Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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Coast Guard medically evacuates Ryerson crewmember

8/31 - St. Clair Shores, Mi - The U.S. Coast Guard medically evacuated a 50-year-old female from the Edward L. Ryerson in Lake St. Clair at approximately 6:30 p.m. Friday

Coast Guard Station St. Clair Shores launched a response boat, the crewmember was suffering from symptoms of a stroke.

She was taken to an awaiting Emergency Medical Services ambulance and transferred to St. John's Hospital in Detroit.

There was no updated on her condition at this time.


Port Reports - August 31

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Olive L. Moore /Lewis J. Kuber called on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City Saturday evening to unload. The pair were expected to be outbound early Sunday morning.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Evans McKeil came into port just after 11:00 Saturday and picked up the bow of the barge Exiderdome, which has been in port since the 21st with the tug Ivory Coast. CCG Samuel Risley has been in port for a few days in conjunction with the Canadian National Exhibition.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
The Algosoo finished loading coal at the CSX Docks and departed during the late Saturday afternoon.
American Mariner followed to load coal at this dock site. The salt water vessel BBC Plata was at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock. The tug Sea Service and barge Energy 6506 was at the B-P Dock.
The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Docks has the Calumet and Herbert C. Jackson due in Sunday, Catherine Desgagnes and American Republic due in Tuesday followed by the Halifax on Wednesday.
The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock has the Kaye E. Barker due in Monday followed by the CSL Assiniboine on Thursday.
The Saginaw is due into the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock on Monday.


Sunday deadline looms in CCI-USW talks

8/31 - Ishpeming - Union representatives and Cleveland Cliffs Inc. officials are waiting for the phone to ring with news regarding contract negotiations as a deadline looms.

The negotiations, which are being held in Pittsburgh between the United Steel Workers union and CCI, have been ongoing since Aug. 4. Currently, there is no information regarding any potential sticking points between the two sides. The current contract expires at midnight Sunday.

"We've been negotiating with the union since the beginning of August and those negotiations are continuing," said Dale Hemmila, the district manager of public affairs for CCI. "We're hoping to have a contract that is fair and equitable and works for everybody involved by midnight Sunday."

Representatives for the USW Local 4950, which represents workers at the Empire Mine, said that they urged workers to just continue doing their jobs to the best of their abilities, to put the thought of the negotiations "on the back burner" and "to stay safe" during a meeting Thursday night.

"They are down there talking and we're just waiting for word from the negotiators," said Mike Roy, the financial secretary for USW Local 4950.

As for what happens if the contract expires without an agreement, Roy said that it's "up to the negotiators."

The negotiations are for all hourly employees at the Tilden and Empire mines - roughly 1,200 workers - as well as workers at CCI mining operations in Minnesota. The contract that expires was a four-year deal negotiated in 2004.

From the Marquette Mining Journal


Updates - August 31

News 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.


Port Reports - August 30

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Dorothy Ann & barge Pathfinder called on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City early Friday morning. She was followed by the Maumee who traveled upriver to the GM dock in Saginaw to unload. Both vessels were outbound during the day on Friday.

Sarnia - Rod Burdick
Friday morning, Canadian Miner was at the elevator preparing to load grain.


Updates - August 30

News 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.


Port Reports - August 29

Alpena and Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
Late Wednesday night, the tug Samuel de Champlain/barge Innovation arrived in port to tie up under the silos at Lafarge. The tug G. L. Ostrander/barge Integrity followed its fleetmate on Thursday morning.
The Algoway was loading at Stoneport on Wednesday and departed before 8 p.m.
Waiting to dock nearby was the Philip R. Clarke, which pulled in and started loading once the lines were secured.
The Maumee and tug Victory/barge James L. Kuber are on the schedule for Thursday.

Duluth/Superior - Al Miller
Thursday morning in the Twin Ports, found Flinterland at the port terminal loading 54 wind turbine blades for export to Brazil, James R. Barker was at Garfield D ballasted down by the bow apparently undergoing repairs to its stern.
Canadian Progress was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal, and Adam E. Cornelius was unloading stone at CLM dock in Superior.
Alpena was unloading cement at the LaFarge terminal in Superior and SCL Bern was anchored out on the lake waiting a berth at the port terminal.

Green Bay - Wendell Wilke
A frequent visitor to the Port of Green Bay as of late, Manitowoc was unloading stone at Western Lime Thursday. She cleared the port by mid afternoon.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Olive L. Moore/Lewis J. Kuber were outbound Thursday afternoon after unloading at the Buena Vista dock overnight. Inbound late Thursday night was the tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder.


Brazil-bound vessel highlights Twin Ports’ stake in wind-energy business

8/29 - Duluth - Like a giant puppeteer skillfully lifting and lowering a pair of marionette strings, crane operators and a shipping crew spent all day Wednesday lifting and lowering 40.7-yard windmill blades into the cargo ship, Flinterland, for a voyage to Brazil. If all goes smoothly, the 54 wind turbine blades will leave the Duluth port at noon today, and arrive in Brazil by the middle of September.

Last year 307,000 tons of windmill parts passed through the port, but this was the first time a ship with wind blades loading in Duluth was bound for Brazil, according to the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. The 40.7-yard blades manufactured at the LM Glasfiber plant in Grand Forks, N.D., came in pairs on semi-trucks and are bound for a new $90 million IMPSA Wind plant in Suape, Brazil.

The Flinterland is just one of three ships in port this week unloading and loading windmill parts. The others are the BBC Plata and the SCL Bern. “It’s a growing business. That’s definitely true,” said Elbert Francke, who flew in from the Netherlands for Flintership to help guide the loading of the long and heavy, yet fragile, wind blades.

Steve Jurica, an assistant project manager with Transgroup Worldwide Logistics, which handles all the paperwork involved with getting the blades from North Dakota to Brazil, estimated more than half of his company’s work comes from shipping wind-related products.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Updates - August 29

News 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 the 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.


SS John Sherwin to be Converted

8/27 - Richfield, OH - Interlake Steamship is pleased to announce that we will be converting the John Sherwin. Work on the Sherwin will begin immediately at Bay Shipbuilding Company, Sturgeon Bay, WI, with an anticipated delivery in the spring of 2010.

The scope of work will include reactivation of the vessel, diesel re-powering of the engine room (similar to the Charles M Beeghly re-powering), the installation of an unloading system, slopes and a forward boom.

We are excited for the Sherwin to sail in the Interlake Fleet once again.

Interlake Steamship Co. News Release


College may hike Maritime Academy tuition up to 57%

8/28 - Traverse City - Some of next year's maritime students at Northwestern Michigan College could face tuition rate hikes of 50 percent or more.

NMC trustees this week discussed financial concerns with the Great Lakes Maritime Academy, including potential tuition hikes and plans to seek state funding to help support the program. There currently are about 120 GLMA students. "The costs of our program continue to rise beyond the ability of the college to fund it at the level of quality it needs to be," said Stephen Siciliano, NMC vice president for educational services.

The current budget for GLMA is about $1.5 million, but costs are expected to increase in coming years because new federal regulations will require cadets to cruise for 60 days, instead of the current 20 days. Tuition increases will help offset the costs of the new federal rules, Siciliano said.

The academy is a maritime training school that prepares students to become deck or engineering officers on vessels in the Great Lakes and on the oceans. Cadets have 100 percent job placement after graduation. Increased GLMA tuition would come with greater financial aid for upperclassmen through partner institution Ferris State University, Siciliano said.

Proposed tuition hikes amount to more than 48 percent for in-state deck cadets and nearly 57 percent for in-state engine cadets. That's an increase from $7,622 to $11,321 for deck and $7,764 to $12,154 for engine students, if approved by trustees in September. "That's a big kick in the shorts," said Mark Bancroft of Kingsley, a GLMA freshman at age 42. Bancroft also works to support his family and said a significant tuition hike could make it difficult to continue with the program.
Out-of-state deck cadets could see a jump in tuition of about 27 percent, while out-of-state engine cadets may see an increase of more than 32 percent. The proposed increase doesn't bother freshman Ben Foster, 21, of Virginia. "If it gets increased, I'm sure it will be used for the correct things," he said, noting fuel costs are on the rise. Any jumps in education costs will be made up and paid for when he joins the work force, Foster said.

Not every cadet agrees, though. "It would hamper a lot of people's ability to come here," said Emery Barg, 41, a GLMA freshman from Missouri. If the proposed rates are approved, it will bring all GLMA rates above estimated program costs for non-residents at comparable maritime academies in California, New York and Texas. However, rates would remain below those for non-residents at academies in Maine and Massachusetts.

Meanwhile, NMC leaders intend to seek state funding through the Legislature. They hope for designated state funding within two years.

From the Traverse City Record-Eagle


Port Reports - August 28

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
The tug Sea Service and barge Energy 6506 were at the B-P Dock loading cargo.
Michipicoten was at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock unloading stone.
Catherine Desgagnes and Manistee were both inbound the Toledo Ship Channel Wednesday evening, unknown which dock sites they are bound for.
The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Docks has the Canadian Transport and Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin due in Thursday, John J. Boland and Algosoo on Friday followed by Herbert C. Jackson on Sunday.
The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock has the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin due in Thursday followed by Canadian Navigator on Friday.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Duluth-Superior was busy Wednesday afternoon, with Lee A. Tregurtha loading taconite pellets at CN Duluth, and Cason J. Callaway at the outer end of CN (DMIR) dock 6 loading sinter.
Gargany was loading bentonite at Hallett 6, and Beluga Fighter was loading at Peavey elevator.
Flinterland was at the port terminal to load wind turbine blades and BBC Plata was at the port terminal finishing its unloading of wind turbines.
John B. Aird was loading coal at Midwest Energy Terminal.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
American Century was inbound early Wednesday morning, calling on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville. She finished her unload, backed from the dock out to Light 12, then turned and headed for the lake by late morning.
Algorail was also inbound Wednesday morning calling on the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. She departed late in the morning and was replaced at the dock by the Maumee, who also unloaded at Sargent Zilwaukee. Both vessels were outbound for the lake by Wednesday evening.
The Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber were inbound with a split load late Wednesday evening. The pair is to lighter at the Essexville Wirt dock and then finish their unload at the Buena Vista Dock in Saginaw.


Vacant South Buffalo Lighthouse is for sale
105-year-old structure being marketed first to local organizations

8/28 - Buffalo - For Sale: Historic waterfront property. Forty-three feet tall, circular floor plan, fantastic views of Lake Erie and Buffalo’s outer harbor.

The property in question is the South Buffalo Lighthouse, and the seller is the federal government. The 105-year-old lighthouse, which has been dark since 1988, stands at the south entrance to Buffalo’s outer harbor, on Stony Point, at the tip of the former Bethlehem Steel site.

The General Services Administration, which is in charge of selling the U. S. Coast Guard property, is giving local governments and nonprofit agencies first shot at acquiring the property. If there are no takers by Sept. 23, the lighthouse will be sold via an online auction. The GSA has not revealed what the minimum bid for the South Buffalo beacon might be. However, based on auctions of similar small lighthouses, it could be as low as $5,000.

“Since 2000, the Coast Guard has turned over 15 to 20 lighthouses a year,” said GSA regional spokeswoman Renee Miscione.

Perched on the edge of a privately owned industrial parcel with no roads leading out to it, the three-story, conical concrete and steel structure is virtually inaccessible by land. It is also lacking in the looks department. “It’s not what you'd call cute,” said Tom Johnston, president of the Buffalo Lighthouse Association. But its charmless exterior belies its inner beauty, according to Johnston. “There’s a bit of surprise inside. The interior walls are lovely wood bead-board,” he said. “And it’s a lot roomier than you'd think.”

It’s also very sturdy, surviving a brush with a tug boat in 1909 and a lake freighter in 1910. In addition to the lighthouse, any would-be owner also will get a cast iron fog signal house and a modest, concrete lighthouse keeper’s quarters that has been turned into a utility shed.

Surplus lighthouses have found diverse new lives as museums, maritime study labs, private residences, restaurants and even vacation outposts. “There are a lot of great success stories. Many of them were in rough shape but have seen extensive renovations,” Miscione said.

The GSA works with the U. S. Department of Interior and the U. S. Parks Service to put unwanted lighthouses in public and private hands. Following guidelines dictated by the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act, it will give priority standing to groups proposing to use it for education, recreation, park, cultural or historic preservation purposes. If the lighthouse goes to private control, the new owner also will have to comply with preservation policies tied to the structure’s status on the National Register of Historic Places.

By virtue of their original purpose, most orphan lighthouses are geographically remote and utilitarian in style. The Buffalo Harbor South Entrance Light, as it is officially known, falls into both those categories. Johnston said his group will likely apply for control of the dormant harbor guardian and open it to the public. “We're in the lighthouse business, so it would be in good hands,” Johnston said.

The lighthouse group is best known for its work to restore the circa-1833 Buffalo Lighthouse, located on the Coast Guard station at the tip of Fuhrmann Boulevard. The group has raised some $400,000 to preserve that historic site.
Rep. Brian Higgins said he would prefer the South Buffalo Lighthouse be controlled by a nonprofit group than fall into private hands. “It’s a piece of Buffalo waterfront history, and it would be great if it could be treated as a public treasure,” said Higgins, D-Buffalo. “The lighthouse association has the experience and sense of history to do it right.” If the group makes its interest official, the acquisition process will be lengthy, perhaps taking 18 to 24 months.

The Maritime Activity Interyouth Network, a nonprofit marine education group that is the parent corporation of Seven Seas Sailing School, has previously expressed interest in gaining operating rights to the site. William Zimmerman, the network’s executive director, said he plans to talk with the lighthouse association about pooling resources.

If neither of the groups applies by the September deadline, the lighthouse could go up for bid this fall.

Currently, the GSA has four online lighthouse auctions in progress, including two off New York’s Staten Island. As of Friday, West Bank Lighthouse has a high bid of $195,000, while bidding for the Old Orchard Shoal Light Station stands at $135,000.
Bidding on two more lighthouses, including one in Cleveland, will open next month.

From the Buffalo News


Updates - August 28

News 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 August 28, 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, when the vessel 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 August 28, 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 August 28, 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 Report - August 27

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
The tug Sea Service with the barge Energy 6506 was at the B-P Dock loading cargo.
The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Docks has Canadian Transport due in Wednesday, John J. Boland on Thursday, Algosoo and Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin on Friday followed by the Herbert C. Jackson on Sunday.
The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock has the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin due in Thursday, Canadian Navigator on Friday followed by the CSL Assiniboine on Saturday.


Updates - August 27

News 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 August 27, 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. McKELLAR (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 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. McCURDY 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 August 27, 1924, CITY QUEEN (wooden propeller steam tug, 71 foot, 69 gross tons, built in 1900, at Midland, Ontario) burned to a total loss 14 miles east of the Manitou Dock in Georgian Bay.

The keel for the tug CRUSADER was laid on August 27, 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.


Workers need ID cards as port security tightens

8/26 - Duluth - In the seven years since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 the face of the Twin Ports waterfront has changed dramatically. Fences and gates confront visitors where they once had free and ready access to local docks.

Soon, even workers on the waterfront will find it tougher to gain access, as a new set of federal standards takes effect. The Transportation Worker Identification Credential program, commonly referred to as TWIC, requires sailors, dockworkers and others who need access to secured areas to undergo a background check and get credentialed before they can proceed with their jobs. The Twin Ports has until Oct. 31 to fully comply with TWIC. U.S. Coast Guard Cmdr. Michael Lebsack is optimistic the port will be ready.
He estimates that about 600 employees of local maritime facilities will be required to present the new federal credential to maintain access to secure areas of the port where they work. He figures that about 60 percent already have obtained TWIC cards. Duluth-Superior will be one of the first ports in the nation required to comply with the new security standards. Other Great Lakes ports on the fast track include Buffalo, N.Y.; Detroit; and Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.

Nationwide, 414,000 TWIC cards had been issued by the end of July, said Greg Soule, a spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration based in Arlington, Va. That equates to a little more than one-third of the 1.2 million cards that probably will be required for the program to be fully realized, he said. But much of the nation will have more time than the Twin Ports. Some have until as late as April 15, 2009, to comply with the new standards.

As of July 25, a TWIC card-processing center in Duluth had handled about 1,300 applications, Soule said. Many cards issued via the Duluth office have gone not only to locals but to people who work throughout the Great Lakes. Operators of docks and other marine facilities also will be required to beef up security measures to ensure TWIC compliance. Initially, this will involve setting up TWIC card checkpoints and establishing an escort system for people who lack the credential.

Fred Shusterich, president of Midwest Energy Resources Co., operator of the Great Lakes’ largest coal dock, believes his Superior facility is ready for the new standards, but one of the challenges involves not only internal operations but dealing with visitors. “We’re working to get our vendors to be compliant, too,” he said, noting that this can be a particularly tall order with the prospect of new and evolving supply lines.

The TWIC program does allow uncredentialed visitors to access secure areas but only when personally escorted by someone with proper clearance. “We have every intention of being compliant,” even if that requires providing escorts, Shusterich said. Shusterich fully expects his security expenses will go up as a result of TWIC, especially in providing escorts. Midwest will shoulder the expense of obtaining cards for all of its 90 employees. At $132.50 apiece, that will require an initial outlay of $11,925.

Lebsack said that security plans submitted by about one-third of the port’s facilities have successfully passed, and a number of other security plans are undergoing Coast Guard review. He believes that about 80 percent of the port’s facilities are well on their way toward being properly prepared. Soule called on workers and maritime facilities to plan ahead.

“We’re strongly encouraging any workers who will need TWIC cards to apply for them now,” he said. “We can’t afford to have a bum’s rush with everyone waiting until the end and trying to enroll at one time.”

Undue procrastination could cause problems for its future too, Soule pointed out. If applications aren’t adequately spaced, many cards could expire simultaneously, creating a new bottleneck in five years. The new cards include biometric identifiers to ensure a positive match with the cardholder. Data from an electronic thumbprint scan is installed on each card. Soule said the TSA expects to begin pilot-testing card readers to check thumbprints soon.

Although the Twin Ports won’t be part of that initial testing, Lebsack anticipates that a number of local maritime facilities eventually will be required to install card readers with biometric capabilities. For now, however, visual inspections of TWIC cards will suffice.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports - August 26

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Vessel action in the Twin Ports on Monday morning included welcome signs of life at local grain elevators. Vancouverborg was loading beet pulp pellets at the General Mills elevator in Duluth – so far this season the ports’ busiest elevator. In addition, Algonorth was loading at the Peavey elevator in Superior, one of the few vessels to load there since the elevator was sold to a holding company. Federal Yukon reportedly was due later in the day at the CHS elevator, which handled a couple ships last week after a very slow summer. Elsewhere, Edgar B. Speer was loading at CN Duluth ore dock, H. Lee White was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal, BBC Plata was unloading wind turbines at the Duluth port authority terminal, and American Fortitude was entering Duluth harbor to unload limestone and then shift to load coal for the power plant at Silver Bay, Minn.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
Herbert C. Jackson departed for Toledo at 10 p.m. Sunday night.
Karen A. Andrie and her barge A-387 were heading southbound out of the Black Rock Canal and out onto Lake Erie at approximately 9:30 a.m. Monday morning.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
The CCGC Limnos departed the Canada Centre for Inland Waters in Burlington at 3:30 p.m. and headed down Lake Ontario.
The Canadian Miner arrived in Hamilton at 6 p.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco. The Canadian Ranger followed at 8:30 p.m., going to Pier 10.


More small ships to ply Great Lakes next summer

8/26 - Cleveland - Here's some great news for lovers of the Great Lakes: Two small, high-end cruise ships - one new, the other newly refurbished - will make their debut next summer on the fresh-water waves of lakes Ontario, Erie, Huron, Michigan and Superior. "It'll be a great summer," said Chris Conlin, owner of the Great Lakes Cruise Co., an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based travel agency that specializes in Great Lakes cruises. "We have lots of choices that we haven't had before."

Among the options:
The Clelia II, an all-suite ship with room for 100 passengers, will sail seven-day itineraries between Toronto and Duluth, Minn., starting in late June. Ports of call include Niagara Falls, Ontario (via the Welland Canal); Mackinac Island, Mich.; Houghton, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula; and Thunder Bay, Ontario. All sailings will offer educational themes, with speakers and seminars on topics from the lakes' geology to the War of 1812. A golf theme is scheduled for late August; CBS News journalist Bill Geist is the guest lecturer on the inaugural sailing.

The ship, built in 1990 for Renaissance Cruises (which went bankrupt in 2001), was most recently used as a private yacht. Travel Dynamics International, a small, high-end cruise company based in New York, purchased the ship early this year.

Seven-day itineraries start at $5,595 and up per person.

The Pearl Mist, the still-under-construction inaugural ship from new company Pearl Seas Cruises, features 108 suites, all with private balconies. The ship will sail one 10-night and one 11-night cruise between Toronto and Chicago in June and July. Ports of call include Windsor, Ontario; Mackinac Island, Mich.; and Manitoulin Island, Ontario. Prices start at $5,605 for the 10-night sailing.

The ship, which has experienced numerous construction delays and was supposed to begin sailing this year, should be ready by early 2009, according to company spokeswoman Laura Oncea. Pearl Seas will likely add more Great Lakes itineraries in 2010, she said, based on already brisk sales for next year.

A third small ship, the 100-passenger Grande Mariner - which was the only ship on the Great Lakes this summer - will continue to offer several six-night summer cruises in Lake Michigan in 2009, starting and ending in Chicago. Prices start at $1,725 per person. The addition of the Clelia II and the Pearl Mist come a year after the Germany company Hapag-Lloyd Cruises pulled its popular Columbus from the Great Lakes, in part because of declining water levels. The 423-passenger ship, larger by far than other recent ships in the region, is now sailing in Europe (though a spokeswoman for the company doesn't rule out an eventual return to the Great Lakes).

The water levels, which have rebounded this year thanks to above-average rain and snowfall, shouldn't be a problem for the new ships, according to Conlin, because these boats are smaller and built for tight spaces like the Welland Canal, which connects lakes Ontario and Erie.

"You want to be able to go through the locks and not lose lifeboats that are sticking out," joked Conlin.

Conlin expects the new cruises to appeal to mature, veteran travelers who are looking for new, safe, easy-to-reach destinations.

George Papagapitos, president of Travel Dynamics, called the Great Lakes one of the most overlooked and underestimated cruise destinations. "Half a century ago, the Great Lakes cruises were the prime destination for North Americans' holidays," said Papagapitos.
Conlin is particularly pleased that the Clelia II will sail all summer in the Great Lakes, unlike the Columbus and others that came in for just a few weeks in the early fall.

Also unlike the Columbus, which attracted a largely European clientele, the new ships likely will be filled with primarily Americans and Canadians, according to Conlin.

Oncea, with Pearl Seas, said many prospective passengers are sailors themselves, and already familiar with the Great Lakes. "The history and the culture of the region are unique," she said. "We are confident we will be very successful in this destination."

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer


Updates - August 26

News Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - August 26

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

On August 26,1872, 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 McNAIR was launched at the Lee & Lamoree shipyard in Oswego, New York, on August 26,1857. 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,, 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.


John Sherwin tow reaches Sturgeon Bay

8/25- Sturgeon Bay - The long-idle steamer John Sherwin arrived at Bay Shipbuilding Co., Sturgeon Bay, Wisc., early Sunday morning in tow of the tug John Selvick, which took the Interlake Steamship Co. vessel from Chicago on Friday.

According to Interlake Steamship Co. officials, a decision will be made soon on whether to refurbish the vessel, laid up since 1981, and return her to service. Among options on the table are a conversion to a self-unloader and repowering.

The Sherwin was built in 1958 at the American Ship Building Co., Lorain, Ohio. She was lengthened 96 feet, to 810 feet long, in 1973.

Photos in the News Photo Gallery.


Port Reports - August 25

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
At 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, the Karen Andrie was pushing her barge A-397 thru the North Entrance heading for the Black Rock Canal.
The Grande Mariner came in the North Entrance and is docked at the Erie Basin.

Port Dalhousie Anchorage - David Bull
Two ships were anchored off Port Dalhousie on Saturday. The tanker Clipper Legend was waiting for a refinery on the north shore of Lake Ontario and took the opportunity to refuel from the bunkering tanker Hamilton Energy which travelled from Hamilton. About a mile to the east, Beluga Fighter arrived from delivering windmill parts at Ogdensburg. While anchored the crew reconfigured her holds and bulkheads before beginning a trip to Duluth to load grain.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
After a weekend stay, the tall ship Highlander Sea departed the Saginaw River late Sunday headed for the lake. The trimaran, Earth Voyager, departed Saturday night, with the Pride of Baltimore II remaining on the Saginaw River Sunday night.


Cleveland-Cliffs' plan to acquire coal company may fall apart

8/25 - Duluth - Cleveland-Cliffs Inc.’s $10 billion plan to purchase Alpha Natural Resources could be in danger of falling apart, due largely to the activities of a hedge fund led by Chisholm native Phil Falcone.

Falcone manages Harbinger Capital Partners, a New York-based hedge fund known for playing an active role in forcing change upon the companies in which it invests. The fund has publicly opposed the Alpha purchase, and Falcone has suggested shareholders might instead be better served by the outright sale of Cleveland-Cliffs to another company. With a 15.6 percent stake in Cleveland-Cliffs, Harbinger is the company’s largest single shareholder. And it’s looking to buy up more stock.

Last week, the fund notified Cleveland-Cliffs that it would seek authorization from fellow shareholders to acquire up to one-third of the company’s outstanding stock. Under an Ohio law designed to protect companies from hostile takeovers, Harbinger will need a majority of shareholders to support the move to purchase 20 percent or more of Cliff’s outstanding shares.

On Friday, Cleveland-Cliffs argued in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that if shareholders during a meeting Oct. 3 grant Harbinger the freedom to purchase the stock, it could ultimately harm the company. Cleveland-Cliffs has a massive presence in the Northland, operating three Iron Range mines: Northshore Mining Co., United Taconite Co. and Hibbing Taconite Co. “The Cleveland-Cliffs board of directors believes that this level of ownership by Harbinger would provide the firm with disproportional influence and control over corporate policy and Cleveland-Cliffs’ strategic plan,” Cleveland-Cliffs officials wrote.

If Harbinger were to obtain a one-third stake in Cleveland-Cliffs, it likely would be in a position to almost single-handedly block the Alpha acquisition, as the deal must garner the support of shareholders controlling at least two-thirds of the company’s equity in order to proceed. A shareholder who doesn’t vote is counted as one opposed to the acquisition.

Tony Robson, a steel industry analyst for BMO Capital Markets, said if Harbinger should succeed in its efforts to take a larger equity position in Cleveland-Cliffs, it likely will increase the odds of a third party taking over the company, in accordance with Falcone’s stated wishes. Cleveland-Cliffs officials are strongly urging shareholders not to give the hedge fund permission to buy the additional stock, warning that this move by Harbinger could freeze out the majority of the shareholders from future company decisions as well, beyond the Alpha Natural Resources deal.

“Cleveland-Cliffs board of directors considered that shareholders could be prevented from participating in any future strategic transactions involving Cleveland-Cliffs, including a sale of Cleveland-Cliffs or a significant part of its assets or capital stock, as well as acquisitions or mergers requiring shareholder approval, if Harbinger opposes such a transaction,” officials said.

Falcone recently told the Wall Street Journal the company likely could fetch $130 per share or more if it would entertain buyout offers. Quite a premium considering the fact that at the close the New York Stock Exchange Friday, Cleveland-Cliffs closed at $99.37 per share. The value of Cleveland-Cliffs has shot up sharply the past five years. In August 2003, the company traded for only $2.79 per share. To put that in perspective, the purchase of 100 shares for $279 then would be worth $9,937 today.

Even if Harbinger’s bid to buy more stock fails, Cleveland-Cliff’s management may be hard pressed to pull off its acquisition of Alpha. “In our view, the bid for Alpha will be difficult to get over the line, given Harbinger’s opposition,” analyst Robson said. He said Harbinger likely has lined up some supporters, including investors who prefer to see the company more narrowly focused on iron rather than diversifying into coal as it would through the purchase of Alpha Resources. “I would expect that probably the deal would fail if a vote were held today,” Robson said.

Were Cleveland-Cliff’s shareholders to reject the purchase of Alpha, the snubbed partner likely would collect a $100 million termination fee from its former suitor, thanks to a provision in the companies’ merger agreement. Alpha, based in Abingdon, Va., is one of the nation’s largest suppliers of Appalachian coal to the steel industry.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Grand Marais losing its lifeline
Town's harbor fills up with silt, putting its economy, boaters in peril

8/25 - Grand Marais, MI -- When they look into the blue water of their harbor, residents of this picturesque village along the rugged shore of Lake Superior see something is going desperately wrong, a worsening situation that threatens the community's existence. The scenic harbor is disappearing before their eyes, as the equivalent of 6,000 semitrailer loads of sand and silt pour into it each year.

A 5,770-foot-long timber pile breakwall, built in the late 1890s to keep the harbor clear of sand and silt, disintegrated long ago due to neglect, and the federal government has failed to fix it. "Unless we do something, we've got three to five years until this harbor is gone," said Jack Hubbard, supervisor of Burt Township, which includes Grand Marais, a village whose economy depends on tourism. "We screamed and hollered about this for 50 years, and no one does anything. Keeping this harbor viable should be a no-brainer."

The Upper Peninsula harbor's importance was recognized by Congress as far back as 1880, when it declared it a federal "Harbor of Refuge" that can be counted on to provide quick shelter to ships when violent storms suddenly kick up. But northeast winds are dragging about 100,000 cubic yards of sand and silt into the harbor annually. The East Bay is no longer hospitable to boats. Now the West Bay faces the same fate: Its maximum depth has dropped steadily from 55 feet a few decades ago to 20 feet today. Some sections are 4 feet deep -- too shallow for some recreational boats.

Despite efforts by U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit, and others, the federal government has been unwilling to come up with enough money to build a new wall to keep nature's forces at bay. To hear the locals tell it, if the harbor goes, so does the tourism that is the quaint town's lifeblood. There are no fast-food chains or boutique coffee shops along the harbor. But you can get a cone at the Lickety Split ice cream shop or stop by the Lake Superior Brewing Co. to quench your thirst or the Sportsman Restaurant for a dynamite breakfast.

Safety is also a huge concern, said William Boik, planning unit manager with the Michigan Waterways Commission, which oversees recreational harbors. Grand Marais is the only harbor of refuge along the 90-mile shore of Lake Superior between Munising and Whitefish Point. Over the years, it's earned the nickname "Shipwreck Coast." It was near here on the night of Nov. 10, 1975, when a vicious storm whipped up 45-knot winds and 30-foot waves and sank the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald, a 729-foot-long freighter bound for Detroit. All 29 crew members perished.

"It's a long, very treacherous stretch of water, and that harbor is very important to us," Boik said. "We support Grand Marais in its efforts to have the federal government rebuild the wall. If nothing is done, there will be a real impact."

Grand Marais, 400 miles northwest of Detroit, got its name from the French who came upon the deep harbor in the 1660s. It means large swamp or marsh. The town was established in the 1860s by the flourishing fishing and timber industries. In 1883, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers began construction of two parallel jetties to provide a channel into the harbor, to serve the growing commerce. A short time later, the 5,770-foot-long timber pile dike was constructed. The corps maintained the breakwall until 1943, when World War II permanently halted the effort.

Building a new breakwall today would cost between $6 million and $32 million, depending on its configuration. In 1999, Congress authorized $50,000 to study the erosion problems in the harbor and in the years since has appropriated about $1.5 million for the project -- not enough for the corps to begin work.

Wayne Schloop, chief of operations for the Detroit District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which includes the Upper Peninsula, said that although a new breakwall is needed, "it's difficult for me to forecast in the present economic environment when Congress might appropriate enough money to construct one." Schloop said the latest plan is for a wall of 2,500 feet (less than half the length of the original) for $6 million to $8 million.

Levin has been pushing for years to win federal funding for a wall and concedes it's a slow process. "While the tourism industry has replaced the once-booming lumber trade, walls of sand filtering undeterred into the harbor jeopardize both the economic sustainability and commercial/recreational boating safety of this area," he said in a statement. "I have and will continue to work to secure funding for Grand Marais and other shallow draft harbors in Michigan, but this will be a long-term effort."
A man on a mission

From the Detroit News


Updates - August 25

News 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 Mc Louth 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.


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 McCULLOUGH 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.


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.


John Sherwin tow update

8/24 - 10:30 p.m. - The tow of the John Sherwin from her lay up dock in Chicago to Bay Shipbuilding, in Sturgeon Bay, continued Saturday as the tow passed through Death's Door, into Green Bay, at 4 p.m. The tug John Selvick towed the Sherwin from Chicago on Friday for the trip up Lake Michigan.

The tow is expected to arrive in Sturgeon Bay early Sunday morning.


110-year-old freighter is bound for the scrap yard

8/24 - Saginaw - Perhaps no one is closer to the E. M. Ford - believed to be the oldest Great Lakes freighter still afloat - than Tom Daleski.

Daleski, after all, lives on the 110-year-old vessel headed for the scrap yard this year or next. His father, James Daleski of Alpena, once served as captain of the boat sitting at the Lafarge North America cement plant in Saginaw County's Carrollton Township. "It's one of a kind," said Tom Daleski, 44, who resides aboard the cement hauler - which has sat for 12 years in the Saginaw River as a storage vessel for powdered cement. "There's not another one like this in the world; there just ain't," Daleski said. "The engine's original, built in 1897."

Someday soon, though, officials with Lafarge - the boat's owner - say the boat will make its final voyage on the Great Lakes, on its way to a scrap yard. "There's a very good possibility the boat will go to scrap this year, and if not, it will for sure go to scrap in May of 2009," said Mark Thomas, vessel operations manager at Lafarge North America's office in Bingham Farms in Oakland County.

Thomas said Lafarge pays Inland Lakes Management Inc. of Alpena - Tom Daleski's employer - to operate the 428-foot-long vessel's machines and equipment. "Freighters will come into the river and fill the E. M. Ford up with (powdered) cement, and as the Lafarge plant needs cement in its silos, I'll fire up the Ford's big diesel generator and that powers up the boat's unloading equipment," Daleski said. "As the silos get low, I fill them up with the cement."

Thomas said Daleski keeps the E.M. Ford clean, operates its machinery and provides security for the freighter. Daleski, who has lived on the boat for about two years, became emotional when told of Lafarge's decision to scrap the historic freighter. "Oh my God, I just feel bad about it," Daleski said. "I was on this boat when I was 5 years old and this was my dad's first captain's job. I used to spend half my summers on this thing with my dad."

Freighter lovers, however, may value the boat more for what's inside the vessel, built by the Cleveland Cliffs Steamship Co. "It has a 1,500-hsp quadruple-expansion steam engine - that's what all of the boat nerds are going to remember about it," Thomas said. "For it to be built in 1898 and to have that much horsepower, was impressive. That allowed it to have speeds of 13 mph." Workers in Cleveland built the boat, formerly known as the Presque Isle, as a bulk ore carrier and it later was converted to a self-unloading cement carrier, Thomas said. The ship was rechristened as the E.M. Ford in 1956, he said.

Freighter-watcher David J. Story, 49, of Bay City, called the pending loss of the E. M. Ford "a real tragedy." The late Bob Brissette of Bay City served as one of the Ford's last captains, Story said. While the E.M. Ford is small among today's lake boats, "when it was put into service it had to share the shipping lanes with wooden sailing ships hauling cargoes of all types," Story said. "James Davidson built the largest wooden ships on the lakes in that era in West Bay City, and his biggest one was slightly more than 300 feet long. The E. M. Ford wasn't the first steel-hulled freighter, but it was 428 feet long. "This thing was like a monster going by, and it turned heads."

Shirley A. Hohnke, 68, still admires the E. M. Ford, sitting in a lawn chair in the front yard of her home at 3461 Kent St., near the river in Carrollton Township. While Tom Daleski lives alone on the vessel, Hohnke said a family lived on the boat a number of years ago. "The kids would leave the boat and walk by with their backpacks, on their way to school," Hohnke said. "The boat is a nice part of our neighborhood."

While several museums around the Great Lakes feature retired freighters for public tours, Story said "none of those ships are historically as significant as the E. M. Ford, which has the only quadruple-expansion steam engine left, other than one that might be at the bottom of a lake someplace." Thomas, of Lafarge North America, said Lafarge employees have spent about nine months trying to find a historical group to take the E. M. Ford, but without success. "We've researched with all the major museums, including the Smithsonian Institution, and there is no historical society out there in North America that we could possibly donate the ship to," Thomas said. "It would take a lot of money to make that ship worthy of bringing people on it. It's not a place I would bring children. It's a cement-transporting vessel, not a luxury liner."

From the Bay City Times


Port Reports - August 24

Marquette - Lee Rowe and Rod Burdick
Busy times in Marquette had the Mesabi Miner in Friday unloading coal, the Canadian Leader and Michipicoten in on Saturday taking on ore, and the barge Great Lakes Trader and tug Joyce VanEnkevort at the lower harbor with stone. Michipicoten was being loaded with taconite, but Canadian Leader appeared to have a delay. Leader's visit was her third straight to Marquette. The tugs Billmaier and Hammond Bay are working with the crane barge H J Schwartz and barge to place rocks on the lower harbor breakwall and have been here several days. The Keweenaw Star is also in Marquette for a few days doing tours of the harbor as part of Maritime Month.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Gregory J. Busch and barge STC2004 were inbound the Saginaw River early Friday morning stopping at the Saginaw Rock Products dock in Saginaw. The Manistee was inbound late Friday evening, calling on the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee to unload. She was expected to be outbound early Saturday morning.

St. Lawrence Seaway - Bruno Boissonneault
Commodore Straits was scheduled to leave Trois-Rivières on Saturday for Bay Roberts, NF most likely to pick-up the derelict Latvian trawlers laid-up there.
Dutch Runner proceeded up to Pointe-aux-Trembles anchorage for crew change after her recent voyage to Iqaluit under charter to Desgagnes. The vessel is expected to load containers in the next few days for Halifax.
Yankcanuck made two round trips Hamilton-Quebec City to deliver steel slabs that are being loaded on Anton Topic at Wolfe's Cove terminal. The latter ship has a 30.4 meter beam and is therefore too wide for the locks. She is supposed to leave on August 24 for Thailand with the slabs.
William J. Moore and McCleary's Spirit will spend the next few days shuttling various petroleum grades from the Ultramar Reffinery in St-Romuald to the Quebec side of the river.

Marinette/Menominee - Scott Best
Friday evening the Tug Erika Kobasic and Nickelena departed with another set of INLS craft from Marinette Marine. Each tug departed separately and was towing three INLS, they headed off towards Sturgeon Bay and the Ship Canal as a short cut to head back down Lake Michigan. Basic Marine's tug Krystal is also still in port tied up with the barge Greenstone at the former fish tug dock.


Burger Boat Gets $2.9m Assistance

8/24 - Manitowoc - Governor Jim Doyle announced a nearly $2.9M project that will support improvements to the Burger Boat Company's facility at the Port of Manitowoc. The award is positioned to spur economic growth in the city of Manitowoc and the surrounding area.

The Burger Boat Company is a valued partner in Wisconsin's economy, and a valued part of Wisconsin's history," Governor Dole said. "I am pleased to provide assistance for this project will benefit the Burger Boat Company, and the economy of the region and the entire state."

Burger Boat Company will receive $2,304,102 for the project from the state's Harbor Assistance Program and the company will provide the 20 percent match, $576,026. The Burger Boat project involves dock rehabilitation , dredging, and paving of the boatyard to provide safe access to a recently launch well. The improvements will facilitate meeting current production and delivery demands.

Created in 1979, Wisconsin's Harbor Assistance Program helps harbor communities maintain and improve waterborne commerce. Projects typically involve dock reconstruction, mooring structure replacement, dredging, and the construction of facilities to hold dredged material. Since the program began, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) has administered over $61M in matching funds.

Reported by Al Jackman from the Marine News



Updates - August 24

News Photo Gallery updated


Coast Guard near rule on ship “sweepings’

8/23 - Duluth - Minnesota officials call it a dirty practice that’s fouling Lake Superior, but ships carrying coal and taconite likely will continue “sweeping’’ small amounts of residual cargo into the Great Lakes. The U.S. Coast Guard is about to approve a new regulation giving Great Lakes freighters a permanent pass on sweeping some 2 million pounds of bulk cargo residue overboard each year.

The Coast Guard is expected to post its final environmental impact statement on cargo sweepings Friday in the Federal Register, triggering a 30-day comment period on the agency’s environmental review of the regulation. A final regulation, called a record of decision, could come from the Coast Guard by late September.

U.S. laws and an international treaty prohibit ships from dumping waste into the Great Lakes or within 12 miles of shore in the ocean. But Congress in 1993 approved a temporary exemption continuing the practice of sweeping excess taconite pellets, coal and limestone into the Great Lakes. In 2004, after a series of temporary exemptions, Congress extended the sweepings exemption through Sept. 30, 2008, and ordered the Coast Guard to study the issue and come up with a permanent plan. The agency is scrambling to get a regulation in place by that deadline. If a permanent rule isn’t in place by Sept. 30, the Coast Guard technically would be required to fine Great Lakes ships for dumping any material into the lake.

Lt. Heather St. Pierre of the Coast Guard’s Environmental Standards Division said the agency’s goal is to have a final rule in place by the deadline, but said she couldn’t comment on whether that would happen in time or whether any enforce-ment would actually occur if not.

Great Lakes ship crews for at least 70 years have been “sweeping’’ or washing leftover bulk material overboard to keep from contaminating future loads of other materials and to keep their decks and equipment clean. Shipping companies say they can’t operate without sweeping their ships and that regulations to dispose of the materials on land would be too costly. The Coast Guard agrees, saying on-land dumping of sweepings would cost the industry about $35 million annually, or about $15,000 per trip, and not prevent any serious pollution threat.

The agency is proposing a regulation that would continue the exception permanently. The proposed regulation would require ships, for the first time, to keep track of how much material they dump overboard. And it expands protected areas where ships are not allowed to dump.

The Coast Guard says its review concluded the materials washed overboard are mostly benign, although opponents say they may contain mercury and other heavy metals and simply shouldn’t be allowed to pile up on the lake bottoms. Ship owners claim the amount of cargo washed overboard is harmless and just a small fraction of the 165 million tons of cargo shipped on the lakes each year. “The amount of dry cargo residue being washed down is truly minute,’’ said James H.I. Weakley, president of the Cleve-land-based Lake Carriers Association, in comments to the Coast Guard. The group represents 63 U.S. freighters.

State officials in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota are on record opposing the exemption that allows sweepings. And some have raised the possibility of challenging the new Coast Guard rule, saying it violates state and federal laws. “We believe there are definite inconsistencies in what the Coast Guard is proposing and what the law says,’’ Paul Eger, assistant commissioner of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, told the News Tribune. “We’ll have to wait and see what the final proposal is and take it from there.’’

Eger’s official comments to the Coast Guard cast doubts on the agency’s claim that the materials washed off ships sink quickly and do not harm water quality, saying bits of coal have washed up on the sands of Park Point. “This coal did not dissolve or dissipate in the waters of the lake, but instead floated and accumulated along the beach in Duluth,’’ Eger said. In comments to the Coast Guard, Pennsylvania called for mandatory on-land disposal of the waste. And Michigan officials say they didn’t even know of the practice until 2006. The sweepings “appear to be in violation of Michigan's Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act’’ state officials said.

Several environmental groups joined forces to oppose the new regulation, saying the Coast Guard's own studies found the practice violates federal law on dumping.

The Coast Guard expects to publish its final environmental impact statement for its proposed regulation on Great Lakes ship “sweepings’’ in today’s Federal Register. That begins a 30-day period to comment on the environmental review. (The public comment period on the actual regulation ended last month. To see the rule, review the environmental impact statement or to submit a comment on the environmental review visit  click simple search, enter docket number USCG-2004-19621.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports - August 23

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Algoway was inbound Thursday morning calling on the Buena Vista dock in Saginaw to unload. She was outbound during the evening. The tug Barbara Andrie was inbound Thursday night calling on the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City. She was expected to be outbound Friday morning.
Also arriving on the Saginaw River was the sail training ship Pride of Baltimore II who called on the dock in Wenona Park and will be open for tours through the weekend. The Highlander Sea is also expected to arrive on Friday.

Menominee - Scott Best and Dick Lund
Friday evening the Tug Erika Kobasic and Nickelena departed with another set of INLS craft from Marinette Marine. Each tug departed seperatly and was towing 3 INLS, they headed off towards Sturgeon Bay and the Ship Canal as a short cut to head back down Lake Michigan. Basic Marine's tug Krystal is also still in port tied up with the barge Greenstone at the former fish tug dock.

Rochester - Tom Brewer
After being unable to get into Rochester for over a year due to lack of dredging the Genesee River the Stephan B. Roman arrived at Rochester Friday morning and made it up the river to Essroc's Dock. The Metis has been returned to Toronto to be used for storage.

Calumet River - Tom Milton
At 12 noon Friday, the Atlantic Erie was at KCBX and the John Sherwin was in the storage slip, riding high, with the anchors in the pockets and the pilot house window covers removed.


Container shipping terminal remains possibility for Toledo

8/23 - Toledo - The possibility of a new cargo container-shipping facility located in the Port of Toledo came one step closer because of an agreement with Melford International Terminal, the Canadian company planning the Atlantic Gateway Initiative project in Nova Scotia. The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, UT and Midwest Terminals Inc. and Melford entered into the strategic collaboration agreement in support of the development of a marine container trans-shipment terminal in the Port of Toledo.

The agreement does not guarantee Toledo will be the site of the container-shipping terminal on the Great Lakes, but the port remains in consideration for the facility as plans continue for Melford's international terminal on the Strait of Canso in Nova Scotia.

“Toledo is one of several strategic ports for a container-shipping terminal and intermodal logistics park,” said Melford CEO Bob Stevens. “We don't like to think of it as a competition, but an opportunity for several potential distribution sites on the Great Lakes and Toledo is certainly one of them.” Other Great Lakes ports that could support such a container terminal include Buffalo, N.Y., Erie, Pa., Cleveland and Detroit, according to port authority officials. Toronto and Montreal are potential ports in Canada, according to Melford.

Stevens said Toledo is strategic for a number of reasons that include its existing intermodal distribution network of seaport, air, rail and highway transportation, a manufacturing base and exporters looking to ship products overseas. “You should have your own market for such a facility,” Stevens said about Toledo. “The Port of Toledo has the largest land mass and is the only port on the lower Great Lakes that could handle the additional container shipping terminal,” said Paul Toth, interim president of the port authority.

The port authority owns 230 acres of waterfront land comprised of the former Chevron and Toledo Coke properties. It's currently taking bids for the road, water and sewer infrastructure needed for development, Toth said. “The port has been involved in intermodal transportation moving goods from one form to another for nearly 100 years,” he said.

“Toledo is the crossroads of the Great Lakes, and the port authority has worked hard to make the Port of Toledo a world-class port and to develop this relationship with Melford,” said U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, who made the initial contact with Melford executives in Washington, D.C. Kaptur said the project could bring hundreds of jobs needed to move products from one form of transportation to another through an intermodal terminal in the port. “It could make our port more successful and allow us to have one of the most modern shipping facilities in the country,” she said.

“This is an exciting project that is a great opportunity for Toledo,” said Paul Martin, Melford president. “It's time for Toledo to take advantage of its strategic location for the intermodal distribution of goods.” Melford is planning a deep-water container shipping terminal and logistics park on the Strait of Canso that leads into the St. Lawrence Seaway from the Atlantic Ocean. The strait contains a 150-foot-deep shipping channel to accommodate the larger cargo vessels now carrying goods from Asia to North America.

The $400 million privately funded investment in the deep-water port is supported by the increasing number of containers being shipped to East Coast ports that are saturated beyond capacity, Martin said. The project will be located on 315 acres of a 14,000-acre industrial reserve owned by the government of Nova Scotia. Melford already owns the 315-acre site and plans to purchase an additional 1,800 acres later this year.

Stevens said Melford expects to begin construction in the spring of 2009 and open the terminal in the first or second quarter of 2011. It wants to have Great Lakes ports ready to receive container shipments at that time, he said.

From the Toledo Free Press


Welland Canal's nerve centre

8/23 - Thorold - When massive lakers like the Robert S. Pierson and CSL Laurentien are cruising through the Welland Canal, it takes more than a mile for them to stop.

It's one of the reasons the Allanburg lift bridge over the canal stays up longer than the Glendale bridge. Vessels move faster in that straightaway stretch than they do on other sections of the canal that connects Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. It means the Allanburg bridge has to be up longer, because a ship would need more time to stop if there were a problem, says John Chalmers, operations support co-ordinator for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. It's just one aspect of the intimate knowledge controllers need to know to keep ship traffic moving quickly and safely through the Welland Canal, he said.

A small group of controllers works around the clock, managing the eight locks that overcome the difference in elevation between Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. They work at the Seaway's headquarters on Glendale Avenue, a two-story, brown brick office building on the west side of the canal. "We call it the brain of the organization," said Alvina Ghirardi, the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp.'s operations manager. "You have a multitude of functions that are performed in that operations centre. It's a highly technical environment."

At any given time, there are five people working in the control room at the seaway's headquarters. They spend 12-hour shifts in a darkened room watching seven computer monitors each. Four big screens across the front of the control room show a map of the Welland Canal from Port Weller in the north to Port Colborne in the south. Every vessel working its way through the canal appears on the screens. Upbound traffic is in blue, downbound traffic is shown in yellow.

Red chevrons on the screen indicate where gates on each of the canal's eight locks are closed. Red bars show when the seven lift bridges are down. After a controller lifts a bridge, it turns to white. "We all are showing real-time information as far as ships are concerned," Chalmers said.

Not only do controllers manage the movement of ships and lift bridges on the canal, they're responsible for security, using a network of closed-circuit cameras along seaway property. The operations centre is also the canal's emergency response centre in the event of a fire or other emergency aboard a ship. And one controller is responsible for deploying the seaway company's employees where they need to be.

It takes a crew of three people to see a vessel through a lock. "It's really the hub in terms of the communication aspect of the seaway," Ghirardi said.

In total, there are are 240 people working for the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp., the not-for-profit company contracted by Transport Canada to manage the Welland Canal. The company is responsible for the middle portion of the Great Lakes- St. Lawrence Seaway, including ships between Turkey Point on Lake Erie to the middle of Lake Ontario.

The coast guard oversees seaway management from Long Point west to Thunder Bay at the head of Lake Superior. An American company, the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., manages the lower portion of the seaway from the middle of Lake Ontario to Montreal. "What we're striving for, as a corporation, is to get ships through in 12.5 hours or less 90 per cent of the time," said Chalmers. Ship captains can count on getting through the Welland Canal in that period of time about 84 per cent of the time. On average, it takes 11 hours for a ship to travel through the canal.

In 2007, there were 3,671 transits of the Welland Canal. So far in 2008, there have been 1,974 transits. That's down slightly from last year, when there were 1,990 by the end of July. All that traffic occurs in the three-quarters of the year the canal is open. It's usually closed from late December to late March. The tonnage of cargo going through the canal can change from year to year based on economic conditions.

The amount of steel being shipped through the canal has dropped because of the slower economic growth in North America this year. But other cargoes have increased. Manufacturers of wind turbines, for example, prefer to send their parts aboard ships, said Bruce Hodgson, the seaway's market development director.

From the Welland Tribune


Duluth lighthouse for sale, with some strings attached

8/23 - Duluth - For sale: Prime waterfront property, centrally located with spectacular views of Lake Superior, Park Point, Canal Park and the Lift Bridge. The catch? A list of restrictions and requirements — including agreeing to maintain the structure’s historic designation and allowing unrestricted government access.

The federal government is putting the light tower next to the Aerial Lift Bridge on Duluth’s south breakwater on the auction block Sept. 16. Registration requires a $5,000 deposit, and bids will increase in $5,000 increments. The federal government’s General Services Administration will set the auction’s end date once bidding slows. “I think we’ll just keep it up there and keep marketing it until someone comes forth,” Arthur Ullenberg of the GSA said.

The federal government decided last year that it no longer needs the 107-year-old light, a relic of the time before radio, radar and GPS. The government made the tower available at no cost to any qualifying government agency, nonprofit, school or community development organization willing to use it for educational, recreational or historic preservation purposes. But with no takers, the U.S. General Services Administration decided to put it on the auction block. “This is the next and final step in the process,” Ullenberg said.

The structure, properly called the “Duluth Harbor South Breakwater Inner Light Tower,” will come with many strings. The property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and a new owner must maintain the structure’s historic designation and conduct a photographic survey. The owner must get a lease from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers before the property is transferred. The winning bidder must obtain written approval from the government before making any alterations or improvements to the property. And the Coast Guard would reserve an unrestricted right to enter the structure to service, replace or move the still-operating aids to navigation. “Outside of that, it’s yours,” Ullenberg said.

In addition, the structure may contain lead-based paint and asbestos. But the views would be spectacular. The tower is 67 feet tall, its white, iron lantern room supported by a black steel framework and a central cylinder housing a cast-iron cylindrical stair. The tower’s light was first lit in 1901. “It is a historic light,” said Dennis Gimmestad of the Minnesota Historical Society. “Hopefully it will find a new owner who has both the interest and ability to take care of it and respect its historic integrity.”

Registered bidders in good physical condition who have signed a liability waiver can inspect the lighthouse from 5 to 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 11. More information on the structure, auction details and sale conditions can be found at

From The Duluth News Tribune


Updates - August 23

News Photo Gallery updated


Port Reports - August 22

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Federal Seto arrived at CHS grain terminal Thursday morning with assistance from two tugs from Great Lakes Towing. Coming on the heels of the Herbert C. Jackson’s visit on Wednesday, the saltie was a welcome sight during a summer that has seen a significant drop in grain shipments.
Elsewhere, Paul R. Tregurtha arrived early, fueled and then began loading at Midwest Energy Terminal, American Mariner was loading at the CN Duluth ore dock, Burns Harbor was loading at BNSF ore dock, with the Halifax and Edward L. Ryerson to follow, and USCGC Alder departed Fraser Shipyards following its four-year inspection and proceeded onto the lake for several hours of sea trials.

Toronto - Dave Robinson
The Siemen's exhibition barge, Exiderdome 1, and tug Ivory Coast, were tied up at the old Rochester ferry slip.
Olympic Mentor looked to be almost empty at Redpath's, she will likely depart shortly.


Green Bay ATON analysis

8/22 - Green Bay - The CGC Mobile Bay is conducting a review of aids to navigation in both Green Bay Harbor entrance and Northern Green Bay/Big Bay De Noc. The Coast Guard is currently developing a list of users of this waterway, and would like to know which lakers frequent Escanaba/Green Bay.

Anyone with information on laker traffic in these two ports or anyone wishing to participate in the survey portion of the analysis can email


Detroit River Light Shipping Excursion and Gathering
 Set for October 11

Co-sponsored by and Diamond Jack's River Tours, a special five-hour voyage aboard the Diamond Belle will leave from Bishop Park in Wyandot at 10:00 am., Saturday, October 11.

The Diamond Belle will travel down the Detroit River shipping channels all the way to the Detroit River Light in Lake Erie.

Cost is only $75.00 per person and includes buffet luncheon on board. Reservations are required.

Click here for reservation form.


Updates - August 22

News Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - August 22

On August 22 , 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 ROBERT 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 August 22, 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 August 22, 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 August 22, 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 a.m. and sank in six 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 September 28. 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.


John Sherwin tow update

8/21 - 5 p.m. - According to Basic Marine, their tug Erika Kobasic and another tug are with the John Sherwin in Chicago. They just are not sure when the tow to Sturgeon Bay will begin

Reported by Dan McNeil


Port Reports - August 21

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Herbert C. Jackson was at the CHS grain terminal on Wednesday morning preparing to load. At Fraser Shipyards, the drydock containing USCGC Alder has been flooded and the vessel appears to be ready to come out of the dock. Midwest Energy Terminal’s dock was empty in the morning, but Indiana Harbor and Mesabi Miner were both due there later in the day.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The tug Susan W. Hannah and barge St. Mary's Conquest came into port with a load of cement for the St. Mary's Cement Terminal in Ferrysburg early Wednesday afternoon. She was still unloading at 7 p.m.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
On Wednesday, American Fortitude was at General Mills, and H. Lee White was at Gateway Metroport.

Holland - Bob VandeVusse
The Manitowoc delivered a cargo of stone to the Verplank dock in Holland on Wednesday, arriving at about 11 a.m. and departing about 4:30 p.m.


Tug crew pays tribute to Edna G.

8/21 - Two Harbors - Those passing through the Two Harbors waterfront last Saturday may have done a double take at what may first have appeared to be a mirror image of the Edna G. Actually, the vessel that was travelling across Agate Bay was a diesel-powered 87-foot tug painted in identical colors as the Edna G. and owned by Mike, Patrick and Vincent Ojard.

Mike Ojard, Knife River, was captaining the tug Edward H. at the time, and he dropped into the harbor to pay tribute to the Edna G. with a Captain's salute, which was returned by the Edna G. Ojard's father, Edward Harvey Ojard was chief engineer on the Edna G. for many years and Mike's uncle, Adolph Ojard, was captain for many years.

The Edward H., named for Ojard’s father, was acquired by the family last fall as the retired U.S. Army Corps of Engineers tug, Forney, and was extensively upgraded for commercial tugging over the winter months. It works out of the Twin Ports. Ojard said he duplicated the color scheme of the Edna G., out of nostalgia for the old tug, which was built in 1896 and is operated as a marine museum by the Lake County Historical Society, The Ojard's tug service operates as Heritage Marine.

From the Lake County Chronicle


Dredging to start in Irondequoit Bay, near Rochester

8/21 - Rochester - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin dredging the Irondequoit Bay outlet, in preparation for next year’s boating season. U.S. Rep. Jim Walsh, R-Onondaga, who secured nearly $400,000 in funding for the work, announced the project on Tuesday, Aug. 19.

About 20,000 cubic yards of material will be removed from the outlet and placed offshore, at nearby Oklahoma Beach in Webster. Crews will move about 5,000 cubic yards per day, according to a spokesman from Walsh’s office, who said the outlet was last dredged in 2000. The outlet is only about 3 to 4 feet deep, and will be about 10 to 12 feet deep when the work is done, the spokesman said.

From the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle


Wolfe Island wind farm turbines arrive in Ogdensburg

8/21 - Ogdensburg, NY - The Danish ship Beluga Fighter brought windmill parts to the Ogdensburg port yesterday. The windmills are destined for the Wolfe Island Wind Farm project in Canada. Officials at the Ogdensburg Port Authority say the windmill project is large scale and having a positive effect on the local community.

The ship is the eighth vessel to bring turbine parts here from overseas and the crew and company involved have been purchasing supplies and eating at restaurants around the area. The parts are taken from a storage section and placed on barges based on their serial numbers. Those barges head down the fifty miles to Wolfe Island, near the mouth of Lake Ontario. While it has been an educational experience for everyone involved, the project is also keeping port authority workers busy with extra work, extra hours and most are welcoming the extra income.

The transfer of the windmills should be complete by November.

From WWNY-TV7, Watertown, NY


Keweenaw Star offering cruises in Marquette's Lower Harbor

8/21 - Marquette - The Keweenaw Star will be offering cruises out of the Elwood Mattson Lower Harbor Park in Marquette for the 25th annual Seafood Fest August 22 and 23. The cruises will travel from the Lower Harbor of Marquette up to the Upper Harbor, and around Presque Isle Point. Organizers say this is a great chance to see the ships coming in and out of Marquette.

Tickets are available through the Marquette Maritime Museum, (906) 226-2006. A portion of the proceeds go to the Marquette Maritime Museum.


Updates - August 21

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Detroit River Cruise Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History - August 21

August 21, 1996 - The former U. S. Army 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 August 21, 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 downbound 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 Tankers 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 August 21, 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 August 21, 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

Hamilton - John McCreery
Hamilton remains a very busy port. Halifax arrived with an ore cargo taken on at Ashtabula, which is traditionally an ore receiving port, so a shipment out seems unusual but is perhaps indicative of new trade patterns emerging as a result of the mill takeovers. The Ryerson visits are a good example of change at Dofasco. Canadian Miner recently loaded wheat at James Richardson and still looks an impressive sight in the harbour, although rumors continue to circulate that this is her final season.

Buffalo - Brain Wroblewski
The tug Karen Andrie and her barge A-397 were unloading at NOCO on Monday.


Nova Scotia reps in Toledo to discuss study, partnership

8/20 - Toledo - Representatives of a proposed deepwater container port in Nova Scotia are expected to sign a "strategic collaboration agreement" with Toledo port officials when they meet with local leaders and visit Toledo's port facilities today and tomorrow. The agreement will represent a commitment toward joint studies of cargo shipments that could potentially flow through Toledo as a feeder port to or from the proposed port in Melford, N.S., whose harbor is deep enough to handle the largest container ships now being designed, and whose development would allow cargo to bypass East Coast port and rail congestion.

The so-called Atlantic Gateway agreement "puts into written form the intent to support the development of a marine container port and logistics park" in both places, said U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo), who will be among its signatories.

Melford International Terminal, Inc., will be represented by its president, Paul Martin, and chief executive officer, Bob Stevens, who last month hosted a nine-member Toledo-area delegation that vis-ited their facilities on the Strait of Canso in eastern Nova Scotia. They'll arrive today in Toledo after visiting Cleveland yesterday, and will be here until tomorrow, Miss Kaptur said.

They are scheduled to attend two meetings today with political and business leaders, a dinner tonight hosted by Midwest Terminals of Toledo International, and a breakfast meeting tomorrow sponsored by the University of Toledo. Tomorrow afternoon, they are to tour Toledo's port and shipyard by boat and vehicle before flying home.

Also joining Melford in signing the agreement, Miss Kaptur said, will be Midwest Terminals, the stevedore at the port-owned international cargo docks, and the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. The agreement commits the parties to conduct a detailed market study, assess infrastructure needs to support the potential business, and promote development of feeder vessel service between the Great Lakes and the East Coast through the St. Lawrence Seaway.

"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the seaway," Miss Kaptur said. "We need to do it to become competitive. It gives us a deepwater port partnership that we have needed for a generation." The market study would highlight cargoes that originate or are delivered within 500 miles of Toledo - the approximate distance a trucker can travel in one shift - and are now imported or exported through an Atlantic port. Miss Kaptur said the potential also exists for ships to handle cargoes shipped between eastern Canada and Ohio, such as Midwest-bound peat moss fertilizers and lumber from Nova Scotia.

Representing the port authority during the events today and tomorrow will be William Carroll, chairman of the agency's board of directors, and Paul Toth, the interim president, who will take the place of deposed port President James Hartung. Steve Fought, an aide to Miss Kaptur, said after Mr. Hartung's firing that the Melford project is vital to Toledo's future regardless of who is running the port authority, and should not be dependent on any single person's leadership.

From the Toledo Blade


Canadians tour Cleveland port as potential link

8/20 - Cleveland - Canadian businessmen toured Cleveland's port Monday and came away impressed with its potential to link with a proposed $400 million deep-water port in Melford, Nova Scotia.

Top officers with Melford International Terminal Inc. plan to open their port in 2011, capturing a share of the container cargo that's flowing across the Atlantic Ocean to congested East Coast ports. Port officials in Cleveland and elsewhere on the Great Lakes would like to see some of the cargo move from Melford down the St. Lawrence Seaway to Midwest markets.

Terry Johnson, administrator of the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., joined the Melford businessmen on the tour and said boosting container commerce on the Great Lakes faces hurdles, including a harbor maintenance tax. U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, a Cleveland Democrat, is pushing legislation that exempts non-bulk cargo, such as containers, from the U.S. tax.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer


Wis. sailor, knocked off his boat,
rescued by Coast Guard after treading water for 12 hours

8/20 - Green Bay, Wis. - A sailor rescued after he fell into Lake Michigan says one of the worst moments of the 12-hour ordeal came near the end, when a Coast Guard helicopter seemed to have its spotlight on him, only to turn away.

"I heard the rotors and looked east and here was this magnificent whirlybird," James Nelson said after his rescue early Monday. "I waved my arms, but I sank underwater. I could see the spotlight hit my arms. By the time I surfaced it was heading west. "I said a prayer and the 'helo' turned east. I waved my arms and kept my head above water this time. He flicked his light that he saw me."

Nelson, 56, had fallen into Lake Michigan's Green Bay on Sunday afternoon while sailing in his 23-foot sailboat. A gust of wind caused the boom to swing and knock him into the water — without his life jacket, which he had left on the seat next to him. His wife, Mary, reported him missing when he failed to return Sunday evening. Around the same time, the Coast Guard learned that a sailboat was found adrift with its engine running.

Seven boats and two helicopters joined the search, along with a group of recreational boaters. A Coast Guard helicopter crew using night-vision goggles and thermal imaging cameras finally spotted Nelson. He was pulled from the water after 12 hours and taken to St. Vincent's Hospital, where he was treated for dehydration.

"With strength from the Almighty, I just paced myself," he said. But he said he was nearing exhaustion, "about out of gas," when the helicopter arrived.

"When we heard a survivor was spotted in the water, you'd have thought we won the Super Bowl from the cheers," said Chief Mike Weisenbaugh, officer in charge of Coast Guard Station Green Bay.

From the Chicago Tribune


Fort Gratiot Light update
Access restricted but tours continue

8/20 - Port Huron - Regular lighthouse tours of the historic Fort Gratiot Lighthouse will continue despite a restriction that prohibits visitors from climbing the stairs to the top. Tourists may still visit the lighthouse and enter the bottom of the structure to hear “Lighthouse Bob” recount the history and stories of this 1829 structure.

The Coast Guard has installed a temporary snow fence around the exterior of the building to keep visitors out of the way of any brick or mortar that might fall from the exterior of the tower. Tours can approach the front door through a walkway on the south side, away from any falling debris.

The Fort Gratiot Lighthouses’ hours of operation are Friday through Monday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. No appointment is necessary. For tour groups of more than 20 people, the Port Huron Museum asks that you call Sheila Lindsey at (810) 455-0214, Ext. 119. For general information, call (810) 982-0891.

From the Port Huron Times Herald


Detroit River Light Shipping Excursion and Gathering
 Set for October 11

Co-sponsored by and Diamond Jack's River Tours, a special five-hour voyage aboard the Diamond Belle will leave from Bishop Park in Wyandot at 10:00 am., Saturday, October 11.

The Diamond Belle will travel down the Detroit River shipping channels all the way to the Detroit River Light in Lake Erie.

Cost is only $75.00 per person and includes buffet luncheon on board. Reservations are required.

Click here for reservation form.


Updates - August 20

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Detroit River Cruise Gallery


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 Setœbal, 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 sidewheeler, 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

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Agawa Canyon was inbound on Sunday, calling on an unknown dock in Saginaw to unload, and was outbound later in the day.
The tug Mary E. Hannah was also inbound Sunday.
On Monday, the Calumet and Manistee were both inbound with split loads. Calumet lightered at the Bay City Wirt dock before going upriver to finish at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. The Manistee lightered at the Sargent dock in Essexville before going up to the Bay City Wirt dock to finish.

Hamilton - John McCreery
Sunday was non-stop action at the port of Hamilton beginning with the arrival of Yankcanuck returning from Quebec City to pick up more steel slabs for delivery back to that port. She had no sooner entered the harbour when the tug/barge Everlast and Norman McLeod announced their departure for Nanticoke. Meanwhile there were three ships lined up along the Dofasco dock. Interestingly it was the Edward L Ryerson that was being unloaded despite the fact that the Canadian Leader had arrived many hours ahead of her.


City of Oswego considered for port next year
Truck ferry would bring in cargo trailers from Canada to cut road, border delays.

8/19 - Syracuse - The city of Oswego could become a port of entry for international shippers looking to avoid road time and lengthy delays at the U.S.-Canadian border. A truck ferry, capable of carrying 100 to 120 cargo trailers, could begin operating between the Port of Oswego and Canada's Port of Hamilton, at the western end of Lake Ontario, next year.

"It would save fuel, cut down on the number of trucks on the Thruway, and other roads, and avoid the long lines at the border," said Jonathan Daniels, executive director of the Port of Oswego Authority. One ferry crossing would mean more than 100 trailers would bypass more than 200 miles of highway.

This is how the ferry system, or short sea shipping, would work: Tractor-trailers hauling U.S.-bound cargo would drive to the Port of Hamilton, where the trailers would be loaded onto a barge. The ship would make the 12-hour voyage to Oswego, where the trailers would be off-loaded and hauled away by U.S. Cargo bound for Canada would make the same trip in reverse.

The ferry's success depends on the U.S. Congress eliminating a cargo tax and the streamlining of U.S. Customs regulations, Daniels said. Currently, the U.S. government charges a $130 fee, called a Harbor Maintenance Tax, for each trailer shipped to a U.S. port from a foreign country. Bills before the House and Senate would eliminate the fee for cargo shipped from ports within the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. The proposal is being reviewed by the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate's Finance Committee.

U.S. Customs regulations require a 24-hour notice before shipments arrive in U.S. ports. "That works for shipments arriving from Rotterdam (The Netherlands) but for Kingston or Hamilton (both Canadian ports), where you have a six- to 12-hour transit, it doesn't work," Daniels said.

The ferry service will not have much of an economic impact on the city of Oswego, said Mary Vanouse, Oswego's community development director. "This kind of commercial venture could mean we would have a possibility of having additional retail or other (ancillary) businesses," Vanouse said. "If Customs has to make daily inspections, they may need a building here instead of coming all the way from Syracuse."

From the Syracuse Post-Standard


Ship Wreck Found in Lake Ontario

8/19 - Pultneyville On Sept. 25, 1899, the W.Y. Emery, laden with 400 tons of bituminous coal, left the Port of Charlotte bound for Kingston, Ontario. She never made it.

Fifty miles out onto Lake Ontario, gale force winds that foreshadowed winter forced Capt. William Mitchell and his crew of nine men to turn around and seek safety. Cast adrift with shredded sails, the 104-foot, two-masted schooner sprang a leak and the exhausted crew worked through the night manning pumps and praying that the anchors would catch before the ship broke apart on rocks near shore.

At daybreak, citizens of Ontario Center spotted the Emery's distress flags and telegrammed for help. The tugboat Proctor sped the 25 miles east from Rochester, arriving just in time. "The last man had no sooner been taken off than the vessel sunk and the water closed over," reported Rochester's The Union and Advertiser. The Emery had become one of more than 1,500 ships to find a watery grave in Lake Ontario.

John Albright of the Rochester Rec Divers scuba club steers his 28-foot Sportsman due west into a bright sun. Rubbing his beard, the 59-year-old Ontario attorney and expedition leader is peering for landmarks and watching his electronics, a high-quality fish finder that reads depth, water temperature and bottom structure. He looks at his compass. He scans for coordinates scribbled in a notepad.

"Get ready guys," he tells expert partners Tom Lombard and Allan Klauda, who are standing on the bow with anchor and line, and John Brooks, who begins slipping into his wet suit. "OK ... drop it.'' We are bobbing above the remains of the Emery, discovered almost a year ago by the Rec Divers after a meticulous search that consumed eight years and a lot of compressed oxygen.

The club recently received permits from New York state allowing it to bring up specific artifacts for eventual display at Heritage Square Museum in Ontario, Wayne County. The Emery will also be added to the state's long list of historic shipwrecks available to the public to dive on, a feather in the mask for the Rec Divers, a fun-loving club of 85 that celebrated its 30th anniversary last year.

This summer has been spent just mapping the Emery's growing debris field. Each trip seems to turn up something new, renewing each diver's sense of adventure and exploration the essence of recreational wreck diving. "Everybody in the club has had some part in it," Lombard says. "There are some artifacts down there that are classics." The club has asked to keep the exact location a secret to protect the ship from unscrupulous scavenger hunters.

Lombard, 56, of Henrietta, who owns B.T. Electronics supply, and Brooks, 52, of Ontario, a tool and die maker, dive as a team followed by Albright and Klauda, 62, a retired high school science teacher, also from Henrietta. "Yahoo," yells Klauda, emerging from the blue-grayish depths with news that he and Albright have found one of the ship's steel hatch covers.

Albright comes up holding a 10-inch chunk of coal, the largest discovered yet, indicating the team is on a fruitful pattern. He tosses it back. "When you can come back marking something, that's a good night," Albright says. "This (the hatch) is just another piece of the puzzle.'"

Add it to a list of artifacts waiting for salvage that include the ship's unmistakable steering wheel (in photographs it is standing upright, wedged between rocks and covered with zebra mussels), its compass, a deck winch, lots of dishware and two massive anchors that are imbedded in the lake bottom.

Some wooden wrecks, like the St. Peter, a larger schooner that sank a year before the Emery in deeper water off Pultneyville, are preserved intact thanks to the fresh, cold water. But there is no evidence yet that the Emery's hull survived. It likely broke up on the car-sized boulders, the planks that washed ashore winding up as siding in local barns.

"The compass is the most exciting thing you'll see," Klauda says. "It has a crack across the glass, half of it is water and half of it is air. That's 1899 air, which is really exciting." He goes on to explain that kid-like sense of discovery that divers share.

"That's the fun thing about diving,'' Klauda says. "I mean, where else can you find things nobody has seen in 100 years? We're thrilled about this piece of steel we found tonight, but you've got to know it's been eight years in the making and there were more than a few naysayers that said the Emery wasn't here."

Indeed, based on news accounts of the day, the Rec Divers' first efforts were centered in much deeper water. The project was club president Albright's idea. Growing up on the lake and learning to dive at age 14, he has lived with the Emery all his life, the story of its sinking passed down from his grandfather to his father to him. "I've wanted to find it, but without a lot of help, it wouldn't get done," he says. "It's been a club project."

It was painstaking at times, covering the lake in rows observing sections of bottom with Albright's fish finder. "It was like mowing the grass," he says. "Up and down, up and down and every time we found a big bump we'd go down and look at it."

Then, there it was. The ship's wheel first spotted by Susan Burke and Russ Palum. A needle in a big wet haystack. The coal trail was another sure sign they had found their treasure. "The ship's not intact," Albright says. "You can see how close we are and how rocky it is. But the heavy objects ... they're all still there." There to see in a magic underwater world.

Excepted from the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle


Updates - August 19

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Detroit River Cruise Gallery


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.



John Sherwin on the Move

8/18 - 2:00 p.m. - Interlake Steamship reported Monday that they are relocating the John Sherwin to Bay Shipbuilding Co., Sturgeon Bay, WI. They expect to have further information on the Sherwin’s status in the next few weeks.

Rumors have been circulating for the last few months that the vessel is returning to service.


Ship Collision at Valleyfield, Quebec

8/18- Updated 11:30 a.m. - There was an alleged ship collision at Valleyfield, Quebec, Sunday. One vessel departing the Port of Valleyfield backed into the the other.

There were three vessels involved, Umiavut and the Aivik, were loading for the Southern Arctic Communities and Flinterland was departing for Duluth, MN.

All three vessels are now moored at the Port of Valleyfield pending an investigation. There are no particulars as to the cause of the collision, or damages. Both Umiavut and Aivik are Canadian-flagged. Flinterland is registered in the Netherlands.

Reported by Walter Statham


Port Reports - August 18

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Sunday afternoon was busy at the Upper Harbor ore dock. Robert S. Pierson loaded taconite and departed. Fleetmate Saginaw arrived to load taconite, and Lee A. Tregurtha arrived to unload coal.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Stephen B. Roman was in at Essroc today unloading. The salty Olympic Mentor arrived in port with raw sugar for Redpath, assisted into the slip by Groupe Ocean's Hamilton-based tugs.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
A warm Saturday afternoon brought the Maumee returning with another load of road salt for the Alpena Oil Dock.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The barge Pere Marquette 41 and tug Undaunted delivered a load to Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg late thursday/early Friday. The Wilfred Sykes came in about 10 p.m. on Saturday for the same dock. For some unknown reason it was still here Sunday, boom stowed at 8:30 a.m., and then seen unloading about 10:30 a.m.

Hamilton and Port Weller - John McCreery and Eric Holmes
There is seemingly great demand for ore at Dofasco and this has caused some delay as vessels have to wait their turn to unload. Only one of the unloading bridges appears to be operating and with the Canadian Provider unloading and the Canadian Leader waiting behind her the Ryerson had to wait in the harbour anchorage.
Sunday morning the Algonorth arrived at 6:30 a.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco. Yankcanuck arrived at 9 a.m. The tug Everlast and barge Norman McLeod departed at 8:30 a.m. from Pier 26 for the canal. Halifax arrived at 10:30 a.m. going to US Steel and then departed at 7 p.m. for the canal.  Hamilton Energy arrived at 11 a.m. after bunkering in Clarkson was complete. Ocean Group tugs Omni Richelieu and LaPrairie arrived at 11:30 a.m. from Toronto. Canadian Miner departed from JRI Elevators at 12:30 a.m. with wheat for Port Cartier. Rt. Hon. Paul J Martin arrived at 6:30 p.m. going to US Steel. Elsewhere the Atchafalaya was downbound at Port Weller and appears headed off the Lakes. She spent several weeks dredging the harbor at Huron, Ohio.

Sturgeon Bay - Jeff Birch
American Spirit was at BayShip, Sunday, ballasted down by the bow with propellers exposed.


Book Chronicles Sidney E. Smith Jr. and Parker Evans Collision

8/18 – The complete story of the collision between the Sidney E. Smith Jr. and the Parker Evans on June 5, 1972 under the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron has now been released in book form.

“Collision Under The Bridge” by authors Jon Paul Michaels and Brenton Michaels documents, in photos and narrative, the histories of both ships and details the days and moments leading up to the collision that changed the flow of vessel traffic in the St. Clair River forever. Follow the compelling story of the monumental salvage effort to clear the sunken Str. Sidney E. Smith Jr. from the shipping channel, brought to life by photos taken by the authors and original diagrams from the salvagers.

The authors will be on hand at Vantage Point in Port Huron to sign copies of the book on Saturday, September 13. The book can be purchased online at this link.


Updates - August 18

News 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.


Port Reports - August 17

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Barbara Andrie and her tank barge were outbound from the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City early Saturday morning. Inbound was the Manistee who called on the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee to unload. Once finished, she turned at the Sixth Street basin and was outbound for the lake Saturday afternoon.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The large private yacht ITASCA was tied up at the Visiting Ship’s Dock near the Erie Basin on Saturday morning, having just arrived from the Port Dalhousie anchorage.


Updates - August 17

News Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events 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.


Water’s Up, But Coal’s Down in July

8/16 - Cleveland - Rising water levels did not prove a boon for the Great Lakes coal trade in July. Shipments totaled 4.4 million net tons, a decrease of nearly 6 percent compared to a year ago. Coal shipments from Lake Superior and Lake Michigan were on par with a year ago, but loadings at Lake Erie ports fell by nearly 300,000 tons.

Rising water levels did allow some larger cargos to be carried. Several cargos that transited the connecting channels (St. Marys River and Detroit/St. Clair River) topped 66,000 tons. Towards the end of the month, one cargo exceeded 67,000 tons. However, even these improved payloads fell short of vessels’ rated capacity by 4,000 tons or more.

For the year, the Great Lakes coal trade stands at 19.8 million tons, an increase of 2.2 percent compared to a year ago. The trade is fractionally off the 5-year average for the January-July timeframe.

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association


Port Report - August 16

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Twin Ports activity Friday morning included James R. Barker loading taconite pellets at CN Duluth and Indiana Harbor loading coal at Midwest Energy Terminal

Toledo - Sheldon Rody
Mississagi was loading on Friday evening.

Alpena & Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
Thursday morning the Alpena was in port loading for Whitefish, ON. It is expected to return early Saturday morning. Following the Alpena on Thursday afternoon was the Samuel de Champlain/barge Innovation. The Buffalo brought a load of coal to Lafarge on Friday.
Tug/barge units loaded at Stoneport on Friday with the tug Victory/James L. Kuber followed by the Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder in the evening.


Lithuanian shrimp trawlers to go to IMS

8/16 - Bay Roberts, Newfoundland - MP Fabian Manning announced that the Lithuanian Shrimp Trawlers abandoned in 2001-2002 in Bay Roberts will finally be removed. The Marine Recycling Corp. of Port Colborne, Ont. won the contact of $1.6 million for the removal of the vessels. The company will tow them to Port Colborne to remove remaining hazardous material, break them up and recycle them.

Bay Roberts Mayor Glenn Littlejohn said there were times when he didn't think the vessels would be removed. "Today is a great day for the town of Bay Roberts," he said. "The removal of these vessels means that we get our wharf back, means that we can go back to having viable economic activity from this wharf and using it for what it should be used for."

International Marine Salvage President Wayne Elliott has confirmed the sale and expects the tow to arrive in Port Colborne on September 8.


Fort Gratiot Lighthouse closed to visitors

8/16 - Port Huron - Due to safety concerns regarding the deteriorating brickwork, falling debris, and questionable structural integrity, the Coast Guard has ordered that the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse be closed to all visitors until a full structural assessment and repairs are completed.

"We understand this may be a disappointment; however public safety is the paramount reason for this decision," the Coast Guard said in a release.

Built in 1829, the lighthouse is the oldest in Michigan and was to be one of the stars of this weekend's Coast Guard Days in Port Huron.

From the Port Huron Times Herald


Updates - August 16

News Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events 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.


Light loads Cap Iron Ore Surge

8/15 - Cleveland - Although iron ore shipments on the Great Lakes rose 15 percent in July compared to a year ago, the increase would have been even greater had vessels been able to carry full loads.

The trade totaled 7.3 million net tons in July, but even though some vessels saw cargos rise to more than 67,000 tons in a single trip, the ships were still forfeiting 4,000 tons to the dredging crisis. 4,000 tons of iron ore represents a half day’s production at a large iron ore mine in Minnesota. The deeper loads are primarily the result of rising water levels. However, the Lakes typically begin to fall in autumn, so increased dredging is the only long-term solution for restoring the Great Lakes navigation system to project dimensions.

For the year, the Great Lakes iron ore trade stands at 32.3 million tons, an increase of 11 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments are 10 percent ahead of the 5-year average for the January-July timeframe.

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association


Rand Logistics posts profit

8/15- Port Dover - Rand Logistics Inc., the parent company of Lower Lakes Towing, Grand River Navigation and Lower Lakes Transportation, earned a profit in the quarter ending June 30 as increased freight rates and improved vessel utilization helped the bulk carrier overcome a loss in the comparable quarter last year.

Scott Bravener, President and CEO of Lower Lakes, stated, “We are very pleased with the significant marine freight revenue and EBITDA growth enjoyed during the quarter, and feel our financial results have demonstrated the significant earning power of our assets. The growth was driven by a number of factors, including increased freight rates, enhanced vessel utilization and significant improvement in boat operating metrics, particularly on the five recently acquired vessels. We are confident that our operations for the second quarter will trend as favorably. As we continue to leverage our operating efficiencies to improve vessel performance, I believe that we will extract the additional profit enhancement inherent in our business model.”

Rand generated marine freight revenue of $27.3 million, a 39 percent improvement on last year with the addition of five vessels to the fleet. Marine freight revenue per day per vessel increased, too, by 19 percent to $28,586, from $24,059. The result was a net gain of $2.3 million after a loss last year of $1.2 million.

Laurence S. Levy, chairman and CEO, increased projected fiscal year earnings before taxes to the $18 to $19.5 million range. "The second fiscal quarter ending on September 30, 2008, which is typically the strongest quarter for Rand and the industry as a whole, will be the first during which all of our vessels will be fully operational and engaged in trade patterns that best utilize their capabilities," Levy said.

During the call the company executives were asked about future fleet expansion. LLT President Scott Bravener replied: “our primary focus for the 2009 fiscal year is to maximize the profitability of the fleet that we’ve put together and the acquisitions that we completed in fiscal 2008. So again that is very much the primary focus. That being said, as we mentioned it’s the early phases of our analysis in terms of how we want to grow the fleet and how we want to allocate capital. I will say that our focus in terms of acquisitions is entirely in market and by in market we mean entirely focused on the Great Lakes. We think that there are some very interesting opportunities and it would be a way to further our existing customer relationships and continue to leverage the management infrastructure that we’ve got in place.”

Rand CEO Laurence S. Levy added “…we will as we have demonstrated be very disciplined acquirers; we will not overpay; and we will seek accretive acquisitions which will add significant shareholder value. We do believe as we look back on acquisitions we consummated last year that they have been very accretive for stockholders and certainly we will be looking for similar opportunities as we move forward.”


Port Report - August 15

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
The tug Sea Service with the barge Energy 6506 was at the B-P Dock loading cargo. The tug Michigan with the barge Great Lakes was at the Midwest Terminal Dock.
CSL Niagara finished unloading ore at the Torco Dock late Thursday afternoon and then proceeded over to the CSX Coal Dock to load coal.
Edwin H. Gott was inbound the Toledo Ship Channel Thursday evening bound for the Midwest Terminal Dock to unload ore.
The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Docks has the James Norris, tug Salvor and barge, and the American Mariner due in Sunday, CSL Niagara on Monday followed by the Saginaw on Wednesday.
The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Ore Dock has the CSL Assiniboine and Lee A. Tregurtha due in Tuesday followed by the Algosteel on Saturday.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
It was the best day in a long time on the Saginaw River Thursday. The Algoway was inbound early Thursday morning with a split load for the Buena Vista dock in Saginaw and the Saginaw Asphalt Paving dock in Carrollton. She was followed by the tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber who were also carrying a split load. The pair lightered at the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City and then waited there until the outbound Algoway cleared. The Moore & Kuber then went up to finish at the Saginaw Wirt dock Thursday evening. The tug Gregory J. Busch was outbound for the lake during the afternoon, departing the Busch Marine Terminal with a tarped load on the barge STC 2004 headed for an unknown dock.
Later in the afternoon, the Agawa Canyon was inbound, followed closely by the CSL Tadoussac. The Canyon was inbound with a split load for the Buena Vista dock in Saginaw and the old Valley Asphalt dock in Carrollton at the 6th Street basin. The Tadoussac called on the Essroc Cement dock in Essexville to unload clinker. Finally, the tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder were inbound for the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville to unload. The pair were expected to be outbound late Thursday night or early Friday morning. The Agawa Canyon and CSL Tadoussac were expected to be outbound early Friday morning and the Moore and Kuber later Friday morning.


Coast Guard Air Station records busiest week of rescue season

8/15 - Traverse City - U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City has recorded its busiest week of this summer's search and rescue season. In a five-day period the Coast Guardsmen have logged more than 50 flight hours on 12 search and rescue cases resulting in four lives saved.

On Friday a single helicopter crew rescued three people in two separate cases: rescuing two overdue fishermen who were clinging to their capsized vessel near Alpena and finding a missing kayaker in Torch Lake, Mich. On Wednesday helicopter crews airlifted and medically evacuated a 42-year-old male from the Burns Harbor. The vessel was 60 miles east of Marquette, Mich., in Lake Superior.

During this period, the air station nearly doubled their weekly average flight time.

"In a typical five-day period, we would fly approximately 30 hours of training missions and routine patrols," said Capt. Stuart Merrill, commanding officer of Air Station Traverse City. "This week we almost doubled that time and it was solely dedicated to the search and rescue mission."

This five-day period took the helicopter crews from Marquette, Mich., to Sheboygan, Wisc., and as far south as Chicago and several other locations in between. But this is normal operations for the air station, whose area of responsibility encompasses five states, three of the Great Lakes, and sometimes Canada.

"I am tremendously proud of the dedicated efforts of our aviation crews," said Merrill. "During the past week, they have committed unbelievable time and energy protecting the safety of the mariners and beachgoers throughout the Great Lakes region."

"Our ethos of 'Safe Search and Rescue Response Readiness' is embodied in their actions each and every day and particularly during this demanding past week," he added.

Air Station Traverse City operates five HH-65C Dolphin helicopters and assists with search and rescue services throughout the Great Lakes Region encompassing more than 94,000 square miles of water and 10,900 miles of shoreline.

USCG News Release


Coast Guard investigates vandalism of Toledo Harbor Light

8/15 - Toledo - The Coast Guard Investigative Service is investigating a report of vandalism to the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse after damage was discovered on Tuesday at approximately 2 p.m.

The specific date of damage to the lighthouse is unknown.

Coast Guard Station Toledo personnel were conducting routine maintenance when they discovered the damage. Station personnel reported stolen tools, burned papers, pulled electrical wiring and damage to an urn containing the remains of a former Station Toledo mascot.

Toledo Harbor Light is functioning properly.

Damage or the attempt to damage a navigational aid can result in a fine up to $250,000, up to 10 years imprisonment, or both.

Anyone with information on the vandalization of the lighthouse is requested to contact the Coast Guard Investigative Service at (586) 239-6759.

USCG News Release


New Webcam Shares Mackinac Island and the Straits of Mackinac with the World

8/15 - Mackinaw Island - A new, interactive webcam, broadcasting from Michigan's Mackinac Island, is now on-line. The webcam, located on the top of the island's historic Chippewa Hotel Waterfront offers a 340-degree view of the activity on Mackinac Island and vessel activity on Lake Huron. The webcam can be controlled from any on-line personal computer and is active 24 hours daily.

The camera will allow viewers to enjoy the view of Round Island Lighthouse with the ferries coming in and out of the harbor or turn to view Historic Fort Mackinac with the iconic horses and buggies parked in front, or turn to view downtown Mackinac Island. The camera can be controlled by any computer in the world with the ability to zoom in and out and is one of the best locations on the lakes to have a webcam.

The Mackinac Island Webcam is a funded by Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping (BoatNerd.Com) with collaboration from the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau and the Chippewa Hotel. "The timing couldn't be better with the 100 Anniversary of the Chicago Yacht Club's Race to Mackinac just around the corner" said the Tourism Bureau's executive director, Mary McGuire Slevin "Now the families of the sailors can actually see the guys cross the finish line, which is in itself historic, we are very grateful to our guardians of the Great Lakes at BoatNerd for this technology on Mackinac Island."

Mackinac Island is a National Historic Landmark located between Michigan's upper and lower peninsulas and covers 2,200 acres of land. The Island banned private motor vehicle use during the last century and today relies on the services of more than 600 horses to provide residents and visitors transportation around the Island.

Mackinac hosts nearly one million visitors each year and is home to the Lilac Festival, Chicago & Bay View Yacht Clubs' Race to Mackinac Yacht Race, Fudge Festival, Grand Hotel Labor Day Jazz Festival, Festival of the Falling Leaves Moon, Destination Dream Wedding Weekend and Grand Hotel's Somewhere in Time Weekend.

Click here to view


Ric Mixter program at Vantage Point tonight

8/15 - Port Huron - Ric Mixter will present his new program, "Coast Guard Rescue," at the Great Lakes Maritime Center, Vantage Point, 51 Water St., Port Huron on Friday at 8 pm.

This special program is part of Port Huron's Coast Guard Appreciation Days, Aug. 15-17, and it is free and open to the public. The program is hosted by the Lake Huron Marine Lore Society.


Updates - August 15

News Photo Gallery updated

Calendar of Events 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 (sidewheel 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.


S. S. Badger back in service

8/14 - Ludington - Lake Michigan Carferry announce Thursday that their sailing season will resume with the 7:55 p.m. departure from Ludington. The S.S. Badger had to make a mid-season trip to the shipyard to repair a broken stern bearing on the starboard propeller shaft, and the complicated repair threatened to keep the ship out of commission for several weeks.

Because of the efforts by many people in the company and a team of underwater repair divers flown in from California – all of whom have worked around the clock – they are back up and running in only six days.

The company apologized to all of the passengers whose travel plans were altered. “We simply cannot give enough thanks to everyone in our company and in both of our port communities who jumped in to help. The loyalty and support from our passengers during this very difficult time has really been appreciated,” said Bob Manglitz, President – Lake Michigan Carferry

Badger News Release


Dutch Runner chartered by Desgagnes

8/14 - As of July 31, the Dutch Runner of Great Lakes Feeder Line was chartered by Desgagnes of Quebec City for a trip to the Arctic. The vessel left Côte Ste-Catherine on August 3 and arrived at Iqaluit on August 11 with general Cargo.

It is unknown as of now if this is a single-trip charter of if it means the end of the projected Halifax-Montreal-Great Lakes feeder service after a single trip


Port Reports - August 14

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
English River was in port overnight and departed at 9 a.m. Wednesday. The salty Daniella, which has been in port for a few days loading locomotives at Pier 52, departed just after noon with the assistance of Groupe Ocean's Omni-Richelieu.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Sam Laud arrived in Duluth shortly after 7 a.m. Wednesday to unload at the C. Reiss dock on the St. Louis River. After that it’s due to load at the DMIR ore dock. Quebecois continued to unload at St. Lawrence Cement.
Arthur M. Anderson arrived in Duluth on Tuesday afternoon with stone for the CN Duluth dock. On Wednesday it was to load at BNSF in Superior.
USCG Cutter Alder is expected to leave Fraser shipyards next week. The vessel has been undergoing four-year maintenance that included removing its saltwater hull coating and replacing it with freshwater coating, and renewing non-skid deck coatings on the buoy deck.

Holland - Bob Vande Vusse
The Wilfred Sykes came into Holland harbor at about 11 p.m. Tuesday and proceeded to the James DeYoung power plant at the east end of Lake Macatawa to deliver a load of coal. It departed at about 9 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
Peter R. Creswell finished unloading stone at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock and departed Wednesday afternoon.
The tug Michigan and the barge Great Lakes and the tug Sea Service with the barge Energy 6506 were at the Midwest Terminal Dock.
The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Docks has the CSL Niagara due in Thursday afternoon, James Norris Saturday morning followed by the tug Salvor and barge and the American Mariner Sunday evening.
The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Dock has the CSL Niagara due in Thursday morning followed by the Lee A. Tregurtha and CSL Assiniboine on Tuesday.

South Chicago - Steve Bauer
Wednesday morning the Cason Callaway was outbound under the 92nd St. bridge about 5:15 a.m., after departing KCBX.
The St. Marys Challenger was making her security call inbound at about the same time. She arrived in Calumet Harbor about 6:45 a.m., and arrived in Lake Calumet around 9:30.
Buffalo was loading coal at DTE fuels.


Shipping focus shifts from highways to waterways
Legislation's tax break could lure more port business

8/14 - Green Bay - Port and harbor officials want federal lawmakers to help make water transport more attractive to companies by exempting some vessels from a harbor maintenance tax.

The American Great Lakes Ports Association, meeting Tuesday in Green Bay, added its support to federal legislation that would maintain the tax for bulk haulers but eliminate it for shorter hauls throughout the Great Lakes. "There are no traffic jams out on the water," said Steve Fisher, association executive director. "We're trying to create new shipping and make it more attractive. The waterways become an asset and can be a tremendous way to move more commerce around the region."

Green Bay Port Director Dean Haen said there have been conversations with major companies in Northeastern Wisconsin such as Georgia-Pacific, Oshkosh Truck, Marinette Marine, Kimberly-Clark and Mercury Marine, about shipping goods on the lakes. The high price of fuel and the crowded highways have led company officials to seek less-expensive ways to move goods. "The tax exemption would allow free movement" on the lakes, Haen said. "It would take traffic off the roads and rails."

The tax now costs haulers 12.5 cents per $100 of value for goods shipped on the Great Lakes, making shipping in the region a deterrent for many companies. It was established in 1986 and collects an estimated $22 billion annually, mostly from foreign shippers. Legislation has been introduced in both houses of Congress to exempt all but the bulk haulers.

The tax has been the major source of revenue to pay for the dredging of Great Lakes harbors, a necessity to maintain the health of businesses that depend on Great Lakes shipping. The exemption would only apply to smaller carriers, which provide a small contribution to that revenue. The Port of Green Bay had a $76 million economic impact supporting 615 local jobs in 2007, according to the Bay-Lakes Regional Planning Commission.

Tuesday's meeting drew port representatives from as far as Toronto and Oswego, N.Y., as well as Duluth, Minn., Toledo, Ohio, Detroit and Cleveland

From the Green Bay Gazette


No one reason for lower lake levels

8/14 - Owen Sound - Changes to the St. Clair River bed are responsible for a 13-centimetre drop in lakes Huron and Michigan and in Georgian Bay, according to preliminary finding of an extensive binational scientific examination.

The preliminary results were discussed Tuesday night at a public meeting attended by some 75 people at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre and hosted by the International Upper Great Lakes Study group's public interest advisory committee.

One man asked what lowering Lake Superior by one inch would do to the levels of the other Great Lakes, while another raised the notion of diverting rivers in northern Ontario away from James Bay and into Superior.

Paradoxically, this summer's unusually wet weather has resulted in Lake Huron and Lake Michigan levels 22 centimetres higher than a year ago, the meeting was told. Huron, however, is still 36 centimetres below its 1918- 2007 average for early July.

Ted Yuzykj, the Canadian co-chair of the study group, suggested at the meeting it doesn't appear the dredging of the northerly mouth of the St. Clair River is the main concern as some suspected. "There is something going on there," he said. "Almost 90 per cent" of the area responsible for increased flow is at the south end of the river, he said.

Exactly what is responsible for the five per cent increase in the river flow -- which occurred sometime between 1972 and 2000, the two dates when data are available -- remains to be studied, he said. But scientists are considering whether any of the 12 ships which sank in the river changed the flow and affected the riverbed. He also said the riverbed has stabilized.

Yuzyk said there appears not to be "one smoking gun" but rather a number of possible causes which have combined to reduce the levels of the upper Great Lakes.

A key one appears to be increased evaporation, largely due to the increasingly infrequent ice cover on the lakes in winter when most of lake evaporation occurs, said Jim Bruce, a noted Canadian meteorologist and study advisor.

The study's preliminary findings also suggest less precipitation has fallen in the upper Great Lakes than the lower lakes and glacial rebound, or tilt of the lakebeds, which is viewed as a relatively minor factor, are all factors at play. The International Upper Great Lakes Study, which began in March 2007, is looking into whether dredging in the St. Clair River in 1962 is contributing to low levels in the upper Great Lakes today.

It's also examining whether regulation of outflows from Lake Superior might be improved to take into consideration climate change, interests of property owners, ecosystems, local governments, the shipping sector, hydro power and the recreation/ tourism industry. While the overall project has a five-year timeline, a final report regarding the St. Clair River is due in June 2009.

If the International Upper Great Lakes Study confirms more water is escaping the upper Great Lakes because of dredging and erosion of the river, the study will look at solutions, possibly underwater walls to slow the flow or a submerged turbine which would generate power while slowing the flow, the meeting learned.

From the Owen Sound Sun Times


Rising Water Levels Fail to Boost Lakes Stone Trade in July

8/14 - Cleveland—Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 4.2 million net tons in July, a decrease of 4.8 percent compared to a year ago, and a drop of nearly 9 percent compared to the month’s 5-year average.

Although water levels are rising, not all ports are benefitting to the same degree. For example, a large integrated tug/barge unit was able to deliver 34,442 tons of stone to a customer at the southern end of Lake Michigan, yet when destined for Lake Superior docks, its cargos fell to 30,411 tons and 30,144 tons.

The water level on Lake Superior has been rising quickly, but lack of dredging still forced the vessel to lightload by 4,000 tons or more.

For the year, the Lakes limestone trade stands at 16 million tons, a decrease of 4.4 percent compared to the same point in 2007. Shipments are more than 10 percent behind the 5-year average for the January-July timeframe.

More information is available at

LCA News Release


Updates - August 14

News 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 water's 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

Marinette/Menominee - Dick Lund
On Tuesday morning, the Agawa Canyon arrived at Marinette Fuel & Dock with another load of salt. This is the third load of salt the dock has received in the past 36 hours!
The BBC Elbe also arrived on Tuesday morning on its eighth trip into Menominee with more wind turbine parts.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber, who have been on the Stoneport to Saginaw River shuttle run as of late, were back again late Monday night. After finishing their unload at the Saginaw Rock Products dock in Saginaw, the pair were outbound Tuesday morning.
American Courage called on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City Tuesday morning. Finishing her unload, the Courage was back outbound for the lake by mid-afternoon.
Indiana Harbor was inbound Tuesday evening headed for the Consumers Energy dock to unload coal. She is expected to be outbound early Wednesday morning.


Commodore Straits upbound with John Henry

8/13 - Quebec City - The tug Commodore Straits is expected to be at Escoumins Pilot Station on Wednesday at 2 p.m. She is upbound towing the Heavy lift vessel Marine Link Explorer (ex. John Henry, Revival) according to the pilotage Website.

She is coming back from delivering the Barge Laviolette to Central America and has picked up her tow in Port Austin, TX and is bound for Trois-Rivières.

Reported by Bruno Boissonneault


U.S.-Flag Lakes Cargo Total Flat in July Despite Rising Water Levels

8/13 - Cleveland — The U.S.-Flag Great Lakes fleet moved 12 million net tons of cargo on the Great Lakes in July, a virtual tie with a year ago. The July float also was roughly 170,000 tons above the month’s 5-year average.

Rising water levels again boosted vessels’ payloads, but nothing can restore the tonnage that has been lost to the dredging crisis this year. For example, a 1,000-foot-long U.S.-Flag Laker saw its top cargo climb to 67,474 tons of iron ore in July. However, had the vessel been able to carry this much cargo on each trip this year, its year-to-date total would be 1,416,000 tons instead of 1,331,000 tons. The dredging crisis has cost just this one vessel 85,000 tons of iron ore.

Furthermore, that 67,474-ton cargo still does not represent the vessel’s maximum carrying capacity. The vessel is designed to carry more than 71,000 tons per trip. An adequately dredged navigation system would have allowed the vessel to deliver nearly 1.5 million tons through July.

The same is true in the coal trade. Another 1,000-foot-long vessel was able to carry 65,443 tons in a single trip at month’s end. If that was how much the ship had loaded on each of its 26 trips this year, it would have delivered 1.7 million tons of low-sulfur coal to utilities in the U.S. and

Canada. Instead, the vessel has moved 1,625,000 tons through July. And again, even that 65,443-ton cargo is roughly 4,000 tons below the vessel’s rated capacity.

For the year, U.S.-Flag carriage stands at 51.1 million tons, a slight decrease from both a year ago and the 5-year average for the January-July timeframe.

More information is available at

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association.


Updates - August 13

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Photo Gallery - Boatnerd Trip Raffle Winners trip


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

Menominee/Marinette - Dick Lund & Scott Best
Late in the evening on Sunday, the James Norris entered the Menominee River heading for Marinette Fuel & Dock Co. with the dock's first load of salt for 2008. They began unloading shortly after midnight and finished around 6:30 a.m. Monday morning.
Meanwhile, the Algorail had arrived in the bay of Green Bay about an hour earlier and anchored out in the bay waiting for the Norris to finish unloading. The Norris backed away from the dock and passed the inbound Algorail around 7:30 a.m. The Algorail also carried a load of salt and reached the dock around 8:30 a.m. By 1:30 p.m, the Algorail was empty and backed down the Menominee River and out into the bay of Green Bay where they turned around and headed for their next port.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug James A. Hannah and her tank barge were outbound from the Bit-Mat dock late Monday afternoon after unloading.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
The Ojibway finished loading grain at the ADM Elevator and departed late Sunday evening bound for Windsor, Ontario. Manistee finished unloading salt at the A.R.M.S. Dock and departed Monday afternoon bound for Marblehead, Ohio to load stone. Algosteel remains in drydock at the Ironhead Shipyard. The tug Michigan with the barge Great Lakes was at the Midwest Terminal Dock.
Saginaw was at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock unloading stone when finished she will proceed over to the CSX Docks to load coal Monday evening.
The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Docks has the Herbert C. Jackson due in Tuesday evening, John G. Munson on Wednesday morning, H. Lee White on Saturday evening followed by the tug Salvor and barge Sunday morning.  The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco docks has the tug Dorothy Ann with the barge Pathfinder due in Tuesday morning followed by the CSL Niagara on Wednesday evening.
Peter R. Creswell is due into the Midwest Terminal stone dock on Wednesday to unload stone.


Updates - August 12

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Photo Gallery - Boatnerd Trip Raffle Winners trip


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.


Three men stranded on Pilot Island by Freedom ship

8/11 - Washington Island, WI - Three Washington Island men were stranded on nearby Pilot Island, Sunday, when their small boat was put on the rocks, cracking her hull, by the wake from the USS Freedom.

Eric Greenfeldt, Mike Carr and Butch Jess, members of the Friends of Plum and Pilot Island, were on Pilot Island checking the buildings Sunday, when the new USS Freedom went by on her sea trials. The 22-foot boat that the men had used to reach the island, broke three lines that had held the small boat fast, and the boat was washed up on the rocky shore by the wake created by the new vessel.

Fortunately the owner, who was aboard, was unharmed, although shaken up. The boat was later removed and taken to Washington Island, where it is believed to be a total loss. The men had a cell phone and were able to contact someone to come pick them up.

Washington Island residents have reported a wake as high as eight-feet when the vessel passes. One other story circulating on Washington Island is that several fisherman have been swamped off Rock Island by the same wake.

The USS Freedom, which was built in Marinette, ( has been conducting sea trials in Lake Michigan, and steaming through the Door to get there.


Badger in Sturgeon Bay for repairs

8/11- 3pm Update - Ludington - The Lake Michigan carferry SS Badger is in the Bay Shipyard in Sturgeon Bay for repairs. Sailings for Saturday, Sunday and today were canceled. No date has been set for resuming crossings of Lake Michigan between Manitowoc and Ludington.

The Badger left Ludington for Bay Shipbuilding shipyard under its own power early Sunday morning. According to company President Bob Manglitz, "We understand that we have disappointed passengers affected by our cancelled sailings. The company will expedite the repair work to allow the Badger to return to service as soon as possible. We have an outstanding crew, repair team, and community all working together to get the Badger back in service at the earliest possible time.”

A news release from Lake Michigan Carferry and its Web site stated the repair of the ship’s stern bearing on the starboard propeller shaft “was not complicated, but it has to be done underwater or while the ship is out of the water.” The Badger sailed to Sturgeon Bay under its own power.

Passengers traveling without vehicles are being transported by Ludington area buses to their port of origin in Manitowoc and back to Ludington. “Every effort has been made to notify passengers with reservations prior to their arrival at the dock to minimize the impact on their travel plans,” said Magee Johnson, media relations director.

According to the Badger’s Web site, all customers who have had their travel plans interrupted will be given a refund, and a certificate for a discounted fare valid for a future sailing for the balance of the 2008 season and through 2009.

“We understand that we have disappointed passengers affected by our canceled sailings,” Manglitz stated. “The company will expedite the repair work to allow the Badger to return to service as soon as possible. We have an outstanding crew, repair team, and community all working together to get the Badger back in service at the earliest possible time.”

Company officials said the last time the Badger had to go to the shipyard for repairs during the sailing season was in 1994. They said this was the first time in the 17-year history of the company that a stern bearing has failed.

“The company will keep customers with reservations informed of their sailing status,” Johnson said.

For updates on the Badger's status, call (800) 841-4343 or check its Web site,

From the Manitowoc Herald Times and Ludington Daily News

Pictures in the News Photo Gallery


Port Reports - August 11

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The St. Mary's Challenger came in very early Saturday morning with a load for the St. Mary's Cement terminal in Ferrysburg. It was still unloading at 3:30 pm.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber were inbound Saturday morning with a split load for the Bay City and the Saginaw Wirt Stone docks. The pair were finishing their unload up in Saginaw Saturday evening and were expected to be outbound later in the night or early Sunday morning.
Also inbound on Saturday was the tug James A. Hannah and her tank barge. The pair called on the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City and were expected to be outbound early Sunday morning.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The English River arrived at 10 p.m. on Saturday and was towed up the crick stern first for LaFarge Cement, breaking a two week summer slump in traffic.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Maumee was out in the bay off Alpena Saturday evening. Winds were strong and the Maumee waited until the winds died down before coming into the river. By night fall it had made its way in to tie up at the Alpena Oil Dock to unload salt.
The Alpena returned Sunday morning to load cement under the silos at Lafarge. It departed by early afternoon for Green Bay, WI. The tug Mark Hannah and a barge were seen on the horizon far out in the bay, possibly waiting on weather.
The Sam Laud backed into Lafarge Sunday night and tied up to unload a cargo of coal.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
Algomarine finished unloading a cargo of oats at the A.R.M.S. Dock and departed Sunday morning. Algosteel was in drydock at the Ironhead Marine Shipyard. Algosoo was at the CSX Docks loading coal. The tug Michigan and barge Great Lakes were at the Midwest Terminal Dock. Ojibway was loading grain at the ADM Elevator.
The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Docks has the Saginaw due in Monday evening, John G. Munson and Herbert C. Jackson due in Tuesday evening followed by the CSL Niagara on Thursday morning.
The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Dock has the John J. Boland due in late Sunday evening. The tug Dorothy Ann with the barge Pathfinder due in Tuesday evening followed by the CSL Niagara late Wednesday evening.

Milwaukee - Bill Bedell
Sunday, the St. Marys Conquest was unloading at their plant up the Kinnickinnic River and the Algowood was loading grain at Nidera Grain across the slip from Jones Island.


Boatnerd Detroit River Cruise set to go August 16

A 4-hour freighter chasing cruise on the lower Detroit River aboard the luxurious Friendship, driven by Capt. Sam Buchanan. Cruise leaves the Portofino's On The River restaurant, in Wyandotte, MI at 10:00 am. We'll go where the boats are. Hopefully, up the Rouge River, maybe down the Detroit River. Bring your camera.

To make the trip even more interesting, a pizza buffet will be delivered by the mail boat J. W. Westcott. Cash bar on board. Plenty of free, safe parking at Portofino's. Click here for directions. All this for only $30.00 per person. Limited to the first 100 reservations.

Mail your check today to: Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, Inc., 1110 South Main Street, Findlay, OH 45840-2239. Checks will not be cashed until the week before the cruise. No physical tickets will be issued. Your name will be on the Boarding List. Check in before boarding.

Click here for Reservations Form.

There is still room available. Reservations must be received by Wednesday, August 13.


Retired ISMA Grand President passes

8/11 - Sandusky - Captain George Victor Chamberlain, 92, Sandusky, passed away peacefully in his home Friday, Aug. 8, 2008, of natural causes.

Vic, as he was known to everyone, spent 46 years sailing the Great Lakes and the oceans of the world. He retired in 1980 as captain of the George A. Stinson. He was a licensed Master of Great Lakes and Inland Steam or Motor Vessel and Chief Mate of Ocean Steam or Motor Vessel, Navigator on any Ocean, Great Lakes Shipmaster, 1st class pilot for the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway, and a World War II veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. American Merchant Marines.

He was most proud of his service as first officer onboard Liberty ships on several convoys, of which two (JW-62/RA-63 and JW-66/RA-67) were to Murmansk, Russia during World War II. In 1993, he was awarded the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic’s War Partners Medal and during a 2002 visit to Sandusky, Mikhail Gorbachev recognized him and wished him “…a long life.” Vic Chamberlain had a long and fulfilled life.

He served the International Shipmasters Lodge 4 as past president and Grand Lodge of International Shipmaster’s Association as past grand president and historian. Vic was a lifetime member of Knights of Columbus 546, Russian Convoy Club, and North Russia Club. He was also a member of American Legion Post 83, VFW Post 2529, American Merchant Marine Veterans of World War II, Catholic War Veterans Post 1905, Great Lakes Historical Society, Sandusky Maritime Museum, Sandusky Amvets and Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church.

For 17 years, Vic coached eighth grade basketball for Sts. Peter & Paul, and volunteered at Ohio Veterans Home for more than 10 years, where in 2004 he was recognized as the OVH Volunteer of the Year.

Vic is survived by his wife of 63 years, Margaret C. Chamberlain of Sandusky; sons, Charles F. Chamberlain and his wife, Bessie Lee of Dillon Beach, Calif., and David L. Chamberlain; granddaughter, Circe A. LeNoble; and great-granddaughter, Savannah G. LeNoble of Jacksonville Beach, Fla.

At his request, there will be no visitation. A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Sts. Peter & Paul Catholic Church, 510 Columbus Ave., Sandusky; the Rev. Marty Nassr will officiate. Burial will be at a later date in Calvary Cemetery, Sandusky. There will be a reception immediately following Mass at the Knights of Columbus. Arrangements were entrusted to David F. Koch Funeral Home, Sandusky.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations in honor of G. Victor Chamberlain to Stein Hospice Service, Inc., 1200 Sycamore Line, Sandusky, OH 44870 or


Updates - August 11

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Photo Gallery - Boatnerd Trip Raffle Winners trip


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 Allenburg 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.


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.


Coast Guard's Hollyhock gets new commanding officer

8/9 - Port Huron - Lt. Cmdr. Michael Davanzo of the U.S. Coast Guard had no trouble naming the thing he would miss the most about the Port Huron area. "It's the people," he said. "I've never seen such a display of patriotism ... as I've seen in this area."

Davanzo has been the commanding officer of the cutter Hollyhock for the past three years. On Friday, he gave command of the ship to Lt. Cmdr. James Bellaire at an official change of command ceremony. Davanzo recognized many people during the ceremony, including his family, the crew of the Hollyhock and the people of Port Huron. "You're going to write some great new chapters in the history of the Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock," Davanzo said, addressing Bellaire.

After his remarks, Davanzo read his orders from the Coast Guard instructing him to serve at the Coast Guard headquarters, Cutter Platforms Division in Washington, D.C.

Bellaire, who came to the Blue Water Area after a tour in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, then read his orders to take command of the Hollyhock. He called Davanzo's time on the Hollyhock "a tough act to follow." Bellaire served as executive officer on the Hollyhock for several months after it was commissioned in 2003.

During the ceremony, Davanzo was presented with the Hollyhock's commissioning pennant, a symbol given to the ship when it was commissioned. Davanzo also received a commendation medal for his service, and a Black Hull Certificate, which is given to departing crew members in the Coast Guard.

Bellaire and Davanzo praised people in the Port Huron area after the ceremony. "Port Huron is a great area. The people are awesome," Bellaire said. Davanzo agreed. "I think the Coast Guard tends to blend into the other communities, and it's just a part of their every day life. Here they take time to say thanks and look out for us and make us feel really appreciated."

From the Port Huron Times Herald


Port Reports - August 9

St. Joseph - Michael Barlow
The Sam Laud arrived off St. Joseph around 9pm Thursday night. She went to anchor off shore due to high wind and waves. She entered the harbor Friday morning to unload.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Calumet was inbound Wednesday morning with a split load. She dropped part of her cargo at the Wirt dock in Bay City before continuing upriver to finish unloadng at the Wirt dock in Saginaw. The Indiana Harbor also arrived Wednesday morning to unload at the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville. She finished her unload and backed out to Light 12 to turn and head for the lake during the afternoon. The Calumet was also outbound at the same time. The tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber were inbound passing the outbound Indiana Harbor around Light 12. The Moore & Kuber called on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City and were outbound early Thursday morning.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons and Clive Reddin
Algosteel is in port Friday unloading the first winter storage cargo of raw sugar onto the dock at Marine Terminal 52. Stephen B. Roman came in Friday afternoon. She departed at 10 p.m. Friday.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Thursday morning the G. L. Ostrander/barge Integrity was in port at Lafarge. By noon it was seen heading out into the horizon bound for Milwaukee.
The Samuel de Champlain/barge Innovation was under the silos on Friday.
The research vessel Sturgeon has been tied up in the Thunder Bay River the past few days.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Friday evening at the Upper Harbor ore dock, John J. Boland arrived and loaded taconite.


Updates - August 9

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Photo Gallery - Boatnerd Trip Raffle Winners trip

Calendar of Events 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 sidewheel 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.


Welland Canal Closed after car runs off bridge

8/8 - Port Colborne - A Ridgeway man died early Thursday morning after his vehicle plunged into the Welland Canal. Joshua Mack, 24, was the vehicle’s lone occupant and died in the crash.

Shortly before 2:30 a.m. emergency services personnel were called to the Mellanby Avenue Bridge (Bridge 19A). According to police a 1996 Lumina was southbound on Welland Street. The vehicle slowed for the intersection at Welland Street and the bridge and then turned westbound, toward Mellanby Avenue and the canal.

The bridge was up but the vehicle failed to stop for the traffic control arms, which were in the down position. The vehicle plunged into the canal and came to rest with its roof facing east. Acting Staff Sgt. Mike Woods said it is too soon to know the cause of the crash. "I think it’s a little premature to say one way or another," he said. Cnst. Celine Whiteley says an autopsy will be performed.

According to information provided by police both the canal warning devices and traffic lights at the nearby intersection were working properly. The incident remains under investigation by the NRP’s collision reconstruction unit.

The canal was closed for several hours while the vehicle was removed from the water. Mellanby Avenue runs along the West side of Lock 8. The bridge is the jackknife bridge at the South end of the lock.

From the Welland Tribune


Port Reports - August 8

Muskegon - Greg Barber
The Mississagi came into Muskegon around midnight Wednesday to unload stone at the Verplank dock than dropped down to Grand Haven around 5:30am Thursday morning to finish her unload at Meekhof's dock before backing out through the piers around 8 am.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The Mississagi came in over night with a load of stone for Meekhof's D & M dock next to the power plant on Harbor Island.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
CCG Griffon spent the night in port, departing Wednesday afternoon. Peter R. Cresswell arrived later in the evening with salt, and departed for the Welland Canal in the wee hours today.

Ludington -
Sam Laud delayed the departure of the S/S Badger when she arrived in Ludington at 8:00 a.m. to lighter at the Great Lakes Materials dock before continuing south to finish unloading in St. Joseph. The Laud will be the first boat to visit that port since emergency dredging operations commenced over a month ago.


Blue Water Bridge reopens after bomb threat

8/8 - Port Huron - The Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron, a major link between the United States and Canada, reopened Thursday afternoon following a bomb threat that prompted authorities to evacuate the bridge for an hour and a half.

The Canadian Coast Guard reported receiving a bomb threat shortly before 12:30 p.m., causing officials to clear the bridge of traffic and employees. Police wouldn’t disclose the details of the threat.

Traffic built up on both sides of the border, but had cleared up once traffic resumed around 2pm Thursday, Port Huron police said.

From the Detroit Free Press


Boatnerd Detroit River Cruise set to go August 16

A 4-hour freighter chasing cruise on the lower Detroit River aboard the luxurious Friendship, driven by Capt. Sam Buchanan. Cruise leaves the Portofino's On The River restaurant, in Wyandotte, MI at 10:00 am. We'll go where the boats are. Hopefully, up the Rouge River, maybe down the Detroit River. Bring your camera.

To make the trip even more interesting, a pizza buffet will be delivered by the mail boat J. W. Westcott. Cash bar on board. Plenty of free, safe parking at Portofino's. Click here for directions. All this for only $30.00 per person. Limited to the first 100 reservations.

Mail your check today to: Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, Inc., 1110 South Main Street, Findlay, OH 45840-2239. Checks will not be cashed until the week before the cruise. No physical tickets will be issued. Your name will be on the Boarding List. Check in before boarding.

Click here for Reservations Form.

There is still room available. Reservations must be received by Wednesday, August 13.


Updates - August 8

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Photo Gallery - Boatnerd Trip Raffle Winners trip

Calendar of Events 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 sidewheel 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

Kingsville - Erich Zuschlag
The Cuyahoga came into the port of Kingsville Ontario to unload stone from Marblehead Ohio. After unloading she backed out of the small port and headed to Windsor to load Salt for Perry Sound.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Wednesday morning at the Upper Harbor ore dock, Charles M. Beeghly unloaded coal, and Michipicoten loaded taconite.


Updates - August 7

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Photo Gallery - Boatnerd Trip Raffle Winner


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.


Port Reports - August 6

Saginaw - Todd Shorkey
The Calumet was inbound on Monday, calling on the Essexville Wirt dock to unload. She completed her unload, turned in the Essexville basin and was outbound later in the day.


New Tour Boat for Windsor

8/6 - A new cruise boat can start up this fall in Windsor at the foot of Ouellette Avenue after city council gave its approval Tuesday following a lengthy debate over a ticket kiosk. Rose City Cruise Lines will offer daily dinner and sightseeing tours on the Detroit River.

The ship coming to Windsor's waterfront is the MV Senator, which has been operating in Ottawa. It holds a maximum of 140 passengers, with 110 dining seats. Owners will spend about $30,000 to renovate the ship's interior. The service will be in operation roughly from the end of May until early October

Reported by: Windsor Star


Updates - August 6

News Photo Gallery updated


Updated Local Notice to Mariners

The USCG District Nine Local Notice to Mariners is now available for download at this link


Today in Great Lakes History : August 6

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 MC CARTHY 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 MC CLELLAN and repaired.

On 6 August 1900, the Mc Morran 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.



New Lock at the Soo

8/5 - The new Soo Lock project seems to keep moving forward as the Corps is now seeking public comment on the proposed new lock.

The Water Resources Development Act of 2007 had directed the Secretary of the Army to construct a new Soo Lock. Environmental impact statements from 1986 and 2000 were favorable toward the building of the new lock. In the 30 days following July 25, 2008, the Corps requests knowledge of any change of condition or anticipated impact from the new lock construction.

This lock will replace the two smaller, northern locks - the Davis Lock and the Sabin Lock - at the Corps of Engineers Sault Locks Complex, on the St. Mary's River, according to a U.S. Corps of Engineer release. The proposed lock would be capable of handling the Great Lakes System's largest vessels which account for more than half of the potential carrying capacity of the Great Lakes fleet and currently are limited to lockage through the Poe Lock. A disruption of the Poe Lock would result in significant national economic consequences; therefore, a second lock with the dimensions of the Poe Lock is needed.

Environmental Review of the replacement lock was addressed in the Great Lakes Connecting Channels and Harbors Final interim Feasibility Report and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), 1986 and a Record of Environmental Consideraton, 2000. A review of environmental conditions, design and predicted environmental impacts today are consistent with those addressed in the Final EIS and the Record of Environmental Consideration. Based on this review, signature of the Record of Decision (ROD) for the project, in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, is proposed.

Anyone with knowledge of changed conditions or anticipated impacts that may effect the decision to sign the ROD, can comment within 30 days of July 25, 2008. Comments should be directed to: U.S. Army Engineer District, Detroit; ATTN: Environmental Analysis Branch/Bissell; P.O. Box 1027; Detroit, MI 48231-1027.

Following the review of any comments received, a final decision regarding the signing of the Record of Decision will be made, according to Jim E. Galloway, Chief, Planning Office.

Reported By: Soo Evening News


Italy's Fincantieri to Buy Manitowoc Marine Group

8/5 - Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri has signed an agreement to acquire the Manitowoc Marine Group, from its parent company, The Manitowoc Company. Lockheed Martin Corporation has agreed to be a minority investor with Fincantieri in the proposed acquisition.

The transaction is valued at approx. $120 million and is anticipated to close at the end of 2008. The boards of directors of Fincantieri and Manitowoc have approved the terms of the agreement.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions. MMG is comprised of two shipyards, Marinette Marine Corporation (Marinette, WI) and Bay Shipbuilding Company (Sturgeon Bay, WI), and a topside repair yard in Cleveland, OH. MMG employs a workforce of approx. 1,590 and in FY2007 generated revenues of approx. $320 million, which are expected to increase in FY2008.

The acquisition of MMG responds to the U.S. Navy’s expressed desires that U.S. shipyards adopt best practices from leading international counterparts. With a proven record of delivering complex military and commercial ships, on time and on budget at a firm fixed price, Fincantieri will bring to the U.S. market its extensive expertise in modern ship design and construction methods, thus greatly enhancing the technological capability and production processes at the yards of MMG.

Fincantieri plans to invest in modernizing MMG’s facilities, thereby increasing efficiency and productivity, significantly benefiting MMG’s U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard customers, as well as the shipyards’ employees and the local communities where they live and work. “This acquisition represents a significant step in pursuing the growth of Fincantieri and its naval business overseas” said Giuseppe Bono, ceo of Fincantieri. “Further, we achieve a key milestone in the implementation of our Business Plan”.

“This will enhance the Littoral Combat Ship team’s ability to deliver high quality and high value ships to support the U.S. Navy’s critical mission,” said Fred P. Moosally, president of Lockheed Martin’s Maritime Systems & Sensors business.

Reported by: Mike Arendt


Mackinaw wraps up festival, heads to training mission

8/5 - Grand Haven, Mich. - A week of festival activities behind them, the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw sailed from Grand Haven on Sunday for Chicago, where a buoy problem awaited their attention before a week of training was to begin.

The mighty ship began a visit to the Coast Guard Festival with the Parade of Ships, a traditional start to the event that Cmdr. Scott Smith has experienced before - but never as he did in command of the largest icebreaker on the Great Lakes.

“I have been at the Grand Haven festival five times, but for me, the Mackinaw is the pinnacle,” Smith said. “When you come in, everybody is cheering for the Mac. It's a great thing to be appreciated everywhere you go but this was a great feeling coming in. It was an easy transit.”

In addition to the icebreaking tug Biscayne Bay from Coast Guard Station St. Ignace, the Mackinaw was joined by the Samuel Risley, and icebreaking cutter from Canadian Forces.

“The weather has been hot, phenomenal,” Smith continued. “It's been a picture-perfect Coast Guard week. Good fun, a lot of good fun.”

The ship is traditionally the centerpiece of activities on the pier and this year was no exception.

“We've hosted 4,200 guests in tours over just the first three days and there are more to come,” Smith reported on Thursday. “I expect we'll have 12,000 total by the end of the week.”

Another traditional role is the one the Mackinaw plays during the service for the cutter Escanaba, sunk by a U-boat's torpedo in the North Atlantic during World War II.

“We serve as the backdrop and form up with other units,” Smith added. “We'll all pay our respects at the memorial.”

There are fun activities for Coast Guards personnel during the week, and the Mackinaw's crew actively took part. As of Thursday, the Mac crew was 4-0 and winning their division in a softball tournament held as part of the festivities. In addition, a team of golfers from the ship placed sixth out of 35 entries.

Many attended the Tri-Cities Dinner, hosted this year by Grand Haven to kick off the VIP portion of the week. The Grand Parade through the downtown area took place Saturday, followed by an evening fireworks display to conclude the event.

Reported by: The Cheboygan Daily Tribune


Great Lakes rising again; levels close to normal

8/5 - After a parched summer last year that left docks stranded and boat propellers scraping sandy shallows, the Great Lakes are blissfully -- and surprisingly -- full again this year.

Heavy snow and rains since last winter have made the lakes rise. Scientists aren't sure whether this will last, but they're hopeful. The temperatures, moisture and ice cover next winter will be critical.

"If we get two more good, normal winters with normal precipitation, then we'd have a turnaround," said Cynthia Sellinger, deputy director of the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Lake Superior, which beat its 1926 record low last fall, rebounded to within 4 inches of its long-term average in July. Lakes Erie and Ontario are 2 and 4 inches, respectively, above their July averages.

Lakes Michigan and Huron are up 8 inches, though still lagging more than a foot below their normal July levels. Lake St. Clair is up 10 inches from last year and down just 2 inches from its normal for July.

After three years of below-average precipitation, all the lakes had higher-than-normal precipitation during the past 12 months, Sellinger said. Last September, the Great Lakes region got double its normal rainfall for that month, lifting Lake Superior from its record lows.

By March, meteorologists across the region said the winter had brought record snowfall that was heavy and dense with water. Grand Rapids, Flint and Saginaw had their snowiest Februarys ever, and Wellston, near Manistee, set a new record for its winter season.

From December 2007 through February, the traditional winter months, for example, Grand Rapids got 98 inches of snow, 36 inches more than normal. Sault Ste. Marie also got 98 inches, 8 inches above its usual levels. Even Detroit got 59 inches of snow during those months -- 22 inches above average.

Near the lakes, the snow was not the fluffy, low-moisture kind sucked up from the lakes by cold, dry air and dumped back on the ground. Instead, the wet snow came from storms outside the basin, adding to the lakes' depths.

That was followed by heavy rains in spring and early summer across the region. In the past 12 months, each lake's basin got 2 to 7 inches more rain than the long-term average, in 1900-99. Basin-wide, the average was 4 inches more than normal for the past year through July.

Boaters and beachgoers are happy about higher lakes, but the problems aren't over. Ships on the Great Lakes that carry coal, iron ore and cement for industry moved slightly more cargo in June than they did a year ago, but they're still loading light because some harbors still are too shallow, according to the Lake Carriers' Association in Cleveland.

Despite 16 inches more water in Lake Superior last week compared with a year ago, the Wenonah ferry from Grand Portage, Minn., to Isle Royale National Park still is not running. Last summer was the first in 30 years the 149-passenger boat couldn't get to the island.

"We're still hoping to get into the water this season," said John Szczech, chief financial officer for the ferry.

The water still is too shallow at Grand Portage to ensure the ferry won't hit the bottom in a swell, he said, but he's hoping the boat can get out of the harbor this month on flat-water days.

The lakes normally rise May-October and fall November-April.

The Army Corps of Engineers forecasts that by December, Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron and St. Clair will remain on the dry side, 4 to 14 inches lower than their long-term averages, but the two lower lakes, Ontario and Erie, will be wetter and close to their longtime normal levels. Reported by: The Detroit Free Press


Port Reports - August 5

Holland - Bob VandeVusse
Grande Mariner docked at Boatwerks in Holland on Sunday morning and departed in the evening.

Saginaw - Todd Shorkey
The Mississagi was inbound the Saginaw River early Sunday morning traveling upriver to unload at the Buena Vista dock in Saginaw. She completed her unload and was outbound late Sunday afternoon. The CSL Tadoussac was inbound later in the morning on Sunday, calling on the Essroc dock in Essexville. She was expected to be outbound early Monday morning.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman

On Monday the tug Sea Service with the barge Energy 6506 was at the Midwest Terminal Dock. The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Docks has the Philip R. Clarke due in late Tuesday afternoon. The Manitowoc Wednesday evening. The Herbert C. Jackson late Thursday evening followed by the Algosoo late Friday afternoon. The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Dock has the CSL Assiniboine Tuesday afternoon followed by the John J. Boland Sunday evening.

Fairport Harbor - Bob Hunter
On Saturday morning the barge James Kuber and tug Victory came into the harbor with a load for Carmeuse Limestone. The tug and barge became stuck on an uncharted sandbar at the entrance to the harbor. At 8 p.m., the Kuber remained at the harbor entrance with the Agawa Canyon anchored in the lake waiting to enter. The Tug Victory left the notch of the barge and attempted to pull the barge free. The sand bar prevented the tug from getting in close enough to free the barge. Sunday morning the tug and barge were able to enter port with assistance from a G Tug based in Cleveland and was unloading.

Toronto - Charlie G.

Cuyahoga came in with a load of salt Monday evening. English River was in and out on Sunday. The Port Authority's back-up ferry Maple City has been hauled out at the Atlas crane on Pier 35. Their idled ferry Windmill Point has been pressed into back-up service.


Boatnerd Detroit River Cruise August 16

A 4-hour freighter chasing cruise on the lower Detroit River aboard the luxurious Friendship, driven by Capt. Sam Buchanan. Cruise leaves the Portofino's On The River restaurant, in Wyandotte, MI at 10:00 am. We'll go where the boats are. Hopefully, up the Rouge River, maybe down the Detroit River. Bring your camera.

To make the trip even more interesting, a pizza buffet will be delivered by the mail boat J. W. Westcott. Cash bar on board. Plenty of free, safe parking at Portofino's. Click here for directions. All this for only $30.00 per person. Limited to the first 100 reservations.

 Mail your check today to: Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, Inc., 1110 South Main Street, Findlay, OH 45840-2239. Checks will not be cashed until the week before the cruise. No physical tickets will be issued. Your name will be on the Boarding List. Check in before boarding.

Click here for Reservations Form.


Updates - August 5

News Photo Gallery updated

Weekly Site Updates


Today in Great Lakes History : August 5

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.) US265808, 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 MC CARTHY 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 (sidewheel 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.



USS Freedom Sea Trials

8/4 - The Littoral Combat Ship Freedom returned from sea trials on Lake Michigan Sunday night.  The 378-foot ship will remain at Marinette Marine to be prepared for acceptance trials to be run by the Navy's Board of Inspection and Survey.

Plans call for the ship to be commissioned in Milwaukee, delivered to the Navy later this year and based at San Diego as its home port. The ship has been designed and built by an industry team led by Lockheed Martin, with Marinette Marine as one of the builders.


Port Reports - August 4

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Canadian Leader arrived late Saturday evening at the Upper Harbor ore dock to load taconite. Loading continued Sunday morning. The visit was her second of the season.

Sturgeon Bay - Wendell Wilke
On Sunday the barge Petroleum Provider, Bay Shipbuilding Hull 766 was at the fitout wall. The barge Petroleum Trader , Hull 767, is still under construction in the large graving dock. Both are being built for U.S. Shipping.

Milwaukee - Bill Bedell
Sunday morning the Algoway made an appearance in Milwaukee to deliver a load of salt to the inner harbor at Jones Island.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The Maumee came in at 8 a.m. Sunday with a load of limestone for Meekhof's D & M dock next to the Power Plant on Harbor Island in Grand Haven. It had departed Sunday evening.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
Algomarine finished unloading ore at the Torco Dock and departed Sunday afternoon. The tug Petite Forte with the barge St. Marys Cement were unloading cement at the St. Marys Cement Dock. The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Docks has the Calumet and Philip R. Clarke due in Tuesday evening. The Herbert C. Jackson and Algosoo on Friday morning followed by the Saginaw on Sunday afternoon. The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Docks has the CSL Assiniboine due in Tuesday afternoon followed by the John J. Boland on Sunday.  

Marblehead/ Sandusky - Dawn C. Roberts
On Sunday afternoon the Cleveland passed the Marblehead Lighthouse inbound to the LaFarge Dock. The St. Clair was taking on a load at the Sandusky Coal Dock.

Kingsville - Erich Zuschlag
The Jiimaan ferry to Pelee Island usually switches from docking in Leamington to docking in Kingsville by Aug. 1. This year repairs to the Kingsville docks meant the Jiimaan wasn't making trips from Kingsville until Sept. 1 due to construction work at the dock.


Updates - August 4

News Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History : August 4

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 co 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 nationÕs only armed force afloat. The Coast Guard has continued to protect the nation throughout its long history Ð both at home and abroad Ð 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 boatwatchers, 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.

PatersonÕs 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,, 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.


Coast Guard Rescues Man Suffering From Internal Bleeding

8/3 - Marquette, Mich. - A Coast Guard Helicopter crew medically evacuated a man suffering from internal bleeding off a 767-foot freighter Thursday in Lake Superior.

The 36-year-old crewmember from the freighter, American Valor, was transferred to Emergency Medical Services and brought to Marquette General Hospital.

An HH-65 Dolphin Rescue Helicopter, from Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City arrived at approximately 9 a.m. and hoisted the man off the ship. He was taken to Sawyer Airport and taken to awaiting Emergency Medical Services.

Video of the Rescue


Port Reports - August 3

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Saturday evening, the Army Corp of Engineers tugs Donald C. Billmaier and Hammond Bay were docked at the Lower Harbor adjacent to Mattson Park.

South Chicago - Steve B.
Sunrise Saturday morning found four vessels on the Calumet River. The Manitowoc was made its security call to depart KCBX at about 5:20 a.m., after the arrival of the Joseph L. Block, which was inbound at the same time. The Block arrived at KCBX about 6 a.m. with assistance from the tug Zuccolo, which pulled the Block south of KCBX. The Manitowoc departed from the south dock of KCBX around 6:15 a.m. for the lake, and the Block took its place at the south dock. The Catherine Desgagnes was seen tied up at Iroquois Landing at the entrance to the Calumet River, and the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation was unloading at Lafarge at 130th St.


Updates - August 3

News Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History : August 3

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 sidewheel 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.



Tall ships arrive in Duluth to the delight of thousands

8/2 - With cannons’ roar, a trio of tall ships, their white sails billowing in the wind, glided into Duluth Harbor Thursday afternoon to the delight of the thousands of people who gathered to watch.

The ships, including replicas of 1812 war ships, passed through the Aerial Lift Bridge beginning about 4 p.m., followed by an armada of smaller boats that later milled around as the big ships docked along Harbor Drive.

It was the first time in decades that many tall ships had sailed into the harbor at one time, harkening back to the mid- to late-1800s when sailing vessels moved cargo on the Great Lakes. The ships are here for this weekend’s Duluth Maritime Festival and will be open for public tours today through Sunday.

With both cameras and children in-hand, on-lookers crowded the Lakewalk and lined the two piers and Harbor Drive. First to arrive was the Madeline, a replica of an 1840s cargo schooner. At 92 feet in length and masts rising 71 feet, it’s the smallest of the three. Second in the harbor was the Pride of Baltimore II, a clipper-style topsail schooner that’s 157 feet long and with a 107-foot tall mast.

On the lake, the three tall ships were surrounded by a fleet of smaller sailing craft, motor boats and even — as they neared the Harbor — sea kayakers and people in inflatable rafts. As they entered the ship canal, the people crowding both piers cheered and clapped. The Pride of Baltimore II fired several cannon salutes in the canal.

When the biggest vessel — the U.S. Brig Niagara — approached, some onlookers anxiously looked at its 118-foot tall mast and wondered if it would clear the raised Aerial Lift Bridge.

It did. Barely, it seemed. With wind-filled sails, the towering beauty passed in silence and left onlookers similarly awed into silence.

As the Niagara docked behind the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, people crowded in for a closer look. Eyes and cameras pointed upward to the tall masts where a crew member straddled the top of one, and later 13 young crew members sat in a row on the yard of a mast.

“It was a perfect day all day,” said Wesley Heerssen, the Niagara’s captain, as his crew continued to secure the docked ship. The Niagara, which is owned by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, set out from Erie Harbor on July 20.

The Niagara will be in Duluth until Tuesday evening. The Madeline and Pride of Baltimore II are scheduled to depart Monday.

Reported by: Duluth News Tribune



Port Reports - August 2

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Salties loading grain have been an uncommon sight in the Twin Ports this year but on Friday morning the Marneborg was loading at General Mills in Duluth. The General Mills elevators have handled most of the grain trade so far this season. Elsewhere Friday morning, American Intregrity was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal and Arthur M. Anderson was unloading at the eastern side of the CLM dock. Canadian Enterprise was anchored on the lake waiting for the Midwest Energy Terminal berth and BBC Maine with a deck cargo of wind turbines was anchored out waiting for another heavy-lift saltie due at the port terminal.

Kingsville - Erich Zuschlag and CKLW
The Town of Kingsville is bracing for a drop in tourism. Ferry service to Pelee Island normally switches from Leamington to Kingsville August 1st. The changeover has been delayed this year because of ongoing repairs to the Kingsville docks which are expected to take another few weeks. Mayor Nelson Santos is asking the Ontario government for compensation.

Toledo - Jim Hoffman
On Friday evening no vessels were in port. The revised schedule for coal boats due into the CSX Docks has the Adam E. Cornelius due in Saturday evening. The Algosoo Monday afternoon, followed by the Calumet and Philip R. Clarke on Tuesday evening. The revised schedule for ore boats due into the Torco Dock has the Capt. Henry Jackman and Atlantic Erie due in Saturday afternoon. The Algomarine Sunday morning followed by the CSL Assiniboine Tuesday afternoon.


Updates - August 2

News Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History : August 2

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.



Willis B. Boyer Marine Memorabilia Flea Market this Sunday

Sunday, August 3, is the date for the Willis B. Boyer Marine Memorabilia Flea Market and Ship Model Display.

Co-sponsored by the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority, Boyer/Riverfront Inc., Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping ( and Diamond Jack's River Tours, the event will take place in shoreside tents next to the museum ship Willis B. Boyer in Toledo. The show will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is only $6.00 and includes a tour of the Boyer.

In addition to many vendors with marine items for sale, there will be a pond with a model boat display. BBQ and refreshments will be available on the grounds.

To make the day even more complete, and Diamond Jack's are sponsoring a trip to Toledo on the Diamond Belle. Departing from Wyandotte at 8:00 a.m., the Belle is expected to arrive at the Boyer around 1:15. The trip cross open water on the western end of Lake Erie and travel up the Maumee River passing through several draw bridges.

Passengers will be allowed two hours of free time to shop the marine mart, tour the Boyer and enjoy the model ships display before boarding for the return trip to Wyandotte. The ticket price of $90.00 per person, includes three meals on board the Belle and admission to the mart and Boyer tour. Reservations are required.

Click here for Diamond Jack's Reservation form.

Vendors click here for details and registration form.


Lake Superior Water Levels

8/1 - The International Lake Superior Board of Control has set the Lake Superior outflow to 86.9 thousand cubic feet per second for the month of August. This is the outflow recommended by the regulation plan for the month of August and is an increase from the July outflow, which was 79.5 tcfs.

The August outflow will be released by discharging 80.0 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 increased to one gate fully open on August 1. As a result, the flow and water levels will increase in the St. Marys Rapids. Anglers need to be cautious of the changing flows and water levels in the rapids on August 1 and the unusually high flows and levels in the rapids during August. There will be no change to the setting of Gate #1 that supplies the Fishery Remedial Works.

In July the water supplies to the lakes Superior and Michigan-Huron basins were above their long-term averages for July. Lake Superior is currently 9 inches above its chart datum level. The level of Lake Superior is expected to rise slightly in August. Currently, the Lake Superior level is about 5 inches below its long-term average beginning-of-August level, but is 16 inches above the level recorded a year ago.

In July the level of Lake Superior rose 2 inches, the average amount for the month. The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron rose by 1 inch in July, while on average the level remains the same in July. The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron is now about 13 inches below its longterm average beginning-of-August level, and is 8 inches higher than it was a year ago, and 10 inches above chart datum. The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron is expected to decline slightly in August.

For further information Click here


Cleveland-Cliffs reports profitable second quarter

8/1 - Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. reported an extremely profitable second quarter Wednesday. For the three-month period that ended June 30, the company cleared $270.2 million — more than tripling what it earned during the second quarter of last year. For the first half of this year, Cleveland-Cliffs reported net income of $287.2 million, versus $119.4 million during the first six months of 2007.

A statement issued by Joseph Carraba, Cliffs’ chairman, president and CEO, said: “The record sales and earnings generated during the quarter and first half reflect successful execution of Cliffs’ ongoing strategy. We continue to grow and expand in the areas that we have identified as integral to sustaining our leadership position in the North American mining sector and around the world. Moreover, we have recently made significant strides in reinforcing our platform to serve the faster- growing international markets and to meet the robust demand for steelmaking materials in North America and globally.”

Cleveland-Cliffs owns and/or manages several Iron Range taconite operations, including Northshore Mining Co., Hibbing Taconite Co. and United Taconite Co.

Reported by: the Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports - August 1

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Action in the Twin Ports early Thursday included Cason J. Callaway slowing approaching the DMIR ore dock with a cargo of stone to unload, Canadian Transport loading at Midwest Energy Terminal and John J. Boland fueling at the Murphy Oil terminal. Other Great Lakes Fleet action in the Twin Ports included Roger Blough arriving late Wednesday to load at DMIR ore dock. Arthur M. Anderson is due Friday to make an unusual call to unload stone at CLM dock in Superior – a task usually handled by American Steamship Co. boats. 

Saginaw - Todd Shorkey
After days with no activity on the Saginaw River, Thursday night finally saw the arrival of the American Century.  The Century called on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville to unload coal and was expected to be outbound early Friday morning.

Toronto - Gerry O.
McKeil Works Boats of Hamilton has registered a new barge. The 325-foot lond barge was built in 1984 and is named the Niagara Spirit.


Updates - August 1

News Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History : August 1

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 LÕERABLE NO 1 entered service. Renamed b.) HUBERT GAUCHER in 1982. Sold foreign in 1996, renamed c.) RODIN and d.) OLYMPIC PRIDE in 2000.

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.


News Archive - August 1996 to present

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