross tons, 1925 net tons, 2450 deadweight tons. A new starboard tail shaft was installed at this time. Her service speed increased to 18 knots (20.7 mph).

The JOHN ANDERSON, a.) LUZON of 1902, was outbound through the Duluth Ship Canal on August 28, 1928, the ANDERSON struck the north pier suffering $18,000 in damage. Renamed c.) G G POST in 1935. The POST was scrapped at Istanbul, Turkey in 1972.

Gulf Oil Corp., tanker REGENT entered service on August 28, 1934. She was built for low clearances on the New York State Barge Canal and was equipped with five cargo tanks and one dry cargo hold.

The WILLIAM A REISS, a.) JOHN A TOPPING, was laid up for the last time on August 28, 1981, at Toledo, Ohio and remained idle there until July 15, 1994, when she was towed to be scrapped.

On 28 August 1870, CHASKA (wooden scow-schooner, 72 foot, 50 tons, built in 1869, at Duluth, Minnesota originally as a scow-brig) was wrecked in a northwesterly storm near Duluth. Reportedly she's the first vessel built at Duluth.

On 28 August 1763, BEAVER, an armed wooden British sloop built the previous year, was carrying provisions to Detroit to relieve the fort there which was under siege by the Indians led by Pontiac, however the vessel foundered in a storm at Cat Fish Creek, 14 miles from the site of Buffalo. 185 barrels of her cargo were salvaged and went on to Detroit on the schooner GLADWIN.

Data from: Joe Barr, David Swayze, Al Miller, James Neumiller, Jody Aho, Russ Plumb, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Port Reports - August 27

Bath, Ontario - Eric Gagnon
KCL Barracuda arrived Sunday morning at 10 a.m. to load cement at Bath Lafarge, assisted by the Ocean tug Jerry G. This is her second load at Bath this summer.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Cement carrier Innovation and tug Samuel de Champlain were at the LaFarge silo on Jones Island in Milwaukee's inner harbor Sunday, unloading.
Federal Mattawa, which was still unloading at terminal #2 in the outer harbor Saturday, departed overnight.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Sunday morning the Hamilton Energy departed at 8:15 a.m. to bunker one of the Desgagnes ships outside of the Burlington Piers.
Maritime Trader arrived at 9:15 a.m. Atlantic Erie departed at 11:30 a.m. from the Stelco ore dock.
The saltie Clipper Kiera departed Pier 23 at 12 noon for Montreal. Voyageur Pioneer departed Pier 14W at 5:30 p.m. for the canal.
Algoisle then arrived at 7 p.m. going to Dofasco with iron ore pellets.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Joe Block was in Fraser Shipyards late Sunday afternoon. No indication of what sort of repairs it was undergoing.
Indiana Harbor was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal and Frontenac was anchored off Superior Entry waiting for Atlantic Huron to finish at BNSF.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The push tug Herbert C. Brake arrived off Buffalo Harbor with a barge load of industrial equipment on Sunday morning. They had just come in from the Welland Canal at 11 a.m. The tug brought her barge through the North Entrance on a wire and then switched around to push gear once they were inside the breakwall. With the barge on the nose, they proceeded downbound on the Black Rock Canal to the Niagara Mohawk dock near the North Grand Island Bridge. The barge was carrying two large chiller units for delivery to the new Praxair plant in Niagara Falls. The pair came up the Erie Canal to Lake Ontario, and then through the Welland Canal to reach Buffalo. Herbert C. Brake is owned by the West Albany Shippers company and has an unusual configuration not normally seen on the lakes. She has a set of push knees on her bow and a retractable pilothouse.

Owen Sound - Peter Bowers
Saginaw arrived with a load of wheat Sunday evening just before midnight at the Gt Lakes Elevator from the Lakehead. Unloading is expected to begin Monday morning.

 

Updates - August 27

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

 Today in Great Lakes History - August 27

The new Poe Lock at the Soo was first flooded on 27 August 1968.

On 27 August 1886, The Detroit Evening News reported that a fireman on the tug J H HACKLEY of 1874, was sent to watch for a leak in the boiler, which was being filled with cold water at a dock in Chicago. He fell asleep and the boiler overflowed, very nearly sinking the vessel before another tug could pump her dry.

The AGAWA CANYON (Hull#195) was launched in 1971, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd. for Algoma Central Railway Ltd.

The C.C.G.S. SAMUEL RISLEY arrived at Toronto, Ontario on August 27, 1985, on her way to Thunder Bay, Ontario where she replaced the retired C.C.G.C. ALEXANDER HENRY.

JOHN O MC KELLAR (Hull#12) was launched August 27, 1952, at St. Catharines, Ontario by Port Weller Drydocks Ltd.for the Colonial Steamship Co. Ltd. (Scott Misener, mgr.), Port Colborne, Ontario. Renamed b.) ELMGLEN in 1984.

The WILLIAM CLAY FORD then renamed b.) US266029 departed her lay-up berth at the Rouge slip on August 20, 1986, in tow of Gaelic tugs and she was taken to Detroit Marine Terminals on the Rouge River, where her pilothouse was removed to be displayed at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Detroit's Belle Isle. The hull was moved to Nicholson's River Rouge dock on August 27th.

The WILLIAM B DICKSON (Hull#75) was launched August 27, 1910, at Ecorse, Michigan by Great Lakes Engineering Works for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co., Cleveland, Ohio. Renamed b.) MERLE M MC CURDY in 1969. She was scrapped at Port Colborne, Ontario in 1989.

The U.S. Coast Guard Buoy Tender MESQUITE (WAGL-305) was commissioned on August 27, 1943, and served on the Pacific Ocean in the 7th Fleet in 1944 and 1945.

On August 27, 1940, the WILLIAM A IRVIN set the Great Lakes record for the fastest unloading of an iron ore cargo using shore side equipment. The IRVIN unloaded 13,856 gross tons of iron ore in 2 hours, 55 minutes (including the time to arrive and depart the dock) in Conneaut, Ohio. This record still stands, and consequently the IRVIN is one of the few Great Lakes vessels to be retired while still holding a Great Lakes cargo record.

On August 27, 1929, the MYRON C TAYLOR entered service. On 27 August 1924, CITY QUEEN (wooden propeller steam tug, 71 foot, 69 gross tons, built in 1900, at Midland, Ontario) burned to a total loss 1Ú4 mile east of the Manitou Dock in Georgian Bay.

The keel for the tug CRUSADER was laid on 27 August 1873, at the Leighton & Dunford yard in Port Huron, Michigan. The tug's dimensions were 100 foot keel, 132 foot overall, and 23 foot beam. She was built for George E. Brockway.

Data from: Joe Barr, David Swayze, Al Miller, Jody Aho, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Port Reports - August 26

Soo - Brent Michaels
The Wolverine was loading at the Algoma Export Dock and the Lake Guardian is at the Carbide Dock.

Niagara Falls - Robert
The tug Herbert P. Brake delivery parts for a new Praxair plant in Niagara Falls NY. has been delayed until Monday due to weather. Two 100-foot towers will be unloaded at the oxy dock in the upper Niagara River by North Grand Island Bridge.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Friday evening saw the Algosoo arrive in Hamilton at 6:30 p.m., going to Dofasco with coal.
The Ocean Group tugs Omni Richelieu and LaPrairie arrived at 8:30 p.m. The saltie Jo Spirit arrived at 9 p.m. and went to Pier 26 with its cargo of rum from Nassau in the Bahamas. Her next port is Hamburg Germany.
Saturday tug Anglian Lady and barge PML 2501 arrived at 1 p.m. The tanker Diamond Star arrived at 8 pm.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algoway was a 9 a.m. arrival in the harbour on Saturday morning. Another load out from the Sifto Salt mine.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
There were five arrivals on Friday. Canadian Transport was in with salt, English River in with cement, and the salty Olympic Miracle came in with raw sugar; assisted into the Redpath slip by Omni Richelieu and LaPrairie, which came over from Hamilton for the job. The tugs departed shortly afterwards.
Canadian Transport departed late Friday for the canal, and English River left early Saturday morning for Bath.

Port Huron -
The Gregory Busch and its barge, loaded with windmill parts, were tied up at the Malcolm Marine dock in Port Huron Saturday.

Menominee/Marinette - Dick Lund
Menominee and Marinette were busy early Saturday morning. The activity began when the Selvick tugs Cameron O and Jacquelyn Nicole arrived in port around 4 a.m. to haul the new Marinette Marine-built tug, Christiana, from Marinette to Sturgeon Bay, WI.
Then, around 9 a.m. two vessels arrived off Menominee. The BBC Elbe with more windmill parts and the tug/barge Michaela McAllister/Atlantic Trader returning to pick up the remaining INLS Navy craft from Marinette Marine. Both craft were making their second trip to the twin ports this year.

 

Welland Gathering scheduled for September 14-16

The annual Boatnerd Welland Gathering has been planned for September 14-16 this year. The dates are earlier than prior years in an effort to enjoy better weather.

There will be slide shows on Friday and Saturday evenings beginning at 7:30. Vendor tables will be open at 6:00 p.m. both nights. Bring a tray of your best slides to share with the Gathering. Vendors who desire a table either/both night(s) - Please send an e-mail to DJWobser@aol.com

Evening events will be held at the Canadian Corps Assoc. #22, 7 Clairmont St., Thorold, which is located 3 blocks West of The Inn at Lock Seven.

Saturday morning at 10 a.m., there will be a walking tour of International Marine Salvage in Port Colborne. A great photo opportunity.

The St. Catharines Museum and Welland Visitors Centre, located at Lock Three, is offering free admission Saturday and Sunday, and the gift shop is offering 10% discount on selected items.

Plan now to attend this final event of the 2007 season. Additional details are available on the Boatnerd Gatherings Page.

 

Updates - August 26

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - August 26

In 1791, John Fitch was granted a United States patent for the steamboat.

On 26 August 1872, wooden propeller steamer LAKE BREEZE of 1868, was steaming from Saginaw to Mackinaw City with freight and about 40 passengers when fire broke out in the kitchen while off Au Sable Michigan. Captain M. S. Lathrop ordered the engines shut down and the steam pumps activated. The crew battled the blaze with fire hoses and put the flames out. When the LAKE BREEZE pulled into Mackinaw City that night, the partially burned vessel was still smoking.

The EDGAR B SPEER's sea trials were successfully completed on August 26, 1980.

The BEECHGLEN was towed out of Owen Sound by the McKeil tug KAY COLE on August 26, 1994, in route to Port Maitland, Ontario for scrapping.

The HENRY C FRICK (Hull#615) was launched August 26, 1905, at West Bay City, Michigan by West Bay City Ship Building Co., for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co. Renamed b.) MICHIPICOTEN in 1964, she foundered off Anticosti Island on November 17, 1972, while being towed overseas for scrapping..

EMORY L FORD entered service on August 26, 1916, to load iron ore at Marquette, Michigan. Renamed b.) RAYMOND H REISS in 1965. She was scrapped at Ramey's Bend in 1980.

The GLENEAGLES (Hull#14) was launched August 26, 1925, at Midland, Ontario by Midland Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. for the Great Lakes Transportation Co. Ltd. (James Playfair, mgr.). Converted to a self-unloader in 1963. Renamed b.) SILVERDALE in 1978. She was scrapped at Windsor, Ontario in 1984.

The CHIEF WAWATAM (Hull#119) was launched on August 26, 1911, at Toledo, Ohio by Toledo Ship Building Co. for the Mackinaw Transportation Co.. She was built with three large propellers, two in the stern for propulsion and one in the bow for icebreaking. She was sold to Purvis Marine Ltd., of Sault Ste, Marie, Ontario in 1988, and cut down to a barge.

The Port Weller Drydocks Ltd., built, passenger-cargo ship FEDERAL PALM (Hull#29) was christened August 26, 1961, for the West Indies Shipping Corp., Ltd. She was built on the Great Lakes, but never served their ports. Renamed b.) CENPAC ROUNDER in 1975, she was scrapped in 1979.

On August 26, 1934, while on a Sunday sightseeing cruise, MIDLAND CITY of 1871, a.) MAUD 153.2 foot, 521 gross tons, damaged her bottom on a shoal near Present Island in Georgian Bay. She settled with her stern under water and her bow high in the air.

On 26 August 1875, COMET (propeller passenger/package freight, 181 foot, 744 tons, built in 1857, at Cleveland, Ohio) was carrying ore and pig iron in Lake Superior on a foggy night. While trying to pass the Beatty Line steamer MANITOBA, 7 miles SE of Whitefish Point, signals were misunderstood and COMET veered into the path of MANITOBA. COMET was rammed amidships and sank in ten minutes. 11 of the 21 aboard lost their lives. This wasn't the first such accident for COMET. In October 1869, she suffered a similar mishap with the propeller HUNTER and that time both vessels sank.

The schooner MATTHEW MC NAIR was launched at the Lee & Lamoree shipyard in Oswego, New York on 26 August 1857. Her dimensions were 103 foot keel, 24 foot 6 inch beam and 9 foot 6 inch depth.

Data from: Joe Barr, David Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Max Hanley, Reference.com, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Freighters renew call for more dredging

8/25 - Muskegon - The sight of the lake freighter Indiana Harbor stuck just outside Muskegon's outer pierheads Wednesday may become the "poster child" in the push to increase funding for dredging in Great Lakes harbors.

Industry leaders and federal officials are touting the need for more money for dredging of commercial ports to offset the significantly low water levels on the Great Lakes and shoaling in harbor openings. Large vessels are leaving tons of cargo on the loading dock and their customers are being forced to survive on less material.

The 1,000-foot Indiana Harbor, which was stuck for about four hours Wednesday before wiggling free, was forced to unload a portion of its coal cargo to another ship so it could ride high enough to clear the channel. The depth at the harbor entrance is 26.5 feet and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers recently issued a notice to mariners to use extreme caution in the area because of shoaling -- the buildup of sand and silt on the lake bottom.

"Obviously, it's having an impact, but the freighters expect it," Tom O'Bryan, chief of operations and maintenance for the Corps' office in Grand Haven, said of the low water levels. "I think they're used to it." The shipping industry is getting accustomed to the low water levels, but that issue and lack of dredging are hurting the companies that operate the ships and their customers. According to the Corps, each inch of water level translates into 120 tons of cargo on 1,000-foot vessels.

Glen Nekvasil, vice president of corporate communications for the Lake Carriers' Association, said the low water levels and lack of adequate dredging in the ports are the largest issues facing the shipping industry. The association represents 18 American corporations that operate 63 U.S.-flagged vessels on the Great Lakes, including the American Steamship Company's Indiana Harbor. "When we're not loading our boats as full as possible, that's impacting our ability to meet the needs of our customers," Nekvasil said. "This is an industry where inches count. If the entire fleet encountered a loss of only 1 inch, that would result in a loss of 8,000 tons of cargo."

In most areas on the Great Lakes, water levels have dropped by much more than 1 inch. Lake Michigan has dropped 3 inches since this time last year and the lake level is 21 inches below its long-term average.

Muskegon's harbor is typically dredged every three years and is scheduled for dredging next year. O'Bryan said the Corps tries to maintain a depth of 29 feet in the outer harbor. "I'd like to say we could do it every two years, but we don't have funding for that anymore," O'Bryan said.

The Corps and shipping industry leaders are hopeful more funding for dredging will be available next year. O'Bryan and Nekvasil said lawmakers in Washington from Great Lakes states are aware of the issue and are working to increase funding. "Our proposed 2008 budget looks better than in recent years," O'Bryan said.

From the Muskegon Chronicle

 

Port Reports - August 25

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
Maumee was docked at Lafarge on Thursday. It unloaded taconite tailings throughout the day into the storage hopper.
The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were seen on the gray horizon Friday evening making its way into port.
Tug G. L Ostrander and barge Integrity are expected to return Saturday morning along with the Alpena by early afternoon.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Canadian Transfer backed in the channel Friday afternoon and tied up at the Sifto Salt dock to load. She had started to load at 4:15 p.m.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Manistee made an unusual but welcome call in the Twin Ports on Friday. Early in the morning it was unloading salt at Hallett Dock 8 in Superior.
CN/DMIR ore dock was busy with Manistee and Great Lakes Trader scheduled to load and Cason J. Callaway unloading stone.

Niagara Falls - Robert
The tug Herbert P. Brake is expected to deliver parts for a new Praxair plant in Niagara Falls NY. Two 100-foot towers will be unloaded at the oxy dock in the upper Niagara River by North Grand Island bridge on Saturday.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Agawa Canyon was outbound the Saginaw River late Wednesday night after unloading at the Buena Vista dock.
Thursday morning saw the tug John Spence and her tank barge outbound from the SEM Materials dock in Essexville.
Inbound Thursday morning was the tug Olive L. Moore & barge Lewis J. Kuber, who called on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. The pair were outbound later that evening.
On Friday, the Calumet was inbound calling on the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee. They were expected to be outbound late Friday night or early Saturday morning.

 

Minor Seiche On Lake Michigan Wednesday

8/25 - Chicago - A minor seiche was observed on southern Lake Michigan Wednesday morning. A seiche can best be explained as a large slosh on a lake where water from one side of the lake is forced or pushed to the other side of the lake then returns to the other side of the lake resulting in a rise in the water levels. This oscillation of lake water levels will often continue with peaks and lows in water levels for some time before the lake stabilizes again.

Most commonly seiches on Lake Michigan occur as a result of a fast moving line of high wind producing thunderstorms and this was the case Wednesday morning. As the line of thunderstorms raced across southern Lake Michigan Wednesday morning producing winds of 40 to 60 mph it caused water to pile up on the east side of the lake, followed by the slosh back to the western shores of Lake Michigan.

Lake water level data obtained from Calumet harbor that morning indicate that the amplitude of this seiche was about a foot and a half with lake levels peaking about slightly less than a foot above normal and falling to less just under a foot below normal.

Below are the observed maximum and minimum water levels measured Wednesday morning at Calumet harbor during the seiche.

5:36 am cdt  - 9.6 inches above normal
7:30 am cdt  - 9.0 inches below normal
9:30 am cdt  - 7.3 inches above normal
11:36 am cdt - 5.7 inches below normal
1:42 pm cdt  - 3.8 inches above normal

Some very minor, likely unnoticeable fluctuations in lake levels continued that afternoon as the lake stabilizes again in the wake of the Wednesday mornings seiche.

From the National Weather Service - Chicago

 

Old life-saving station resurfaces
Sailor's curiosity leads to beach in Fort Gratiot

8/25 - Fort Gratiot - It required the historian's equivalent of a search-and-rescue mission, but the site of the original Coast Guard station in the Port Huron area has been pinpointed. "The location had been lost to time," said Dave Bennis, a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary and leader of the search.

Last month, the foundation of the 109-year-old Lakeview Beach Life-Saving Station was uncovered near the beach between Brace and Metcalf roads in northeast Fort Gratiot Township. An announcement of the discovery was made this week as Port Huron prepares to celebrate its annual Coast Guard Days.

In 1932, the Coast Guard left Lakeview Beach and moved into a new station beside the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse in Port Huron. Over the next 75 years, memories of the Lakeview Beach location became the faintest of whispers. Bennis said he became curious about Lakeview Beach two years ago when the Coast Guard opened a new station, its third in the Port Huron area. "I noticed a discrepancy in the (media coverage)," he said. "They were confusing the Lakeview Beach Station with the first Station Port Huron."

Bennis set out to pinpoint the site. He interviewed 30 to 40 local history buffs and examined historical documents. His inquiries eventually led him to the Lakeview Beach subdivision, located on the lakeshore north of the mouth of Doe Creek (also known as Brace Road Ditch). Dr. Michael Basha, a prominent Port Huron physician, owns the property and is building a lakefront home. He gave searchers access to the site and his contractor, Rick Mills, had his workers use shovels and trowels to carefully uncover the foundation.

Bennis and Coast Guard representatives, including Senior Chief Jeffery Egleston of Station Port Huron, were able to spend a day photographing and measuring the ruins. "It's an important part of our heritage in the community," said Egleston, the latest in a long line of local Coast Guard station keepers.

Tragedy leads to station
The first in that line was Capt. George W. Plough, who took command of the Lakeview Beach Station on April 10, 1898.
The U.S. Life-Saving Service, which merged with the Revenue Cutter Service in 1915 to form the Coast Guard, built the original station. It did so four years after the tragic sinking of the William Shupe, a schooner that ran aground on Corsica Shoals during a gale in May 1894.

Four Port Huron volunteers drowned in the frigid waters of Lake Huron after their small boat capsized while they tried to rescue the Shupe's crew of eight men and a woman. Ironically, it was Plough and a team from the Sand Beach (Harbor Beach) Life-Saving Station who finally succeeded in saving the crew just minutes before the schooner broke apart.

The Lakeview Beach Station was located between Brace and Metcalf roads because of the proximity to Corsica Shoals, a notoriously dangerous sand reef. In 1931, the Coast Guard decided to move to Port Huron and bought property at the lighthouse. The move was prompted because the St. Clair River had become more dangerous than Corsica Shoals, where the U.S. Lighthouse Service stationed a series of lightships.


Tower dominates station
Bennis, who moved to Port Huron from Oakland County four years ago after retiring from Chrysler, said the Lakeview Beach Station served as a model for nine later Coast Guard stations. "It became known as the Port Huron design," he said of the structure, which was dominated by a lookout tower. A large porch fronted the crew's quarters, while a smaller porch served an apartment for the station keeper and his family.

In his search for his site, Bennis obtained blueprints for the station from the National Archives. He also received a site plan, but it proved to be the plan for the 1932 Station Port Huron. "They had the information confused in the Archives," he said, "but then I had a bit of good luck." The Coast Guard has a tentative agreement to transfer ownership of the 1932 station and the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse to the city of Port Huron as a museum and tourist attraction. Before the transfer can take place, environmental and structural reviews of the property are required.

As part of a survey of the property, an Ann Arbor company requested blueprints and site plans of the 1932 station from the National Archives. One of the documents it received was a site plan for the Lakeview Beach Station. "It wasn't labeled or anything, but they still made a copy of it when they were in Washington," Bennis said. "They were kind enough to share it with me."

He said the Coast Guard plans to use materials salvaged from the original foundation to create a small monument to the Lakeview Beach Station. It will be placed on the lighthouse grounds. He said there also have been discussions of placing a marker on the beach at the Basha property in Fort Gratiot Township.

From the Port Huron Tmes Herald

 

Updates - August 25

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - August 25

On 25 August 1892, H D COFFINBERRY (wooden propeller freighter, 191 foot, 649 gross tons, built in 1874, at East Saginaw, Michigan) was carrying iron ore from Escanaba to Ashtabula in a fierce NW gale when she grounded on the rocks near Port Hope on Lake Huron. The crew was rescued by the San Beach Lifesaving crew and the tug ANAPING. The COFFINBERRY was released five days later and put back in service.

On Aug. 25, 1923, the Duluth, Missabe & Northern Ore Dock in Duluth loaded 208,212 tons of ore into 23 ships.

On August 25, 1984, the hard luck ROGER M KYES grounded off McLouth Steel and ended crosswise in the Detroit River's Trenton Channel. It required lightering into the RICHARD REISS a.) ADIRONDACK and the assistance of nine tugs to refloat her. Renamed b.) ADAM E CORNELIUS in 1989.

The GEORGE M STEINBRENNER, a.) ARTHUR H HAWGOOD arrived at Port Colborne, Ontario on August 25, 1978, in tow of the tug WILFRED M COHEN for scrapping.

On 25 August 1919, CABOTIA (formerly HIAWATHA, wooden propeller freighter, 235 foot, 1,299 gross tons, built 1880, at Gibraltar, Michigan) went ashore on Main Duck Island in Lake Ontario and split her hull, becoming a constructive loss.

August 25, 1981 - The first of the famous "Love Boat" cruises was made. The BADGER carried 520 passengers, the largest number of passengers for a carferry up to that time. It was sponsored by the Ludington Area Ambassadors.

On 25 August 1873, JOURNEYMAN (wooden schooner, 129 foot, 235 gross tons, built in 1873, at Wenona, Michigan) was put in service. Her first cargo was 225,770 feet of lumber. She was built for Whitehead & Webster of Bay City and lasted until 1896.

Data from: Joe Barr, David Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Indiana Harbor Grounding update

8/24 - Muskegon, MI - Muskegon did not extend its usual Port City welcome to the lake freighter Indiana Harbor Wednesday afternoon. What it offered instead was a silted-in outer harbor, which caused the 1,000-foot vessel to run aground just outside the outer pierheads at about 3 p.m.

The Indiana Harbor wiggled itself free at about 7:15 p.m. The ship's captain first tried "fishtailing" the ship back and forth, gunning the engines forward and back. But that didn't work. He then started swinging the 250-foot self-unloader boom to and fro, according to observers. That actually rocked the ship side to side to break the suction of the bow in the sand and silt.

It worked.

The ship then backed into Lake Michigan and moved south to anchor for the night off Pere Marquette Park beach.

Thursday morning, Indiana Harbor's crew was transferring coal to a smaller ship, the 680-foot American Valor. The "lightering" operation will make the ship ride high enough to clear the obstruction and make it through the harbor to the B.C. Cobb electrical generating plant at the far eastern end of Muskegon Lake.

The stuck freighter was the top tourist attraction in Muskegon Wednesday.

It ran aground on a glorious late-summer afternoon at the city's Pere Marquette Beach, where hundreds of visitors watched the ship sit yards from the outer Muskegon lighthouse. Dozens of curious onlookers made it out to the end of the south breakwater arm to find themselves looking at a half-dozen deck hands in the bow of the Indiana Harbor helplessly staring back.

Consumers Energy spokesman Dennis McKee said the delay would not affect operations at the Cobb plant. "Our inventory is more than a 100-day supply of coal," he said. The plant has been receiving shipments of about one per week for the past several weeks, he said, and one was delivered several days ago.

A day earlier, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had issued a "Notice to Navigation Interests" urging mariners to use "extreme caution" in the harbor mouth area. Lt. Col. William J. Leady, district commander of the Corps' Detroit office, said soundings taken Aug. 6-10 indicated shoaling has taken place outside the breakwater arms.

Depths are shown to be as shallow as 24 feet in the area the ship went aground, somewhat south of the center of the inlet, indicating the ship was slightly off course. Before it came unstuck, the ship's bow markings showed a draft of 26 feet. According to the Corps harbor survey map, the depth at the center of the harbor entrance is 26.5 feet.

The grounding of the freighter didn't interrupt Lake Express high-speed ferry's traffic through the Muskegon Channel because the Muskegon-Milwaukee ferry wasn't operating Wednesday, company officials said. The 192-foot high-speed ferry had a fuel pump repaired Wednesday. Operations continued today with two round trips while this evening's trip was canceled to complete the repairs, officials said. Full ferry operations were planned for Friday.

Tom O'Brien, chief of operations and maintenance for the Corps' office in Grand Haven, said Muskegon's harbor is typically dredged every three years. Its last dredging was completed in the spring of 2005 and is scheduled for dredging next year. The Corps of Engineers tries to maintain a depth of 29 feet in the outer harbor, he said.

Reported by Bob VandeVusse from the Muskegon Chronicle

 

Port Reports - August 24

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Presque Isle was loading Thursday at the CN/DMIR ore docks. Federal Hunter was loading at CHS 1 grain berth in Superior, continuing that elevator’s busy pace. Earlier in the week, a tug and crane barge were working on the other side of the terminal in Berth 2, apparently dredging a portion of the slip. Also in Superior, Adam E. Cornelius was loading at General Mills Elevator S. In late morning, American Spirit arrived. It fueled at the Murphy dock and then proceeded down Superior Front Channel toward the BNSF ore dock. Beluga Elegance was at the port terminal to unload wind turbine components. As has become typical on these vessels, its deck was stacked high with wind turbine towers.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Agawa Canyon entered the channel on a hazy Thursday morning. She headed into the inner harbour to do the turn, then went to the Sifto Salt dock to load.


Sarnia - Frank Frisk
Wolverine departed Sarnia at 7:30 p.m. heading out into Lake Huron.

Soo - Dave Wobser
Lee A. Tregurtha stopped at the Carbide Dock Thursday afternoon on her way down bound. A 650-foot roll of conveyor belt had been previous loaded onto an MCM Marine barge with a crane. After the Lee A. was tied at the Carbide, the Drummond Island II brought the barge along side the Lee A. and the barge crane set the roll on deck. Also set on deck was an empty powered take-up reel for the old belt and a portable welder. The barge was then pushed back near the engine room and a wooden crate was lifted off the barge and dropped into the engine room thru a hatch in front of the stack.

Marquette - Lee Rowe
Marquette received two loads of stone on Thursday. The H Lee White delivered stone to the Shiras Dock in the lower harbor while the Great Lakes Trader/Joyce VanEnkevort delivered stone to the coal hopper in the upper harbor.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Federal Mattawa was berthed bow-in at terminal #2 in Milwaukee's outer harbor on Thursday, unloading.
Earlier this week, cement barge Integrity and its tug G. L. Ostrander left Tuesday after unloading at the LaFarge silo on Jones Island.
Also Tuesday, ocean vessel Beluga Recognition loaded corn at the Nidera elevator in the inner harbor (after having left port for a time Monday evening).

 

Lake Superior water level drops to all-time August low

8/24 - Duluth - Lake Superior has plunged to a new record low for the month of August, this week surpassing the previous August low-water mark set in 1926.

Following a long decline that has mirrored the Northland’s worst drought in a half-century, the mean level of the lake dropped to 600.4 feet above sea level, surpassing the previous August low mark of 600.5, said Carl Woodruff, hydraulic engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District.

The lake likely will stay in or near record-low territory heading through autumn and into winter. But it remains uncertain if the lake’s cyclical water level will remain low enough by springtime to set the all-time low-water mark set in April 1926. Accurate records go back to about 1860. “It all depends on precipitation, especially winter snow,’’ he said.

The lake level rises every year from May through October and then declines into April, as precipitation remains locked in snow. Low-water marks almost always are set in April before the lake begins to rise from the runoff of spring snow melt and spring rains.

A new record low for late summer and early fall wasn’t unexpected. Much of the lake’s watershed is locked in a severe drought. Duluth, for example, is a foot short of normal precipitation since June 1, 2006, and has received less than a quarter-inch of rain in all of August.

The lake now sits nearly 22 inches below its long-term average for August and about 10 inches below the level at this time last year, Woodruff said.

The most significant impact of the low water so far has been on shipping, with some harbors and channels now too shallow to handle lakes freighters carrying full loads. That has cost industry more for transportation, with boats moving at less-than-full capacity.

The low water also has made for wider beaches and less erosion, but also has left some boat landings high and dry and has caused a major drop in coastal wasteland water levels — so steep in some areas that wild rice has deteriorated.

Low water levels are not expected to affect Lake Superior’s marine life, but the ongoing drought is affecting the ability of fish to enter the lake’s tributaries, some of which are nearly dry.

Reported by Al Miller from the Duluth News Tribune

 

Updates - August 24

News Photo Gallery updated

And more News Photo Gallery updates

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - August 24

At 2:00 a.m. on 24 August 1892, the GEORGE N BRADY (wooden propeller tug, 102 foot, 165 gross tons, built in 1865, at Detroit or Marine City, Michigan) was engaged in pulling a raft of logs across Lake St. Clair along with the tug SUMNER. Fire was discovered around the BRADY's smokestack and he flames quickly spread. The crew was taken off of the stricken vessel by the SUMNER and the BRADY was cut free of the raft. The blazing vessel drifted to the American shore where she sank about three miles north of Grosse Pointe, Michigan. No lives were lost.

LEON SIMARD (Hull#413) was launched August 24, 1974, at Sorel, Quebec by Marine Industries Ltd. for Branch Lines Ltd. Renamed b.) L'ORME NO 1 in 1982. Sold off the lakes in 1997, renamed c.) TRADEWIND OCEAN and d.) AMARA in 2001.

On August 24, 1910, the THOMAS F COLE ran aground on a shoal in the St. Marys River severely damaging her hull plates.

The WARD AMES (Hull#518) was launched on August 24, 1907, at West Superior, Wisconsin by Superior Ship Building Co. for the Acme Steamship Co. (Augustus B. Wolvin, mgr.). Renamed b.) C H MC CULLOUGH JR in 1916. She was scrapped at Thunder Bay, Ontario in 1980.

On August 24, 1985, PAUL H CARNAHAN arrived for her final lay up at Nicholson's in Ecorse, Michigan. Ironically, only a few hours later, her near sister LEON FALK JR departed the same slip on her final trip bound for Quebec City and overseas scrapping.

The steam barge BURLINGTON of 1857, 137 foot, 276 gross tons ex-package freighter, burned to the water's edge in the Straits of Mackinac on August 24, 1895.

On 24 August 1885, IOSCO (wooden schooner-barge, 124 foot, 230 gross tons, built at Alabaster, Michigan in 1873) was heavily damaged by fire. She was rebuilt as an unrigged barge and lasted until 1912.

On 24 August 1882, The Port Huron Times reported that "the long looked for launch of the Stave Company's new river steamer MARY took place this afternoon between 4 and 5 o'clock and was witnessed by hundreds of spectators. The last support being knocked away, she slid very gracefully as far as the ways reached and then landed anything but gracefully in the mud where she now lies." She remained stuck in the mud until she was pulled free five days later.

Data from: Father Dowling Collection, Joe Barr, David Swayze, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Sand Bar Delays Indiana Harbor

8/23 - Muskegon - A sand bar caused the Indiana Harbor to become stuck in the sandy Lake Michigan bottom off Muskegon, Michigan Wednesday afternoon.

The thousand footer was headed for the B.C. Cobb plant in Muskegon with a load of coal about 3 p.m. when it became stuck just outside the breakwall. It was stuck less than 100 yards outside the outer pierhead of Muskegon harbor, with a U.S. Coast Guard vessel circling it.

By swinging the unloading boom side to side crews were able to back free of the sand bar and went to anchor around 7:30 p.m.

Reported by Bob VandeVusse and Brian Hayes from the Muskegon Chronicle

 

Coast Guard trains with lasers on Thursday

8/23 - Cleveland - The U.S. Coast Guard will test a multi-integrated laser engagement system, known as MILES, Thursday on Lake Erie.

Ninth Coast Guard District personnel will be witness to the demonstration, one of several methods that Coast Guard leadership is evaluating to better prepare its personnel in providing security for the critical infrastructure of the Great Lakes and its ports, waterways and coastal areas. MILES technology will allow Coast Guard units to train boat crews without using live ammunition and expending projectiles. MILES provides tactical engagement simulation for direct fire, force-on-force exercises using eye-safe lasers that has been used world-wide for many years.

“The demonstration will educate Coast Guard leadership on the capabilities of MILES gear,” said Rear Admiral John E. Crowley Jr., commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District. “This is one of several alternatives I am considering as a way of training our Coast Guard men and women on the Great Lakes for enhanced security of this national treasure.”

In 2006, the Coast Guard held a number of public meetings throughout the Great Lakes region with plans to establish permanent water training areas to conduct live-fire training exercises. Many citizens expressed concern about the impact that the exercises may have on the environment and public safety. The Coast Guard heard those comments and responded with a number of training alternatives that include:

The use of Department of Defense-certified weapons ranges to conduct live-fire training outside of the Great Lakes. This required Ninth District boat crews to conduct weapons training while outside the Great Lakes in areas such as Fort Knox, Ky.

The departure of Coast Guard crews to East Coast cutters for training to ensure an adequate level of proficiency on the weapons.

These temporary solutions increase the economic impact on the Coast Guard and impact Coast Guard readiness on the Great Lakes while the crews are away from their normal duties. MILES may offer a solution to lessen the impact, Coast Guard officials say.

The closest areas to the Straits of Mackinac area considered for live-fire testing during the 2006 exercises were in Lake Huron, south of Detour, and a point in northern Lake Michigan well off the coast of Charlevoix.

By Mike Fornes for the Cheboygan News Tribune

 

Port of Rochester to Welcome New Cruise Line

8/23 - Rochester, NY - Month's after Rochester's infamous fast ferry left town for good, the city announced the Port of Rochester would become a port of call for a regional cruise line. City officials will officially welcome the Grande Mariner, one of the fleet of ships in the Great Lakes Cruising Coalition, into the port at 10 a.m. on Aug. 30.

The ship is one in a fleet belonging to The American Canadian Caribbean Line, or ACCL. According to the company's website, the Mariner was built in 1998 and can also perform "bow landings," where the ship glides up onto a beach. The ship is 183 feet long with fifty cabins of twin beds capable of carrying 100 passengers. The Great Lakes Cruising Coalition helped broker the deal to bring the Grande Mariner to the Port of Rochester.

"You have a wonderful entry at the Genesee River, I've been up there many times with my own boat, a great spot to moor a small cruise ship," explained Stephen Burnett, executive director of GLCC. "And then surrounded by great scenery, the loverly gorge that you have to drive through. The city itself has some wonderful historic districts."

The port has been boatless since the sale of the Spirit of Ontario in April. "We basically have four ships a year right now coming in, tour boats," said Rochester City Councilman Bob Stevenson. "They're built kind of low because sometimes they have to clear the whole top deck off to get them in the canal. They're very long, they barely clear the locks."

 

Capt. Desh Retires after 36 years of USCG Service

8/23 - Sturgeon Bay, Wi - Capt. Robert L. Desh retired Wednesday at the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club at 10 a.m.

The Palmyra, Neb. native will retire after 36 years of Coast Guard service to the United States. His last position was Chief of the Ninth District Planning and Force Readiness Division, responsible for the leadership, administration and management of strategic, operational and contingency planning for the Coast Guard operations on the Great Lakes; and the Ninth District Civil Rights Officer.

Capt. Desh began his Coast Guard enlistment in Omaha, Neb. in October 1971; and completed Coast Guard basic training in Alameda, Calif. Rising through the enlisted ranks, as a damage controlman, to the grade of chief petty officer, he received a direct commission to Chief Warrant Officer in 1981. Capt. Desh was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Junior Grade after completing Coast Guard Officer Indoctrination School in 1984. He was promoted to his present rank in July 2004.

Capt. Desh earned a Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science from the University of New York State, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering Technology from the University of West Florida. He also completed post-graduate study in Management at Florida Institute of Technology and Central Michigan University; and is a graduate of the Command and Staff Program at the United States Naval War College in Newport, R.I.

Capt. Desh's awards include three Meritorious Service Medals, two Coast Guard Commendation Medals, three Coast Guard Achievement Medals, three Commandant's Letter of Commendation Ribbons, the Armed Forces Service Medal, two Humanitarian Service Medals, two Coast Guard Good Conduct Medals, the Global War on Terrorism Medals, three National Defense Service Medals, the Expert Pistol Medal, the Expert Riffle Medal, and numerous other personal, unit, and service awards. He is also entitled to permanently wear the Command Chief Petty Officer, Cutterman, and Aviation Mission Specialist (Ice Observer) devices.

Capt. Desh is married to the former Barbara Schlise of Forestville, WI. They have two children: Mrs. Kerry Lathrop of Auburn, Maine, and Christopher who resides in Marblehead, Ohio. Christopher is a petty officer in the Coast Guard reserve, assigned to Coast Guard Port Security Unit (PSU) 309 based at Camp Perry, Ohio.

USCG News Release

 

Updates - August 23

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - August 23

On this day in 1818, the first steamer above Niagara Falls, the WALK-IN-THE-WATER, Captain Job Fish, departed Buffalo on her maiden voyage. The 29 passengers paid a fare of $24 and arrived at Detroit in 44 hours and 10 minutes.

On August 23, 1955, as part of the year-long centennial celebration of the opening of the Soo locks in 1855, an open house was held aboard the Pittsburgh steamer JOHN G MUNSON. A total of 10,563 individuals toured the MUNSON while she was tied up at Detroit.

On 23 August 1887, GESINE (wooden schooner, 99 gross tons, built in 1853, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) was carrying lumber in a storm on Lake Michigan. She was shoved up against the breakwater at Michigan City, Indiana and pounded to pieces. The crew and Capt. C. Anderson jumped overboard and clung to the breakwater pilings until rescued.

The GEMINI sailed on her maiden voyage August 23, 1978, from the shipyard to load fuel oil at Baytown, Texas, for delivery at Detroit, Michigan. Sold Canadian and renamed b.) ALGOSAR in 2005.

The wooden-hulled steamer AURORA was launched on August 23, 1887, at Cleveland, Ohio by Murphy & Miller Shipyard for J. J. Corrigan of Cleveland, Ohio.

On August 23, 1979, KINSMAN ENTERPRISE, a.) NORMAN B REAM was towed out of the Frog Pond in Toledo, Ohio, having escaped the scrapper's torch, and sold to the Port Huron Seaway Terminal to be used as a storage barge.

On 23 August 1887, CLARA (2-mast, wooden scow-schooner) was carrying a load of hardwood lumber bound from Manistee, Michigan for Chicago, Illinois when she was caught in a storm and capsized. Her hull later washed ashore upside-down near Miller's Station, Indiana.

August 23, 1901 - The PERE MARQUETTE 17 arrived Ludington, Michigan on her maiden voyage with Captain Peter Kilty in command.

On 23 August 1875, PERSIAN (wooden propeller freighter, 1,630 tons, built in 1874, at Cleveland, Ohio) caught fire off Long Point on Lake Erie. The propeller EMPIRE STATE came alongside and tried to put out the fire with streams of water from her hose, but when this failed, she took PERSIAN in tow in an attempt to get her to shore. This too failed when the tow line burned through. PERSIAN burned to the waterline and sank 10 miles from land in about 30 fathoms of water. No lives were lost.

On 23 August 1900, ARGONAUT (wooden propeller freighter, 213 foot, 1,119 gross tons, built in 1873, at Detroit, Michigan) was raised by an expensive salvage operation at the Escanaba ore dock where she had previously sunk. She lasted another six years.

Data from: Joe Barr, David Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

River Class Freighters Expected to Sail

8/22 - Wisconsin & Michigan Steamship Company is reported to be preparing to sail the vessels with non-union licensed officers to get the ships up and running. The three River Class freighters have been in lay-up for three months.

The licensed officers of the David Z, Earl W and Wolverine, represented by the American Maritime Officers union, walked off the vessels in May, when the union and the Wisconsin & Michigan Steamship Company, which owns the ships, reached an impasse in labor contract negotiations.

The AMO represented licensed crew members’ collective bargaining agreement expired in July. The company’s decision was mentioned in a recent First Quarter Conference Call. According to the call, the company plans to operate the Wolverine by August 24 and the other two within 45 days.

The unlicensed crew did not strike and are represented by a different union than the striking officers.

 

Port Reports - August 22

Sarnia - Frank Frisk
Wolverine is scheduled to deliver a load of coal to KCBX in Chicago on August 30 at 2 p.m.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
After being anchored for over a day off Alpena likely due to the strong east winds that were blowing, the Buffalo arrived at Lafarge Tuesday evening to unload coal. Buffalo passed through the Soo around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday evening.
The barge McKee Sons and tug Invincible were due in port overnight, along with the Alpena returning on Wednesday morning.

Lorain - Jim Reagan
Late Tuesday morning the Brig Niagara departed the Port Authority Docks at Black River landing after a four day layover for various port activities. At 2:15 p.m. the Edward L. Ryerson made another visit to Lorain passing upbound through the bascule bridge with a load of iron ore pellets for the Jonick Dock and the steel mill. It was drawing approx. 25.5' of water as it entered port. Due to the heavy rains there was more current than usual in the river, however, no tugs were needed to guide the Ryerson upriver.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algorail was backing into the Sifto Salt dock Wednesday morning. She is tied up and loading at 8 a.m.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Agawa Canyon was inbound the Saginaw River Wednesday morning headed upriver to the Buena Vista dock in Saginaw. She was expected to be outbound later in the day. The tug John Spence and her tank barge were also inbound a few minutes behind. The pair called on the SEM Materials dock in Essexville and were expected to be outbound Thursday morning.

 

Updates - August 22

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - August 22

On 22 August 1898, the schooner FANNY CAMPBELL (wooden schooner, 404 tons, built in 1868, at St. Catherines, Ontario) ran ashore near Johnston's harbor in Georgian Bay. She was sailing light on her way for a load of cordwood.

The ALGOPORT left Collingwood Ontario, August 22, 1979, on her maiden voyage for Calcite, Michigan to load limestone bound for Spragge, Ontario.

The R L IRELAND (Hull#62) was launched August 22, 1903, at Chicago, Illinois by Chicago Ship Building Co. for the Gilchrist Transportation Co. Renamed b.) SIRIUS in 1913, and c.) ONTADOC in 1926.

The ENDERS M VOORHEES was towed out of Duluth, Minnesota on August 22, 1987, by the tugs AVENGER IV and CHIPPEWA, and was the first of the 'Supers' towed off the Lakes for scrap.

The ROGER M KYES sailed on her maiden voyage on August 22,1973, from Toledo, Ohio to load iron ore at Escanaba, Michigan. She was built under Title XI of the Merchant Marine Act of 1970. This program allowed U.S. shipping companies to construct new vessels or to modernize their existing fleet by government guaranteed financing and tax deferred benefits. The KYES was the second of ten ships launched for American Steamship but the first to enter service under this arrangement. The total cost of the ten ships was more than $250 million. Renamed b.) ADAM E CORNELIUS in 1989.

On 22 August 1863, WILLIAM S BULL (wooden propeller steam tug, 16 tons, built in 1861, at Buffalo, New York) waterlogged and went down in a storm 40 miles east of Erie, Pennsylvania. She was in company of the tug G W GARDNER and the canal boat M E PAINE, who saved her crew.

On 22 August 1876, the Canadian schooner LAUREL sank off Big Sandy Creek on Lake Ontario. The crew made it to shore in the yawl. The LAUREL was bound from Kingston, Ontario to Charlotte, New York with iron ore.

On 22 August 1900, SPECULAR (wooden propeller freighter, 264 foot, 1,742 gross tons, built in 1882, at Cleveland, Ohio) was carrying iron ore when she was a "hit & run" victim by the steamer DENVER at 2:00 a.m. and sank in 6 minutes in the Pelee Passage on Lake Erie. Fifteen of her crew abandoned in her yawl and were saved. The remaining five scrambled up into the rigging and clung there until they were rescued four hours later by the steamer MARITANA and brought to Detroit. Salvagers worked on the wreck continuously until they gave up on 28 September. Wreck lies 3.16 miles SE from Pelee Passage light. She was owned by Republic Iron Co. of Cleveland.

Data from: Joe Barr, David Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample. The books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Edmund Fitzgerald life ring probably not original

8/21 - DETROIT – The Edmund Fitzgerald, already the stuff of Great Lakes legend, has spawned another tale.

A vacationing family hunting for rocks along a remote patch of Lake Superior shoreline earlier this month believed they had found a life ring from the famed ship that sank roughly 200 miles away 32 years ago. It reads "Edmund Fitzgerald" in faded but mostly legible white letters, and matched in many ways a ring recovered from the ship now on display at a shipwreck museum.

But the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum received a visitor recently who refutes the ring's authenticity.

Cynthia Edwards told a museum employee last week that her father bought the orange preserver at a garage sale many years ago, painted the name of the ore carrier on it and hung it at his cabin in Eagle River – not far from where it ultimately was found in the Upper Peninsula's Keweenaw Peninsula. When they remodeled two years ago, they put the ring on a tree and from there it disappeared.

"With the information coming in now, it looks more and more like it's not from the Edmund Fitzgerald," said Tom Farnquist, executive director of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society, which owns the museum. A message seeking comment from Edwards was left Monday by The Associated Press.

Farnquist believed it could be the real deal but made no promises when Joe Rasch and his family brought the ring to the museum in Whitefish Point in early August. It matches in size and configuration to the ring on display, but has some key differences: The one Rasch found has no "S.S." before "Edmund Fitzgerald'' and reads "Duluth" on its back side.

Farnquist said the differences were puzzling but at least the latter came with a plausible explanation: The Milwaukee-based ship spent its winters in Duluth, Minn.

Rasch, an apple farmer from Conklin, near Grand Rapids, said he plans to hang it in his shed, but wouldn't be opposed to returning it if Edwards' family wants it back. He added he's disappointed by the news but accepts it. "You can't change the facts," he said Monday. "What appears isn't always so.''

That also could sum up many of the stories that swirl around the ship that sank in a vicious storm Nov. 10, 1975, killing 29 men, Farnquist said.

"There have been three different theories about (why it sank)," Farnquist said. "Three expeditions have been done by the ... society, but there's no evidence to prove those theories. "It's still a mystery why the Edmund Fitzgerald went down."


From the Toronto Star

 

Port Reports - August 21

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Canadian Navigator backed into the channel Monday morning with a light rain falling. She was on the Sifto Salt dock and loading by 10 a.m.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Algomarine was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal early Monday while Canadian Enterprise was anchored out on the lake waiting for its turn at the dock. Both vessels are bound for Nanticoke.
Elsewhere, Mark Hannah and barge were at Hallett 8 unloading calcium chloride, Pintail was at CHS 1 elevator to load, Isa was at the suddenly busy AGP elevator in Duluth, Quebecois was unloading at St. Lawrence Cement and Alpena was scheduled to depart the LaFarge Cement terminal in Superior.
A tug with crane barge was tucked into CHS 2 berth and appeared to be preparing to work on the dock wall.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The tug Everlast and barge arrived Sunday night around 9 p.m. bound for the McAsphalt dock.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
The very latest CSX Coal Dock update has the Wolverine scheduled into the dock to load coal on Saturday 25 August. Her present eta is for 5 p.m. but most likely will change before then.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The CSL Nanticoke at the Gateway Terminal in Lackawanna Monday morning.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore & barge Lewis J. Kuber were inbound the Saginaw River on Sunday with a split load. The pair stopped in Bay City at the Bay Aggregates dock to lighter before continuing upriver to finish unloading at the Buena Vista dock in Saginaw. The Moore & Kuber were outbound for the lake early Monday morning.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Over the weekend, after salty Elpida vacated the berth at Nidera in Milwaukee's inner harbor, Beluga Endurance shifted from unloading in Milwaukee's outer harbor, to loading corn at the Nidera elevator.
Canadian Transfer arrived about 7:00 p.m. on a rainy Monday, proceeding to the bulk cargo dock in the inner harbor to deliver salt.
Beluga Recognition departed onto Lake Michigan Monday evening.

 

June steel shipments down compared to last year

8/21 - Steel mills in the United States shipped 8.9 million net tons in June, an 8.4 percent decrease from the 9.7 million net tons shipped in June 2006, the American Iron and Steel Institute said.

June shipments were down 1.9 percent from the 9 million net tons shipped in May 2007.

Steel shipments to service centers and distributors are down 11 percent on a year-to-date basis; automotive shipments down 2.8 percent; construction and contractors’ products down 3.1 percent; and oil gas producers 9.6 down percent.

From the Duluth News Tribune

 

Aging Duluth docks need state's help

8/21 - Duluth -Many of the Twin Ports’ docks are beginning to show their age and soon will need to be repaired or even replaced, according to Chad Scott, a principal partner of AMI Consulting Engineers, a Duluth firm that specializes in assessing marine structures.

“Some of the facilities are pretty rickety and they’re getting close to needing to be closed because they’re so unstable,” he said. The cost of fixing the problem is daunting. Scott estimated the expense of re-facing a typical commercial loading dock to be from $2 million to $3.5 million.

In the near future, many operators of private waterfront facilities will face tough decisions about whether to reinvest in their docks or let them crumble.

In Superior, the sticker shock associated with addressing the problem has been eased, thanks to Wisconsin’s Harbor Assistance Program. The state allows the owners of private facilities to apply for aid to assist with waterfront improvements. Successful program applicants can obtain up to 80 cents of state funding for every 20 cents of their own money they commit to a project.

Minnesota has a similar funding program patterned after Wisconsin’s. But it allows grants to be made only to pay for work on publicly owned property. Given the funding differences from state to state, Scott said he wouldn’t be surprised to see more marine activities shift from Duluth to Superior in the future.
“I think that’s a definite possibility,” he said. “If there’s an opportunity to get 80 percent of your project paid for in Wisconsin but not in Minnesota, of course we’re going to see some shifting.”

Wisconsin’s Harbor Assistance Program has been used recently to help General Mills make $1.8 million in improvements to its Superior dock, and Hallett Dock Co. is completing a nearly $2 million project that involved reconstructing sections of dock wall and dredging the adjacent water to a depth sufficient to handle ships designed for the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Two more Superior facilities are seeking funding as well, said Jason Serck, Superior’s port and planning director. The CHS grain elevator proposes a $1.7 million investment in its corroded dock, and CLM Corp. is seeking help with a $3 million project to repair and improve the dock serving its growing lime plant in Superior. “These people are investing in our community,” Serck said, observing: “When they do that, it means they’ll probably be sticking around for awhile.”

Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, voiced support for the waterfront improvements in Wisconsin, saying: “We applaud any money being spent in Superior. It only enhances the productivity of the port and its reputation.” Ojard said that while he would like to offer more financial encouragement for companies to invest in their private facilities in Duluth, the Port Authority simply lacks some of the resources Superior offers.
Minnesota’s Port Assistance Program was patterned after Wisconsin’s Harbor Assistance Program.

“We asked for a ‘me-too’ program,” said John Kubow, the Port Authority’s chief financial officer, recalling the enabling legislation that led to the creation of Minnesota’s Port Assistance Program about 15 years ago. As originally written, the legislation would have allowed Minnesota to offer funding to private facilities, but a 1995 revision required that program money be used solely for improvements to publicly owned property.

The Minnesota Port Assistance Program receives its funding on a biennial basis, and its biggest appropriation to date was $3 million. Five Minnesota ports competed for the money, and even though Duluth successfully captured more than half of the that, it didn’t amount to a huge sum spread out over two years.
Wisconsin, in contrast, provided about $5 million in funding for its Harbor Assistance Program, and Serck said Gov. Jim Doyle has included $12.7 million in his proposed biennial budget for the program.

The Minnesota Ports Association is seeking $10 million in state funding for the next biennium. “I think there should be more money invested in the port, and if there were significantly more money available, I think the Port Assistance Program should be opened to the private sector,” Ojard said.
At recent funding levels, however, he said: “There’s not enough money to spread around, so I see no reason to change the legislation.”

From the Duluth News Tribune

 

Boatnerd News Photo Gallery hits 500

8/21 - Today we are posting the 500th page of the News Photo Gallery.

Begun on August 1, 2004, posts photos of current and historical traffic as submitted by our readers.

With an average of 40 pictures per page, the 500 pages represent approximately 20,000 photos.

Continue to send us your best shots. See the Photo Submission Guidelines at the bottom of each News Photo Gallery for additional information.

 

Welland Gathering scheduled for September 14-16

The annual Boatnerd Welland Gathering has been planned for September 14-16 this year. The dates are earlier than prior years in an effort to enjoy better weather.

There will be slide shows on Friday and Saturday evenings beginning at 7:30. Vendor tables will be open at 6:00 p.m. both nights. Bring a tray of your best slides to share with the Gathering. Vendors who desire a table either/both night(s) - Please send an e-mail to DJWobser@aol.com

Evening events will be held at the Canadian Corps Assoc. #22, 7 Clairmont St., Thorold, which is located 3 blocks West of The Inn at Lock Seven.

Saturday morning at 10 a.m., there will be a walking tour of International Marine Salvage in Port Colborne. A great photo opportunity.

The St. Catharines Museum and Welland Visitors Centre, located at Lock Three, is offering free admission Saturday and Sunday, and the gift shop is offering 10% discount on selected items.

Plan now to attend this final event of the 2007 season. Additional details are available on the Boatnerd Gatherings Page.

 

Updates - August 21

News Photo Gallery updated

And more News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - August 21

August 21, 1996 - The former U. S. Corps of Engineers tug MARQUETTE was down bound past Detroit on her delivery trip to her new owners based in Key West, Florida. Renamed MONA LARUE in 1997, she is no longer in documentation.

At 7:10 p.m. on 21 August 1901, the whaleback steamer ALEXANDER MC DOUGALL (steel propeller modified whaleback freighter, 413 foot, 3,686 gross tons, built in 1898, at W. Superior, Wisconsin) ran into and cut in two the tug GEORGE STAUBER (wooden propeller tug, 55 foot, 43 gross tons, built in 1883, at Buffalo, New York) in the rapids at the mouth of the St. Clair River. The STAUBER sank immediately in about 60 feet of water. No lives were lost. The steam barge IDA assisted in retrieving people in the water. The MC DOUGALL did not stop.

The BUFFALO's sea trials were conducted from August 21 through August 24, 1978.

The GEORGE A STINSON was christened at Detroit, Michigan on August 21, 1978.

The CEDARGLEN, a.) WILLIAM C ATWATER arrived under tow at Port Maitland, Ontario on August 21, 1994, where she was scrapped.

THE HARVESTER cleared Lorain, Ohio, August 21, 1911, on her maiden voyage loaded with coal for Duluth, Minnesota.

IMPERIAL QUEBEC (Hull#161) was launched August 21, 1957, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd. for Imperial Oil Ltd.

The KINSMAN INDEPENDENT a.) WILLIAM B KERR, encountered steering problems down bound at the Rock Cut in the St. Marys River on August 21, 1973. She avoided hitting the stone embankments but ran aground after clearing the cut. The damage sustained in this grounding ended her career.

Cleveland Tanlers VENUS was sold to Acme Metals Inc. and was towed to Ashtabula, Ohio on August 21, 1975, where she was broken up in 1976.

On August 21, 1971, the CHARLES DICK severed two underwater cables in the Maumee River, cutting off power to east Toledo and the Cherry Street Bridge. Massive traffic jams developed on Toledo's streets.

The graceful schooner HUNTER SAVIDGE was launched on August 21, 1879, by the Grand Haven Ship Building Company.

On 21 August 1856, CHARTER (wooden, propeller vessel, 132 foot, 197 tons, built in 1849, at Huron, Ohio as a sidewheeler), was bound from Cleveland for Buffalo with flour, oats and rye. She swamped and sank in a storm 6 miles above Fairport, Ohio. By the end of August, she had been damaged beyond repair but her machinery was recovered as she lay in relatively shallow water.

On 21 August 1861, BANSHEE (wooden propeller freighter, 119 foot, 166 tons, built in 1852, at Portsmouth, Ontario, named HERO in 1860-61) was carrying wheat, flour and butter to Montreal when her engine failed (broken shaft) and she was helpless in a storm on Lake Ontario. She foundered near Timber Island on Lake Ontario. One passenger died, but the crew of 10 made it to Timber Island. She was owned by Howard & Rowe of Quebec.

Data from: Joe Barr, David Swayze, Lake Huron Lore Society, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample. The books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Port Reports - August 20

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Sunday evening, Kaye E. Barker loaded taconite at the Upper Harbor ore dock, and American Mariner made an uncommon visit to the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock with limestone.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
The salt keeps moving out at blistering pace. Canadian Transfer was leaving port at 6:30 a.m. on Sunday morning after loading at Sifto Salt, Algorail took her position on the dock shortly after.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The English River arrived around 10 p.m. on Saturday for the LaFarge Dock. The cement boat was asked to cut her engine and drift past some nighttime diving operations taking place near the Entrance Channel Marker Buoys while she was on her way in to meet the tug Washington for the tow upriver.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
A busy port on Saturday saw the arrivals of James Norris with salt, followed a couple of hours later by Peter R. Cresswell with stone.
Around 5 p.m. the nav aids tender CCG Griffon came in to spend the night at Pier 29, the Queen Elizabeth Terminal.
Canadian Transport remains at Pier 51 undergoing maintenance. She is expected to return to service in a few days.

 

Updates - August 20

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - August 20

On 20 August 1881, MICHIGAN (Hull#48), (iron propeller passenger-package freight steamer, 215 foot, 1,183 tons) was launched by the Detroit Dry Dock Company at Wyandotte, Michigan for the Goodrich Transportation Company. She was then taken to Milwaukee for fitting out and completion. She cost $159,212. She was designed by Frank E. Kirby especially for cross-lake winter service.

The INDUSTRIAL TRANSPORT arrived at Toronto, Ontario, August 20, 1969, on her maiden voyage with fuel oil.

The R BRUCE ANGUS in tandem tow with the ULS steamer GORDON C LEITCH behind the tug IRVING CEDAR arrived at Setśbal, Portugal August 20, 1985, where they were broken up. The a.) IRVING CEDAR is now Purvis Marine's c.) RELIANCE.

August 20, 1920, the WILLIS L KING, up bound light in Whitefish Bay, was in collision with and sank the down bound Steel Trust steamer SUPERIOR CITY. The SUPERIOR CITY was struck nearly amidships and when the cold water reached her engine room, her boilers exploded. She sank immediately with 29 of her 33 crew members aboard.

The US266029, a.) WILLIAM CLAY FORD departed her lay-up berth at the Rouge slip on August 20, 1986, in tow of Gaelic tugs and she was taken to Detroit Marine Terminals on the Rouge River, where her pilothouse was removed to be displayed at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Detroit's Belle Isle.

The TEXACO WARRIOR of 1930, punctured her tank in a grounding accident in the Welland Canal near Bridge 10 on August 20, 1964.

On 20 August 1899, the HUNTER SAVIDGE (2-mast, wooden schooner, 117 foot, 152 gross tons, built in 1879, at Grand Haven, Michigan) capsized in a squall or tornado in Lake Huron. 5 survivors, including Capt. Fred Sharpstein, were rescued from the overturned schooner by the steamer ALEX MC VITTIE. However, 5 lost their lives, including the captain's wife and their son, the ship's owner's wife and daughter, and the Mate. Capt. Sharpstein patrolled the beaches looking for the bodies of his wife and son for months but they were never found. The wreck was found in 1987, near Grindstone City, Michigan.

On 20 August 1852, ATLANTIC (wooden side-wheeler, 267 foot, 1,155 tons, built in 1849, at Detroit, Michigan) was loaded with immigrants when she collided with the propeller freighter OGDENSBURG and quickly sank south of Long Point on Lake Erie at about 2:30 a.m. Of the 600 on board, estimates of death range from 150 to 250. Numerous salvage attempts have been made through the years up through 1989, since there were supposed to be valuables on board when she went down.

Data from: Joe Barr, David Swayze, Randy Johnson, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample. The books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Port Reports - August 19

Goderich Dale Baechler
Cuyahoga was first in early Saturday morning and Agawa Canyon was waiting patiently outside for her departure. About 4 p.m. the Canyon had made it to the dock. Both were getting loads at Sifto salt.

Sandusky - Dave Wobser
Algosoo was loading at the CSX coal dock on Saturday afternoon.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Saturday morning had the Frontenac arriving at 9 a.m. After unloading iron ore pellets at Stelco she departed at 5:30 p.m.
Tug Tradewind Service and barge departed at 1p.m. The tug Anglian Lady and barge PML 2501 departed at 3:30 p.m. for Detroit.
Maritime Trader arrived at 9 p.m. followed by the Algontario also at 9 p.m. Algontario was going to Dofasco.
The Federal Margaree then arrived at 10 p.m.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The American Century was inbound the Saginaw River Saturday morning, calling on the Consumers Energy Dock in Essexville to unload coal. She completed her unload around 4 p.m. and began to back out of the river to Light 12 in the Saginaw Bay to turn and head for the lake. Once the American Century made the dock at Consumers, the tug Donald C. Hannah and her tank barge departed the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City and headed for the lake. The pair has been at the Dow dock since they arrived on Wednesday.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The St. Mary's Challenger made a surprise visit to Alpena Saturday afternoon, tying up under the silos at Lafarge. The Challenger departed after 9 p.m., with the tug G. L Ostrander and barge Integrity and the Saginaw waiting out in the bay. The Saginaw is expected to unload slag into the storage hopper.
Tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation are expected overnight.

 

Suit may scuttle Rochester dealings on ferry
Former booster says the city shouldn't have to repay $29M

8/19 - Rochester, NY — As Rochester's erstwhile high-speed ferry prepares to begin service in the sunny Mediterranean, a bolt from the blue has raised new questions about the project's tangled finances here.

In a lawsuit filed Thursday, a local industrialist says Rochester's efforts to rescue the foundering ferry service in 2005 were clearly illegal.

The city formed a private company to acquire the ferry and guaranteed the $40 million loan used to buy it. When the ferry financially sank again, the city assumed responsibility for repaying the loan. But none of those maneuvers was lawful, lawyers for John M. "Dutch" Summers argue, and city taxpayers shouldn't have to repay the estimated $29million in ferry debt. "Why should the citizens of the city carry that burden when it arises from something that was improper?" Summers said Friday.

At City Hall, the lawsuit was greeted with concern. "However this is resolved, the city believes it is unfortunate that Mr. Summers is pursuing this lawsuit," spokesman Gary Walker said, adding that city lawyers had tried to talk Summers out of the suit. "The lawsuit is going to be sensational, high-profile. It could wind up in international court. But by no means is it a certain victory (for Summers)," Walker said.

Summers, president and majority owner of Jasco Tools Inc., was a ferry booster and part of a group that talked about getting involved financially at one point. He lives in Brighton. But he owns property in his own name in Rochester and thus has legal standing to bring the court action, the court papers state.

Summers, who also was a founding member of the Rump Group, a group of business and educational leaders, said he filed the legal action because he was "pretty unhappy about the whole (ferry) transaction." "I had heard lots of cocktail conversations of what happened and what didn't happen. One day I got mad and decided I better go to see what really happened," he said.

If Summers has any motive other than to redeem city taxpayers, he was keeping it to himself Friday. He said he first had concerns about the loan-guarantee issue six to eight months ago.

Ferry tale
Rochester's ferry saga began with a private company, Canadian American Transportation Systems, which introduced the ferry service between Rochester and Toronto in June 2004. CATS shut it down three months later with unpaid bills of at least $4 million.

In an effort to keep the ferry running, then-Mayor William A. Johnson Jr. directed creation of a for-profit limited liability corporation, the Rochester Ferry Co. That entity bought the ferry for $32 million at a court auction in early 2005. The acquisition was financed by a $40 million loan from the Export Finance and Insurance Corp., an arm of the Australian government. The ferry was built in Australia and originally financed by EFIC. The city guaranteed repayment of the loan.

The city-controlled ferry company operated the vessel in the latter half of 2005 but lost millions, including the rest of the EFIC loan money.

Mayor Robert Duffy decided shortly after taking office in January 2006 to end the service. The ferry's sale to a German company, which will run the ferry in the Mediterranean Sea, closed in April. When all is said and done, city taxpayers will be on the hook for about $29 million in loan principal and interest payments to EFIC, officials said.

But Summers' lawyers argue that the city had no legal authority to create the ferry company, no authority to guarantee its loan and no authority to assume responsibility for repayment. The state constitution forbids municipalities to provide such benefits to a private company, legal papers state.

"The city and the Australian agency conducted themselves in a way that wasn't legal and constitutional. I as a citizen am trying to unwind the transaction," Summers said.

Johnson said Friday that Summers' legal claim was all wet. "To say that it was illegal, to say it was capricious, to say that it didn't have proper oversight — those charges I categorically reject," Johnson said. He said the creation of the company and the loan guarantee were approved by city lawyers, City Council and state officials, and were well-aired in the media and in court.

Speaking for Duffy, who is on vacation, Walker said EFIC had obliged the city by renegotiating the loan terms after Duffy decided to sell the ferry. He spoke of the city's ethical, moral and legal obligations to make good on the debt. "Mayor Duffy is old school — he believes if you borrow money and spend money, you should pay it back," Walker said.

It was not clear whether Summers' legal action could undo the $28 million ferry sale to Forde Reederei Seetouristik Gmbh & Co. KG.

The ferry itself is a bit behind schedule for its German owners.

The 284-foot-long vessel, known here as Spirit of Ontario but rechristened Tanger Jet II, was supposed to begin service last month between Tarifa, Spain, and Tangier, Morocco. But a spokesman for the owners, Goetz Becker, said in an e-mail Friday that it remained in drydock in Bremerhaven, Germany.

It is scheduled to leave for Spain on Monday.

From the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

 

Bon voyage, Delta Queen?

8/19 - Washington – The 81-year-old Delta Queen, a towering red and white steamboat that for decades carried overnight passengers past Cincinnati and down the long, lazy Ohio and Mississippi rivers, could take its last trip next year.
The boat’s owner, Majestic American Line, announced earlier this month that it was planning for the Delta Queen’s farewell season because the company has been unable to get an exemption from Congress to continue operating beyond next fall. “We are extremely disappointed by this decision,” said Joe Ueberroth, president and CEO of Ambassadors International, which owns Seattle-based Majestic American Line.
Meanwhile, more than a dozen lawmakers, including Cincinnati Reps. Steve Chabot and Jean Schmidt, are continuing to push for this exemption to be granted. Steamboat enthusiasts have launched a “Save the Delta Queen” campaign and online petition.
For frequent Delta Queen passengers, and many in Cincinnati, where the boat was based for nearly 40 years until 1984, the company’s announcement that the vessel would be retired was met with shock, and much disappointment. “The Delta Queen is like going home,” said John R. Weise, 61, who took his first trip on the historic steamboat at age 7. Last year, Weise, of Colerain Township, took his 29th trip on the Delta Queen, which still bears the words “Port of Cincinnati” on its stern. “Don’t be impressed,” he chided. “I know people who have taken over 100 trips.”

Like Frank X. Prudent, who lives two blocks from the Ohio River in Covington. Prudent’s great-grandfather was a steamboat owner and operator. His grandfather was a carpenter on steamboats, and his father was a steamboat chief engineer. “I’ve been around the Delta Queen since I was knee high,” said Prudent, who has taken well over 100 trips on the Delta Queen and worked as a night watchman on the boat from 1983 to 1984. “It’s a part of me. I’m very distraught about her shutting down.’

The reasons for the end to the Delta Queen’s career are complex, and stem from the Safety at Sea Act, which passed in 1966. The law sought to protect the public from injury by requiring all boats that carry overnight passengers to be made primarily of steel. The 176-passenger Delta Queen, built in 1926, has 2 steel hulls and an iconic red paddlewheel, also made of steel, but her superstructure – the part above water – is crafted of wood: oak, mahogany, cedar, teak and rare Siamese Ironbark.

As a riverboat, the Delta Queen is never more than a mile from shore. For that reason, and her consistent safety record – she has a 24-hour fire watchman and an extensive sprinkler system – the boat has always been granted an exception to the rule. Last year, the House passed its Coast Guard bill with the exemption for the Delta Queen included, but the bill failed to pass the Senate, so lawmakers had to start over on the legislation this year.

In June, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed its bill to renew the Coast Guard, but without the Delta Queen exemption – meaning that the boat must cease operating when its current exemption expires in November 2008. The committee’s chairman, Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., opposes the exemption because he says the boat’s advanced age and wood construction present an unacceptable safety risk, according to spokeswoman Mary Kerr.

“The exemption for the Delta Queen is from fire protection standards that apply to all other passenger vessels operating in the United States. I can’t imagine the number of lives that could be lost if a fire started on the Delta Queen when everyone is asleep,” Oberstar said in a statement.

Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, also opposes the exemption, mainly because the boat is not unionized.
He told Majestic that he would not support the exemption unless the Seafarers International Union gets behind it. Majestic spokeswoman Ann Marie Ricard said the company reached out to the union but didn’t get an indication that it would be supportive of the exemption.

If the boat were to lose its exemption, it could continue operating as a day-excursion vessel – like the Belle of Louisville, the oldest steamboat in the country – as long as it retains its Coast Guard certificate of inspection. But to steamboat enthusiasts that would mean that the nation’s only remaining overnight steam-powered sternwheeler would be lost. Because of that designation, the 285-foot Delta Queen was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. She also is classified as a National Historic Landmark and has been included in the National Maritime Hall of Fame.

Other overnight cruising ships operated by Majestic America Line – the Mississippi Queen, American Queen, Empress of the North, Queen of the West, Columbia Queen and Contessa – are newer, larger and made completely of steel.

The boat, originally stationed in California, ferried reservists during World War II and is the only steamboat to cross the Panama Canal – a trip made when the Delta Queen was first brought to Cincinnati. Now based in New Orleans, it has hosted three U.S. presidents, a princess and countless stage and screen stars over her storied career. “The Delta Queen is a national historic treasure that should be allowed to continue to operate in a safe manner,” Rep. Chabot said.

The Coast Guard bill still must pass the full House and Senate, and Chabot says he’s hopeful that the bipartisan group of lawmakers working on the Delta Queen’s behalf will get the provision added or pass the exemption as part of another bill, although he said it would be difficult to get the bill consideration without Oberstar’s support.

But Ricard of Majestic said the company feels it has tried its best to get the exemption, and doesn’t anticipate congressional passage. “The information that we have has been loud and clear that this is not going to happen,” she said. Ricard said the company has not yet decided what it will do with the Delta Queen after her farewell season, which is expected to include 24 departures.

Said David A. Giersdorf, president of Majestic: “We will make sailing in 2008 a special event, allowing every guest, like so many before, the opportunity to share in the Delta Queen’s legacy and honor the last chapter in her service on the river.”

From the Cincinnati Inquirer

 

Updates - August 19

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - August 19

On this day in 1865, the PEWABIC, Captain George P. Mc Kay, was down bound on Lake Huron when she was rammed by her sister ship, METEOR. The PEWABIC sank with an estimated loss of 125 lives and a cargo of copper ingots, ore and hides valued at $500,000.

On 19 August 1902, OMAR D CONGER (wooden propeller ferry, 92 foot, 200 gross tons, built in 1887, at Port Huron, Michigan) burned at Port Huron, Michigan. The entire upper works burned and the lower deck was also badly burned. She had burned on 20 June 1901, and had been rebuilt over the winter. She was again rebuilt and lasted until 1922.

The JOHN E F MISENER of 1951, grounded near Hard Island on the St. Lawrence River August 19, 1966, suffering bow damage.

The ROBERT S PIERSON was sold to P & H. Shipping Ltd. on August 19, 1982, and renamed e) SPRUCEGLEN.

The package freighter ARIZONA was launched on August 19, 1868, at Cleveland, Ohio by Quayle & Martin for E.T. & J.C. Evans of Buffalo, New York.

On August 19, 1915, the HENRY PEDWELL burned at Wiarton, Ontario. The CARDINAL, a.) WINDSOLITE, was towed to the Strathearne Terminal in Hamilton, Ontario on August 19, 1974, for scrapping.

On 19 August 1909, CITY OF GREEN BAY (wooden propeller passenger/package freight, 134 foot, 257 gross tons, built in 1880, at Fort Howard, Wisconsin as the sidewheeler M C HAWLEY) caught fire while crossing Saginaw Bay, burned to the waterline and sank.. This wasn't her first experience with this type of accident since on 17 November 1887, she had burned to a "total loss" in Lake Michigan.

August 19, 1930 - The ANN ARBOR NO 7 towed the disabled tug FRED C GREILING from Frankfort, Michigan to Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co.

The propeller QUEBEC was launched at the Chisholm & Simpson yard at Chatham, Ontario on 19 August 1874. She was built for the Beatty Line and designed to run between Sarnia and Duluth.

Data from: Joe Barr, David Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample. The books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Ship that links Quebec's Lower North Shore grounded

8/18 - Harrington Harbor Que. - The Nordik Express, a supply ship that services communities along Quebec's Lower North Shore that aren't accessible by road was in for repairs Friday after scraping bottom as it entered port. People living on the Lower North Shore region depend on this ship for supplies twice a week.

There were no injuries among the 25 crew and 156 passengers, who were mostly tourists. The passengers were taken from the ship as a security precaution but were allowed back after an initial inspection showed there was no danger.

The ship's owner has not been able to determine if the ship went off course or water levels were abnormally low.

Reported by Laurent from Canoe News

Information about the Nordik Express is available Here

 

Port Reports - August 18

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel & Paul Erspamer
Late Friday afternoon, the Elpida continued to load at the Nidera Elevator in the inner harbor.
In the outer harbor were Polsteam's Isa at General Cargo Pier #3, while the Beluga Endurance was on the south side of General Cargo Pier #2 and the Beluga Recognition was docked at the north side of Cargo Pier #2.
Friday evening cruise vessel Grande Mariner was berthed at the new dock outboard from the Discovery World complex on Milwaukee's lakefront.
Polsteam's Isa departed onto Lake Michigan at about 7:00 p.m. Friday.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons

Capt. Henry Jackman arrived early Friday morning and unloaded salt from Goderich. She departed about 5 p.m. The tug M. R. Kane returned to port after its stint towing grain barges from Prescott to Ogdensburg. Canadian Transport remains in port at Pier 51.

Alpena/Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Alpena arrived at Lafarge Friday morning to dock under the silos. It took on cement for Superior, WI and departed before noon.
At Stoneport the Arthur M. Anderson left early in the morning, followed by the Algorail which unloaded dolomite at the dock. As the day progressed the northwest winds turned to gale force that could knock a person down. The Algorail took on cargo in the afternoon among the wind and dust that was blowing all over.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore & barge Lewis J. Kuber were inbound the Saginaw River late Wednesday night carrying a split load. The pair lightered at the Sargent dock in Essexville then continued upriver to finish their unload at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. The Moore & Kuber were outbound on Thursday.
Friday saw the Manistee inbound also with a split load. The pair lightered overnight at the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City and then going upriver, finishing at the Wirt Stone dock in Saginaw. Manistee was outbound early Friday afternoon.

 

Dike breaks at disposal site, heightens fears of contamination of Maumee Bay

8/18 - Toledo - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Friday that an earthen dike around a disposal facility it operates on Maumee Bay’s Grassy Island failed last weekend. The breach has allowed tons of potentially contaminated water and a “limited amount of dredged material” to get into that part of western Lake Erie.

While the corps said it is certain the release had little, if any, impact on the lake’s ecology, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency said it is having water samples analyzed before reaching a conclusion. The federal government did not acknowledge the release for five days. The U.S. Coast Guard was told of it Saturday by area residents who said they had noticed a plume of muddy water coming from the facility.

The corps was not able to get up close to the island until Monday because that part of the bay was too shallow. A Coast Guard vessel attempted unsuccessfully to transport a corps official out there the day before.

Sandy Bihn, western Lake Erie’s representative on the Waterkeeper Alliance, a national environmental group founded by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., said the corps shouldn’t have sat on the news for five days, given the number of people who use the bay this time of year. “It’s troublesome, the lack of urgency,” Ms. Bihn said. “They aren’t being forthcoming enough.” She said the agency should have immediately set up containment booms around the breach. The corps said last night it had installed silt fencing along the dike breach “as a precaution.”

Kathy Griffin, chief of the corps’ operations branch in Buffalo, which has jurisdiction over the site, said the agency saw no need to release information right away because it didn’t see evidence of pollution bad enough to jeopardize public health. “If there had been any threat to health or public safety, we would have made an immediate announcement to the public,” Ms. Griffin said. Dina Pierce, Ohio EPA spokesman, acknowledged that her agency had been contacted.

But Jane Beathard, Ohio Department of Natural Resources spokesman, said she was not aware that her department was notified, even though the corps said in a statement that it was “continuing to coordinate this matter” with both agencies. U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) was notified yesterday, a spokesman for her office said.

The breach — 30 feet wide and 10 feet high — affects a minor portion of the disposal facility, which holds tons of material dredged from the Toledo shipping channel. The shipping channel includes portions of the Maumee River and Maumee Bay. Silt that’s dug up typically is a mix of industrial waste, oily street runoff, and farm chemicals. The concentration varies depending on the location.

Much of the material that Grassy Island holds was dug up before modern environmental regulations took effect. That particular facility hadn’t been used since the early 1970s until this year. Much of the waste buried in it predates the federal Clean Water Act of 1972, one of the nation’s landmark environmental laws. Even the U.S. EPA, created by President Richard Nixon in 1972, wasn’t around when Grassy Island was being filled with dredged sediment.

Scott Pickard, a corps ecologist, said most of the silt has compacted under its own weight, with vegetation growing over it. He said the contaminated residue binds tightly to the silt and was not likely disturbed. Grassy Island stayed intact until now. “Obviously, it appears the breach had something to do with the recent disposal activities,” Ms. Griffin said.

The hole has not been plugged. She said it would widen by continued wave action and remains vulnerable when water levels rise. The estimate for an interim fix is $200,000. The corps is assessing the site and negotiating with a contractor to do the work. The bay is so shallow the corps can’t get much heavy equipment out there, Ms. Griffin said. Mr. Pickard said the agency did an intensive survey of waste inside the Grassy Island disposal site last year. The study showed that even a “worst-case scenario” release would not violate state EPA water-discharge regulations.

Ms. Griffin said that study was the basis for the agency’s view that the recent breach had minimal impact. A large buffer of aquatic plants also helped keep newly dredged material away from escaping water, she said. “At this point in time, we don’t see [that] we’re in a dire emergency,” she said. The last load of dredged material was dumped on the island Aug. 3, the corps said.

Toledo is the most heavily dredged shipping channel in the Great Lakes. The corps places about a third of what it dredges each year into one of two confined disposal facilities. The remaining two thirds is dumped into the open water of western Lake Erie. It’s a practice that a succession of Michigan and Ohio governors have tried to get the corps to phase out, claiming that stirred sediment and turbid water could harm the region’s coveted recreational fishing industry.

The corps’ Buffalo district operates a second confined disposal facility in Maumee Bay, as well as ones near Cleveland, Huron, and Lorain, plus Erie, Pa., and Buffalo. All others are fortified with steel and stone. None is leaking. Repairs were last made at Grassy Island in 2004. That site is the only one made exclusively of earthen material. That could change, depending on an engineering assessment, Ms. Griffin said.

From the Toledo Blade

 

Seaway transits and tonnage down thru July, 2007

8/18 - Monthly traffic reports published by the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Co. indicate a drop in vessel transits and tonnage passing through the Seaway for the year-to-date including July.

Total transits for 2007 were 1,942, down from 2,257 in the first seven months of 2006. The decrease represents 315 vessel passages or 14%.

Total tonnage through the Seaway was 19,016,000 tons, a drop of 3,838,000 ton or 17%.

The Welland Canal section of the Seaway registered similar figures through July. Vessel transits dropped from 1,394 to 1,189 (14.7%) and tonnage carried decreased by 2,839,000 tons (17%).

Cargoes passing through the system were reported as iron ore-5,745,000 tons or 30.3 % on the total; grain-3,936,000 tons (20.6%); coal-1,639,000 tons (8.6%); other bulk cargo-6,483,000 tons (34.1%) and general cargo-1,212,000 tons (6.4%).

 

Marathon Swimmer To Cross Lake Superior

8/18 - Duluth - Paula Stephanson is a strong long distance swimmer who will be swimming across Lake Superior on Saturday. She will be starting near Port Wing, Wisconsin and finishing in Two Harbors, Minnesota.

She has conquered Lake Ontario, Lake Erie and Lake Huron. Her goal is to cross all of the Great Lakes and she only has two to go.

All of these lakes pose a substantial challenge not only in distance, but in weather. With unpredictable winds and surface temperatures at 40 to 50 degrees, they are all quite colder than many bodies of water. Crossing any one of them is quite an accomplishment, with the gigantic Lake Superior perhaps being her greatest challenge yet.

She will be starting the swim at Port Wing, Wisconsin at 5 a.m. and finish some 20+ hours later at Two Harbors, Minnesota, at the Flood Bay public beach. The Public is encouraged to come out Saturday evening about dusk to welcome Paula in from the long swim.

Open water swimming began as a teenage lark for Belleville, Ont., resident Paula Stephanson. Now it is a passion; at 21 the Brock University varsity swim team member has already kicked across three of the Great Lakes, crossing the third, Lake Huron, in 22 hours and 26 minutes just last month.

"I visited friends in Switzerland when I was 15," she recalls, "and they said since I had been swimming competitively since I was 10 I should enter the annual swim competition on the Limmat River, which flows through Zurich. I won, and kept on doing it."

Sea Service will be providing one of the escort boats to help Paula, along with other supporting activities. There will be a send off dinner at Grandma’s Sports Garden on Friday, August 17 at 6:00 pm. Ms. Stephanson will be available for pictures and interviews.

Reported by Capt. Ed Montgomery

 

Welland Gathering scheduled for September 14-16

The annual Boatnerd Welland Gathering has been planned for September 14-16 this year. The dates are earlier than prior years in an effort to enjoy better weather.

There will be slide shows on Friday and Saturday evenings beginning at 7:30. Vendor tables will be open at 6:00 p.m. both nights. Bring a tray of your best slides to share with the Gathering. Vendors who desire a table either/both night(s) - Please send an e-mail to DJWobser@aol.com

Evening events will be held at the Canadian Corps Assoc. #22, 7 Clairmont St., Thorold, which is located 3 blocks West of The Inn at Lock Seven.

Saturday morning at 10 a.m., there will be a walking tour of International Marine Salvage in Port Colborne. A great photo opportunity.

The St. Catharines Museum and Welland Visitors Centre, located at Lock Three, is offering free admission Saturday and Sunday, and the gift shop is offering 10% discount on selected items.

Plan now to attend this final event of the 2007 season. Additional details are available on the Boatnerd Gatherings Page.

 

An original boatnerd passes

8/18 - Algonac, MI - A long upstanding member of the Maritime Community passed away Friday afternoon. Captain Keith Malcolm the founder of Malcolm Marine.

Keith started in the marine business as a diver. And as such he almost lost his life getting the Captains papers from the safe of the Montrose under the Ambassador Bridge. He also performed one of the deepest inspection dives on the Mackinac Bridge piers, along with numerous salvage jobs and hull inspections.

Probably his most notable salvage was the Nordmeer cargo. During the winter of 1966/1967 he salvaged the entire cargo from the Nordmeer, when other larger companies said it could not be done.

Keith was the Captain on all of his tugs on many notable towing, salvage and icebreaking jobs too numerous to mention. Including buying two large tugs from the Panama Canal Co and bringing them home.

He started his Malcolm Marine in 1960. It was built up from nothing into a family business that still thrives today. It is a true family run business helped along by his wife of 53 years, two sons, two daughters, five brothers, brothers in law, nephews, and grandsons. Throughout his career he worked for and with all or most of the Shipping Companies and Towing Companies on the Great Lakes.

He will be missed by all.

Reported by Capt. David Keith Malcolm

 

Updates - August 18

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - August 18

On 18 August 1871, GEN WINFIELD SCOTT (wooden schooner, 114 foot, 213 tons, built in 1852, at Black River, Ohio) was carrying lumber from Menominee to Chicago when she sprang a leak during a gale and capsized off Spider Island near Death's Door on Lake Michigan. The crew clung to her for 13 hours until rescued by the passing schooner ETHAN ALLEN.

CANADIAN ENTERPRISE (Hull#65) was float launched on August 18, 1979, at St. Catharines, Ontario by Port Weller Drydocks Ltd. for Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd.

On August 18, 1972, $50,000 in bottom damage occurred when the CHAMPLAIN, of 1943, hit an obstruction in the Trenton Channel, on the lower Detroit River.

The NORMAN B REAM (Hull#70) was launched August 18, 1906, at Chicago, Illinois by the Chicago Ship Building Co. for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co., Cleveland, Ohio. Renamed b.) KINSMAN ENTERPRISE in 1965. She served as a storage barge in Port Huron from 1979 to 1989. She was scrapped at Aliaga, Turkey in 1989.

On 18 August 1907, KATE WHITE (wooden propeller steam tug, 62 foot, 28 gross tons, built at Erie, Pennsylvania in 1885, as a yacht) sank near the harbor entrance at Fairport, Ohio.

On 18 August 1878, JAVA (iron twin propeller passenger/package freight vessel, 232 foot, 1,525 gross tons, built in 1873, at Buffalo, New York) was sailing from Bay City, Michigan for Chicago and Milwaukee with mixed merchandise, including 300 tons of fine household goods, parlor stoves, salt, etc. She was a twin-screw and the main theory of her loss in good weather was that her starboard shaft coupling came loose and the shaft slid out the stern, allowing water to flood through the sleeve. nevertheless, she sank quickly, 15 miles off Big Sable Point on Lake Michigan in over 300 feet of water. The crew escaped in lifeboats and were picked up by passing steamers.

Data from: Joe Barr, David Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Michigan Law on ballast treatment is upheld

8/17 - A federal court judge dismissed a lawsuit by nine shipping companies and associations that had hoped to overturn a Michigan law requiring oceangoing ships to sanitize their ballast water to prevent the introduction of invasive species.

U.S. District Judge John Feikens ruled Wednesday that Michigan's law is constitutional.

Michigan was the first Great Lakes state to pass a law requiring shipping companies to treat the ballast water used to balance their ships as they make their way to Great Lakes ports. The law took effect Jan. 1 and requires companies get permits to show what method will be used to treat the water.

Many invasive species, including round gobies and zebra mussels, are thought to have arrived in ballast water. Companies and governments have spent millions of dollars to try to repair their damage.

"We think this is a great ruling," said Shannon Fisk, staff attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council, which joined the state as a defendant. "It recognizes the ability of states to take steps to protect their waters from aquatic invasive species." A spokesman for the shipping firms could not immediately be reached for comment.

Several other states are considering similar measures, but some were awaiting the outcome of the lawsuit in Michigan before taking action. Congress also is mulling legislation requiring treatment of ballast water, but the legislation wouldn't take effect until 2012. Feikens' ruling means Michigan is free to act on its own.

From the Detroit Free Press

 

Port Reports - August 17

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons & Clive Reddin
English River came in overnight Wednesday and unloaded. She departed at 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon. Canadian Transport came in early Thursday morning and tied up at Pier 51 with her bow high out of the water.
The salty Pintail finished unloading her cargo of raw sugar and departed with the assistance of the tug Omni Richelieu around 4:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon. The tug returned to Hamilton.
Stephen B. Roman left Toronto Harbour at 8 p.m. unassisted.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Monday morning, and again on Wednesday morning, barge Pere Marquette 41 and tug Undaunted delivered stone to the dock face just east of Milwaukee's Coast Guard Station and Lake Express ferry dock.
Calumet departed Tuesday morning after bringing salt overnight to the bulk cargo dock on Jones Island in the inner harbor.
Tuesday evening, American Mariner arrived and backed into the inner harbor, where it docked at WE Energies at Greenfield Avenue and delivered coal.
BBC Russia departed overnight Tuesday.
On Wednesday, ocean bulker Elpida (reg. Panama, and formerly Chios Sailor) was berthed at Nidera in the inner harbor, loading corn.
Also Wednesday, Wilfred Sykes unloaded cement clinker at St. Marys at the south end of Jones Island.
Beluga Endurance was bow-in at the south side of terminal #2 in the outer harbor, preparing to unload.
Its fleet-mate, Beluga Recognition, remained backed into the slip on the north side of terminal #2, finishing its unload of windmill parts.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
James Norris arrived Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m., went to the new harbour dock to wait her turn at the Sifto Salt dock. She shifted over through the night and departed Thursday afternoon at 2:30 p.m.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Adam E. Cornelius is becoming a regular caller in Superior this season. The vessel was back at the CLM dock on Thursday morning to unload stone. Elsewhere, Paul R. Tregurtha was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal, Redhead was loading at AGP elevator in Duluth and Sandviken was loading at CHS gallery.
Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was at Midwest Energy Terminal early Friday loading coal for Nanticoke. The vessel spent part of Thursday tied up at the Duluth port terminal while a work boat from Fraser Shipyards hovered around its bow near the bow thruster.
Elsewhere Friday, Sandviken was loading at CHS grain terminal in Superior. Duluth’s Cargill elevator, which has handled few vessels this year, had its second saltie within a week when it loaded Zeus on Friday.

Ashland - Chris Mazzella
On Wednesday the Gregory J. Busch and her barge loaded with wind mill bases, was docked at the former Soo Line Ore dock in Ashland Wisconsin. The pair have docked there due to bad weather a couple of times before.

 

Cleveland-Cliffs iron nugget plant goes to Michigan

8/17 - Duluth - An iron nugget plant that had been targeted for construction at Northshore Mining Co. in Silver Bay instead appears headed for Michigan.

Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. said Thursday it would partner with Kobe Steel Ltd. to begin in 2010 producing 500,000 tons of iron nuggets per year at a commercial-scale nugget plant at the Empire Mine in Palmer, Mich. Building the plant at Cliffs’ Empire Mine, where iron ore reserves will be exhausted by 2010, would extend company operations at the mine, Joseph Carrabba, Cleveland-Cliffs chairman and president, said in a news release.

The announcement didn’t surprise Iron Range lawmakers. By building the plant in Michigan, lawmakers say Cliffs would avoid paying closing costs at the Empire Mine.

“They have a mine there that has closing costs,” said Rep. David Dill, DFL-Crane Lake. “And building it at Northshore [near Lake Superior] is difficult. It’s disappointing and sad that the people of Northeastern Minnesota won’t have this opportunity for jobs that could last a lifetime. But it’s difficult to permit anything up here. Look at how many people are fighting us whenever we try to do anything in mining.”

Sen. Tom Bakk, DFL-Cook, said building the plant in Michigan would provide Cleveland-Cliffs with a “soft landing.” “‘They knew how difficult it would be in Silver Bay,” Bakk said. “But I’m still very disappointed.”

The plant would use Kobe’s patented ITmk3 iron making technology. It would produce nuggets containing more than 96 percent iron. The nuggets would be used as a raw material to feed North American mini-mills, which melt pig iron and recycled products in electric arc furnaces to produce steel. Domestic mini-mills in 2006 produced about 55 million tons of steel, according to a Cleveland-Cliffs news release.

Cleveland-Cliffs, Kobe, Steel Dynamics of Fort Wayne, Ind., and Ferrometrics, a Two Harbors-based company, had planned to build a nugget plant near the former LTV Steel Mining Co. taconite plant at Hoyt Lakes. However, that deal fell apart when partners couldn’t agree on business terms.

Steel Dynamics has since announced plans to build its own nugget plant at the Hoyt Lakes site. The company is trying to finalize agreements that would lead to construction. Officials of Steel Dynamics say they hope to have agreements in place during the third quarter of this year.

Dill said construction of a Cleveland-Cliffs facility in Michigan wouldn’t preclude the construction of other nugget plants in Northeastern Minnesota.

From the Duluth News tribune

 

Updates - August 17

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - August 17

On August 17, 1987, the CADILLAC was towed by the tugs GLENADA and ELMORE M MISNER, from Toledo's Frog Pond on the first leg of her journey to be scrapped.

At 4:00 p.m., on 17 August 1869, the schooner CARLINGFORD was launched at the Fitzgerald and Leighton yard in Port Huron, Michigan with plenty of spectators on hand. Robert Montgomery of Buffalo, the owner, built the vessel for the grain trade. Her capacity was 30,000 bushels of grain. After launching, she still had to have her masts (96 foot, 98 foot and 94 foot) and rigging installed. At the time, she was the largest sailing vessel built in Port Huron. her dimensions were 155 foot keel, 165 foot overall, 31 foot 6 inch beam and 12 foot 8 inch depth. 50 men worked on her and she cost $35,000.

Data from: Joe Barr, Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample. The books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Canadian Mariner Towed

8/16 - The Canadian Mariner departed Trois Rivieres behind the tow of the Ocean going tug Hellas About 1:45 p.m. Friday. On the stern was the Ocean Group tug Avantage, the Avantage will stay with the tow until they arrive at the Eastern most pilot station at Les Escoumins, Quebec. The final destination for scrapping overseas is unknown.

 

Port Reports - August 16

Soo - Jerry Masson - The down bound Joseph L Block has finished repairs to the ship at the Soo and got underway at 12:15 a.m. Thursday morning, heading into the Poe Lock.
Wednesday's upbound traffic included Walter J McCarthy, Jr., American Spirit, Lee A Tregurtha, Voyager Independent and Zeus.
Downbound was Canadian Progress, Joseph H Thompson, Lake Michigan, H Lee White and Nanticoke.
Water levels Wednesday night were upper pool minus 13", lower pool minus 3", Rock Cut at datum.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Karen Andrie, pushing a tank barge, called on the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City on Tuesday. The pair finished their unload and were outbound Wednesday morning.
Inbound Wednesday was the CSL Tadoussac. She was inbound around 7:30 a.m. calling on the Essroc dock in Essexville to unload. The Tadoussac finished and was backing out of the river to Light 12 of the Entrance Channel around 5:30 p.m. The tug Donald C. Hannah was also inbound on Wednesday, calling on the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City. The pair were expected to be outbound late in the evening or early Thursday morning.

Toronto -Charlie Gibbons
Stephen B. Roman was back in port Wednesday and the Groupe Ocean tugs Omni Richelieu and LaParairie arrived Wednesday afternoon to turn the salty Pintail at the Redpath Sugar slip. Omni Richelieu remained in port to assist Pintail out when her unloading is done. LaPrairie returned to Hamilton.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Wednesday morning the H. Lee White loaded taconite at the Upper Harbor ore dock.

Escanaba - Lee Rowe
The James R Barker backed in to the ore dock in Escanaba to take on a load of ore on Wednesday.

Lorain - Jim Reagan
Wednesday the Edward L. Ryerson departed the Port of Lorain after a turn around time of a little over 23 hours. It backed down the river through the bascule bridge at approximately 1:45 p.m. Salutes on the steam whistles were blown before and after passing through the bridge.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Tug Gregory Busch and barge apparently cleared port overnight Tuesday-Wednesday with wind turbine tower assemblies destined for the lower lakes.
Elsewhere in the Twin Ports on early Wednesday morning, Mesabi Miner was completing its load at Midwest Energy Terminal.
As it finished up, the St. Clair was proceeding into St. Louis Bay so it could quickly swing into the terminal dock to begin loading coal for Nanticoke.
Voyageur Pioneer was ready to load at CHS gallery berth and the saltie Redhead was at the AGP grain elevator in Duluth.

 

AGLMH Annual Meeting to be held in Mackinac City

8/16 - The Annual Meeting of the Association for Great Lakes Maritime History will be held September 6-8.

The event will be held in Mackinac City and features a great agenda of events and presentations.

For registration materials, visit the Association's website at www.aglmh.org and download the registration from the events page.

 

Port of Hamilton "Celebrating the Journey"

8/16 - Hamilton, Ont. - The Port of Hamilton is hosting its Port Days Festival from August 15 through 19.

The event is being built around the theme, "Celebrating the Journey". Inspiration for the theme comes from the relationship that the port is building with our sister port in Yingkou, China. Delegate events will be occurring on Wednesday through Friday, and public events on the weekend, Saturday and Sunday.

Friday and Saturday feature public fishing and free harbour tours on the Hamilton Princess. Extending this event beyond the port, activities will be occurring throughout Hamilton, including the Art Gallery of Hamilton, Liuna Station, Geraldo's at LaSalle Park and Pier 8 (near the foot of James St. North).

More information is available at at this link

 

DMIR Dock Ends Hotline information

8/16 - Duluth - The DMIR Ore Dock hotline number there will no longer be a recording of estimated vessel arrivals for both the Two Harbors & Duluth Ore Docks.

There is a message that says "Due to Homeland Security issues we will no longer be able to update this recording of estimated vessel arrivals." If you need additional information, please contact the vessel owners or fleet agents. "We are sorry for any inconvenience."

 

Updates - August 16

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - August 16

On 16 August, 1890, the ANNIE WATT (wooden propeller, passenger and package freight "packet", 75 foot, 62 gross ton, built in 1884, at Lion's Head, Ontario) collided with the ship ALDERSON and sank off of Gunn Point, Ontario. Just the previous year (8 November 1889), ANNIE WATT had burned and been declared total loss, but she was rebuilt.

The captain of the 2 year old, 125 foot wooden schooner-barge JOHN F RITCHIE brought his wife, two other women and several small children as guests on a voyage from Bay City, Michigan to Buffalo, New York. The RITCHIE was one of a string of four barges loaded with lumber in tow of the tug ZOUAVE. As the tow entered Lake Erie, they were struck by a terrifying storm. The RITCHIE broke her tow line and was cast adrift. The deck load of lumber broke loose and everyone was in danger. The women and children were brought out of the cabin since it was considered to be a death trap and they were lashed on deck for safety. Soon the vessel was waterlogged and the cabin was actually washed away. On 17 August, a passing steamer took everyone aboard and towed the RITCHIE in to Cleveland, Ohio where she was repaired. Amazingly, no lives were lost.

August 16, 1902 - The PERE MARQUETTE 18 (Hull#412) was launched at Cleveland, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. for the Pere Marquette Railway.

Data from: Joe Barr, Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

Joe Block fire system activated

8/15 - 1:00 p.m. Update - The downbound Joe Block remains secured at the upper west pier of the Soo Locks. She has moved to the far west end to provide more room for passing traffic.

Original Report - 8/14 - Sault Ste. Marie - Reports have been received that the fire suppression system in the engine room of Joseph L. Block had been partially discharged, but there is no reported fire.

The incident occurred around 10 p.m. Monday near Gros Cap and caused the Block to go to anchor.

At last report the Block had power restored and was down bound for the Soo Carbide Dock to allow fire system technicians to assess the problem.

There were no injuries to crew members and everyone is safe.

 

Port Reports - August 15

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Tug Gregory Busch and barge were back at the Duluth port terminal, on Monday afternoon, completing its load of wind turbine towers for transport to Buffalo.
Edwin H. Gott arrived in Duluth about 7:15 a.m. Tuesday. It was expected to load at the CN/DMIR ore dock.
Voyageur Pioneer was loading at the busy CHS grain elevator.
Elsewhere, Midwest Energy Terminal was expecting a busy day with American Victory scheduled to load with coal for Ashland, Wis., American Century to load for St. Clair, Mich., and Mesabi Miner to load for Presque Isle, Mich.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
Two familiar tug and barges came into port very early Tuesday morning. The St. Mary's Conquest and tug Susan W. Hannah delivered a load of cement to the their terminal in Ferrysburg. The barge McKee Sons and tug Invincible delivered a load of coal to the Board of Light and Power Plant on Harbor Island in Grand Haven.

Soo - Jerry Masson
Tuesdays upbound traffic included Michipicoten, Cedarglen, Stewart J Cort, Adam E Cornelius, H Lee White, Mississagi, Mark Hanna & barge, Cason J Calloway, Paul R Tregurtha, and Sandviken.
Downbound was Presque Isle, Joseph L Block, Indiana Harbor, and Algoisle.

Lorain - Jim Reagan
The Edward L. Ryerson made a quick return trip to the Port of Lorain with another load of iron ore pellets for the Jonick Dock and the steel mill. The Ryerson passed upriver through the bascule bridge at approx. 12:30 pm Tuesday.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
There were two early Wednesday morning arrivals, with Algosteel being first. She is presently loading at the Sifto Salt dock. Agawa Canyon was in next and she is waiting on the new harbour dock, ready to shift over when the Algosteel departs.

 

Dredge Duluth floats to the scrap heap

8/15 - Duluth - A century-old steam-powered dredge that helped make the Duluth-Superior Harbor and Twin Ports docks navigable for large vessels is headed to the scrap heap.

Under the power of Zenith Tugboat Co.’s Anna Marie Altman, the weathered dredge — dubbed Duluth — made its way Tuesday from a berth at the Duluth Timber Co. to the old Northern Pacific Ore Dock in Superior. The dredge had been sitting idle in the same spot for about two decades.

Franz VonRiedel, Zenith’s owner, views the dredge as a piece of the port’s history. “The Duluth was a real workhorse of the Great Lakes, and it was always based here,” he said.

The dredge, built around the turn of the 20th century, originally was conveyed upon a wooden hull. But the machinery was transferred into a steel hull — manufactured at Fraser Shipyards in Superior in the early 1960s, VonRiedel said. It operated until the early 1980s.

Cary McManus acquired the dredge and explored the possibility of converting it into a floating bed and breakfast inn before deciding to dispense with the vessel, VonRiedel said.

Zachary Crosby purchased the dredge Duluth and plans to salvage its superstructure, rigging and equipment for scrap. The hull, however, will continue to see service as a barge.

From the Duluth News Tribune

 

Sector Sault Ste. Marie hosts the Ninth District Cutter Round-up

8/15 - Sault Ste. Marie, MI. - The Ninth Coast Guard District cutter fleet will converge here for the 2007 Ninth District Cutter Round-up.

The fleet, which includes nine Coast Guard cutters, will be here for a week of competition and training sessions. The 2007 Cutter Round-Up, which occurs every two years, is designed to provide multiple training opportunities for the more than 300 men and women on the nine Coast Guard cutters which make up the Ninth District fleet.

The last round-up was two years ago in Cleveland.

"Ninth District cutters provide the Great Lakes community with our core Coast Guard missions: search-and-rescue, buoy tending, and domestic ice breaking," said Rear Adm. John E. Crowley, Jr., Commander of the Ninth Coast Guard District. "Without doubt, their missions visibly touch all segments of our communities. We hold this training in high regards as a way to maintain the professionalism in our traditional mission areas."

The cutter fleet is preparing for the upcoming aids to navigation and ice breaking season. The cutter crews will participate in leadership and job-specific training sessions and events, while exercising excellent stewardship of tax dollars by consolidating multiple and diverse events in one location.

Coast Guard Cutters Alder, Bristol Bay, Biscayne Bay, Katmai Bay, Neah Bay and Buckthorn will not be available for public tours during their time here.

USCG News Release

 

Wind Turbine shipments explained

8/15 - Duluth - In the past 12 months, the Port of Duluth has begun the process of establishing itself as one of North America's premier ports for the handling and distribution of wind energy cargoes.

As of mid-May, the Clure Public Marine Terminal's operator, Lake Superior Warehousing Co., was expecting 15 ships for 2007 carrying wind energy cargoes of 175,000 revenue tons, and had quoted rates for an additional 27 ships carrying more than 400,000 revenue tons. These shipments include blades, nacelles, power units, controllers, hubs and tower sections destined for projects in Minnesota, North and South Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa and Illinois.

Additionally, the Clure Terminal will handle 48 tower bases destined for Buffalo, New York. These bases were manufactured in Fargo, North Dakota, by a subsidiary of Otter Tail Power.

Excerpted from Duluth Seaway Port Authority ad in Lake Superior magazine

 

Dredging causes huge Great Lakes water loss, report says

8/15 - Traverse City, MI - The Macomb Daily newspaper reports that a "drain hole" in the St. Clair River caused by dredging and other commercial projects is costing Lakes Huron and Michigan a combined 2.5 billion gallons of water each day, according to a Canadian study released Tuesday.

That exceeds the amount diverted from Lake Michigan to provide Chicago's daily water supply, the Georgian Bay Association said. The group based its findings on water level data compiled by U.S. government agencies.
The association first reported on water losses from Lake St. Clair dredging in 2005. But the latest report says the volume flowing south from Lakes Michigan and Huron - which are hydrologically connected - is three times greater than originally believed.

"This new report reveals that the problem is far more serious than first thought and underscores the need to fix the problem immediately," Mary Muter, chairwoman of the association's Environment Committee, said in a statement.

The drainage hole has caused an overall water level decline of nearly 2 feet since 1970, the study said. The outflow goes into Lake Erie, then east to Lake Ontario and eventually through the St. Lawrence River to the Atlantic Ocean.

From the Macomb Daily

 

Lighthouse keeper's daughter honored
Jeannette Pearce recognized for her many sacrifices as a child

8/15 - Sault Ste. Marie - The U.S. Coast Guard recently honored a key member from the agency's historical past bestowing a Certificate of Appreciation to Jeannette Pearce in recognition of her many sacrifices.

Capt. Mark Huebschman, sector Commander for the Sault Station, explained the rationale behind the ceremony. “The U.S. Coast Guard is very proud of our history and she is an important part of that,” said Capt. Huebschman immediately following the ceremony.

The daughter of Mary and Norman Powell Hawkins, a lighthouse keeper who served more than three decades before retiring in 1937, Jeannette grew up at a variety of light stations throughout the Eastern Upper Peninsula including stints at Crisp Point, Grand Marais, DeTour and Munising.

“It was a beautiful life and a privilege to have lived there,” wrote one family member on behalf of the 93-year-old recipient.

The Certificate of Appreciation read in part:
It is my pleasure to express the grateful appreciation of the United States Coast Guard to you for enduring isolation and hardships while your father served in the Lighthouse Service. You should know that your father's successful career was often times challenging and required unselfish devotion to serve others. As keeper of the DeTour and Pipe island lighthouses, his chosen profession introduced unique challenges to you and the rest of your family. In overcoming those challenges, you positively contributed to the effective management of the lighthouses. Your understanding was essential to your father's success and to the safety of mariners on the St. Marys River.

The United States Coast Guard thanks you for your support.

Norman and Mary Hawkins had eight children. Jeannette still resides in Sault Ste. Marie and has two siblings -Arlene Daughtery and Joy Gagnon, both of Waterford - who are still alive.

From the Soo Evening News

 

Updates - August 15

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - August 15

On this day in 1899, a major blockage of the St. Marys River occurred. The steamer MATOA was towing the barge MAIDA past Sailors Encampment when the steering chain of the MAIDA parted. The MAIDA ran ashore but the current swung her around to completely block the channel, and she sunk. The lower St. Marys River was closed for several days and 80 - 90 boats were delayed.

The whaleback barge 107 (steel whaleback barge, 276 foot, 1,295 gross tons) was launched by the American Steel Barge Co., at W. Superior, Wisconsin. She only lasted eight years. In 1898, she broke free from the tug ALVA B in rough weather and stranded near Cleveland, Ohio and was wrecked.

The JOSEPH L BLOCK sailed light on her maiden voyage from the Bay Ship Building Co., Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin to load 32,600 long tons of taconite ore pellets at Escanaba, Michigan for delivery to Indiana Harbor, Indiana on August 15, 1976.

The OTTERCLIFFE HALL, the last "straight deck" Great Lakes bulk freighter built with a pilot house forward was bare boat chartered to Misener Transportation Ltd. on August 15, 1983, renamed b.) ROYALTON. In 1985, renamed c.) OTTERCLIFFE HALL, d.) PETER MISENER in 1988, and e.) CANADIAN TRADER in 1994. She was scrapped at Alang, India in 2004.

Under threat of a strike on August 15, 1978, the uncompleted GEORGE A STINSON was towed out of Lorain, Ohio by six tugs to River Rouge's Nicholson's Terminal & Dock Co. to finish her fit-out. She was renamed b.) AMERICAN SPIRIT in 2004.

The LEON FALK JR was laid up for the last time August 15, 1980, at the Great Lakes Engineering Work's old slip at River Rouge, Michigan.

On August 15, 1985, the MENIHEK LAKE sailed under her own power to Quebec City (from there by tug), the first leg of her journey to the cutters torch in Spain.

J P MORGAN JR arrived in tow of Hannah Marine's tug DARYL C HANNAH at Buffalo, New York on August 15th where she was delayed until she could obtain clearance to transit the Welland Canal. Permission to pass down the Canal was refused because of the MORGAN JR's improper condition. By September 5, 1980, the situation was rectified and she was towed down the Welland Canal by the tugs BARBARA ANN, STORMONT and ARGUE MARTIN bound for Quebec City.

On 15 August 1856, the WELLAND (side-wheel steamer, wood, passenger & package freight, 145 foot, 300 ton, built 1853, at St. Catharine's, Ontario) burned to a total loss at her dock at Port Dalhousie, Ontario. She was owned by Port Dalhousie and Thorold Railroad Co.

On 15 August 1873, Thomas Dunford and Frank Leighton announced a co-partnership in the shipbuilding business in Port Huron, Michigan. Their plans included operating from Dunford's yard. When they made their announcement, they already had an order for a large tug from Mr. George E. Brockway. This tug was the CRUSADER with the dimensions of 132 feet overall, 100 foot keel, and 23 foot beam.

In 1914, the Panama Canal was officially opened to maritime traffic.

Data from: Joe Barr, David Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Jim Olsson, Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Tug due to Tow Canadian Mariner

8/14 - On August 14 the tug Hellas is expected to arrive to tow the Canadian Mariner for scrapping over seas.  The departure date it unknown. Her last cargo was a storage load of sugar, she has been in lay up for the last 5 years.

Reported by Ben Larson

 

Port Reports - August 14

Soo - Jerry Masson
Monday's upbound traffic included Frontenac, American Century, Mesabi Miner, American Fortitude, Burns Harbor, American Republic, Canadian Enterprise, CSL Assiniboine and St. Clair.
Downbound was Gadwall, Algolake, Lee A Tregurtha, John J Boland, Halifax, Beluga Expectation, tug W. N. Twolan & barge, Charles M Beeghly, and American Mariner.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algoway was inbound at the piers around 1 p.m. on Monday afternoon. With a stiff  north west wind blowing, she was held up into the wind by the MacDonald Marine tugs. After heading into the inner harbour to do the turn, she was on the Sifto Salt dock and loading at 2:45 p.m.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Monday morning saw American Valor (Ex-Armco) turning into the CN/DMIR ore dock, passing the Indiana Harbor, which was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal.
Not far away, the small saltie Vanessa C. was ready to load grain at CHS terminal in Superior.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The American Century was inbound Sunday morning calling on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville. She completed her unload and backed out of river to Light 12 where she turned and then headed for the lake.
Early Monday morning saw the arrivals of the tug Olive L. Moore with the barge Lewis J. Kuber and the Mississagi. Mississagi called on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. She completed her unload and was back outbound around 10:15 Monday morning. The Moore & Kuber stopped to lighter at the Bay City Wirt dock, then continued upriver around 10am to finish her unload at the Saginaw Wirt dock. The pair were downbound for the lake Monday evening.
The Walter J. McCarthy, Jr. was inbound Monday evening, calling on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville. She was expected to be outbound late in the evening or very early Tuesday morning.

 

Updates - August 14

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Boatnerd Detroit River Cruise Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - August 14

On this day in 1962, the ARTHUR M ANDERSON departed Conneaut and headed down bound to become the first Pittsburgh boat to transit the Welland Canal and St. Lawrence Seaway.

At 11:00 p.m., 14 August 1882, the steam barge CHICAGO, 206 foot, 935 gross tons of 1855, was carrying coal on Lake Michigan while towing the barge MANITOWOC, 210.5 feet, 569 gross tons of 1868. In mid-lake, near Fox Island, CHICAGO was discovered to be on fire. Within 15 minutes, she was ablaze. Her crew escaped to her barge-consort MANITOWOC. The CHICAGO burned to the waterŐs edge and sank the following day.

Sea trials for the HENRY FORD II took place on August 14, 1924, and shortly after she left on her maiden voyage with coal from Toledo, Ohio to Duluth, Minnesota and returned with iron ore to the Ford Rouge Plant at Dearborn.

Having been sold for scrap, the GOVERNOR MILLER was towed down the Soo Locks on August 14, 1980, for Milwaukee, Wisconsin to load scrap.

On 14 August 1873, CHESTER B JONES (3-mast, wooden schooner, 167 foot, 493 gross tons) was launched at East Saginaw, Michigan. She was built by Chesley Wheeler. The spars and top hamper ordered for her were broken in a log jam, so the 3-master received her spars at Buffalo, New York on her first trip.

The 149 foot bark MARY E PEREW was found floating west of the Manitou Islands by the propeller MONTGOMERY on 14 August 1871. The PEREW had been sailing to Milwaukee with a load of coal when a storm came upon her so quickly on 8 August (nearly a week before MONTGOMERY found her) that the crew did not have time to trim the sails. All three masts were snapped and the mizzen mast fell on the yawl, smashing it. So the crew was stuck on the ship, unable to navigate. The MONTGOMERY towed her to Milwaukee where she was rebuilt and she lasted until 1905.

On 14 August 1900, the tug WILLIAM D of the Great Lakes Towing Co. got under the bow of the steamer WAWATAM at Ashtabula, Ohio and was rolled over and sank. One drowned.

August 14, 1899 - W. L. Mercereau, known as the "Father of the Fleet", became Superintendent of Steamships for the Pere Marquette Railway.

Data from: Joe Barr, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Port Reports - August 13

Kingsville - Eric Zuschlag
The Lower Lakes Towing self-unloader Cuyahoga paid a visit to the Kingsville Harbour on Saturday afternoon. She was unloading gravel.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Sunday evening at the Upper Harbor the Lee A. Tregurtha loaded ore, and Charles M. Beeghly unloaded coal.

Toronto- Charlie Gibbons & Clive Reddin
The salty Beluga Endurance finished unloading at Pier 52 and left after noon Sunday. Stephen B. Roman left a couple of hours later.
Groupe Ocean tugs came in from Hamilton to assist the salty Pintail into the former Redpath Sugar dock (now Tate and Lyle) about 2 p.m., and then they departed.
The Toronto-based tug M.R. Kane departed late Sunday for Prescott, to move some BIG grain barges to Ogdensburg.

Soo - Jerry Masson
Sunday afternoon up bound traffic included USCG Biscayne Bay, Sam Laud, USCG Bristol Bay & barge, Philip R Clarke, Nanticoke, Michipicoten to Marquette, Canadian Miner to Thunder Bay, and Edwin H Gott.
Afternoon down bound was - Mesabi Miner, Algosar, American Spirit, USCG Alder, Edward L Ryerson, and Gadwall to Montreal.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Algowood was at the Nidera grain elevator in Milwaukee's inner harbor Sunday afternoon, loading yellow corn.
BBC Russia (reg. Limassol) was unloading wind turbine components at the Heavy Lift Dock on Jones Island.
St. Mary's Challenger was at its berth in the Kinnickinnic River, delivering powdered cement. In the outer harbor, saltwater bulker Redhead remained at terminal #2 unloading steel pipe.
The Beluga Recognition (reg. St. John's, Antigua), carrying windmill blades and components, anchored outside the breakwater waiting for a berth at terminal #2.

 

Welland Gathering scheduled for September 14-16

The annual Boatnerd Welland Gathering has been planned for September 14-16 this year. The dates are earlier than prior years in an effort to enjoy better weather.

There will be slide shows on Friday and Saturday evenings beginning at 7:30. Vendor tables will be open at 6:00 p.m. both nights. Bring a tray of your best slides to share with the Gathering. Vendors who desire a table either/both night(s) - Please send an e-mail to DJWobser@aol.com

Evening events will be held at the Canadian Corps Assoc. #22, 7 Clairmont St., Thorold, which is located 3 blocks West of The Inn at Lock Seven.

Saturday morning at 10 a.m., there will be a walking tour of International Marine Salvage in Port Colborne. A great photo opportunity.

The St. Catharines Museum and Welland Visitors Centre, located at Lock Three, is offering free admission Staurday and Sunday, and the gift shop is offering 10% discount on selected items.

Plan now to attend this final event of the 2007 season. Additional details are available on the Boatnerd Gatherings Page.

 

Updates - August 13

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Boatnerd Detroit River Cruise Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - August 13

Operated by a crew of retired Hanna captains, chief engineers and executives, the GEORGE M HUMPHREY departed the old Great Lakes Engineering Works yard in Ecorse, Michigan under her own power on August 13, 1986, for Lauzon, Quebec. The GEORGE M HUMPHREY cleared Lauzon September 3rd with the former Hanna steamer PAUL H CARNAHAN in tow of the Dutch tug SMIT LLOYD 109. The tow locked through the Panama Canal, September 27th through 30th, and arrived at Kaohsiung, Taiwan December 10, 1986 completing a trip of over 14,000 miles. The HUMPHREY was scrapped in 1987, by Shiong Yek Steel Corp.

On 13 August 1899, H. G. CLEVELAND (wooden schooner, 137 foot 264 tons, built in 1867, at Black River, Ohio) sank with a full load of limestone, 7 miles from the Cleveland harbor entrance.

August 13, 1980 - The ARTHUR K ATKINSON returned to service after repairing a broken crankshaft suffered in 1973. She brought 18 railcars from Manitowoc to Frankfort.

The 272 foot, 1,740 gross ton, wooden propeller freighter SITKA was launched by F. W. Wheeler (Hull#32) at W. Bay City, Michigan on 13 August 1887.

Data from: Joe Barr, David Swayze, Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series
This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Port Reports - August 12

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Invincible-McKee Sons was outbound the Saginaw River Friday morning after unloading overnight at the GM dock in Saginaw. The pair was passing through Bay City around 7a.m. on her way to the lake.
Inbound on Friday morning was the Olive L. Moore-Lewis J. Kuber with a split load. The pair lightered at the Bay City Wirt dock and then proceeded upriver to finish at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee. The Moore & Kuber were outbound through Bay City around 5:30 Friday afternoon.
Saturday morning saw the Dorothy Ann-Pathfinder call on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. There were expected to be outbound late in the morning.

Wallaceburg - Al Mann

Under perfect weather conditions an estimate 30,000 jammed the Wallaceburg city centre to enjoy the 19th annual WAMBO- Wallaceburg Antique Motor & Boat Outing. The visiting New Brunswick based museum ship Bernadine drew a steady stream of visitors to the displays below deck. About 80 vintage craft some dating back to the 1920's dotted the waterfront while hundreds of land vehicles gave the large crowd plenty to see. Several "older" aircraft buzzed the area and were on display just outside Wallaceburg at the airport. The event concludes on Sunday with a special WAMBO race at Dresden Raceway and lawnmower races. Many of the antique boats remain until mid Sunday prior to heading home adding further to the annual spectacle which is always held the second weekend in August.

Menominee - Scott Best
Saturday morning the BBC Elbe arrived off Menominee and the Selvick tugs Jimmy L and Jacquelyn Nicole took her in tow to take her stern first up river to KK where she will unload more windmill parts. Before the tow could proceed inbound they had to wait for the Elpida which arrived last night to shift about 500 feet astern from her position along the Donner so the BBC Elbe could safely line up for the Ogden St Bridge.
After assisting the Elbe to the dock the Selvick tugs tied up at KK in Menominee.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algomarine came into port Friday evening and finished loading Saturday morning at the Sifto Salt dock.
Peter R. Cresswell was an early Sunday morning arrival and is under the spout at Sifto Salt.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Adam E Cornelius at General Mills on Saturday.

South Chicago - Steve B.
The early afternoon hours on Saturday found the tug Samuel de Champlain/barge Innovation heading down the Calumet River at 100th street, headed for Lafarge at 130th St.
Over at KCBX, the Kaye E. Barker was taking on a load while the James Norris was unloading at the Chicago Export dock south of 106th St.
The Kaye E. Barker departed KCBX around 430 p.m. for the lake, with the James Norris less than a mile behind doing the same with the assistance of the "G" tug South Carolina on her stern.

 

Vantage Point to host model boat building for Kids

8/12 - Port Huron - The Great Lakes Nautical Society will hold a Model Shipbuilding event for Kids 10 years old and under at The Great Lakes Maritime Center.

The event will be held on three Saturdays in September, September 8,15,& 22 at 1:00 p.m.

There will be a $5.00 charge for each event. Model ships will be furnished. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The events will be limited to 40 participants. Participants must be registered in advance. For more information please call 810-985-4817. Come join the fun and build a model boat.

The Great Lakes Maritime Center is located at 51 Water Street, Port Huron MI., and is World headquarters of BoatNerd.com.

 

Updates - August 12

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Boatnerd Detroit River Cruise Photo Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - August 12

The C&O carferry SPARTAN, in a heavy fog while inbound from Kewaunee on the morning of August 12, 1976, struck rocks at the entrance to Ludington harbor. She suffered severe damage to about 120 feet of her bottom plating. She was taken to Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay on August 18th for repairs. There were no injuries as a result of this incident.

The TOM M GIRDLER was christened August 12, 1951, she was the first of the C-4 conversions.

The Maunaloa (Hull#37) was launched August 12, 1899 at Chicago, Illinois by Chicago Shipbuilding Co. for the Minnesota Steamship Co. Sold Canadian and renamed b.) MAUNALOA II in 1945. She was scrapped at Toronto in 1971.

The WILLIAM E COREY sailed from Chicago on her maiden voyage August 12, 1905, bound for Duluth, Minnesota to load iron ore. She later became b.) RIDGETOWN in 1963. Used as a breakwater in Port Credit, Ontario in 1974.

On 12 August 1882, FLORIDA (3-mast wooden schooner, 352 tons, built in 1875 at Batiscan, Ontario) was carrying 662 tons of coal from Black River to Toronto when she sprang a leak and sank 12 miles from Port Maitland, Ontario. She hailed from Quebec and was constructed mostly of pine and tamarack.

Data from: Joe Barr, David Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Jody L. Aho, Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Hollyhock leaves town for dry dock
Small persistent propeller oil leak to be repaired

8/11 - Port Huron - The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock will leave Port Huron today en route to a federal government shipyard in Baltimore. The ship will be dry docked to have a propeller hub replaced to stop a small oil leak that first was noticed in March.

It will take about two weeks to make the trip to Maryland and about 10 days to make the repair. The ship won't return to Port Huron in time to participate in Coast Guard Days on Aug. 24, 25 and 26, said Lt. Cmdr. Mike Davanzo.
Chief Robert Lanier, spokesman for the Ninth Coast Guard District in Cleveland, said arrangements are being made for a cutter to fill in for the Hollyhock during the celebration. The replacement will be the Alder, a 225-foot Juniper-class seagoing buoy tender from Duluth, Minn., or a 140-foot Bay cutter, both of which are scheduled in the area at the time of the festival.

The Hollyhock was scheduled to be open for public tours at the Seaway Terminal on Aug. 25 along with the retired Coast Guard cutter Bramble, the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps Grayfox and the tall ship Highlander Sea.

The Hollyhock has been at its St. Clair River dock near Pine Grove Park since July 18 when officials decided the propeller hub should be replaced. Davanzo said oil only leaks while the Hollyhock is docked, and officials are not concerned about polluting waters during the trip to Baltimore.

Only about 7 ounces of oil has leaked into the water since March, Davanzo said. An oil boom has been attached to the back of the ship to prevent oil from leaking into the St. Clair River while the Hollyhock is docked. The boom also will be used when the ship stops overnight during its trip. "(The leak) is so minute it's really hard to measure," Davanzo said.

From the Port Huron Times Herald

 

Port Reports - August 11

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Stephen B. Roman returned to port early Friday morning.
The salty Beluga Endurance, which arrived early Thursday, turned itself about at Pier 52 to finish unloading its cargo of windmill parts.

Menominee - Dick Lund & Scott Best
The Elpida arrived in Marinette, WI on Friday night with a load of pig iron for Marinette Fuel & Dock Co. It was assisted into port by the Selvick tugs Jacquelyn Nicole and Jimmy L.
The BBC Elbe is due in early Saturday morning with wind mill parts for KK Dock in Menominee.

Soo - Jerry Masson
Friday upbound traffic included Algosar, Michipicoten to Algoma Steel, Algolake, Presque Isle, American Mariner, and Roger Blough.
Downbound were John G. Munson, American Century, Greenwing, Barbro, and Mesabi Miner.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Friday evening at the Upper Harbor, Herbert C. Jackson departed after loading ore, and Michipicoten arrived to load ore.

 

Ships Ahoy: The tall ships return to Kenosha for Days of Discovery

8/11 - Kenosha - There is nothing like the sight of a majestic tall ship, gliding into the harbor with its sails billowing in the wind, to remind us of the rich maritime history of our Great Lakes. Such sights will be familiar ones this weekend when six tall ships come to Kenosha’s harbor for the 2007 Kenosha Days of Discovery.

This four-day event kicked off Friday evening as the ships arrived in a Parade of Sails beginning at 5 p.m., followed by opening ceremonies at 7 p.m. It will continue through Sunday, featuring a range of maritime-themed activities and entertainment for all ages. In addition to being able to tour the historic replica ships, festival-goers can enjoy live music from a number of regional bands; watch street entertainers; take part in a Pirate Look-A-Like Contest and even book a sailing excursion on one of the ships.

“This is an event that is fun for the whole family,” said John Heimsch, regional director of marketing for U.S. Cellular, which is the title sponsor for the 2007 Kenosha Days of Discovery. One of the things that is especially neat about the festival and the Kenosha Days of Discovery Foundation, which founded it, is the educational component through which young people are able to learn about sailing and maritime culture, Heimsch said.

The foundation, which was established in 2002, has a mission of developing resources to provide Kenosha’s youth with sail-training opportunities leading to increased nautical and scientific knowledge, improved self-esteem, development of teamwork and leadership skills, and greater intercultural understanding. In addition to the activities and exhibits it will offer to everyone during the festival, the foundation works with Kenosha area youth organizations and schools to provide hands-on learning experiences both at the lake front and on sailing ships.

The idea is to help area youth learn to appreciate Lake Michigan and all it has to offer, says Patti Soens, of the Kenosha Days of Discovery Foundation. “A lot of people who live in this area take Lake Michigan for granted,” Soens said. By getting kids interested in science and nautical life, the foundation aims to increase appreciation for all of the Great Lakes, she said. “It’s not just about learning to sail, but about learning from sailing.”

For a complete schedule of events, go to the event web site at http://www.kenoshadaysofdiscovery.com

Tall ships scheduled to appear include Windy II from Chicago, Milwaukee's S/V Denis Sullivan, Friends Good Will from South Haven, Nina from the British Virgin Islands, Madeline from Traverse City, Michigan, and Appledore IV from Bay City, Michigan.

Event details are Thursday through Sunday. Hours are 3 to 9 p.m. Thursday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

From the Racine Journal Times

 

Tug Operator Position Open

8/11 - Freeland, MI - Busch Marine is looking for a licensed tug operator.

Please call 989 692-2700

 

Updates - August 11

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - August 11

On 11 August 1899, the SIMON LANGELL (wooden propeller freighter, 195 foot, 845 gross tons, built in 1886, at St. Clair, Michigan) was towing the wooden schooner W K MOORE off Lakeport, Michigan on Lake Huron when they were struck by a squall. The schooner was thrown over on her beam ends and filled with water. The local Life Saving crew went to the rescue and took off two women passengers from the stricken vessel. The Moore was the towed to Port Huron, Michigan by the tug HAYNES and placed in dry dock for inspection and repairs.

The night of August 11, 2001, the WINDOC was damaged and caught fire when the Allanburg Bridge was lowered onto the vessel. the accident stopped traffic in the canal until August 13. the WINDOC was later towed to Hamilton, Ontario to await her fate.

The H M GRIFFITH was the first self-unloader to unload grain at Robin Hood's new hopper unloading facility at Port Colborne, Ontario on August 11, 1987. She was renamed b.) RT. HON PAUL J MARTIN in 2000.

On August 11, 1977, the THOMAS W LAMONT was the first vessel to take on fuel at Shell's new fuel dock at Corunna, Ontario The dock's fueling rate was 60 to 70,000 gallons per hour and was built to accommodate one-thousand footers.

Opening ceremonies for the whaleback tanker METEOR a.) FRANK ROCKEFELLER, museum ship were held on August 11, 1973, with the President of Cleveland Tankers present whose company had donated the ship. This historically unique ship was enshrined into the National Maritime Hall of Fame.

The T W ROBINSON departed Quebec City on August 11, 1987, along with US265808 (former BENSON FORD in tow of the Polish tug JANTAR bound for Recife, Brazil where they arrived on September 22, 1987. Scrapping began the next month.

On 11 August 1862, B F BRUCE (wooden propeller passenger steamer, 110 foot, 169 tons, built in 1852, at Buffalo, New York as a tug) was carrying staves when she caught fire a few miles off Port Stanley, Ontario in Lake Erie. She was run to the beach, where she burned to a total loss with no loss of life. Arson was suspected. She had been rebuilt from a tug to this small passenger steamer the winter before her loss.

On 11 August 1908, TITANIA (iron propeller packet/tug/yacht, 98 foot, 73 gross tons, built in 1875, at Buffalo, New York) was rammed and sunk by the Canadian sidewheeler KINGSTON near the harbor entrance at Charlotte, New York on Lake Ontario. All 26 on board were rescued.

The wooden scow-schooner SCOTTISH CHIEF had been battling a storm on Lake Michigan since Tuesday, 8 August 1871. By late afternoon of Friday, 11 August 1871, she was waterlogged. The galley was flooded and the food ruined. The crew stayed with the vessel until that night when they left in the lifeboat. They arrived in Chicago on Sunday morning, 13 August.

Data from: Father Dowling Collection, Joe Barr, David Swayze, Jody L. Aho, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Is life ring a ‘Fitz’ find or obscure hoax?

8/10 - Duluth - An apple farmer and his family believe they’ve found a life ring from the Edmund Fitzgerald about 200 miles from where the famed ship sank in Lake Superior 32 years ago. No definitive tests had yet been conducted to prove it’s a piece of the ore carrier that sunk in a vicious storm, killing 29 men off the northern shore of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. But the director of a shipwreck museum says it matches in many ways another ring in its Fitzgerald collection.

“I saw it, photographed it and ... compared the two,” said Tom Farnquist, executive director of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society, which owns the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point, Mich., the nearest spot on land to the ship’s gravesite 17 miles northwest. “It’s identical in size and configuration. ... Is it possible? Certainly it is.” The orange preserver is worn by the elements and mice or other critters chewing on it. But it reads “Edmund Fitzgerald” in faded but mostly legible white letters.

Joe Rasch, a farmer from Conklin, Mich., about 15 miles northwest of Grand Rapids, Mich., said he was vacationing with his family last week in the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan’s far north. Hunting for agates and other rocks along a remote beach, he saw an overturned tree where the beach meets the forest. Hoping to find some stones underneath, he instead spotted the life ring nearby. He rolled it down to his daughters, who noticed the writing. Knowing well what it could mean, they took it to the museum.

Still, there are a few differences between the discovered ring and the one on display. The one Rasch found has no “S.S.” before “Edmund Fitzgerald,” as the museum’s ring does. And the newly found ring reads “Duluth” on its back side. It’s puzzling, Farnquist said, but not without a plausible explanation: The Milwaukee-based ship spent its winters in Duluth.

Of course, there are skeptics to such discoveries — especially when it’s so far from the Fitzgerald’s grave site and so many years later. It also adds to a story that is the stuff of Great Lakes legend — spawning a well-known song by Gordon Lightfoot, “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald,” and decades of debate as to the circumstances of its sinking.

“I am smelling a rat,” Frederick Stonehouse, maritime historian and author of a book on the wreck, told he Daily Mining Gazette of Houghton, Mich. “It’s probably a hoax.” He said he finds it hard to believe that someone could find a life ring laying out in the open 30 years later. Anything is possible, but he would not accept it as legitimate until it’s properly examined. Rasch said Wednesday he doesn’t believe it’s a hoax, nor did he consider it “out in the open” — finding it as he did off an already off-the-beaten path.

Rasch said he offered to leave the ring at the museum, but Farnquist said he encouraged him to take it home and cherish it. They agreed Rasch will return it in time for the museum’s annual memorial service marking the anniversary of the sinking in November. “There’s a million questions. ... The ring isn’t talking, so we don’t know,” Rasch said. “I have no reason to doubt. If anybody wanted to pull a hoax, they would have put it where somebody would find it.”

Farnquist believes the time delay and distance from the wreck shouldn’t dash hopes it’s legitimate. Winds change often on the unpredictable lake, he said, and it’s not uncommon to find debris a couple hundred miles from where ships sink.

On the emotional side, he knows it would be significant for people who lost loved ones in the wreck. He said he already has heard from two women who were “quite moved and excited about the possibility” that the ring is from the ship. “Of the 6,000 ships ... lost on the Great Lakes, the Fitzgerald is the Holy Grail of all the shipwrecks,” Farnquist said. “It’s an incredible story. Everyone hopes that it’s the real thing. But only time will tell and the evidence will need to be acquired.”

From the Duluth News-Tribune

 

Port Reports - August 10

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The St. Mary's Challenger came in around noon Thursday and headed for the St. Mary's Cement Terminal in Ferrysburg.

Hamilton - John McCreery
The weather kicked up on Lake Ontario Thursday night and winds were out of the southeast. This was contrary to forecasted north easterlies and caused some consternation for employees of Dean Construction who were attempting to bring the Dredge Canadian Jubilee from Bronte to Hamilton along with a stone filled scow. A company man on the pier indicated that the scow had already been holed by jostling against the dredge. Entry through the piers was a treacherous matter. The lone tug Annie M. Dean was singularly in charge of the tow. On entry into the canal the dredge with scow alongside moved dangerously close to the north wall. The tug had to struggle to get them back into mid channel and an out bound sailboat had to reverse direction to give the tug extra room in which to maneuver. After a skillful effort they made the calm of the inner harbour, no doubt relieved to be out of harms way.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
H. Lee White was busy early Thursday unloading stone at the CLM dock in Superior. By midday she was across the harbor at the CN/DMIR ore dock loading taconite pellets. Algocape also was loading at the ore dock.
Elsewhere at midday, Federal Ems had four spouts in her holds at CHS gallery berth, Mesabi Miner was at Midwest Energy Terminal loading coal for Detroit Edison in St. Clair.
Beluga Expectation was unloading its deck cargo of wind mill towers directly on to semi-trucks with special extra-long trailers.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Thursday at the Upper Harbor, Paul R. Tregurtha discharged western coal from Superior, Wisconsin.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Cuyahoga arrived at Lafarge around 4:30pm on Thursday. It tied up at the coal dock and moved the boom out to unload product into the storage hopper. Not far behind out in the bay, was the Samuel de Champlain/barge Innovation which was heading in to dock under the silos.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Invincible & barge McKee Sons was inbound the Saginaw River Thursday evening headed all the way upriver to unload at the GM dock in Saginaw. The pair were expected to be outbound Friday morning.

Soo - Jerry Masson
Thursday's upbound traffic was James R. Barker, Voyager Independent, American Spirit, Joseph L. Block, Michipicoten to Algoma, Edward L. Ryerson, Halifax, and Herbert C. Jackson to Marquette.
Downbound were Lee A Tregurtha, Edwin H. Gott, American Victory, and St. Clair.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
After a slow June and July due to planned maintenance and upgrades to the facilities, Sifto Salt seems to be increasing production. Canadian Transfer arrived through the night and is loading Friday morning.

 

Fednav bulker aground in Colombia

8/10 - BARRANQUILLA – Fednav-operated bulk carrier Federal Kivalina ran aground yesterday afternoon in Colombia’s Magdalena river shortly after departing from Sociedad Portuaria del Norte terminal at Barranquilla.

The 35,750-dwt vessel was carrying 20,000 tonnes of coke bound for the Canadian Great Lakes. Failure of steering gear is believed to be the reason for the grounding.

A tug was sent out from Santa Marta yesterday in a bid to re-float today. Local sources say the ship left the navigable channel when the steering incident occurred, and the grounding has not caused any restrictions on river traffic.

From Lloyd's Register - Fairplay

 

Rebirth or oblivion?: Passenger ferry on its way from Buffalo to Turkey
Marine Star's fate as scrap or casino is unknown

8/10 - Buffalo - The Marine Star, the rusting passenger ferry that spent more than a decade sitting on the Buffalo waterfront, is on its way to Turkey. But it is still not known whether the once-proud ship is headed to the scrap yard or new life as a floating casino.

The 62-year-old military ship turned- luxury Great Lakes ferry departed South End Marina on Buffalo’s Outer Harbor on July 15, towed by a tug boat through the Welland Canal and down the St. Lawrence Seaway to Trois Rivieres, Quebec. After a two-week layover in Trois Rivieres, the Marine Star resumed her journey Saturday morning under tow by a Greek-owned tug, the Aetos Z.

James Everatt, an Ontario businessman with ownership ties to the vessel, did not return phone calls regarding the Marine Star, but sources in Quebec confirmed this week that the final destination is Turkey. TradeWinds, an international shipping publication, reports the 62-year-old ship in bound for Aliaga, Turkey, on the Aegean coast. The maritime journal described its trip as a “one-way voyage to oblivion.”

There are indications it will be towed to Leyal Ship Dismantling, Turkey’s largest ship recycling center. “The impending scrapping . . . is generally regarded as a major blow to those who appreciate maritime history. The Marine Star is one of the final vessels afloat designed by the late George Sharp, who some regard as the best-ever naval architect,” TradeWinds reported in its Aug. 2 edition.

But according to the port authority in Trois Rivieres, there was still talk of the 520-foot vessel being redone as a luxury gaming ship when it was moored there. “We were told it is going to become a casino, not scrap. Who can know for sure?” said a port representative who asked not to be identified. Because the Marine Star is categorized as a “dead ship” and is not traveling under its own power, its owners are not required to file official documents with the Canadian government detailing the purpose of its travels and its destination.

When the ship was hauled out of Buffalo after sitting on the waterfront for a dozen years, several marine sources said it was headed to a ship scrap yard in Alang, India. Others insisted it was being taken to Europe for refurbishing.

As recently as June, Everatt said he and his partners had not abandoned their dream of a $40 million conversion to a high-end Great Lakes cruise liner. The owners previously had floated plans to turn it into a gambling boat, but that plan was shelved due to legal issues. Everatt has not commented publicly on the Marine Star’s future since it left Buffalo.

Built in 1945 as a military troop transport ship, it underwent an $8 million transformation to a luxury passenger ferry, renamed the S.S. Aquarama, at the end of World War II. At one time it was the largest ferry on the Great Lakes, with room for 2,500 passengers and 160 vehicles.

It also set the bar on ferry amenities, with four restaurants, two dance floors, a children’s playroom and baby-sitting services. But within a decade, its glamour was overshadowed by its operating expenses, and it has been docked since the mid-1960s.

From the Buffalo News

 

Sea Cadets helping research scientists

8/10 - Detroit - Some of 13-year-old Richard Cover's friends tease him about taking part in an after-school program called the Sea Cadets, taunting him by saying the name of the group sounds a bit wimpy. But the teens might change their minds if they could see the Richmond boy in his uniform, checking the oil pressure and coolant level in the massive engine that powers the 80-foot former Navy training vessel as it churns across Lake Huron, 12 miles from shore.

The ship, the Pride of Michigan, is where Richard and about 11 other metro Detroit youths are spending part of their summer learning seamanship and scuba diving through the Sea Cadets' Great Lakes division, based in the Cranbrook Institute of Science in Bloomfield Hills. They're joined by a handful of cadets from across the country for one of the premier maritime training programs in the world.

The Sea Cadets program is similar to junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, which operates military training programs at high schools across the country. But unlike Junior ROTC the focus isn't clearly military but rather to learn about history and boating.

While a few adults onboard provide suggestions and training as needed, the teens have their hands on the ship's wheel. They also take turns recording data in the ship's log and keeping watch throughout the night. "A lot of kids my age can't do this," said Richard, who will be a ninth-grader at St. Peter's Lutheran School in Richmond this fall and is thinking of a career in the Navy.

Boot camp
After a two-week summer boot camp offered at various locations across the country, about 10,000 Sea Cadets -- 30% of who are girls -- can choose from an array of advanced training programs, such as those offered aboard the Pride of Michigan. The cost to students aboard the Pride of Michigan is about $150 a week; the remaining expenses picked up by grants from private foundations or the U.S. government.

Applicants can be as young as 11, but they must be 13 to go out on a boat. Passing grades in school are required, as is a willingness to follow orders.

For applicants to the diving programs aboard the Pride of Michigan, one of three cadet boats in the Great Lakes, a scientific inclination also is a plus. In addition to developing maritime skills, the cadets are helping research scientists from area universities and museums study the archaeology, ecology and geology of the Great Lakes. "If we can give a kid confidence, self-esteem that's our goal," Michael Ford, executive director of the Sea Cadets, said last month. "If he goes into the services that's great, if not that's OK, too. A lot of kids come in looking for guidance, direction and a purpose. We offer that."

Pride and confidence
In the pilothouse of the ship last month, Luke Clyburn, a onetime banker and riverboat worker from White Lake Township who has run the Sea Cadets Great Lakes' division for 30 years, suggests that cadet Jessica Hadash, 16, of White Lake Township, take the helm.

"I don't think you could pry her fingers off that wheel," he says. "No, sir!" said Jessica, who, like Richard, puts up with teasing from friends who don't understand her passion for the Sea Cadets. "They see that you wear a uniform all day. They see marching and taking orders," said Jessica, who attends Ladywood High School in Livonia and hopes to be a Navy doctor. "I see the camaraderie, the teamwork."

From the Detroit Free Press

 

Updates - August 10

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - August 10

On 10 August 1890, TWO FANNIES (3-mast wooden bark, 152 foot, 492 gross tons, built in 1862, at Peshtigo, Wisconsin) was carrying 800 tons of iron ore on Lake Erie when a seam opened in rough weather. The crew kept at the pumps but to no avail. They all made it off of the vessel into the yawl just as the bark sank north of Bay Village Ohio. The CITY OF DETROIT tried to rescue the crew but the weather made the rescue attempt too dangerous and only two men were able to get to the steamer. The tug JAMES AMADEUS came out and got the rest of the crew, including the ship's cat which was with them in the yawl.

On August 10, 1952, the ARTHUR M ANDERSON entered service for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co. Exactly fourteen years later, on August 10, 1966, the vessel's namesake, Arthur Marvin Anderson, passed away.

In 1969, the EDMUND FITZGERALD set the last of many cargo records it set during the 1960's. The FITZGERALD loaded 27,402 gross tons of taconite pellets at Silver Bay on this date. This record was broken by the FITZGERALD's sister ship, the ARTHUR B HOMER, during the 1970, shipping season.

On 10 August 1937, B H BECKER (steel tug, 19 tons, built in 1932, at Marine City, Michigan) foundered in heavy seas, 9 miles north of Oscoda, Michigan.

In 1906, JOHN H PAULEY (formerly THOMPSON KINSFORD, wooden propeller steam barge, 116 foot, 185 gross tons, built in 1880, at Oswego, New York) caught fire at Marine City, Michigan. Her lines were burned through and she then drifted three miles down the St. Clair River before beaching near Port Lambton, Ontario and burning out.

On 10 August 1922, ANNIE LAURA (wooden propeller sandsucker, 133 foot, 244 gross tons, built in 1871, at Marine City, Michigan) beached near Algonac, Michigan, caught fire and burned to the waterline.

Data from: Joe Barr, David Swayze, Jody L. Aho, Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Work to start soon on channel's naval museum

8/9 - Muskegon, MI - The Great Lakes Naval and Maritime Museum has been raising money for its planned new facility on the Muskegon Channel for nearly a year. Now it's time to start building.

A groundbreaking ceremony for the $2 million building is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at the museum site at 1346 Bluff, next to the World War II submarine USS Silversides.  "It's been a long time in coming," said Robert Morin Sr., president of the museum board. "People have been so generous. This is a great turning point for a great organization."

The main speaker at the event will be state Sen. Gerald VanWoerkom, R-Norton Shores. Hughes Builders is expected to start site preparation and construction of the 20,000-square-foot museum building shortly after Labor Day, with opening scheduled on or before next Memorial Day. The museum, along with the Silversides and other exhibits and displays, is expected to attract more than 50,000 visitors each year.

The fundraising effort, led by local industrialist Mark Fazakerly, is close to reaching its goal, especially after the recent arrival of a $110,000 anonymous donation. The effort has been aided by some 20 major donors, each of whom gave $25,000 or more, and another 50 other contributors.

Among those expected to attend are members of two submarine veterans organizations -- World War II Subvets and Subvets Inc. Hors d'oeuvres and soft drinks will be served following the groundbreaking and related remarks. Music will be provided as well, in the form of a march music suite titled "Freedom's Fleet." It was composed by Robert Getz of Newaygo, who acted as nonprofit consultant to the fundraising effort, as a tribute to Morin.

From the Muskegon Chronicle

 

Port Reports - August 9

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Federal Ems was loading at CHS gallery on Wednesday morning while Barbro was at Cargill B1, one of the few vessels to call there this season. Montrealais was unloading at St. Lawrence Cement.
Tug Gregory Busch and barge apparently have been delayed in loading. They moved to the opposite side of the port terminal’s Berth 1 to make room at the dock for Beluga Expectation, which was due in Wednesday with windmill parts. St. Clair and Algocape were due to load at CN/DMIR ore dock.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
Saltie Redhead, a Chinese bulker that sails under contract to Canadian Forest Navigation, was moored at the bulk dock in the outer harbor on mid-Wednesday morning. Nothing else was in the harbor at the time.

Lorain - Jim Reagan
The Edward L. Ryerson departed the Port of Lorain passing through the Charles Berry Bascule Bridge at 4:15 pm Wednesday a turnaround of about 27 hours. As usual the Ryerson was proceeding stern first as it passed downbound on the Black River. After the bascule bridge closed, the Ryerson sounded a salute on its steam whistles.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
A rare visitor to port, Algomarine, was in Wednesday morning with a load of stone from Meldrum Bay for the Strada dock.
The schooner Empire Sandy returned to port Tuesday in the wee hours from her visit to Port Colborne for Canal Days.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
Monday afternoon the G. L. Ostrander/barge Integrity was seen out in the bay, making its way in to dock under the silos.
Tuesday morning the Steamer Alpena returned from its Lake Superior run.
The American Courage was backing into Lafarge after 11 p.m. on Tuesday night, to deliver a load of coal.
The Samuel de Champlain/barge Innovation is expected to arrive in port on Thursday.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
James Norris arrived through the night and is loading Thursday morning at Sifto Salt.
After the Norris completed loading, Algorail backed into the channel and went to the Sifto dock to load. She began loading at 9:30 a.m. under cloudy skies.

 

Lake’s Largest Port Forfeits 100,000 Tons to Dredging Crisis
Light Loading Hampers Lakes Iron Ore Trade in June

8/9 - Cleveland---The Great Lakes iron ore trade totaled 6.2 million net tons in June, a virtual tie with a year ago, but a slight decrease from the month’s 5-year average. The dredging crisis continued to take a heavy toll on the trade in June.

Iron ore shipments from the twin ports of Duluth, Minnesota/Superior, Wisconsin, the largest port on the Lakes, are a case in point. 1,000-foot-long U.S.-Flag Lakers loaded 16 iron ore cargos in Duluth/Superior in June. The cargos totaled 965,000 tons. Yet, had these vessels been able to load to their rated capacity, those 16 loads would have totaled 1,065,000 tons.

Lack of adequate dredging throughout the system negated 9 percent of the vessels’ carrying capacity, with the end result being that 100,000 tons of iron ore went undelivered.

For the year, the Great Lakes iron ore trade stands at 22.9 million tons, a decrease of 3.7 percent compared to the same point in 2006, but slightly ahead of the 5-year average for the first half.

More information is available at www.lcaships.com

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association

 

Lake Superior Board of Control announces public meeting

8/9 - Sault Ste. Marie, MI - The Lake Superior Board of Control will hold a public meeting during the evening of Tuesday September 4, 2007. The purpose of the meeting is to provide information on the operation of the Board, current and forecasted water levels, and, to receive public input about local concerns related to water levels and flows of Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron.

The meeting will be held in the Michigan & Ontario Rooms at the Walker Cisler Student and Conference Center, Lake Superior State University, 650 West Easterday Ave., Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783-1626. The event will take place from 7:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. EDT.

A Board representative will present information on Board activities, current conditions and the water level outlook. After the presentation the floor will be opened to the public participants for a comment, question and answer session. At the end attendees will be asked to take a few moments to fill out an evaluation form to use as guidance for future meetings.

The meetings are to inform the public of the Board’s current activities and to hear public comments and suggestions regarding the board’s work. The Board is a bi-national organization reporting to and advising the International Joint Commission on matters relating to the regulation of Lake Superior outflow through the St. Marys River.

The invitation is extended to all interested parties. To help facilitate logistical arrangements, please RSVP to one of the secretaries below by August 28, 2007.

If you have specific questions you would like addressed contact one of the Board secretaries below and provide him with the pertinent information. Those who
have RSVP’d will be notified in advance of any updates or changes. Updates will also be posted at www.ijc.org. Please follow the links to the Board’s web pages on the IJC site.

John Kangas, Secretary, United States Section, International Lake Superior Board of Control, 111 North Canal Street, Chicago, Illinois 60606-7205, Tel (312) 353-4333, Email: John.W.Kangas@usace.army.mil or Rob Caldwell, Section Secretary, Canadian Section, International Lake Superior Board of Control, 111 Water Street, Cornwall, Ontario K6H 6S2, Tel (613) 938-5725, Email: rob.caldwell@ec.gc.ca

 

Algoma Steel watching Great Lakes water levels, length of shipping season

8/9 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. - While Algoma Steel Inc. would welcome proposed U.S. legislation that would authorize the construction of an estimated $340 million sister lock to the Poe Lock in Sault Michigan, two larger issues for the steelmaker now are low water levels and the length of the shipping season.

"Certainly a larger lock would provide a backup in case of any difficulties [at the Poe] and would offer Algoma more opportunities," Brenda Stenta, manager of corporate communications, said Thursday. "The challenge is that in order to bring thousand footers through here the water levels need to be addressed, that and the length of the shipping season are the bigger issues for us."

The new $340 million shipping lock project that has been in the proposal stage since the late 1980s, won the support of over two-thirds of the United States House of Representatives last Wednesday, according to Alex Haurek, the Washington press secretary for Michigan Congressman, Bart Stupak. The new lock is included as part of a much larger bill, the Water Resource Development Act, that has to do with water and conservation projects throughout all of the United States. "The Soo Lock is a sizeable project but there are many, many projects included in the bill," Haurek said.

John Niemic, project manager with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said from Detroit Friday, that a "sister" lock for the Poe would be of considerable economic importance to the Great Lake states. "Duluth Superior Harbour is one of the 20 top harbours in the United States and there is a lot of iron ore, Western coal and some wheat that originates from there," he said. "It is the port where a lot of cargo is put on ships for distribution through the Great Lakes system."

Niemic said that most of those products are transported on "thousand footers", and the Poe is the only lock at the Sault capable of handling freighters that size. "If anything ever happens to the Poe, then the thousand footers become incapacitated, and really limited in what they can do," he said. The older MacArthur lock, built in 1943, can handle vessels up to 800 feet in length.

Haurek said the next step was for the U.S. Senate to consider the legislation. "The Senate is expected to pass the bill later [last] week," he said. But Dave Pollock, press assistant to Michigan Senator Carl Levin, said there was no guarantee that the Senate would approve the project before the Senate recessed on Friday, Aug. 3. If it is not approved by Friday, he said, it would be taken up again in September.

A more serious threat to passage of the legislation, however, has come from the administration with President Bush issuing a threat to veto the bill. The veto threat was issued in a letter dated Aug. 1, a copy of which was forwarded to Sault This Week by Alex Conant, from the office of media affairs at the Whitehouse. The administration is objecting to the overall cost of the legislation that it says has escalated to "approximately $20 billion".
The letter goes on to say that Bush had proposed, "reasonable and responsible funding of $4.9 billion" last February to support U.S. Army Corps of Engineers core missions. The letter goes on to describe a shift of "potentially billions of dollars of cost from the non-Federal beneficiaries of the project to Federal taxpayers", as "unjustified changes in established cost sharing arrangements".

But Haurek, speaking on behalf of Michigan Congressman Bart Stupak, declined to comment on the motives of Whitehouse objections to the legislation. He said, however, that if the act passed the Senate with the same two-thirds majority as it had last Wednesday in the House of Representatives, Congress would have the option of overriding any potential presidential veto.

Haurek added, "Mr. Stupak believes the Poe Lock is vital to our economic security and our steel industry. If something were to happen to the Poe Lock it would have a severe ripple effect on our economy. Mr Stupak believes it is important to build a sister lock." Both Niemic and Jeff Hawk with the public affairs office of the U.S. Corps of Engineers in Detroit refused to comment on the political debate in Washington. Hawk said, "There is some frustration in not seeing the project move as fast as maybe it could, but there are a lot of projects out there and priorities. We have been fortunate in the past few years to receive funding to further the design aspects of the project."

Both men pointed out that $2 million was earmarked in the 2008 budget by Congress to continue the design and environmental planning for the new shipping lock.
Haurek said that if the act passes the Senate and receives presidential approval, the next step would be to secure funding to begin work on the $340 million lock project that is specifically laid out in the act.

From Algoma Steel's perspective, Stenta, said there was no downside to a new lock, should the project eventually proceed. She repeated, however, that low water levels, and the two months from late January to March when the shipping season is closed, remained the biggest concerns for ASI. Stenta said that because of its current infrastructure, the company relied on 750-foot vessels to transport most of its materials. "We do use rail, but we also ship finished products using the waterways. We bring in our raw materials by water, and we're not being able to optimize the capacity of the vessels we bring in because of current low water levels. As a result it has a direct impact on our costs per tonne."

And because the company can only ship 10 months of the year, there is a seasonal impact on the company's results. "We have to stockpile inventory for two months of the year and there is yield loss associated with that, as well as the costs of stockpiling inventory. Those are the big issues for us," Stenta said. "Larger loads and an extended shipping season both would add significant value to our operation."

And with ASI planning to expand production to four million tonnes annually over the next three to five years, Stenta said transportation costs would become a major issue for the steelmaker.

From Sault Ste. Marie News

 

Historic Trawler Bernadine at Wallaceburg Celebration

8/9 - Wallaceburg, Ont. - The 1912-built, 85-foot, former sardine trawler Bernadine (from New Brunswick) will be the feature waterfront attraction at the 19th annual WAMBO - Wallaceburg Antique Motor & Boat Outing to be held this weekend Aug. 10,11 and 12, in Wallaceburg, Ontario.

Known as Canada's foremost transportation display, the event features in water antique runabouts and cruisers, while nearby on land antique cars, trucks, motorcycles, tractors and fire trucks. Overhead all day will be antique airplanes which land just outside Wallaceburg at the Watson airport.

The Bernadine, skippered by Capt Charlie Creaser has been on a goodwill tour of the Great Lakes, most recently helping Owen Sound celebrate its 150 birthday. Turned into a floating museum, the lovingly restored ship will be open for tours and will also serve crab on a bun as a fund raiser for ship maintenance.

WAMBO also features non-stop entertainment, ethnic foods, museum displays and lots to do for all ages. There is no admission charge. Easily reached by boat from the St. Clair River, Wallaceburg, an historic port is halfway between Sarnia and Chatham.

It is expected thousands will be enjoying the annual event. For more information call (519)627-4753

Reported by Al Mann

 

Retired Chief Engineer dies

8/9 - Stuart, FL - Word has been received that retired Wilson Transit Company Chief Engineer Kenzie B. Morrison, 92, died last month.

Morrison, a US citizen born of Canadian parents in Massachusetts, started his sailing career as a coal passer in 1935 aboard Tomlinson's Cuyler Adams. He joined Wilson Transit in 1939 and worked for them for the next 35 years, attaining Chief Engineer status in 1958.

Morrison retired in at the end of the 1974 season and moved to Florida, where his wife taught him to play golf.
In retirement, he split his time between playing golf and volunteering at Martin County (FL) Memorial Hospital.

Morrison is survived by a brother, Murdoch in Nova Scotia, and was preceded in death by his wife, Annabel and three brothers.

 

Updates - August 9

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - August 09

On 09 August 1910, the Eastland Navigation Company placed a half page advertisement in both the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Cleveland Leader offering $5,000 to anyone who could substantiate rumors that the excursion steamer EASTLAND was unsafe. No one claimed the reward.

The keel was laid for the INDIANA HARBOR (Hull#719) on August 9, 1978, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin by Bay Shipbuilding Co. for Connecticut Bank & Trust Co. (American Steamship Co., mgr.).

The HAMILDOC (Hull#642) was christened on August 9, 1963.

The G A TOMLINSON (Hull#370) entered service August 9, 1909. Renamed b.) HENRY R PLATT JR in 1959. Hull used as a breakwall at Burlington Bay, Ontario in 1971.

The SIR THOMAS SHAUGHNESSY with the former CSL steamer ASHCROFT in tow of the Polish tug JANTAR arrived in Castellon, Spain for scrapping in 1969.

On August 9, 1989, the tug FAIRPLAY IX departed Sorel with the FORT CHAMBLY and NIPIGON BAY in tandem tow bound for Aliaga, Turkey for scrapping.

On the night of August 9, 1865, METEOR met her running mate, the propeller PEWABIC, off Thunder Bay on Lake Huron around 9:00 p.m. As the two approached, some how METOER sheered and struck her sister, sinking the PEWABIC within minutes in 180 feet of water. About one hundred twenty-five people went down with her, and 86 others were saved.

On 9 August 1850, CHAUTAUQUE (wooden side-wheel steamer, 124 foot 162 tons, built in 1839, at Buffalo, New York) caught fire in the St. Clair River and burned to a total loss. In previous years she had been driven ashore 1844, and sank twice - once in 1846, and again in 1848. In September 1846, she made the newspaper by purposely ramming a schooner which blocked her path while she was attempting to leave the harbor at Monroe, Michigan.

On 9 August 1856, BRUNSWICK (wooden propeller, 164 foot, 512 tons, built in 1853, at Buffalo, New York) was carrying corn, scrap iron and lard from Chicago when she sprang a leak in a storm and was abandoned by the crew and passengers. One passenger drowned when one of the boats capsized, but the rest made it to shore near Sleeping Bear in the three other boats. BRUNSWICK went down in 50 fathoms of water, 6 miles south of South Manitou Island on Lake Michigan.

On 9 August 1875, The Port Huron Times reported that the schooner HERO, while attempting to enter the piers at Holland, Michigan, was driven two miles to leeward and went to pieces. Her crew took to the boats, but the boats capsized. Luckily all made it safely to shore.

August 9, 1938 - The Pere Marquette car ferries 17 and 18 left Milwaukee for Grand Haven carrying 600 United States Army Troops, bound for Army war maneuvers near Allegan and at Camp Custer.

On 9 August 1870, ONTONAGON (wooden propeller bulk freight, 176 foot, 377 tons, built in 1856, at Buffalo, New York by Bidwell & Banta) sank after striking a rock near the Soo. She was initially abandoned but later that same year she was recovered, repaired and put back in service. In 1880, she stranded near Fairborn, Ohio and then three years later she finally met her demise when she was run ashore on Stag Island in the St. Clair River and succumbed to fire.

The 204 foot wooden side-wheeler CUMBERLAND was launched at Melancthon Simpson's yard in Port Robinson, Ontario on 9 August 1871. She cost $101,000. Too large for the Welland Canal, she was towed up the Welland River to Chippewa and then up the Niagara River to Lake Erie. She operated on the Upper Lakes and carried soldiers to put down the Red River Rebellion. She survived being frozen in for the winter near Sault Ste. Marie in 1872, grounding in 1873, sinking in 1874, and another grounding in 1876. But she finally sank near Isle Royale on Lake Superior in 1877.

In 1942, the sea-going tug POINT SUR was launched at Globe Shipbuilding Co. in Superior, Wisconsin and the Walter Butler Shipbuilders, in Superior, launched the coastal freighter WILLIAM BURSLEY.

Data from: Joe Barr, David Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Jody L. Aho, Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Edmund Fitzgerald Life Ring Found?

8/8 - Marquette - A piece of history may have been found last week on the shore of Lake Superior in Copper Harbor. A downstate family believes they found a life ring from the Edmund Fitzgerald which went down in a storm near Whitefish Point in 1975.

Joe Rasch and his family were vacationing in Fort Wilkins State Park.

"Well, I just thought I found an old life ring," said Rasch. "And I rolled it down to my daughter. I didn't take any time to read it or anything. I just rolled it down to her. And another daughter said, 'Dad, there's a name on it.' I said, 'Really? What is it?' She says, 'Well, it's...Ed...it's really hard to read....Edmund...Fitzgerald.'"

The Rasch family hasn't authenticated the ring, but plan to do so when they donate it to the Shipwreck Museum in Whitefish Point.

From WLUC-TV Marquette

 

Port Reports - August 8

Lorain - Jim Reagan
The Edward L. Ryerson after an absence of a few weeks, entered the Port of Lorain today making its way up the Black River through the Charles Berry Bascule Bridge about 1:30 PM. It was upbound to the Jonick Dock with another load of iron ore for the steel mill.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Tuesday at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock, Tug/Barge Anglian Lady/PML 9000 loaded natural ores. The ore was trucked in from Eagle Mills and loaded with front end loaders. The cargo was reported to be destined for Algoma Steel at the Soo.

Holland - Bob VandeVusse
The Manistee made two trips to Holland early in the week. Sunday afternoon it delivered stone from Port Inland to Verplank's. It then headed to KCBX in Chicago for a load of coal, which it delivered to the James DeYoung power plant in the pre-dawn hours Tuesday.
Later Tuesday morning, Undaunted/Pere Marquette 41 arrived at the Brewer dock to unload a cargo of agricultural lome.

Soo - Jerry Masson
Tuesday's upbound traffic included Lee A Tregurtha from Algoma, Greenwing, American Century, Beluga Expectations, American Victory, H Lee White, and Stewart J Cort.
Downbound were Presque Isle, Buckthorn, Canadian Transfer, Nanticoke, John J Boland, and Roger Blough.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The Wilfred Sykes was in port Tuesday delivering a load to Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg.

 

Updates - August 8

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - August 08

August 8, 1991 - The excursion ferry AMERICANA has been sold and passed down the Welland Canal bound for the Caribbean with registry in Panama. She was the former East Coast ferry BLOCK ISLAND that arrived in Buffalo just three years ago

On 08 August 1878, the Buffalo (wooden propeller package freighter, 258 foot, 1,762 gross tons) was launched at the yard of Thomas Quayle & Sons in Cleveland, Ohio for the Western Transportation Company. Her engine was a double Berry & Laig compound engine constructed by the Globe Iron Works in Buffalo, New York. She lasted until 1911, when she was abandoned at Marine City, Michigan.

The JAMES R BARKER became the longest vessel on the Great Lakes when it entered service on August 8, 1976. It held at least a tie for this honor until the WILLIAM J DELANCEY entered service on May 10, 1981. The BARKER's deckhouse had been built at AmShip's Chicago yard and was transported in sections to Lorain on the deck of the steamer GEORGE D GOBLE.

The BUFFALO was christened August 8, 1978, for the Connecticut Bank & Trust Co. (American Steamship Co., mgr.)

The E B BARBER along with the motor vessel SAGINAW BAY, a.) FRANK H GOODYEAR of 1917, arrived August 8, 1985, under tow in Vigo, Spain. Demolition began on August 9, 1985, by Miguel Martins Periera at Guixar-Vigo.

The Soo River Company was forced into receivership on August 8, 1982.

On 8 August 1887, CITY OF ASHLAND (wooden side wheel tug, 90 feet long 85 gross tons, built in 1883, at Ashland, Wisconsin) was towing a log raft near Washburn, Wisconsin in Lake Superior. Fire broke out near the boilers and quickly cut off the crew from the lifeboat. They jumped overboard and all but 1 or 2 were picked up by local tugs. The burned hull sank soon afterward.

The wooden tug J E EAGLE was destroyed by fire at about 4:00 p.m. on 8 August 1869, while towing a raft of logs on Saginaw Bay to Bay City. Her loss was valued at $10,000, but she was insured for only $7,000.

August 8, 1981 - The Ann Arbor carferry VIKING took part in a ceremony christening a body of water between Manitowoc and Two Rivers as "Maritime Bay".

August 8, 1999 - The KAYE E BARKER delivered the last shipment of limestone for Dow Chemical, Ludington. The plant later closed it's lime plant and began lime deliveries by rail.

On 8 August 1813, the U. S. Navy schooner HAMILTON (wooden 10-gun schooner, 112 foot, 76 tons, built in 1809, at Oswego, New York as a.) DIANA, was lying at anchor off the mouth of the Niagara River on Lake Ontario with her armed fleet-mate SCOURGE awaiting dawn when they planned to attack the British fleet. However, a quick rising storm swamped and sank both vessels. Since they were both built as commercial vessels, it has been suggested that their cannons may have made them top-heavy. The HAMILTON was found by sonar in 1975, sitting upright almost completely intact at the bottom of Lake Ontario. The Cousteau organization has dived to her and she was the subject of a live television dive by Robert Ballard in 1990.

August 8, 1882 - an August snowstorm was reported by a ship on Lake Michigan, dumping 6 inches of snow and slush on the deck. Snow showers were reported at shore points that day.

In 1942, the seven shipyards at Duluth-Superior were in full production and announced three launchings in two days. The submarine chaser SC-671 was launched on August 8, at Inland Waterways, Inc. on Park Point.

Data from: Joe Barr, David Swayze, Lake Huron Lore Society, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Jody L. Aho, Brian Bernard , Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Port Reports - August 7

Cheboygan - Jon Paul Michaels
The tug Michigan and barge Great Lakes arrived at 1 a.m. Sunday morning with a load of gasoline for the BP Storage facility. She finished unloading in the evening but as of 9 a.m. Monday morning was still sitting at the dock.
The CCGC Griffon passed by Poe reef at 9:30 a.m. headed east and back to Sarnia.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
The tug Gregory Busch and barge remained at the Duluth port terminal Sunday evening as it waited to complete loading of wind mill towers for shipment down the lakes.
On Monday morning, Maritime Trader was loading at CHS grain elevator in Superior.
Adam E. Cornelius was fueling at the Murphy Oil terminal before proceeding to General Mills S elevator in Superior to load.
The saltie Victoria was anchored on the lake waiting for a berth at CHS.
CSL Tadoussac also was anchored out.
Midwest Energy Terminal was expecting a busy day, with Walter J. McCarthy Jr., John J. Boland, John B. Aird, Canadian Enterprise and Mesabi Miner all due Monday.

Detroit - Mark Swarthout
The Nindawayma tow transited north through Detroit at about 4 p.m. on Monday, under tow by the Avenger IV and the J. L. Scott Purvis.

Soo - Jerry Masson
Monday's upbound traffic included Paul R. Tregurtha, Anglian Lady, USCG Alder, and Federal Ems.
Downbound was Edward L. Ryerson, Grand Mariner, Algontario, Canadian Progress, American Fortitude, American Spirit, and Alpena.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The CSL Tadoussac called on the Essroc dock in Essexville on Friday. Later in the day, she backed from the dock out to Light 12 to turn, and was outbound.
On Saturday morning, the Walter J. McCarthy, Jr. called on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville shortly after midnight. The McCarthy was outbound later in the morning also backing out to Light 12 to turn and head for the lake. Early Sunday morning, the Maumee was inbound for the Sargent dock in Essexville. She finished her unload, turned from the dock and was outbound. Maumee was back on the Saginaw River again on Monday for her second trip in as many days. This time she traveled upriver to offload at the Wirt Stone dock in Saginaw. Maumee was outbound Monday evening.

 

Twin Ports experiencing wind farm windfall

8/06 - Duluth - Hardly anyone likes paying upwards of $3 per gallon at the gas pump, but high oil prices are stimulating at least one part of the Twin Ports’ economy.

In 17 years on the job, Gary Nicholson, president of Lake Superior Warehousing Co., can remember no year busier than the current one. Lately, his business has been awash with components for giant-sized wind turbines, as well as massive crucibles used to help extract crude from the vast oil-sand deposits of Alberta, Canada. “The high cost of oil has driven a lot of investment in energy,” Nicholson observed.

The American Wind Energy Association estimates that between $8 billion and $10 billion is now being invested in wind power annually. Much of that money is being pumped into the nation’s heartland. “There’s a huge wind resource here in the Midwest that no one had really begun to tap until recently,” Nicholson said.

Duluth appears well-positioned to feed equipment to an area that’s ripe for wind power development. The Pacific Northwest Laboratory placed North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa in the top 10 states in terms of wind power potential. “We’re in the center of North America, and I think recent shipments have awakened a lot of people in the energy industry to the capabilities of the port of Duluth,” said Ron Johnson, the Duluth Seaway Port Authority’s trade development director.

Much of the wind power technology being installed in the Midwest was developed and manufactured in Europe. Accordingly, the Twin Ports have handled large shipments of wind farm equipment imported from Germany, Denmark and Spain. But recently, Duluth also has become a conduit for American-built wind power equipment bound for both domestic and export markets. This year, Lake Superior Warehousing has handled wind turbine blades manufactured by LM Glasfiber of Grand Forks, N.D., and wind tower sections produced by DMI Industries Inc. of West Fargo, N.D.

The Duluth Seaway Port Authority stands to benefit from the heightened activity at Lake Superior Warehousing. Adolph Ojard, the Port Authority’s executive director, explained that his agency receives compensation in several forms, including dockage fees from visiting vessels and a $1-per-ton wharfage fee. The Port Authority also collects 8 percent of the revenues Lake Superior Warehousing receives from its operations at the port terminal in Duluth and 35 percent of its overall profits.

Last fiscal year, Lake Superior Warehousing’s operations generated about $1 million for the Port Authority — about one-quarter of its total revenues. So far this year, Lake Superior Warehousing has handled 10 vessels — about three times as many as it did during the same period in 2006. It takes a team of about 35 to 40 people working together to handle a single ship, Nicholson said.

Nicholson’s roots run deep in the wind power industry. In the 1980s, he served as the U.S. administrator of operations for a Danish firm called Viking Wind Farms. He has long believed in the potential of wind power to grow in the U.S., and has been working to forge strong ties with wind turbine manufacturers for years. “Lake Superior Warehousing has been chasing this business for as long as I’ve been here,” he said.

Johnson sees a bright future for the continued development of wind farms, particularly in light of growing concerns about global warming. The world’s capacity to generate power from the wind has been growing at an annual rate of 22 percent for the past five years, according to the American Wind Energy Association.

Besides attempting to attract shipments of wind power equipment, Duluth also is courting a manufacturer. The Duluth Seaway Port Authority recently partnered with the Arrowhead Partnership for Economic Expansion (commonly known as APEX) to present a pitch to Clipper Windpower Inc., a California company that manufactures wind turbine nacelles, or engine enclosures. Clipper already has a production plant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and has expressed interest in expanding its Midwest operations.

From the Duluth News-Tribune

 

Pottawatomie Lighthouse still beckons visitors to Door County
Tour docents live, work at state park landmark

8/7 - Rock Island, Wi — When the gentle southerly breeze suddenly transforms into a fierce northern frenzy, it becomes virtually impossible to reach or leave this stony outpost; history becomes less academic and more intuitive.

It's not that you confuse yourself with David Corbin, the War of 1812 veteran who arrived on this cliff in 1836 and died on the job in 1852. But watching a freighter struggling amid white-capped swells, there is a realization of what the Pottawatomie Lighthouse meant to Northeastern Wisconsin. If you need another reminder, stroll 50 yards up the trail to the tiny cemetery, where there are the unmarked graves of seven shipwreck victims — unknowns who washed up on the shore and were carried up the cliff to share eternity alongside Corbin.

Located at the northernmost tip of Door County, Rock Island State Park is Wisconsin's most isolated state park. From Green Bay it's a two-hour drive to Northport, then a car ferry trip across Death's Door to Washington Island. A short drive to the north shore of Washington Island, and then a ride on the passenger ferry Karfi to the Thordarson Boathouse. From the Boathouse the Pottawatomie Lighthouse is a 1.6-mile hike to the northern end of the island. It was the first federal light in Wisconsin and only the third on the entire Great Lakes chain.

Since 2004 it has been reopened for tours, hosted by docents who actually live there for a week at a time. "I kind of laugh at the people who think this is a bed and breakfast," assistant superintendent Randy Holm said, looking toward the lighthouse. "At a bed and breakfast, you don't have to pump the water and haul it in a bucket."

Rock Island has been a Wisconsin State Park since the DNR purchased the island from the Thordarson family in the 1960s. It welcomes about 30,000 visitors each year. By comparison, Peninsula State Park hosts more than 1 million visitors annually. And Newport State Park welcomes almost 140,000 visitors. While most visitors come just for the day, there is a campground along a sand beach at the south end of the island.

"I think that Rock Island is one of those places that you need to experience to truly appreciate," said park superintendent Kirby Foss. "We have rich history with the lighthouse and the Thordarson buildings. And on the west side of the island, there's virgin forest that you can hike through." Rock Island visitors tend to become protective of "their" island, Foss said. It explains how a relatively small group like the Friends of Rock Island has been able to raise more than $175,000 for the restoration of the lighthouse. In addition to other projects at the lighthouse, Foss hopes someday to undertake restoration of some of Thordarson's wooden furniture that is located in the Great Hall.

"The best time of the day is when the last ferry leaves and you have the island to yourself," said Dave Hanus of Burlington, who has been staying at the campsite annually for more than 25 years with his wife, Pat.

When Matt and Shawna Schachtner of Allouez were looking for the perfect locale for their wedding, they selected the flagpole near the Thordarson Boathouse. When the couple prepared to marry in August 1996, Shawna asked her parents, Bob and Sandy McGlothlen of Green Bay, if they thought it possible that the wedding could be held on the island they had been visiting every year since her birth in 1973. "There were 150 people right near the flagpole. Jeff Weborg, a dear friend, did the fish boil, and we had chicken brought over from the Viking Restaurant," recalled Sandy McGlothlen. "It was perfect."

What makes Rock Island special? "It's gorgeous and remote. There's no noise, there's no vehicles. Everywhere you turn, there's history," McGlothlen said.

While everyone has their own explanation, no one has quite the handle as Paul King, a Green Bay-area resident who has been coming to the park since the 1980s and has served as naturalist and campground host for four years. "This island is magical. It is deeply historical and naturally beautiful, and the magic is the effect is the effect it has on people. Everyone is nicer here," he explained. "Sometimes I'm asked, 'What do you do at Rock Island?' And I answer, 'A whole lot of nuthin' and it feels just right."

From the Green Bay Press-Gazette

 

A Boost For Great Lakes Cruising

8/7 - The Ontario government is helping the Ontario Marine Operators Association (OMOA) to promote the province as “the best fresh water cruising grounds in the world,” Minister of Tourism Jim Bradley announced today.

“Cruising is an increasingly popular way to travel and explore a new destination,” said Bradley. “The Ontario government is pleased to help promote recreational boating and draw more visitors to our province’s beautiful waterfront communities.”

The $60,000 grant from the Ministry of Tourism will be used to help OMOA market Ontario as an ideal recreational boating destination. The funding will help OMOA to build on its VISION 2020 promotional campaign, which includes a “Boating Ontario – Discover DVD Cruising” series, the Boating Ontario magazine, a Marinas and Destination Guide, and the association’s website, www.omoa.com.

With the ministry’s support, the association plans to work with marinas in five areas – Sarnia, Leamington, Kingston, Toronto and North Channel – on a pilot project called “Boating Ontario Thank You!”. The project will include welcome packages that contain vouchers and coupons for area attractions and encourage return visits by boaters.

“Thanks to the support provided by the McGuinty government, we can build on our plans to bring more boating enthusiasts to Ontario’s waters,” said OMOA Executive Director, Al Donaldson.

The Ministry of Tourism’s Industry Partnership Proposal Program assists the tourism industry to develop and implement innovative and co-operative marketing projects. The projects must contribute to developing Ontario as a four-season destination, increasing visitor stay and improving the economy through increased tourism spending.

“Tourism is a major economic driver in many of our communities,” said Sault Ste Marie MPP David Orazietti. “By working with organizations like OMOA, we are giving a boost to local businesses and giving visitors a refreshing new way to discover Ontario.”

From SooNews.com

 

Updates - August 7

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - August 07

August 7, 1789 - President George Washington signed the ninth act of the first United States Congress placing management of the lighthouses under the Department of the Treasury. August 7 in now "National Lighthouse Day".

On 07 August 1890, the schooner CHARGER (wooden schooner, 136 foot, 277 gross tons, built in 1868, at Sodus, New York) was struck by the CITY OF CLEVELAND (wooden propeller freighter, 255 foot, 1,528 gross tons, built in 1882, at Cleveland, Ohio) near Bar Point near the mouth of the Detroit River on Lake Erie. The schooner sank, but her crew was saved.

The JAMES R BARKER was christened August 7, 1976. She was to become Interlake's first 1000 footer and the flag ship 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 7 August 1844, DANIEL WHITNEY, a wooden schooner, was found floating upside-down, with her crew of 4 missing and presumed dead.. She was six miles off mouth of the Kalamazoo River in Lake Michigan.

August 7, 1948 - Edward L. Ryerson, chairman of Inland Steel Company announced that the new ore boat under construction for Inland will be named the WILFRED SYKES in honor of the president of the company. Mr. Sykes had been associated with Inland since 1923, when he was employed to take charge of engineering and construction work. From 1927, to 1930, he served as assistant general superintendent and from 1930, to 1941, as assistant to the president in charge of operations. He became president of Inland in May, 1941. He had been a director of the company since 1935. The new ship was to be the largest and fastest on the Great Lakes, having a carrying capacity in intermediate depth of 20,000 gross tons. The ship will be 678 feet long, 70 feet wide and 37 feet deep, and will run at 16 miles per hour when loaded.

While lying at the dock at the C & L. H. Railroad Yard in Port Huron on 7 August 1879, the scow MORNING LARK sank after the scow MAGRUDER ran into her at 4:00 a.m., MORNING LARK was raised and repaired at the Wolverine dry dock and was back in service on 20 September 1879.

Data from: Dave Wobser, Joe Barr, David Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Lake Superior changes puzzle scientists

8/6 - Marquette, Michigan -- Deep enough to hold the combined water in all the other Great Lakes and with a surface area as large as South Carolina, Lake Superior's size has lent it an aura of invulnerability. But the mighty Superior is losing water and getting warmer, worrying those who live near its shores, scientists and companies that rely on the lake for business.

The changes to the lake could be signs of climate change, although scientists aren't sure. Superior's level is at its lowest point in eight decades and will set a record this fall if, as expected, it dips three more inches. Meanwhile, the average water temperature has surged 4.5 degrees since 1979, significantly above the 2.7-degree rise in the region's air temperature during the same period. That's no small deal for a freshwater sea that was created from glacial melt as the Ice Age ended and remains chilly in all seasons.

A weather buoy on the western side recently recorded an "amazing" 75 degrees, "as warm a surface temperature as we've ever seen in this lake," said Jay Austin, assistant professor at the University of Minnesota at Duluth's Large Lakes Observatory.

Water levels also have receded on the other Great Lakes since the late 1990s. But the suddenness and severity of Superior's changes worry many in the region. Shorelines are dozens of yards wider than usual, giving sunbathers wider beaches but also exposing mucky bottomlands and rotting vegetation. On a recent day, Dan Arsenault, a 32-year-old lifelong resident of Sault Ste. Marie in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, watched his two young daughters play in mud on the southeastern coast where water was waist deep only a few years ago. A floatation rope that previously designated the swimming area now rests on moist ground. "This is the lowest I've ever seen it," said Arsenault.

Superior still has a lot of water. Its average depth is 483 feet and it reaches 1,332 feet at the deepest point. Erie, the shallowest Great Lake, is 210 feet at its deepest and averages only 62 feet. Lake Michigan averages 279 feet and is 925 feet at its deepest.

Yet along Superior's shores, boats can't reach many mooring sites and marina operators are begging the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to dredge shallow harbors. Ferry service between Grand Portage, Minnesota, and Isle Royale National Park was scaled back because one of the company's boats couldn't dock. Sally Zabelka has turned away boaters wanting to dock at Chippewa Landing marina in the eastern Upper Peninsula, where not long ago 27-foot vessels easily made their way up the channel from the lake's Brimley Bay. "In essence, our dock is useless this year," she said.

Another worry: As the bay heats up, the perch, walleye and smallmouth bass that have lured anglers to her campground and tackle shop are migrating to cooler waters in the open lake. Low water has cost the shipping industry millions of dollars. Vessels are carrying lighter loads of iron ore and coal to avoid running aground in shallow channels.

Puffing on a pipe in a Grand Marais pub, retiree Ted Sietsema voiced a suspicion not uncommon in the villages along Superior's southern shoreline: The government is diverting the water to places with more people and political influence -- along Lakes Huron and Michigan and even the Sun Belt, via the Mississippi River. "Don't give me that global warming stuff," Sietsema said. "That water is going west. That big aquifer out there is empty but they can still water the desert. It's got to be coming from somewhere."

That theory doesn't hold water, said Scott Thieme, hydraulics and hydrology chief with the Corps of Engineers district office in Detroit. Water does exit Lake Superior through locks, power plants and gates on the St. Marys River, but in amounts strictly regulated under a 1909 pact with Canada.

The actual forces at work, while mysterious, are not the stuff of spy novels, he said. Precipitation has tapered off across the upper Great Lakes since the 1970s and is nearly 6 inches below normal in the Superior watershed the past year. Water evaporation rates are up sharply because mild winters have shrunk the winter ice cap -- just as climate change computer models predict for the next half-century.

Yet those models also envision more precipitation as global warming sets in, said Brent Lofgren, a physical scientist with the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor. Instead there's drought, suggesting other factors. Cynthia Sellinger, the lab's deputy director, said she suspects a contributing factor could be residual effects of El Nino, the warming of equatorial Pacific waters that produced warmer winters in the late 1990s, just as the lakes began receding.

Austin, the Minnesota-Duluth professor, said he's concerned about the effects the warmer water could have. "It's just not clear what the ultimate result will be as we turn the knob up," he said. "It could be great for fisheries or fisheries could crash."

From the Associated Press

 

Port Report - August 6

Menominee - Dick Lund
The Vanessa C arrived in Menominee, MI on Saturday at dawn. They proceeded up the Menominee River with a load of windmill blades. Unloading commenced a few hours later and will continue into the night.

Green Bay - Wendell Wilke & Dick Lund
The James Norris paid a rare visit to Green Bay, WI on Sunday when it arrived at the Fox River Dock with a load of salt from Goderich. This is only the second time in recent years that this ship has been to Green Bay. She was assisted by the "G" tug Indiana.

Soo - Jerry Masson
Sunday's traffic upbound was Canadian Enterprise, Mesabi Miner, American Valor, Frontenac, John B Aird, Indiana Harbor, Montrealais, and Edgar B Speer.
Downbound were Algosar, Burns Harbor, Voyager Independent, and Canadian Provider.

Hamilton/Bronte - Eric Holmes
Sunday morning had the Federal Pride departing at 10a.m. for the canal.
Michipicoten arrived at 11a.m. with ore from Superior for Stelco and departed at 5 p.m. for the canal.
Tug Everlast and barge Norman McLeod departed Pier 11E at 12 noon and were replaced by the tug Tradewind Service and barge who had arrived at 12 noon for Pier 11E.
The Petrolia Desgagnes departed the Petro Canada Pier in Bronte at 6p.m. and were heading to Quebec City.

 

Capt. Roland W. Kane dies

8/6 - Duluth - Former USS Great Lakes Fleet Capt. Roland W. Kane, 74, of Two Harbors, died unexpectedly on Thursday, August 2.

Capt. Kane was born on April 26, 1933 in Wadena, Minnesota. He began his career on the Great Lakes in 1951. His first job was aboard the Pittsburgh Steamship Company’s William Edenborn. He became a Captain in the fall of 1987.

He was Captain of the Cason J. Callaway from 1987 through 1991. He retired from USS Great Lakes Fleet after 41 ˝ years of service in 1992; his last command was the Roger Blough.

He is survived by his wife, three daughters, one son, and many other family and friends.

A gathering of family and friends will be held from 1:00 p.m. until the 2:00 p.m. memorial service on Tuesday, August 7 in the United Church in Two Harbors. Arrangements by Cavallin Funeral Home.

Reported by Jody Aho from the Duluth News-Tribune

 

Boatnerd Detroit Down River Cruise going as planned
Still time to go along

8/5 - Enough reservations have been received to go ahead with the Boatnerd Detroit Down River Cruise on Saturday, August 11.

The 4-hour cruise leaves the Portofino's On The River restaurant, in Wyandotte, MI at 10:00 am. We'll go down the Detroit River as far as the Detroit River Light, traveling on both the Livingston and Amherstburg Channels. Bring your camera. All this for only $35.00. Price includes a box lunch. Cash bar on board. Plenty of free, safe parking at Portofino's.

If you did not make a reservation, there is still room. Go to the Boatnerd Gatherings page for all the details and reservation forms. Get your reservation in the mail today! Reservations post marked no later than Monday, August 6 will be honored. Limited to the first 100 reservations.

 

Updates - August 6

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - August 06

On this day in 1953, a record 176 vessels passed through the Soo locks.

Early in the morning of 06 August 1899, the WILLIAM B MORLEY (steel propeller freighter, 277 foot, 1,846 gross tons, built in 1888, at Marine City, Michigan) and the LANSDOWNE (iron side-wheel carferry, 294 foot, 1,571 gross tons, built in 1884, at Wyandotte, Michigan) collided head on in the Detroit River. Both vessels sank. The LANSDOWNE settled on the bottom in her slip at Windsor, Ontario and was raised four days later and repaired. The MORLEY was also repaired and lasted until 1918, when she stranded on Lake Superior.

The BELLE RIVER's bottom was damaged at the fit-out dock and required dry docking on August 6, 1977, for repairs prior to her maiden voyage. Renamed b.) WALTER J McCARTHY JR in 1990.

On 6 August 1871, the 3-mast wooden schooner GOLDEN FLEECE was down bound on Lake Huron laden with iron ore. The crew mistook the light at Port Austin for the light at Pointe Aux Barques and steered directly for the Port Austin Reef where the vessel grounded. After 200 tons of ore were removed, GOLDEN FLEECE was pulled off the reef then towed to Detroit by the tug GEORGE B McCLELLAN and repaired.

On 6 August 1900, the McMorran Wrecking Company secured the contract for raising the 203-foot 3-mast wooden schooner H W SAGE which sank at Harsen's Island on 29 July 1900. The SAGE had been rammed by the steel steamer CHICAGO. Two lives had been lost; they were crushed in her forecastle.

August 6, 1929 - The CITY OF SAGINAW 31 (Hull#246) was launched at Manitowoc, Wisconsin by Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co. for the Pere Marquette Railway. She was christened by Miss Ann Bur Townsend, daughter of the mayor of Saginaw.

On 6 August 1870, the wooden propeller tug TORNADO had her boiler explode without warning four miles northwest of Oswego, New York. The tug sank quickly in deep water. Three of the six onboard lost their lives. Apparently the tug had a new boiler and it had been allowed to run almost dry. When cold water was let in to replenish the supply, the boiler exploded.

Data from: Max Hanley, Jody L. Aho , Joe Barr, David Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.

 

Port Reports - August 5

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Late Friday evening the Herbert C. Jackson arrived at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock to unload coal. She moved to the Upper Harbor ore dock Saturday morning.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Stephen B. Roman in port Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. Cuyahoga was in late Friday and departed in the early hours of the morning hours.

Soo - Jerry Masson
Saturday's mid-day upbound traffic included Adam E. Cornelius, American Fortitude, Algosar, CSL Tadoussac, Roger Blough and Nanticoke.
Downbound was Stewart J. Cort, American Victory, Algowood, and American Century.

Hamilton/Bronte - Eric Holmes
Early Saturday afternoon saw the Algocape arrive in Hamilton at at 1 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Port Cartier for Dofasco. Her next port will be Duluth in ballast.
The tug Everlast and barge Norman McLeod arrived at 3 p.m. with a load of asphalt. They will be heading to Detroit after unloading.
The Petrolia Desgagnes arrived at the Petro Canada Piers in Bronte at 5 p.m.
The tanker Expectation departed Hamilton at 7 p.m. heading to the Port Weller anchorage.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Mississagi pulled up to the Lafarge coal dock around 6:30pm on Saturday. It moved the boom out to unload slag into the storage hopper.
The Samuel de Champlain/barge Innovation is expected in port on Sunday.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
English River unloading at the LaFarge Dock at 6 p.m. on the Saturday

 

Live Steam Whistle Blow planned at Goodells

8/5 - Whistle enthusiast will have the opportunity to sound and hear ship, train or factory whistles using live steam from the famous Marysville Detroit Edison plant whistle manifold, on August 25 and 26.

This manifold has not been used since the famous events of two decades ago. It will sound again at noon, August 25 and 26, 2007 at the Goodells County Park, Goodells, Michigan.

This event will provide the opportunity for whistle collectors to sound their pride and joy using live steam. The famous sounds of the past may include this year are the Boblo Boat Columbia, Steam Passenger ship South American, the three chime whistle from the famous laker Buckeye, the lumber hooker Oconta and the Laker Joseph Frantz.

The public may bring their own whistles or listen to these famous sounds of Great Lakes history.

 

Updates - August 5

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - August 05

On 05 August 1958, the tug GARY D. (steel propeller tug, 18 tons) was destroyed by an explosion and fire near Strawberry Island Light on Lake Huron.

The RICHARD M MARSHALL, later b.) JOSEPH S WOOD, c.) JOHN DYKSTRA, d.) BENSON FORD, and finally e.) 265808, entered service on August 5, 1953. From 1966, until it was retired at the end of 1984, this vessel and the WILLIAM CLAY FORD were fleet mates. There is only one other instance of two boats being owned by the same company at some point in their careers with as close or closer age difference. The CHARLES M BEEGHLY (originally SHENANGO II) and the HERBERT C JACKSON.

The aft section of the BELLE RIVER (Hull#716), was float launched August 5, 1976. She was American Steamship's first thousand-footer and the first thousand-footer built at Bay Shipbuilding Co. She was renamed b.) WALTER J McCARTHY in 1990.

The G A TOMLINSON, a.) D O MILLS of 1907, was sold outright to Columbia Transportation Div. (Oglebay Norton Co.), on August 5, 1971, along with the last two Tomlinson vessels, the SYLVANIA and the JAMES DAVIDSON.

On 5 August 1850, ST CLAIR (side wheel steamer, passenger & package freight, 140 foot 210 tons, built in 1843, at Detroit, Michigan) was reported as lost with no details given whatsoever. The report of her loss was published 3 days BEFORE she was enrolled at Detroit by J. Watkin.

The motor vessel BEAVER ISLANDER completed her maiden voyage to Charlevoix in 1962. At the time, she was the largest, fastest, and most advanced ship built for the run. She served as the flagship for 37 years, a record, until the EMERALD ISLE arrived in 1997.

August 5, 1907 - A female passenger dived off the deck of the PERE MARQUETTE 18 of 1902, on a dare. Two of the 18's officers leapt over to rescue her. One of the officers nearly drowned and was rescued by the passenger.

On 5 August 1866, AUTOCRAT (2-mast, wooden schooner, 345 tons, built in 1854, at Caltaraugus, New York) was carrying 15,000 bushels of corn and was lying off Chicago, waiting for a storm to die down. Just before dawn, the schooner J S NEWHOUSE was also seeking shelter when she ran into AUTOCRAT, sinking her in 7 fathoms of water. The crew was rescued by the tug UNION.

On 5 August 1869, LAURA E CALVIN (3-mast wooden schooner, 130 foot, 216 tons, built in 1863, at Garden Island, Ontario as a bark) sprang a leak during a storm and foundered 10 miles off Braddock's Point on Lake Ontario. No lives were lost.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history tailed history.

 

Lakes Fleet Vastly Underutilized in June

8/4 - Cleveland—The inability to carry full loads was clearly evident on the Great Lakes again in June. U.S.-Flag vessels moved only 11.3 million net tons, a decrease of nearly 5 percent compared to a year ago, and a drop of 3 percent compared to the month’s 5-year average.

The decrease in part reflects that a labor dispute continued to idle three mid-sized vessels with a combined per-trip capacity of 66,000 tons during June. However, had the active vessels been able to carry full loads, the idled capacity could have been easily recouped. Instead, system-wide lack of dredging and low water levels slashed capacity.
1,000-foot-long Lakers designed to carry nearly 70,000 tons of iron ore each trip departed loading docks with less than 64,000 tons onboard. Vessels
with rated capacities of 28,000 tons sometimes left as much as 3,000 tons of iron ore at the loading dock. The coal trade fared no better. Not one coal cargo carried by a 1,000-footer that transited the St. Marys River downbound even came within striking distance of 64,000 tons, let alone the vessel’s rated capacity. An upbound coal cargo that could have totaled more than 19,000 tons was limited to 14,600 tons by the dredging crisis and low water levels.

Through June, U.S.-Flag carriage stands at 39.4 million tons, a decrease of 6.4 percent from the same point in 2006, and only 1.5 percent ahead of the 5-year average for the first half.

More information is available at www.lcaship.com.

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association.

 

Ottawa boosts Great Lakes freight corridor
$2.1 Billion Aims to reduce future investment of public money

8/4 - The Canadian federal government joined Quebec and Ontario yesterday to give a push to the Great Lakes Corridor, an ambitious public-private project to raise the efficiency of intermodal freight transportation between Montreal, Toronto and the U.S.

"As part of our plan to restore the nation's infrastructure, we want to ensure Canada has efficient transportation gateways and corridors to fuel economic growth and boost our global competitiveness," federal Transportation Minister Lawrence Cannon told a press conference at the Port of Montreal. The government has $2.1 billion of infrastructure funds available for improving eastern Canada's transportation systems, including border crossings with the U.S. and security, Cannon said.

He was joined by Ontario Minister of Transportation Donna Cansfield and Quebec Transportation Minister Julie Boulet. They signed a memorandum of understanding to develop what is known as the Ontario-Quebec Continental Gateway and Trade Corridor. Cannon said the Pacific gateway in the West has already been upgraded and now it's the turn of the Montreal gateway and corridor into central North America and the Atlantic gateway of Halifax.

He and Cansfield said a drive for intermodal efficiency in the St. Lawrence-Great Lakes corridor is aimed at reducing the burden of future public investment in roads and other infrastructure and at protecting the environment. The three governments will set up a working committee, with input from the private sector, to study emerging trade patterns and the challenges of improving intermodal efficiency "with no holds barred," Cannon said.

"There may be conflicting views between, say, the railroads and truckers," he said. "Is it economic to unload containers from large ocean-going vessels in Montreal to Great Lakes vessels that can take them via the St. Lawrence Seaway to Ontario and the U.S.?" That's the kind of issue to be thrashed out. "Ontario and Quebec account for 60 per cent of Canadian exports and improving efficiency in the corridor is top priority. We want an action plan within two years." Boulet said optimizing the efficiency of the Quebec and Ontario transportation systems is urgent and the three governments working together and with the private sector "will ensure its success."

Dominic Taddeo, retiring CEO of the Montreal Port Authority, said Montreal is already the leading container port in eastern Canada - and improving intermodal efficiency along the St. Lawrence corridor "will ensure our growth for the next 10 to 15 years." Madeleine Paquin , CEO of Logistec Corp., a big Montreal-based stevedoring company with cargo terminals at 21 ports in eastern Canada and the eastern U.S., has chaired a committee of CEOs from the leading Canadian airline, rail and trucking companies.

"We know there are bottlenecks and we'll be contributing the private sector's view of what has to be done," she said. "As cargo handlers, we have to serve our customers, the shipping lines. No one wants to lose any business, but I'm optimistic we can co-operate effectively." The Port of Montreal, which contributes $2 billion a year to the Montreal economy, handled 12.1 million tonnes of cargo in the first half of the year, up almost one per cent from a year earlier and in line with the five-year average. Taddeo promised a strong performance through 2012.

Containerized cargo hit 6.1 million tonnes in the first half, up 7.2 per cent from a year earlier. The number of containers handled reached 671,265, up 5.2 per cent from the 2006 period. In June, the international shipping line MSC added a third ship to its service linking Montreal and Freeport, Bahamas, increasing container transfers from Asia to Montreal.

From the Montreal Gazette

 

Port Reports - August 4

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The Saginaw crossed pier heads at noon on Friday. It headed for Meekhof's Dock in Ferrysburg with a load of stone.

Soo - Jerry Masson
Friday's upbound traffic included Biscayne Bay, Canadian Progress, Katmai Bay, Edward L Ryerson, American Spirit, and Presque Isle.
Downbound were Algolake, Federal Maas, Halifax, and Algonorth.

Holland - Bob VandeVusse
The Grande Mariner arrived in Holland at 8 a.m. Friday, docking for the day at the Boatwerks dock as its passengers toured the Tulip City. In the early afternoon the Wilfred Sykes arrived and squeezed past Grande Mariner to get to the Verplank dock, where it discharged a cargo of Port Inland stone.

DeTour Village - Cathy Kohring
The CCGC Limnos entered the St. Marys River System, via the "Turkey Trail" and proceed up to the Junction Bouy after receiving permission from Soo Traffic, and then departed the system again just a couple of hours later, the same way she came it. Soo Traffic said it was going into the North Channel. Limnos is a research vessel.

 

Local shipwreck enthusiasts hoping for return of stolen ship’s bell

8/4 - Huron County — The mystery behind a unique pre-Civil War wooden side-wheel steam ship known as the City of Detroit isn’t how it sank, but what happened to the heart of the ship — its bell. And two area marine enthusiasts are hoping to solve that mystery and return the bell back to its resting place.

The City of Detroit once graced the Great Lakes carrying cargo and passengers to lakeside destinations around the state. Now the ship can only be seen by skilled technical divers as it rests nearly 200 feet down in the waters of Lake Huron.

Robert McGreevy, marine artist and historian from Harbor Beach, said the ship, owned by E.B. Ward, was being used by a company building the Sault Saint Marie canal. The day the ship sank, May 25, 1854, it was northbound from Detroit with two lumber scows in tow, with most of the ship’s cargo for the Sault Canal Co. McGreevy said it was a collision in think fog that sank the wooden steamer. A sail ship known as the Nucleus reportedly struck the City of Detroit in the ship’s side, sinking only the steamer.

After disappearing below the water for some 125 years, the shipwreck was discovered at the bottom of Lake Huron in June of 1994 by URA (Undersea Research Associates) of Canton.

McGreevy said what makes the discovery of the City of Detroit so special is not only the condition the shipwreck is in, but up to this point not much was known about Great Lakes pre-Civil War ships. For the years that have followed the ship’s discovery, located just 10 miles north-northeast of Grindstone City, technical divers like Chris Roth have frequented the ship, gathering information to help artists like McGreevy shed some light on the appearance of pre-Civil War steamers that traveled the Great Lakes. “The first known photograph of a Great Lakes ship was in 1857, so finding this shipwreck in such good condition has told us a lot,” McGreevy said.

The City of Detroit is a wooden steamship built in New Port (now known as Marine City) and worked the Great Lakes for years, hauling mostly cargo like hay, lumber and coal the year it sank,” according to McGreevy. “At the time the ship sank it was being used by a company that was building the locks in Sault Saint Marie. The ship spent that summer transferring materials back and forth,” McGreevy said. “It carried freight back and forth and still carried passengers when it sank. Everyone got off the ship safely, as it sank slowly. I imagine that’s the key to it (the ship) being in such good condition.” McGreevy said he and Roth have been involved in documenting shipwrecks over the years and took a special interest in this particular one.

“We were unofficially monitoring it, not because things were disappearing but because we were really fascinated with the appearance of this ship,” he said. “It’s an extremely early ship, pre-Civil War era, with very little documentation on it or any ship of that period. Divers have photographed the shipwreck and found evidence of what colors the ship was painted.”
Roth, who usually makes dives about three times each year to see this shipwreck, said the ship is in “really good condition.” “It’s tremendous, it still has some of the white paint on it. Built in 1846, and it still has the original paint,” he said.” It was a really sad day when it was discovered it (the bell) was missing.”

McGreevy said the bell, which hung above the engine room, was used to relay signals long before steam whistles were used. The ship’s bell was last seen by a group of local divers on Labor Day 2005 and was noticed missing by the divers sometime in July/August of 2006. Roth, one of the divers who noticed the bell missing, reported the theft to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The DNR issued a $500 reward for the return of the bell. But nothing has turned up.

“It took someone with a lot of experience (diving) and specialized equipment to do it (take the bell). A steel pin an inch in diameter was cut, and flotation or lift bags had to be used to get the bell to the surface,” Roth said. “I think it would take a couple people involved to be able to do something like this.”

Roth estimates the bell weighs about 200 pounds. That, coupled with the depth of nearly 200 feet, would take a technical diver with plenty of experience to carry out such a mission. “Right away it rules out someone just casually diving and taking the bell from the ship. Taking the bell would really have to be a planned operation,” McGreevy said. The bell is stamped with the name “Novelty Works” on one side and “New York 1844” on the other, making the bell not only rare but very valuable to collectors of marine artifacts.

“I know of another shipwreck where a similar ship’s bell had disappeared near Lexington. We’re hoping this isn’t a pattern where people realize the value of these things,” McGreevy said. “A similar type bell not off a shipwreck sold at auction two years ago for $11,000.” McGreevy said he believes a bell from a shipwreck like the City of Detroit that can be identified and linked to the pre-Civil War era ship would fetch a far greater price.

“This one would have a lot of historic value because it’s pre-Civil War, the name of the company that built the engine and cast the bell are on the side of the bell,” he said. “You have this beautiful intact shipwreck, from before the Civil War and all of a sudden one of its major parts disappears, and no one other than the diving community seems to know anything about it.”

McGreevy said he’s hoping to get the word out about the missing bell to people outside of the diving community. He hopes someone has seen or heard something that will lead to the return of the bell. “I have doubts that it will turn up, because anyone who could plan an operation like this would probably know enough to take it out of the area,” McGreevy said. “We’re just hoping someone saw something. Maybe someone will put two and two together and the bell will be returned.”

The DNR’s $500 reward is for the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for removal of the ship’s bell from the City of Detroit shipwreck. “We’ve had private individuals who have offered more money than that, just for information leading to its return,” McGreevy said. “This is a reflection on the diving community, and it puts a shadow on everybody. One team or person couldn’t resist the temptation, and now it’s gone.”

Both McGreevy and Roth said they don’t care to see anyone prosecuted for taking the bell — they just want the bell returned. “If someone wanted to return it anonymously, it could be dropped off no questions asked,” Roth said. Roth said until the bell can be returned he can only hope it is being preserved, wherever it may be.

From the Huron Daily Tribune

 

Vessel Operator seeks Licensed Officers

8/4 - Wisconsin and Michigan Steamship Company is seeking a full complement of Licensed Engineers and Deck Officers.

Interested parties should call Shannon Konerman at 216-228-7514.

 

Updates - August 4

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - August 04

On August 4, 1790, the first Congress authorized the construction of a fleet of "revenue marine" cutters to enforce the fledgling nation's tariff and trade laws and protect the collection of federal revenue. The service received its present name in 1915 under an act of Congress when the Revenue Cutter Service merged with the Life-Saving Service. The Coast Guard is one of the oldest organizations of the federal government and, until the Navy Department was established in 1798, served as the nation's only armed force afloat. The Coast Guard has continued to protect the nation throughout its long history, both at home and abroad, and Coast Guardsmen have proudly served in every one of the nation's major conflicts, including Operation Iraqi Freedom.

On this day in 1896, the whaleback COLGATE HOYT became the first boat to transport a load of iron ore through the new Poe lock. The man at the wheel of the HOYT, Thomas Small, was also at the wheel of the PHILIP R CLARKE when the second Poe lock was opened to traffic 73 years later.

On this day in 1910, a mutiny occurred aboard the Pittsburgh steamer DOUGLAS HOUGHTON when a deckhand was confined for peeping into the cabin window of 5 female passengers (relatives of officers of the United States Steel Corporation). It required one hour for Captain John Parke, loaded revolver in hand, to quell the mutiny, confine the ring leaders, and clear away the broken furniture.

On the clear, almost perfect night of 4 August 1902, the SEGUIN (steel propeller freighter, 207 foot, 818 gross tons, built in 1890, at Owen Sound, Ontario) collided with the CITY OF VENICE (wooden propeller freighter, 301 foot, 2,108 gross tons, built in 1892, at W. Bay City, Michigan) abreast of Rondeau, Ontario on Lake Erie. The CITY OF VENICE, which was loaded with iron ore, sank and three of her crew were drowned. The U. S. Marshall impounded the SEGUIN for damages

Two favorites of many boat watchers, entered service on August 4. The WILLIAM CLAY FORD entered service on August 4, 1953, and the EDWARD L RYERSON entered service on August 4, 1960.

Paterson's ONTADOC, built in 1975, sailed to the Netherlands with a load of bentonite from Chicago on August 4, 1979. Renamed b.) MELISSA DESGAGNES in 1990.

The E J BLOCK was laid up for the last time at Indiana Harbor, Indiana on August 4 1984, the E J BLOCK was sold for scrap in late May, 1987.

The D M CLEMSON left Superior on August 4, 1980, in tow of Malcolm Marine's TUG MALCOLM for Thunder Bay, Ontario where she was dismantled.

The HOCHELAGA (Hull#144) was launched August 4, 1949, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd., for Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., Montreal, Quebec.

On a foggy August 4, 1977, the POINTE NOIRE went hard aground near the entrance to the Rock Cut in the St. Marys River and blocked the channel. After her grain cargo was lightered by Columbia Transportation's crane steamer BUCKEYE, the POINTE NOIRE was released on August 6th. She was reloaded in Hay Lake and continued her downbound trip. Repairs to her bottom damage were completed at Thunder Bay. Ontario..

August 4, 1935 - The only time the ANN ARBOR NO 7 had the full limit of passengers when she ran an excursion from Frankfort, Michigan around the Manitou Island and back with 375 passengers on board.

LYCOMING (wooden propeller, 251 foot, 1,610 gross tons) was launched on 4 August 1880, at West Bay City, Michigan by F. W. Wheeler (Hull #7) as a 2-deck package freighter. She was rebuilt as a single deck bulk freighter after she burned in 1905. She was one of the few bulk freighters that still carried her arched hog-braces visible above deck.

HIRAM W SIBLEY (wooden propeller freighter, 221 foot, 1,419 gross tons) was launched at East Saginaw, Michigan on 4 August 1890. She only lasted eight years. While carrying 70,000 bushels of corn from Chicago for Detroit, she stranded on the northwest corner of South Manitou Island in Lake Michigan during blizzard on 26 November 1898. The tugs PROTECTOR and SWEEPSTAKES were dispatched for assistance but the SIBLEY re-floated herself during high water the following night, then was stranded on the southwest side of North Fox Island to prevent sinking. She broke in half; then completely broke up during a gale on 7 December 1898.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Military.com, 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 tailed history.

 

New Soo Lock funded in water bill
$342 million set aside for newest Soo Lock in House Bill

8/3 - Washington - The House overwhelmingly passed a $20 billion water projects bill Wednesday night despite a promised veto by President Bush, who complains the bill is laden with costly pet projects and shifts new costs onto the government.

Within the wide-ranging bill, $342 million was earmarked for the building of a new super lock in the Sault. The projected Soo Lock would be at least 110 feet wide and 1,200 feet long and replace the two northern locks. The mega lock would improve access for large freighters. Shippers say that if the existing Poe Lock had to close for any reason, it would stop most Great Lakes shipping trade, as only the Poe Lock can handle the 1,000 feet-long freighters.

Funding from the bill also targets the much needed dredging throughout the Great Lakes. The Army Corps of Engineers would get funds to step up navigational dredging at many key points. Low water levels has resulted in Great Lakes freighters being forced to carry lighter loads, which reduces the money they make for moving freight. Glen Nekvasil, vice president of the Lake Carriers Association, said that dredging is “critically important” to the freighter industry and that dredging of the lakes has been “underfunded for decades.”

Shepherded by Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, the bill was seven years in the making and finally passed the House on a 381-40 vote after it was agreed upon by House-Senate negotiators. He said he expected Congress would quickly override any veto by the president. “There is urgent, pent-up demand to address the nation's water resources needs,” Oberstar said. “Divide the cost by the number of years that have passed since we last passed this critical legislation, and the cost is understandable.”

Earlier Wednesday, administration officials said Bush will veto the bill if it isn't pared down. “Indeed, it seems a $14 billion Senate bill went into a conference with the House's $15 billion bill and somehow a bill emerged costing approximately $20 billion,” complained White House budget director Rob Portman and Assistant Army Secretary John Paul Woodley Jr.

This year's bill includes some $3.5 billion for Katrina-damaged Louisiana, plus more than $2 billion for projects in California and $2 billion for Florida, mostly for restoring the Everglades. Another $1.95 billion is included for seven new locks on the upper Mississippi and Illinois rivers and $1.7 billion for repairing the region's ecology. In May, the Senate approved its version on a 91-4 vote. The House passed a similar bill in April on a 394-25 vote. Even if a final bill becomes law, the money must be appropriated later.

From the Soo Evening News

 

Port Reports - August 3

Grand Haven - Dick Fox & Joe Barr
The Manistee returned Thursday morning. She came in light for the Construction Aggregates dock in Ferrysburg where it was taking on a load of sand on Thursday afternoon.
On Thursday, the Mackinaw (WLBB-30) and the Neah Bay (WTGB-105) were in Grand Haven, Michigan for the annual Coast Guard Festival. The Coast Guard Festival, which includes a carnival and lots of live entertainment, will continue through Sunday. The ships will be in port and open for tours. The crews of each vessel were most gracious in showing everyone around. Tours of the ships are free and, judging from Thursday, the lines of folks to tour the ships ought to be short, although the line for the Mackinaw is always longer than the one for the Neah Bay. The Hollyhock, which was expected in port, had mechanical difficulties and could not make it. The Canadian Coast Guard’s Griffon arrived Thursday afternoon.

Soo - Jerry Masson
The downbound Edgar B Speer finally departed the Soo Michigan Carbide Dock just before noon Thursday after repairs were finished and final clearance from Coast Guard officials. Thursdays upbound traffic included James R Barker, Canadian Provider, Buffalo, Lee A Tregurtha, Alpena, and Maritime Trader.
Downbound were Charles M Beeghly, Edgar B Speer, Frontenac, Voyageur Pioneer, Quebecois, Michipicoten, Canadian Enterprise, Philip R Clarke, Edwin H Gott and Mesabi Miner.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The American Republic entered the Thunder Bay River Thursday evening. It tied up around 9 p.m. and unloaded coal at the DPI plant. Hot and muggy conditions remained throughout the evening as many people were out to look at the American Republic.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
John J. Boland delivered coal to the WE Energies dock at Greenfield Avenue in Milwaukee's inner harbor Tuesday evening.
St. Mary's Challenger passed the Boland on its way upriver with cement for its Kinnickinnic Avenue dock at about 9:00 p.m.
Also in the inner harbor, Beluga Formation continued loading at Nidera grain.
In the outer harbor, ocean bulker Gadwall (reg. Hong Kong) was backed into the slip at terminal #3, waiting to unload.
Federal Ems remained at terminal #1, unloading steel pipe.
Tug Karen Andrie and barge A-397 unloaded at the Jacobus Liquid Cargo pier and departed onto Lake Michigan earlier Thursday.

Menominee Dick Lund
The Maumee arrived in Menominee with a load of coal for Menominee Paper Co. on Thursday night. They arrived at the paper company around 9 p.m. CDT and were outbound in about 4 hours.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Friday at sunrise, Lee A. Tregurtha was unloading coal into the Upper Harbor hopper.

 

Update on Lake Superior Outflow

8/3 - Cleveland - The International Lake Superior Board of Control, under authority granted to it by the International Joint Commission, has set the Lake Superior outflow to 1,560 cubic metres per second (m3/s) (55.1 thousand cubic feet per second (tcfs)) for the month of August. This is the outflow recommended by the regulation plan for the month of August and is the same as the July outflow.

The August outflow will be released by discharging about 1,444 m3/s (51.0 tcfs) through the three hydropower plants and passing most of the remaining flow through the control structure at the head of the St. Marys rapids. The gate setting of the control structure will be maintained at the existing setting equivalent to one-half gate open (four gates open 20 cm, or about 8 inches each). There will be no change to the setting of Gate #1 that supplies the Fishery Remedial Works.

This past month the water supplies to both the Lake Superior and Lakes Michigan-Huron basins were below their long-term averages for July. The level of Lake Superior remains below its chart datum level. The level of Lake Superior is expected to rise in August, while Lakes Michigan-Huron are expected to decline.

Currently, the Lake Superior level is about 52 cm (20 inches) below its long-term average beginning-of-August level, and is 31 cm (12 inches) below the level recorded a year ago. This past month the level of Lake Superior rose 4 cm (2 inches), which is its average rise in July. The last time Lake Superior was lower at this time of year was in 1926.

The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron declined 2 cm (1 inch) this July, while on average the level of these lakes rise by about 1 cm (1/2 inch) in July. The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron is now about 55 cm (22 inches) below its long-term average beginning-of-August level but is 13 cm (5 inches) lower than it was a year ago.

The Board continues to monitor conditions both on Lake Superior and downstream and will advise the International Joint Commission accordingly on those conditions.

Additional information can be found on the Internet at: http://www.ijc.org/conseil_board/superior_lake/en/superior_home_accueil.htm or,
at http://www.lre.usace.army.mil/glhh

USACE New Release

 

Twin Ports Lighthouse Days, August 4-12 in Duluth

8/3 - Duluth - CMDR Gary Croot, Captain of the Port of Duluth-Superior, proclaimed Lighthouse Days in the Twin Ports running from August 4th through the 12th at the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center in Canal Park, Duluth.

The even features a daily series of indoor lighthouse programs and outside history walks along the ship canal to view the three lights on the canal. History of the 1858 Minnesota Point Light and the Superior Entry Breakwater Light are also highlighted.

The Duluth Inner Range light's 5th Order classical Fresnel lens is on display, lighted and rotating. As always the Visitor Center and its programs are free.

President George Washington signed the Ninth Act of Congress on August 7, 1789 authorizing the Federal Government to take over operation of the new nation's lighthouses.

Gina Temple Rhodes of Duluth will also be visiting on the 5th and the 11th as she portrays a lighthouse keeper’s wife visiting the Ship Canal in 1912 from her home on Sand Island in the Apostle Islands.

There will also be 5 different stamps available for lighthouse passports and rubber stamping demonstrations.

 

Updates - August 3

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - August 03

On this day in 1960, the EDWARD L RYERSON, new flagship of the Inland Steel fleet, successfully completed her sea trials.

Under tow, the AVONDALE, a.) ADAM E CORNELIUS of 1908, in tandem with former fleet mate FERNDALE. a.) LOUIS R DAVIDSON of 1912, arrived at Castellon, Spain for scrapping in 1979.

The CANADOC left the St. Lawrence River on August 3, 1991, in tow bound for Mamonal, Colombia for scrapping.

On 3 August 1915, ALEXANDRIA (wooden side-wheel passenger/package freight, 174 foot 863 gross tons, built in 1866, at Hull, Quebec, formerly a.) CONSORT, was carrying food stuffs in Lake Ontario when she was blown on a bar in a storm and fog. She broke up by wave action under the Scarborough Bluffs, east of Toronto. Lifesavers worked for hours and rescued the entire crew.

August 3, 1946 - The third officer of the ANN ARBOR NO 6, drowned while painting her draft marks. He had apparently leaned too far and fell out of the rowboat.

On 3 August 1900, FONTANA (wooden 2-mast schooner-barge, 231 foot, 1,164 gross tons, built in 1888, at St Clair, Michigan as a 4-mast schooner-barge) was carrying iron ore in tow of the steamer KALIYUGA. The FONTANA sheared off and collided with the big schooner-barge SANTIAGO and settled in the mouth of St. Clair River in the St. Clair Flats, one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. After salvage was given up months later, she was dynamited several times to flatten and reduce her wreckage. Although officially no loss of life was reported, local newspaper reported that one crewman was drowned. The FONTANA was owned by Cleveland Cliffs Iron Co.

On 3 Aug 1857, R H RAE (3-mast wooden bark, 136 foot, 344 tons, built in 1857, at St. Catharines, Ontario) capsized and sank in a "white squall" off Duck's Creek on Lake Ontario. She went down slowly enough for her people to abandon in her small boat. They were later picked up by the propeller COLONIST. There was a big effort to salvage her the next summer, but to no avail. She was a total loss of $20,000. She was reportedly built for the trans-Atlantic trade and looked more like a seagoing schooner. Some sources give the date of the loss as 4 August 1857. The wreck is in very good condition. The Cousteau organization lost a diver on her in 1980.

Data from: Max Hanley, 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. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history tailed history.

 

Port Reports - August 2

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The Manistee came in overnight Monday and delivered a load of stone to Meekhof's dock by the railroad swing bridge in Ferrysburg. It then backed down to the Construction Aggregates dock to load sand. It was almost loaded by late Wednesday afternoon.

Cleveland - Bill Kloss
The American Fortitude unloaded ore at the Cleveland Bulk Terminal Wednesday. This is the first vessel here in about a week. She arrived about 6 a.m. and departed about 2 p.m.

Menominee - Dick Lund
The Reserve made port when it passed Menominee North Pier Lighthouse around 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday. The ship passed through the Ogden Street Bridge, which was a fairly tight fit with about 4-5 feet to spare between the pilings that protect the bridge. The ship arrived at KK Integrated Logistics around 1:30 p.m. A labor dispute ended the vessel's season early, the ship will be converted to a barge. The tug Victory will eventually be paired with the barge. It is unknown how much of the conversion work will be completed in Menominee and when the vessel will be towed to another location for dry dock work.

Soo - Jerry Masson
Edgar B Speer remains at the Soo Michigan Carbide Dock Wednesday night with plans to be underway sometime late Wednesday or early Thursday morning. Afternoon upbound traffic included Algowood, American Century, Burns Harbor, Federal Leda, and American Integrity.
Downbound was American Mariner and St Clair.
The local harbor should be free of boat traffic Wednesday for a short while for a fireworks display this evening in the river.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
On a hot Wednesday at the Upper Harbor, Charles M. Beeghly loaded ore.

Alpena & Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity was at Lafarge Tuesday morning. The Alpena is expected to return on Thursday.
Wednesday morning brought calm waters and hot weather at Stoneport. The American Courage finished loading before 11 a.m. and departed into the hazy lake. Waiting nearby was the James Norris, a rare visitor to the area. It carefully approached the dock and tied up before noon to begin loading for Sombra, ON.

Toronto - Clive Reddin
Mississagi entered Toronto harbour to off load salt about 9:15 p.m. Wednesday.

 

Updates - August 2

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - August 02

On August 2, 1991, Paterson' 1961-built lake bulk carrier CANADOC, which had been in lay-up in Montreal since April 6, 1990, and sold for scrapping, cleared the port in tow of the Netherlands Antilles tug DALMAR SPIRIT, bound for Mamonal, Columbia, arriving there on August 26, 1991.

On this day in 1880, the new Goodrich propeller CITY OF LUDINGTON was launched at Manitowoc, Wisconsin. The CITY OF LUDINGTON was 170 feet loa x 35 feet x 11 feet, had 44 state rooms and a salon. She was built at a cost of $90,000. The CITY OF LUDINGTON was partially dismantled at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin in 1930-1931, and the hull was towed to Big Summer Island, Lake Michigan in 1933, for use as a breakwall.

On the morning of 02 August 1869, Deputy U. S. Marshall Insley sold at auction the scow AGNES HEAD to pay for debts incurred when she was repaired that Spring by Mr. Muir and Mr. Stewart. Bidding started at $500 and ran very lively. Mr. John Stewart of Detroit purchased the vessel for $1,050.

The AMERICAN MARINER (Hull#723) was launched on August 2, 1979, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin by Bay Shipbuilding Co. for the Connecticut Bank & Trust Co., (American Steamship Co., Buffalo, New York, mgr.). She was to be named CHICAGO, but that name was removed before launch.

The U.S. Coast Guard's report on the sinking of the EDMUND FITZGERALD was released on August 2, 1977. It cited faulty hatch covers, lack of water tight cargo hold bulkheads and damage caused from an undetermined source as the cause of her loss.

The BENSON FORD's maiden voyage was on August 2, 1924, with coal from Toledo, Ohio to Duluth, Minnesota and returned with iron ore to the Ford Rouge Plant at Dearborn.

On August 2, 1990, the Lightship HURON was dedicated as a National Historic Landmark. LIGHTSHIP 103 had been almost completely restored and was opened to the public in 1974, for tours and remains so at this time.

August 2, 1862 - John C. Ackerman was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin. At the time of his death in 1916, he was commodore of the Pere Marquette carferry fleet based in Ludington.

On 2 August 1877, GRACE A CHANNON (wooden schooner, 141 foot, 266 gross tons, built in 1873, at East Saginaw, Michigan) was bound from Chicago for Buffalo when she collided with the propeller tug FAVORITE and sank 12 miles south of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The young son of the owner of the CHANNON lost his life in this accident.

In 1858, the wooden side-wheeler TELEGRAPH collided with the schooner MARQUETTE and sank 40 miles north of Cleveland.

Data from: Max Hanley, 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. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history tailed history.

 

Tug arrives in Trois-Rivičres to tow Marine Star/Aquarama

8/1 - Trois-Rivičres - Coming up the St. Lawrence River Monday was Panamanian registered tug Ateos Z. The vessel is coming from Cabo Verde Island to pick-up the Aquarama/Marine Star which is rafted to the Canadian Mariner at Section #1.

The vessel was reportedly sold and will be towed to Greece. The final arrangements for the sale have yet to be finalized and there is no known departure date from Trois-Rivieres to date.

Reported by Bruno Boissonneault

 

Port Reports - August 1

Soo - Jerry Masson
The Edgar B Speer locked through the Poe Lock at 4 p.m. Tuesday downbound and tied up at the Carbide Dock for repairs. All vessels are asked to pass at "slow bell" or reduced speed as the 1000-footer is out from the dock 10 to 14 ft. Departure time is unknown at this time.
The Algolake was upbound in the lower St Marys River Tuesday and had gone to anchor in the Mud Lake anchorage area for engine repairs. Temperatures at the Soo are predicted to reach the 80's and climbing again Wednesday.
Tuesday upbound traffic included Federal Maas, Quebecois, Halifax, Stewart J. Cort, Frontenac, Isolda, Algolake, Algonorth, and Charles M Beeghly.
Downbound included the Edgar B Speer, Avenger IV, Indiana Harbor, Joseph H Thompson Jr., Presque Isle, Roger Blough.
The tug Joyce L VanEnkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader was at the Drummond Island Dock.

Marquette & Escanaba - Lee Rowe
The Cason J Callaway brought coal to the Reiss Dock in Escanaba on Monday. On Sunday the H Lee White brought stone to Marquette's Shiras dock.

Cheboygan - Jon Paul Michaels
The tug Great Lakes and barge Michigan arrived for their weekly trip to the BP Tank Facility in the late morning to begin unloading their cargo of gasoline.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The barge Lewis J. Kuber and tug Olive L. Moore came in at 6 a.m. Tuesday, unloaded stone for Meekhof's at their D & M dock and was out bound at 1 p.m.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Rebecca Lynn and her tank barge were outbound the Saginaw River Tuesday morning after unloading overnight at the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City. The pair had arrived earlier on Monday.

Kingsville - Erich Zuschlag
The Jiimaan made her annual crossing from Leamington to Kingsville Ontario thus changing the mainland port for the Jiimaan and the Pelee Islander. These two ferries serve Pelee Island from Kingsville/Leamington and Sandusky on the Ohio side.

Holland - Bob VandeVusse
The Wilfred Sykes made another appearance in Holland Tuesday evening. It arrived at the Verplank dock at about 6:00 p.m. to deliver stone from Port Inland.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Beluga Formation arrived in Milwaukee's inner harbor about 3 p.m. Tuesday, and docked (with tugs assisting) at the Nidera elevator.
Federal Ems continues unloading steel cylinders onto semi-trailers at terminal #1 in the outer harbor.
Also Tuesday Alder remains docked adjacent to the Coast Guard station.

Green Bay - Scott Best
On a hot, but beautiful, summer evening in Green Bay the steamer Reserve arrived on her last trip as a powered steamer with a cargo of limestone for the Western Lime Dock. The load came from Port Inland, MI.
After unloading in Green Bay the Reserve is expected to sail to Menominee, MI where she will lay up awaiting conversion.

Cedarville & Drummond Island - Jim Lindholm
Tuesday, the Great Lakes Trader was loading at Drummond Island in the afternoon.
The Herbert C. Jackson was at Cedarville Limestone now called Oglebay Norton Minerals.

 

Woman drowns after jumping into Beauharnois locks

8/1 - Beauharnois, Que. - A Quebec woman drowned on Sunday off the shores of Beauharnois, southwest of Montreal, after she was sucked underwater.

Police say the woman was on board a pleasure craft at midday, waiting to enter the Beauharnois locks when she jumped into the water to cool off. She reportedly got caught in a strong current produced by the propeller of the Algontario, that was entering the locks.

Three people tried to rescue the woman but she slipped below the water's surface, investigators said. Swimming is not allowed in the locks under the Canada Marines Act.

Reported by Michel St-Denis From CBC News

 

Ocean Group christens its new tugboat at the Port of Montreal
Raymond Lemay, C. M., honored as important figure in the maritime industry

8/1 - Montreal - Ocean Group has christened a new tugboat, the Océan Raymond Lemay, in honour of Mr. Raymond Lemay, C. M., one of the most important figures in the Canadian maritime industry and a notable personality in Quebec's business community. The ceremony was held at the Port of Montreal.

Built in Prince Edward Island by East Isle Shipyard, an Irving Group subsidiary, the Ocean Raymond Lemay, is a state-of-the-art 5, 000 BHP tugboat propelled by two Z-Drive type azimuthing propellers and boasts, among other technical enhancements, a Class 1 firefighting (FI-FI) system and an Ice Class 1A hull, all the necessary elements to offer safe and efficient services during the severe navigation conditions encountered in Quebec winters.

The inauguration ceremony began with a blessing by Reverend Anthony Mancini, Auxiliary Bishop and Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Montreal. It was followed by the traditional breaking of the champagne bottle
by Mrs. Thérčse Lemay, wife of Mr. Lemay and the ships' sponsor.

"Raymond Lemay was a tremendous influence to the development of the Port of Montreal," emphasized Mr. Dominic J. Taddeo, President and CEO, MPA. "We honour him today so that the maritime community can show its deep respect for his contribution to the industry."

In 1973, Mr. Lemay joined Canada Steamship Lines as Vice President, Institutional Services, and in 1980 was named President and COO, a position he would hold until 1989. During this period, between 1981 and 1983, he was Vice President of the Port of Montreal consultative committee of the National Ports Council. In 1994, Mr. Lemay was named to the Board of Directors of the MPA before assuming the chairmanship in 1996, a position he would hold until 2005.

The Ocean Raymond Lemay was delivered to Ocean Group on May 11, and it is currently in service at the Port of Québec. Its home base will be decided in the coming months.

Ocean Group is the Quebec leader in harbour towing operations. Its head office is located in the Port of Québec and it operates harbour tugs in the ports of Quebec, Montréal, Sorel-Tracy, Trois-Rivičres, Hamilton, Oshawa and Toronto. Ocean also has subsidiaries in the fields of transport, dredging, underwater intervention, maritime equipment rental and naval repairs, as well as a construction and naval repairs shipyard in Ile-aux-Coudres.

Ocean Group news release

 

Ottawa boosts Great Lakes freight corridor
$2.1 Billion Aims to reduce future investment of public money

7/1 - Ottawa - The Canadian federal government joined Quebec and Ontario yesterday to give a push to the Great Lakes Corridor, an ambitious public-private project to raise the efficiency of intermodal freight transportation between Montreal, Toronto and the U.S. "As part of our plan to restore the nation's infrastructure, we want to ensure Canada has efficient transportation gateways and corridors to fuel economic growth and boost our global competitiveness," federal Transportation Minister Lawrence Cannon told a press conference at the Port of Montreal.

The government has $2.1 billion of infrastructure funds available for improving eastern Canada's transportation systems, including border crossings with the U.S. and security, Cannon said. He was joined by Ontario Minister of Transportation Donna Cansfield and Quebec Transportation Minister Julie Boulet. They signed a memorandum of understanding to develop what is known as the Ontario-Quebec Continental Gateway and Trade Corridor.

Cannon said the Pacific gateway in the West has already been upgraded and now it's the turn of the Montreal gateway and corridor into central North America and the Atlantic gateway of Halifax. He and Cansfield said a drive for intermodal efficiency in the St. Lawrence-Great Lakes corridor is aimed at reducing the burden of future public investment in roads and other infrastructure and at protecting the environment.

The three governments will set up a working committee, with input from the private sector, to study emerging trade patterns and the challenges of improving intermodal efficiency "with no holds barred," Cannon said.

"There may be conflicting views between, say, the railroads and truckers," he said. "Is it economic to unload containers from large ocean-going vessels in Montreal to Great Lakes vessels that can take them via the St. Lawrence Seaway to Ontario and the U.S.?" That's the kind of issue to be thrashed out. "Ontario and Quebec account for 60 per cent of Canadian exports and improving efficiency in the corridor is top priority. We want an action plan within two years."

Boulet said optimizing the efficiency of the Quebec and Ontario transportation systems is urgent and the three governments working together and with the private sector "will ensure its success." Dominic Taddeo, retiring CEO of the Montreal Port Authority, said Montreal is already the leading container port in eastern Canada - and improving intermodal efficiency along the St. Lawrence corridor "will ensure our growth for the next 10 to 15 years." Madeleine Paquin , CEO of Logistec Corp., a big Montreal-based stevedoring company with cargo terminals at 21 ports in eastern Canada and the eastern U.S., has chaired a committee of CEOs from the leading Canadian airline, rail and trucking companies.

"We know there are bottlenecks and we'll be contributing the private sector's view of what has to be done," she said. "As cargo handlers, we have to serve our customers, the shipping lines. No one wants to lose any business, but I'm optimistic we can co-operate effectively." The Port of Montreal, which contributes $2 billion a year to the Montreal economy, handled 12.1 million tonnes of cargo in the first half of the year, up almost one per cent from a year earlier and in line with the five-year average. Taddeo promised a strong performance through 2012.

Containerized cargo hit 6.1 million tonnes in the first half, up 7.2 per cent from a year earlier. The number of containers handled reached 671,265, up 5.2 per cent from the 2006 period. In June, the international shipping line MSC added a third ship to its service linking Montreal and Freeport, Bahamas, increasing container transfers from Asia to Montreal.

From the Montreal Gazette

 

Limestone Slump Continues in June

8/1 - Cleveland---The Great Lakes limestone trade continued its sluggish pace in June. Shipments from U.S. and Canadian ports totaled 4.4 million net tons, a decrease of 2 percent compared to a year ago, and 4.5 percent below the month’s 5-year average.

While demand for limestone is down, especially in Michigan, other factors contributed to the June decline. Lack of adequate dredging at many ports limited the amount of limestone vessels could deliver. The trade has also been impacted by a labor dispute that has idled three U.S.-Flag Lakers that carry stone since early May.

Through June, limestone shipments stand at 12.3 million net tons, a decrease of 12 percent compared to a year ago, and 7 percent off the 5-year average for the January-June timeframe. The large drop compared to a year ago does in part reflect low inventories at several quarries when shipping resumed in late March.

Lake Carriers Association report

 

Updates - August 1

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated

 

Today in Great Lakes History - August 01

On 01 August 1862, UNION (wooden propeller passenger-package freight steamer, 163 foot, 434 ton, built in 1861, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) was sold by the Goodrich Line to James H. Mead and J. F. Kirkland for $28,000. This was $9,000 more than Goodrich had paid to have the vessel built just the previous year.

On August 1, 1982, the Canadian tanker HUBERT GAUCHER entered service

August 1957 - The PERE MARQUETTE 18 of 1911, was sold to Luria Brothers, Chicago scrap merchants, along with the PERE MARQUETTE 14.

On 1 August 1871, the construction of the canal through the St. Clair Flats was finished at a cost of $365,000. It was the first real channel built to help ships through the shallow waters where the St. Clair River empties into Lake St. Clair and where there are seven mouths or passes. It took the Canadian contractor John Brown three years to dig the channel that measures 300 feet wide and 8,421 feet long. The water was 18 feet deep. It was protected on most of its sides by piers and dikes. The new channel was considered too small even as it was being dug. At only 300 feet wide, tows of log rafts were encouraged to sue the old shallower channels. Within 20 years, plans were made to deepen the channel to 20 feet.

On 1 August 1849, CHICAGO (wooden passenger/package freight vessel, 95 foot, 151 tons, built in 1842, at Oswego, New York) burned in Buffalo harbor. No lives were lost.

Data from: Jody Aho, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit. This is a small sample, the books includes many other vessels with a much more detailed history tailed history.

 

 

 



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