Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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* Report News


More Hannah Marine tugs, barges on the block at U.S. Marshals' Sale

8/31 - The U.S. Marshals will sell off the tugs and barges that made up the Hannah Marine fleet. The assets were seized by the U.S. Marshall’s service on behalf of the company’s creditors. No information is available as to what happened to cause the fleet’s demise.
Chicago, IL.
Hannah 2901
HMC 510
Hannah 3601
Hannah 5101
Hannah D. Hannah
Peggy D
Donald C. Hannah
Mary E. Hannah
James A. Hannah
Susan W. Hannah
David E.
Daryl C. Hannah
Theodore, AL
Hannah 7701
Wilbur R Clark
Rio Bravo

Oswego, NY
Hannah 6301
Mark Hannah

Vicksburg, MS
Kristin Lee Hannah


According to its Web site, Hannah Marine Corporation, based in Lemont, Ill., owns and operates the largest fleet of ABS load lined, U.S. Flag, double hulled tank barges on the Great Lakes.
Marcon International Inc.


Port Reports - August 31

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The tug Joyce L. Van Enkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader called on the Saginaw River Friday evening for their first visit of 2009. They unloaded overnight at the Bay City Wirt dock, then, Saturday morning, backed from the dock, out of the river, and out to Light 12 in the bay to turn and head for the lake. The pair passed the Water J. McCarthy, Jr. which was at the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville. The McCarthy had arrived Saturday morning and was unloading coal.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
CCG Simmonds arrived in port Saturday afternoon. The saltie Eider arrived in port with sugar for Redpath Sunday morning, assisted into the dock by Groupe Ocean's tug which came over from Hamilton for the job.


DTE Coal gets petroleum coke pact

8/31 - DTE Coal Services, a subsidiary of DTE Energy, has been awarded a multiyear contract to provide petroleum coke, or petcoke, terminal services for BP Products North America's Whiting, Ind., refinery.

The agreement calls for DTE Coal Services to unload, store and load all of BP's petcoke from trucks and rail cars into vessels and barges for delivery to BP's customers.

BP's refinery, in production for more than 100 years and the largest inland refinery in the country, is being modernized so it can process Canadian crude oil. The project is expected to be operational in 2012 and will expand petcoke production capacity from approximately 600,000 tons to about 2.2 million tons per year.

Detroit Free Press


Updates - August 31

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery (check back later Monday for the latest album)
Historical Perspective Gallery Thomas Wilson
Public 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 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.


Mechanical failure closes Canadian Soo Lock

8/30 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. - The recreational lock at the Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site of Canada is currently closed due to a mechanical failure of the lock’s two upstream valves.

Parks Canada and its technical advisors are working to correct the problem and an update will be issued as soon as the operation of the lock can be resumed. Parks Canada is continually investing in infrastructure and additional upgrades have been identified as part of the long-term investment strategy for the sustainability of the recreational lock.

In conjunction with the City of Sault Ste. Marie, Parks Canada was already in the process of scheduling enhancements to the upstream valves when the failure occurred. The lock can operate with only one valve, and the intent is to re- open the lock as soon as one of the valves is repaired.

Completed in 1895, the Sault Ste. Marie Canal was the largest lock in the world when it opened and the first to be electrically operated. The construction of the Sault Ste. Marie Canal marked the completion of an all-Canadian waterway from the Atlantic Ocean to Lake Superior.

Soo Today


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


Great Lakes Historical Society, Boyer museum may join forces in Toledo

8/29 - Toledo, Ohio – Toledo's downtown may be getting a world-class maritime museum.

The Great Lakes Historical Society has met with the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority Seaport Committee to discuss moving its museum exhibits in Vermilion to the Toledo Maritime Center on Front Street in Toledo's Marina District.

"The goal of this experience would be to create a national Great Lakes maritime museum," society executive director Chris Gilchrist said.

The society has operated a museum and research library in Vermilion for decades and with 2,350 members in 47 states, is the largest Great Lakes maritime historical association.

The society has been hoping to move for several years so that it could expand its exhibits into a larger facility and reach more visitors. Initial discussions included sites such as Lorain, but "one that we kept coming back to was the Toledo maritime center," Mr. Gilchrist said.

If the society can move the Willis B. Boyer Museum Ship from the Maumee River near International Park to a slip by the museum site, Mr. Gilchrist said he hopes to create "the ultimate shipwreck experience."

The Boyer is one of the most important historical Great Lakes vessels and the sole survivor of the famous Great Lakes storm in 1913. When built in 1911, it was called the Col. James M. Schoonmaker and was the world's largest bulk carrier.

To move the Boyer, the society would have to dredge the slip to a 16-foot depth from its depth of 1 foot to 5 feet, which could cost up to $2 million. Restoring the ship would cost about $400,000, and the museum project is expected to cost about $1 million.

The museum has raised more than $1 million for the project and plans to gain more revenue from a museum in Toledo because of the city's high population density, combined with the maritime center's proximity to the highway and the nearby marina district, leaders said.

The expected direct earned revenue in Toledo, including gift-shop and ticket sales, is about $450,000 a year, far more than what is earned in Vermilion. The Toledo building is also three times the size of the Vermilion museum.

"We're just not getting visitors in Vermilion because it's too small, too out of the way," Mr. Gilchrist said. The site gets about 6,500 visitors a year, only slightly more than the number of visitors to the Boyer ship alone per year.

Once the museum opens, he said he hopes to expand the building and move the research library in Vermilion to Toledo as well. He plans for an $8 adult admission fee for both the ship and museum.

The project isn't a done deal yet, but the parties involved are confident.

Carla Firestone, port board spokesman, said an agreement with the museum was approved yesterday. "It's a mutual operating understanding," she said. "We are not leasing the place to them. They are going to seriously investigate the option of getting them in there."

Port Authority president Michael Stolarczyk said "everybody wants this to happen."

He said discussions with the port authority were taking place before he took office earlier this year and said he was thrilled to hear about the project.

"Toledo has a very rich tradition in the Great Lakes from a seafaring perspective," he said. "And to be able to have this museum move here to our maritime center would be a fantastic thing," he said.

Mr. Gilchrist said he hopes to secure a lease in a few months and wants to open in May, 2011, in time for the Boyer's 100th anniversary.

Toledo Blade


Port Reports - August 29

South Chicago – Jay Williams
The century-plus old bulk cement self-unloader St. Marys Challenger delivered her cement cargo to St. Marys Cement’s Calumet dock Thursday in cool, cloudy weather. The boat arrived at her dock at 2 p.m. Her passage up the Calumet was marked, in addition to her Skinner steam exhaust, by clouds of white smoke.

Hamilton, Ont. – Eric Holmes
Friday morning saw Hamilton Energy depart at 7 a.m. to bunker Vega Desgangnes off of Bronte. The tug Anglian Lady and barge PML2501 arrived at 8 a.m. with coal tar for Pier 23. The tug Wyatt M arrived at 8:15 a.m. from Clarkson. Hamilton Energy returned to port at 11 a.m. from Bronte and Vega Desgagnes departed Bronte at 11:15 a.m. heading down the lake. Canadian Enterprise departed at 11:30 a.m. for Ashtabula. Algocape departed at 11:45 a.m. for the canal and Algosoo departed Pier 26 at 4:30 p.m. after having some repairs done for the canal.


Lake Erie ferry feasibility study sails closer

8/29 - Canadian and local officials received much-sought-after news Thursday with word that half the grant money was awarded for a feasibility study on ferry service across Lake Erie from three Lake County communities to the Ontario region.

A Regional Economic Development grant was approved by the Ontario government for the estimated $300,000 Lake Erie Ferry Border Crossing study.

Several local, state and federal leaders on this side of the lake have been sending word of their support for the study in the last several months in hopes of securing the funding.

"This is great news and it's a very important step in the process," said U.S. Rep. Steven C. LaTourette, R-Bainbridge Township, who set aside more than $30 million for a Northeast Ohio community to use to help get the ferry up and running.

The congressman said he is hopeful that, after the study is completed, Grand River, Mentor and Fairport Harbor will be able to come to an agreement with Ontario officials so that the ferry project can move forward.

The local municipalities have been in discussions with leaders in Bayham, Ontario, whose southernmost community, Port Burwell, sits on the north shore of Lake Erie.

Bayham Mayor Lynn Acre said an application for another 40 percent of the study's cost has been submitted to the Canadian government. The final 10 percent will be paid by Bayham, according to the RED grant stipulations.

"We should be hearing about the federal application maybe next week," Acre said. "If we do, we have our requests for proposals ready to go out.

"We usually give about two to three weeks for contractors to submit their bid, so this fall we should have (the study) started."

The study is expected to take nine to 12 months to complete and will research the ferry service itself, infrastructure requirements, and the economic and environmental impacts.

The ferry project could entail a $550 million investment that would allow six modern high-speed ferry boats to transport semi-trailers, cars and passengers.

Grand River Mayor Chris Conley began spearheading the Lake County push several years ago, after Kent Kristensen, chairman of Ontario-based Seaport Management Corp., approached local leaders.

"About six years ago, Kent brought his idea to Fairport Harbor," Conley said. "Mayor Frank Sarosy didn't want the truck traffic in his community so he kicked it over to me."

Conley said the trucks would travel up Route 44 to access the port.

"Six years is a long time and I'm glad that they're finally moving up there," he said. "(Mayor Acre) reiterated to me that they're in favor of the project; they just need this outside source to tell them it's the right thing to do."

Mentor City Council in April agreed to spend $5,000 to hire McDonald Hopkins, a legal and lobbyist firm in Cleveland, to help promote the project to potential players.

Mentor Council President Robert M. Shiner called the ferry project possibly the "largest economic development tool this region will receive in years."

"It will stabilize the economy as it moves forward," he said.

Of the $550 million, about $45 million of infrastructure improvements would be absorbed by the United States and Ohio, $50 million would stay in Canada and the remaining amount would come from private funds to build the ferry boats, Kristensen has said. His Seaport Management Corp. is overseeing the project.

He said the project could generate 700 jobs.

The News-Herald


Port Stanley's commercial days appear numbered

8/29 - London, Ont. – Port Stanley seems destined to remain a port in name only.

A plan for the future of the only deep-water port on the northern shore of Lake Erie has no place for commercial shipping, visits by tall ships or cross-lake ferries.

That's the consensus emerging in a $100,000 feasibility study into the future of the harbor lands the federal government is trying to offload onto Central Elgin.

Declining shipping revenues with no prospect of change and no appetite among local ratepayers to cover the costs of dredging to current shipping standards are responsible.

It marks the end of an era for a port that back in 1849 was the seventh-busiest port in British North America. As recently as the 1990s, it was a viable port of call on the Great Lakes. But it hasn't been dredged since 2001 and is clogged with silt and contaminants.

A top hat traditionally given to the first skipper in port at the beginning of each shipping season lies in the municipal vault – it hasn't been awarded in years.

"I'd love to see it as a commercial port again," admits Mark Conway, a lead consultant with N. Barry Lyon Consultants Ltd., who is crunching the numbers following two public participation meetings about how residents see the port's future.

But potential shipping revenues won't cover an annual dredging bill of about $1 million, so given the demand from Central Elgin and its ratepayers that the harbor not become a financial burden, dredging to commercial depth is out of the question. Instead, a 2.5-metre dredge is being proposed to accommodate recreation and commercial fishing, to be paid from an annuity provided by the federal government.

"It has to pay for itself," Conway said of a municipally owned harbor.

A transient marina, launch ramp and a new Stork Club on the waterfront are among the preferred components of the revitalized port lands.

"The only elephant in the room for the port is the ferry," Conway said.

No provision is being made for a ferry dock or sufficient water depth. But ferry plans come and go and can be "iffy," so nothing can be based on them, Conway said.

The consultant said once he distills the vision preferred by the public, he will present it to council and to another public meeting.

Among those bound to be disappointed at the dredging scenario is Dan McNeil, a citizen activist on port divestiture and retired Canadian Navy rear admiral.

"It could mean the death knell for Port Stanley as a commercial port," he said. "We would not even be able to do tall ships for tourism. It would remove Port Stanley as a safe port of call in storms and remove any tourism future for ferries or smaller cruise ships."

But the Central Elgin Ratepayers Association won't shed tears at the loss of a commercial port if it means ratepayers get a break.

President Bruce Lemon said property taxes are already too high and paying more to operate and maintain a port has no appeal.

Besides, he said, many people have retired to the quiet lakeshore community and aren't interested in seeing it return to a bustling port.

His vice-president, Helen Garton, said the port problems were created by a federal government that ignored it so long.

"Not on my dime," she said of any investment in it. "A lot of people feel that way."

London Free Press


Propelling the cruising industry in Duluth and Superior

8/29 - Duluth, Minn. - A coalition is on a voyage to put the Great Lakes on the itineraries of the cruise ship industry.

The Great Lakes Cruising Coalition is looking to set the compasses of passenger vessels towards the Twin Ports. The coalition says they're in talks with cruise lines that represent approximately 30 vessels.

"What we're bringing them is the economic argument that they can make good money by traveling here," said Stephen Burnett of the coalition.

Cruising has made significant economic waves in the Twin Ports. On July 4 of this year, the Clelia II arrived at the Twin Ports for the first time, opening the channel for more visits. The Bahamian-flagged boat can pack 100 guests in its 50 rooms and are served well by the crew of about 65.

"This industry is full of people who respect growth and they're tremendous entrepreneurs," said Burnett.

Burnett says three cruise ships, including the Clelia II, are cruising the Lakes system this year. Eventually, the coalition says it would like to put the Great Lakes region on the marine maps of several other lines.

"What we hear from the industry itself is they want to have that kind of a vision--they want to have that kind of a target to shoot at," said Burnett.

A target, Burnett says, much like Canada.

"An area that didn't get many cruise visitations," Burnett said. "And so with investment and vision, and the ambition to drive the industry, they've built their business very significantly."

But attracting the cruising industry to the Great Lakes and the Twin Ports doesn't come without challenges.

"We're living in strenuous economic times and this is not a time when people are squandering their disposable income," said Burnett.

Down the road, the coalition says they hope to increase the number of cruise ships serving the Great Lakes from three to more than a dozen.

On a related note, Clelia II is expected back in the Northland two more times this year.



Updates - August 29

News Photo Gallery
Public 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


Falling numbers blamed for layoff notice at Bay Ship

8/28 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – It's not a "normal" year on the Great Lakes, and it's not a normal year at Bay Shipbuilding.

The company filed a notice with the state Tuesday that it could lay off up to 405 people beginning in late fall if work the yard usually carries out doesn't come through.

Company officials say they may not need to lay off that many people.

"Normally (our customers) are committing to work a year in advance," said Pat O'Hern, vice president and general manager at Bay Shipbuilding. "This year they're being indecisive. They're saying, 'We have this work to do, but I just can't tell you when I'm going to let it go.'"

It's been a slow year on the lakes for shippers who have been pinched by production cutbacks in the steel and construction industries. A number of ships that would have normally sailed have sat idle.

O'Hern said the filing was a conservative move to comply with state regulations if the company needs to make employment cuts later this year.

"This is a temporary lull between jobs," he said. "We're forced to take the ultra-conservative approach and pretend next year nothing is going to happen to comply with the law."

Overall, U.S.-flag ships hauled 7.5 million tons of dry goods on the lakes last month, down 37 percent compared with 2008 and the five-year average for July.

July also saw the most lakers in service for 2009. As the month came to an end, 53 hulls were in service, beating the previous peak of 49 vessels on June 1, according to a monthly report from the Lake Carriers Association. Those numbers are still far from a normal year that may see as many as 75 ships on lakes.

"The yard right now is full of boats; that's an extreme abnormality," O'Hern said Wednesday morning. "During a normal year, these boats are all out sailing.

"We've got eight boats in the yard right now in lay-up because the steel mills aren't taking enough ore, the power plants aren't taking enough coal and there's no stone moving for construction," he said.

So far this year, U.S.-flag ships have moved 28.4 million tons of cargo on the lakes, a decrease of about 45 percent compared with both a year ago and the five-year average, according to the Lake Carriers Association.

The uncertainty at Bay Shipbuilding — the city and county's key employer — has a ripple effect through the community, said Ken MacDonald, owner of Cedar Creek Carpet in Sturgeon Bay.

"Employees at the shipyard, a lot of them are good customers of ours; they buy clothing in town and the people that sell the clothing buy from us. They buy groceries in the grocery store and those people buy from us," he said. "And there are no jobs in Door County right now."

MacDonald said his industry saw the recession coming, and many flooring businesses, including his, cut all the fat they could to survive the recession.

Like other industries — including shipping, which saw some upward movement in iron ore and limestone numbers last month — he's also seeing faint glimmers of recovery in the numbers and trends.

"In August, we're up 33 percent over last August," MacDonald said.

O'Hern said about $10 million worth of investments in the yard by their parent company, Fincantieri, is ongoing, and they are out on the market looking for new work.

While the market may look bumpy in the short-term, he expects business will rebound.

"We're certainly not giving up any confidence in our company for the long-term," he said.

Green Bay Press Gazette


Port Reports - August 28

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
McKee Sons arrived at Lafarge around 5:30 p.m. on Thursday and unloaded a cargo of coal. Samuel de Champlain/barge Innovation was expected in port on Friday.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey and Stephen Hause
Frontenac called on the Essroc dock in Essexville on Wednesday to unload clinker. She completed her unload Thursday morning then backed from the river into the Saginaw Bay to turn at Light 12, before heading for the lake.

Hamilton, Ont. – Eric Holmes
Thursday, Gordon C Leitch departed Dofasco at 2 p.m. for the canal. The tug Tony McKay and barge Niagara Spirit arrived in ballast for the anchorage at 4 p.m. Algosoo arrived with coal for Dofasco at 6 p.m. and Birchglen departed at 6:15 p.m. The tug Wyatt M arrived in port at 6:30 p.m. and Algocape arrived at 7:30 p.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco.


Lake Erie ferry organizers look to Norfolk

8/28 - Simcoe, Ont. – Saying they're getting nowhere with Port Stanley and Port Burwell, the proponents of an Ohio-Ontario ferry service have asked Norfolk, Ont., if it's willing to be the host community on Lake Erie's north shore.

Kent Kristensen, chair of Seaport Management Corp. of Jarvis, has been promoting the venture for years. Kristensen told Norfolk council he's getting nowhere with Port Stanley and Port Burwell because both have reservations over the large amount of traffic the venture would generate.

The resistance has convinced Seaport it needs to establish a harbor in a thinly populated area. In Norfolk, that means somewhere between the hamlet of Clear Creek and the boundary line separating the county from Bayham Township.

"We are lacking the final commitment in Canada because we lack a willing host," Kristensen told Norfolk council. "It's been difficult for communities in rural Canada to step up and say 'Yes, we are willing to host it here.' " Fairport Harbor in Painesville Township, Ohio, has offered its facilities to Seaport Management.

Kristensen said the municipality is financially distressed, but has a U.S. government funding commitment of more than $35 million. The entire cost of the venture -- two international-scale harbors on both sides of the lake -- could run as high as $550 million. At peak capacity, four ferries would transport an estimated 2,400 trucks, 1,600 cars and 9,000 passengers a day year-round.

Seaport Management estimates the service would generate 800 full-time jobs on both sides of the border related to the ferry service and border security. Seaport believes the service would be popular because it would greatly reduce travel times between southern Ontario and the U.S. The service also would relieve freight congestion at Ontario-U.S. border crossings.

The London Free Press


Coast Guard proposes national ballast water rules

8/28 - Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Coast Guard on Thursday proposed national standards for regulating the release in port of ships' ballast water, which can introduce new, sometimes detrimental species to U.S. ecosystems.

The plan would establish a limit on the number of invasive organisms that can be released along with a vessel's ballast water while the ship is in port. That limit would initially follow a formula used by the International Maritime Commission – a standard adopted by some states, but considered weak by many environmentalists.

The goal is to establish by 2016 a national standard similar to California's, which is considered 1,000 times more stringent than the limits set by the international commission's formula.

Ballast water helps keep ships stable while they take on or unload cargo. Vessels can acquire ballast water in home ports or elsewhere, taking in microrganisms and fish along with it and carrying them to new places. Efforts to fix environmental damage caused by organisms that travel along with ballast water can prove quite costly – an estimated $200 million a year for the Great Lakes alone.

For years, environmentalists, particularly in the Great Lakes region, battled for tougher restrictions. They increasingly relied on individual states to adopt standards of their own, a complicating factor for shippers and less effective in fighting off unwanted species.

Legislation that would impose a national ballast water standard 100 times stronger than the international standard has been repeatedly blocked. A GOP-sponsored bill currently in a House committee has gone nowhere. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., did not include the provision in a measure he had previously sponsored, after environmentalists asked him to drop it.

A federal court ruled during the Bush administration that EPA is empowered under the Clean Water Act to establish ballast standards. EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson directed staff earlier this year to review the issue.

Some senators wrote the Obama administration last month urging the EPA and the Coast Guard to work together to develop a single, strict standard. EPA's position is if the Coast Guard and EPA propose different standards, the stronger one would be followed.

The proposal is to be published Friday in the Federal Register and followed by a 90-day public comment period.



Shipwreck explorers discover 1890s steamer in Lake Ontario

8/28 - Rochester, N.Y. – Thursday off the southern shore of Lake Ontario, shipwreck explorers Jim Kennard and Dan Scoville discovered the wreckage of the steamer Samuel F. Hodge. The discovery was made in the lake near Oak Orchard, New York.

Back in July 1896, the Buffalo-based vessel caught fire in the middle of Lake Ontario. It was on route from Cleveland, Ohio to Prescott, Ontario carrying a cargo of 600 tons of iron wire. When the ship was near Oak Orchard, a fire broke out and spread inside the steamer. All of the crew was saved from the burning ship by the steamer St Joseph, except for a fireman.

The nameplate for the steamer could not be found within the burnt remains of the ship, so other characteristics had to be utilized to make an identification of the shipwreck. Measurements made by the sonar equipment indicated that the length of the ship was approximately 150 feet and its width of 30 feet. The shipwreck was a steamer with one propeller that had burned somewhere out in the lake off of the town of Oak Orchard. A search of several shipwreck databases provided only one possible candidate that exactly matched the ship measurements and was lost by fire in that area of Lake Ontario. It was the steamer Samuel F. Hodge.

The Hodge was built in Detroit in 1881 and was classed as a steam barge. The ship was owned by the Farrell Brothers of Buffalo, N.Y.



Updates - August 28

News Photo Gallery
Public 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


Bay Shipbuilding may lay off up to 405 workers

8/27 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. — Bay Shipbuilding Co. filed a notice with the state Tuesday that it anticipates laying off as many as 405 people this fall due in large part to the economy.

Workers already laid off will be extended, according to the notice filed with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. Additional layoffs will "depend on business conditions," the notice states.

A union representative for some of the workers at the yard said the layoffs likely will be temporary, noting that the company is out aggressively seeking work for the yard.

Additionally, the company could see more work when the Great Lakes shipping season ends this winter, spurring annual ship repair and overhaul jobs at the yard. "There's little doubt in my mind they'll (workers) be recalled," said Lenny Gunderson, Boilermakers International representative with Local 449 in Sturgeon Bay. "Fincantieri is aggressively looking for work. I think it's just a sign of the times."

Bay Shipbuilding is owned by Fincantieri Marine Group along with Marinette Marine Corp. in Marinette. Gunderson said union members are "nervous" under these conditions. "They have every right to be," he said. "This is not unprecedented that we'd have a huge layoff like this. No one likes to see it, but I fully expect the company to rebound."

With a downturn in the economy and a declining need for products that move on the Great Lakes by ship — such as iron ore and limestone — officials with Bay Shipbuilding said early this year they anticipated a slowdown in work.

But they said some areas of the maritime industry are looking past the recession at possible new construction projects that Bay Shipbuilding is aggressively going after.  Bay Shipbuilding, one of the major employers in Door County, recently finished the 521-foot Petrochem Supplier for U.S. Shipping.

Bay Shipbuilding is one of the key shipyards on the Great Lakes, tending to the freighters that move bulk materials around the lakes from April to December. During the offseason, many of those ships go to Bay Shipbuilding for repair, regular maintenance and overhaul.

"Nobody is telling anybody to go look for another job," said Gunderson, who said labor relations at the yard are good. "I have every reason to believe this thing is going to turn around and we're going to get work, it's just unfortunate we have this gap."

Representatives from Bay Shipbuilding were not immediately available for comment Tuesday night.

While cargo tonnages moving on the lakes are still well below "normal" levels, the Lake Carriers Association saw an upward tick last month in some cargos and the number of ships sailing the lakes. "They've got ships laid up there that are normally sailing and the work we'd normally do this winter, we've been doing some of that all summer," Gunderson said. "They just completed the (barge) project there and they're waiting for new work."

Green Bay Press Gazette


Port Reports - August 27

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Wednesday’s traffic included Quebecois departing early from the CN ore dock in Duluth, Cedarglen arriving at CHS elevator in Superior to load grain, and Canadian Olympic loading at Midwest Energy Terminal with coal destined for Nanticoke. Manistee was unloading salt early at Hallett 8 in Superior. When finished, it was scheduled to shift to nearby Midwest Energy Terminal to load coal for Detroit Edison at Harbor Beach. Saltie Isadora remained at anchor on the lake, apparently waiting for its cargo to arrive or its charter to begin. Edwin H. Gott was scheduled to arrive very late Wednesday to dock at Hallett 5 in Duluth for repairs. It is expected to load at the CN ore dock in Duluth on Friday.

South Chicago - Brian Z.
A busy day for the Calumet River in South Chicago. Hon. Paul Martin was loading petroleum coke at the Beemsterboer Dock Tuesday. Manitowoc was spotted inbound for Chicago Fuels Terminal Tuesday morning also. Lower Lakes' McKee Sons arrived Tuesday afternoon at KCBX Terminals to load for Alpena, Mich., and departed in the early hours on Wednesday. The Martin completed loading early Wednesday also and departed for Belledune. American Mariner was loading coal at KCBX Terminal on Wednesday late morning.

Port of Indiana - Sheldon Rody
Wednesday afternoon, Wilfred Sykes was unloading.


Great Lakes deployment to bolster Canadian Navy recruitment

8/27 - HMCS Ville de Québec will depart Halifax August 26 on the 2009 Great Lakes Deployment.

While the month-long, 11-city tour along Quebec and Ontario shorelines will raise the CF’s profile and highlight the ship’s national and international contributions, the focus this year is on bolstering Navy recruitment efforts to fill gaps in priority occupations.

Defence Team members, military and civilian, are asked to encourage friends, family members and potential recruits to visit Ville de Québec while she’s alongside in their community, and to share with them information about the many job opportunities available in the Navy and the CF.

The frigate will be open for tours during port visits; recruiters and information will be available to anyone interested in exploring a career with the Navy. Through local recruitment centers, buses will take visitors to the ship.

“We have a collective responsibility to ensure that the Canadian Forces has enough of the right people with the right experience in the right jobs to meet today’s challenges and to prepare for those of the future,” says Chief of the Defence Staff General Walt Natynczyk. “We are making every effort to grow the force, and these efforts are paying dividends ... although difficulties remain in attracting qualified Canadians into technical trades.”

These technical occupations include marine systems engineer, naval combat systems engineer, marine engineering mechanic, naval communicator, naval electronics technician (sonar), naval electronics technician (radar), naval weapons technician and sonar operator.

Most of these occupations fall under the Recruit Officer Training Plan or the Subsidized Education Entry Plan. Under both, the CF pays for tuition, books and equipment at approved schools and colleges across the country, and provides a monthly salary and full CF benefits.

The Great Lakes Deployment recruiting efforts align with the Canada First Defense Strategy, which includes, among other initiatives, expanding the CF to 70 000 Regular Force and 30 000 Reserve Force personnel. The strategy also outlines defense funding of $490 billion over 20 years aimed at building the CF into a first-class, modern military force. Recognizing the changing demographics of the Canadian workforce, the CF must continue to focus efforts on recruiting and retaining quality candidates that reflect the face of Canada.

HMCS Ville de Québec will make the following port visits:
August 29-30: Gaspé
September 4: Toronto
September 9: Sarnia, Ont.
September 11: Windsor, Ont.
September 15: Oshawa, Ont.
September 18: Montréal
September 22: Trois-Rivières
September 25: City of Québec
September 29: Pointe au Pic, Que.
October 1st: Saguenay, Que.
October 5: Matane, Que.


Duluth maritime center gets 15 millionth visitor

8/27 - Duluth, Minn. – The 15 millionth visitor to the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center walked through the door just before 11 a.m. Wednesday.

John Callahan of Marshfield, Wis., snagged the title after holding the door for Sharon Sauter at about 10:50 a.m.  “If he would have just walked in on his own he would have missed it,” said Thom Holden, director of the museum. “It was all in the door holding.”

The couple arrived to cameras flashing and people clapping. “At first we thought they were trying to take pictures of something outside the door but then we realized they were pointed at us,” Sauter said. Callahan said he’d read that the museum was close to meeting the 15 million mark in the newspaper Tuesday.

“We didn’t think it would actually happen to us though. I guess hope springs eternal,” he said. The couple was presented with a basket of goodies, including a water bottle, coffee cup and books about ships and the Duluth harbor.

Holden said the event was an important milestone for the United States Army Corps of Engineers operated museum, which is the most visited attraction in the Lake Superior Basin. “I think it says to us and to the Army Corps of Engineers that we are still a valuable resource,” he said.

Duluth News Tribune


Updates - August 27

News Photo Gallery
Public 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.


Port Reports - August 26

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
Tuesday the Burns Harbor departed Bay Shipbuilding after undergoing generator repairs. She had arrived on Friday.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Calumet returned again on Tuesday after delivering a split cargo on Monday. This trip, Calumet traveled up to the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee to unload. She was expected to be outbound early Wednesday morning.

Goderich, Ont. - Jon Stuparyk
The cruise ship Clelia II arrived Tuesday along with the tall ships Playfair II and Pathfinder. The CSL Tadoussac has been in layup for eight months at the port.


Replica ships of Nina, Pinta get help to pass Asian carp barricade

8/26 - Milwaukee, Wis. – During their daring voyage to the New World in 1492, the crews of Nina and Pinta had to worry about pirates, scurvy and sailing over the horizon into oblivion.

Crews on the replica Nina and Pinta that have been sailing the Great Lakes this summer bumped into an altogether different hazard this week: the electric Asian carp barrier on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.

The Caribbean-based boats were stopped cold over the weekend near the south end of Lake Michigan because of a new order from the U.S. Coast Guard that prohibits all wood and fiberglass vessels from sailing through the highly electrified canal.

Electricity doubled

Electricity was recently doubled on the canal after reports that Asian carp are now just below the fish-shocking barrier that is considered the last line of defense for the Great Lakes.

As a result, the Coast Guard on Friday closed the canal to all vessels other than tugs and barges.

"They said nobody is going through," said Morgan Sanger, board member of the British Virgin Islands-based Columbus Foundation, which owns the boats. "And all these thousands of school kids are downriver waiting for us."

A deal was eventually struck Monday morning to allow the vessels to be pulled through the canal with a towboat late Monday, provided no crew remained aboard. The boats are headed for the Ohio River valley.

The barrier is now shooting two volts an inch into the water, which Sanger calls "a lot of juice."

He said what makes transits so hazardous for wood boats is the potential for sparks to fly from their metal fittings.

The Nina and Pinta got a special pass, but the canal gets busy in late summer and early fall with Lake Michigan yacht owners heading south for the winter.

"We know there is going to be an exodus in the next few weeks," said Phil Moy, a University of Wisconsin Sea Grant employee who has been working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to get the barrier built for the better part of the past decade.

Busy time almost here

Army Corps Col. Vincent Quarles said he is aware the canal's busy season for recreational boats is just around the corner, and his agency is working with the Coast Guard as quickly as it can to figure out how to keep those boats moving safely down the canal, but more tests are needed.

"I can't at this point talk about a timeline," he said.

Boaters who violate the safety zone face a maximum penalty of $32,500, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

"Safety of the recreational and commercial mariners that transit the waterway is the Coast Guard's primary concern," said Capt. Luann Barndt, the commander of the Coast Guard's Sector Lake Michigan.

Thanks for Coast Guard

Sanger said he appreciated the flexibility the Coast Guard showed in helping him get his boats out of Lake Michigan, and he supports any efforts to keep the jumping fish from invading the lakes.

"That would be a disaster," he said.

But Sanger said he also hopes the government can figure out how to keep the fish out and boats safely sailing, particularly if the voltage gets further increased.

The barrier is now operating at two volts an inch, though it is designed to be cranked up to four volts an inch.

The Nina and Pinta are scheduled to return to the Great Lakes next summer, but he is worried about his ships being able to safely leave the lakes.

"We're going to very careful about coming into the lakes if this is a continuing problem," he said.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Marine museum expects 15 millionth visitor Wednesday

8/26 - Duluth, Minn. - Wednesday will be a big day for the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center.

The facility, operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is expecting its 15 millionth visitor sometime in the morning. Director Thom Holden said the lucky visitor will receive a basket of gifts.

"There's posters of historic smokestacks on the Great Lakes, a couple of books about the port history and the Aerial Lift Bridge. There's a subscription to Lake Superior Magazine and a membership in our own museum association," Holden said.

Holden said the visitor center is the most-visited attraction in the Lake Superior basin. He said about 400,000 visitors have come to the center each year since opening in 1973, but many more who visit the canal don't come inside. Admission to the visitor center is free.

Fox 21 News


Boatnerd passes 16 million mark

8/26 - Sometime last week 16,000,000 visits had been recorded to the main page of the Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping home page. The counter was started as the page was launched in 1995.

It is interesting to note that the first month the page was live in 1995, 590 visits were recorded. This counter was started as the page was launched in 1995 and topped one million visits in October 2000, two million in November 2001, three million in September, 2002, four million in June, 2003, five million in February, 2004, six million in October, 2004, seven million in June, 2005, eight million in December, 2005, 9 million in June, 2006, 10 million in November 2006, 11 million in May 2007, 12 million in November, 2007, 13 million in April 2008, 14 million in October, 2008, 15 million in March, 2009.

The counter only records visits to the main page, all web pages on the site (not including the discussion boards) average about 1.75 million page views per month.

The site represents a huge time commitment by the staff of volunteers and we would like to thank to all the viewers and contributors for making the web site what it is today.

In 2006, Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping Online, Inc. was organized as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit to support the BoatNerd site.


Updates - August 26

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public 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


Cleveland port's planned move gets tentative OK from Corps

8/25 - Cleveland, Ohio – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has tentatively approved the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority's preferred site at East 55th Street for a new port.

In a 241-page report released Monday, the Corps called the site a more expensive option than the federal agency would have chosen. But, it added, if the port authority is willing to take on the extra costs, the corps is on board.

The Corps study examined the economic and environmental impact of disposing of dredged material from the Cuyahoga River and Lake Erie and the construction of a containment facility to hold the silt and dirt.

The port authority plans to use the dredged material as the base for a new port.

The Corps said it would cost $303 million to build the containment facility at the East 55th location, nearly $43 million more than it would have cost to build it elsewhere.

The federal government will provide $169 million, enough to pay 75 percent of the cost of moving to a cheaper location.

Even if it had chosen a cheaper site, the port authority would have had to provide about 25 percent of the funds. Those costs, plus the $43 million premium for the East 55th site, bring the local costs of using that site to $134 million. That figure matches an estimate that the port authority gave in May.

In its study, the Corps found that building a 157-acre containment facility at East 55th had a slightly higher environmental impact than at other locations, but it also had the greatest opportunities for future development.

The port's plans call for moving the port to a 200-acre site sometime after 2020. Calls to Port Authority officials were not returned late Friday, so it is unclear whether the Corps' 157-acre facility will be large enough to fit the port's plans.

Cleveland Plain Dealer


Seaway Corp. to dredge part of St. Lawrence River

8/25 - Watertown, N.Y. – The St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. will be dredging part of the St. Lawrence River between the village of St. Regis and Cornwall Island.

The dredging is part of routine maintenance and is expected to begin Sept. 1, according to Vicki J. Garcia, Seaway spokeswoman. Work will take about a month. The dredging process will be monitored by the St. Regis Mohawk tribe's environment division, as the material to be removed contains polychlorinated biphenyls.

Watertown Daily Times


Contractor says Burlington pier beams repairable

8/25 - Burlington, Ont. – The City of Burlington and its contractor are at odds over the city's decision to replace 27 steel beams in its problem-plagued waterfront pier.

The city announced late last week the beams were being replaced on the recommendation of its project consultant, AECOM, based on inspection and engineering analyses, which found the steel manufacturing and installation did not meet quality standards.

But Henry Schilthuis, owner of pier contractor Harm Schilthuis and Sons Ltd. of Ancaster, wonders why the beams are considered substandard and how replacement was deemed the appropriate course.

"You know we're not sure ... We think it still meets all the specifications. There might be deficiencies, but those are reparable," he said.

He said some of the beams have been in place for two years, and that inspection and testing were performed on them.

Tom Eichenbaum, Burlington's director of engineering, said Harm Schilthuis and Sons must cover the as-yet undetermined extra costs, because it is responsible for quality control of the project.

The beams twisted during a concrete pour and when removed, were no longer salvageable, he said.

The most recent delay in the pier construction, already two years behind schedule, is an embarrassment, concedes Councillor Rick Craven.

But Craven is adamant the pier will be completed and that "Burlingtonians will be very proud of it when it's done."

Craven insists city council is protecting the rights of taxpayers, their tax dollars and their safety by ensuring the $6.5-million pier is done right.

But "I think we're all frustrated," he acknowledged.

Asked about another councillor's reported comments that the situation is embarrassing, Craven replied "of course it's embarrassing. Because we can't tell the public what the lawyers are telling us ... We have to wait until all the issues have been resolved in order to be perfectly clear on the (source) of the difficulties and so that's why it's embarrassing. But we'll get past this."

Craven said every construction project has problems, it's just that this one has had more than its share.

He wouldn't elaborate because of pending liability and litigation issues, he said.

Construction on the pier was to begin in 2005 but was delayed when tenders came in over budget. Inclement weather delayed construction in 2006, and in July 2008, a large concrete pour knocked it out of alignment. A crane accident last August forced the replacement this spring of nine of the 36 beams in the pier.

The pier is expected to be completed in fall 2010.

It is the final part of an $8.4 million Burlington downtown waterfront plan at Spencer Smith Park that includes Discovery Landing, a glass-enclosed observatory facing the lake and offering exhibits and interactive displays, and a restaurant and cafe.

The Hamilton Spectator


Port Reports - August 25

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Twin Ports vessel traffic early Monday included Kaministiqua loading at CHS grain elevator in Superior, Charles M. Beeghly loading coal at Midwest Energy Terminal for delivery to Taconite Harbor, and Paul R. Tregurtha fueling at the Murphy Oil dock and waiting for the berth at Midwest Energy Terminal. Isadora was anchored on Lake Superior waiting to load at CHS later this week.

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
Tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 arrived in Holland mid-day Monday and tied up at the Padnos dock to load scrap metal. The work went on into the evening. As it was finishing at around 9 p.m., Manitowoc passed, enroute to the Brewer dock to deliver a cargo of stone from Alpena.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Calumet arrived on the Saginaw River late Sunday night carrying a split load. She stopped at the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City to lighter before continuing upriver to finish at the Wirt dock in Saginaw. Calumet finished unloading early Monday morning, turned, and was outbound through Bay City around 10 a.m.

Lorain, Ohio - Jim Bobel
On Monday, Agawa Canyon delivered a load of stone to Lorain. She was followed out the Black River by the tug John Francis pushing a dump scow.

Bath, Ont. - David Robinson
English River was tied up at the LaFarge plant in Bath, Ont., Monday morning.


Fundraiser for whaleback Meteor is Sept. 12

A fundraiser to benefit the museum ship Meteor, the last surviving whaleback steamer, will be held Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Richard I Bong Veterans Historical Center in Superior, Wis. Call 715-394-5712 for details.


Updates - August 25

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public 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 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.


Port Reports - August 24

Sturgeon Bay
Late Friday morning, Burns Harbor arrived Bay Ship for generator repairs. She should return to service in about a week.

Stoneport, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Sunday evening, Manitowoc was taking on cargo at the Stoneport dock. At anchor nearby was Lee A. Tregurtha, waiting to load next.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
On Saturday, Hamilton Energy came over from Hamilton in the afternoon to bunker the passenger ship Clelia II, which had arrived in port on Friday. Karen Andrie and the barge Endeavour, which arrived at the McAsphalt dock on Thursday, departed for the Welland Canal Friday morning. Stephen B. Roman was back in port overnight Sunday, while Clelia II departed for the Welland Canal early Sunday morning.


Body of man who set sail on lake found in Indiana

8/24 - The body of a Chicago orthodontist — missing since Wednesday after he set sail on Lake Michigan — was discovered by hikers near Beverly Shores, Ind., early Saturday , about seven hours after the U.S. Coast Guard had called off the search. Steven Banks, 58, was found about 7:30 a.m. near Kemil Beach, east of where his boat was discovered Thursday, Indiana Department of Natural Resources spokesman Gene Davis said.

Banks was fully clothed and wearing a life vest, Davis said. Foul play was not suspected. The search began Thursday afternoon when Banks’ wife reported him missing. Several aircraft from the U.S. Coast Guard and the Canadian Coast Guard assisted Gary and Lake County, Ind., police in the search, Davis said. The search took place over about 500 square miles in southern Lake Michigan for more than 30 hours.

Rescue helicopters, a jet and a Canadian Air Force aircraft assisted. Banks owned a home in Miller Beach in northwest Indiana, where he kept the 12-foot sailboat that was recovered off Burns Harbor on Thursday. The Coast Guard found the boat at least five miles from shore, Davis said.

Chicago Sun Times


Updates - August 24

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - August 24

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

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

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

The WARD AMES (Hull#518) was launched on August 24, 1907, at West Superior, Wisconsin by Superior Ship Building Co. for the Acme Steamship Co. (Augustus B. Wolvin, mgr.). Renamed b.) C H 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.



U.S. Steel’s Ecorse steel plant planning to restart

8/23 - Detroit, Mich. – An eight-month extended layoff for workers at U.S. Steel Corp.’s Great Lakes Works plant might end soon.

Great Lakes Works, a steel plant in Ecorse, Mich., owned by U.S. Steel Corp., was temporarily shut in January because of declining demand. Under normal market conditions, the plant employs about 2,400 workers.

Now, the company is conducting physicals of workers to prepare for restarting plant operations, according to a notice on United Steelworkers Local 1299’s Web site. U.S. Steel notified the union of plans to begin recalling some workers in July.

However, trade publication American Metal Market reported last week that plans to restart a blast furnace at the plant have been delayed due to the development of a “hot spot” discovered as the furnace was being prepared for re-ignition.

U.S. Steel spokeswoman Erin DiPietro declined to comment specifically on Great Lakes Works.

“We are continuing to adjust production across our operations to stay in line with customer demand,” DiPietro said.

Steel production has taken a huge hit across the country due to the global recession and the steep downturn in automotive sales, causing U.S. Steel to reduce its production to 32% of total capacity during its second quarter.

Great Lakes Works is one of eight plants that U.S. Steel partially or completely idled across North America since the recession began.

During a conference call with analysts on July 28, U.S. Steel Chairman CEO John Surma said the company’s order rates have started to improve and said that the company has restarted its plant in Granite City, Ill.

“We are making and shipping more steel, but the sustainability of this order trend remains remain uncertain,” Surma said.

Detroit Free Press


Coast Guard searches for overdue sailboater

8/23 - Cleveland, Ohio - The U.S. Coast Guard is searching for a 59-year-old male reported overdue from a sailing trip Thursday, offshore Miller Beach, Ind., at approximately 4:30 p.m.

U.S. Coast Guard HH-65C Dolphin helicopter crews from Air Station Traverse City, Mich., Air Facilities Waukegan, Ill., and Muskegon, Mich., and an HU-25 Guardian jet from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, Mass., are searching the waters of southern Lake Michigan for Steven Banks.

"We are searching an area roughly the size of Los Angeles, about 500 square miles, to locate him safely," said Jane Willits, search-and-rescue controller at the Ninth Coast Guard District Command Center.

Two 47-foot motor lifeboat (MLB) crews from Coast Guard Stations Calumet Harbor, Ill., and Michigan City, Ind., are assisting with the search for the Gary, Ind. native, who is a dentist.

An HH-65C crew form AIRFAC Waukegan located his sailboat unmanned seven nautical miles offshore north of Gary, Ind., Thursday at approximately 5:30 p.m. CDT.

Bank's wife contacted Station Michigan City after her husband did not return from sailing on his 12-foot Crane Thursday morning. Apparently, Banks went sailing near the shores of his beach house on Miller Beach Wednesday afternoon.


Tall ship Madeline visits Grand Haven

8/23 - Grand Haven, Mich. – With a deck length of 55 feet and twin masts stretching even longer, the tall ship Madeline sailed into Grand Haven's harbor Tuesday night.

The Traverse City-based schooner — a replica of a 19th-century ship that worked the Great Lakes — is here to help celebrate both the founding of Grand Haven 175 years ago and the 50th birthday of the Tri-Cities Historical Museum.

"These were used on the Great Lakes in the 1840s and 1850s on up to the 1870s, this type of schooner," explained the ship's captain, Larry Good. "Now this is basically a small schooner in the schooner world. This would be crewed by a 5- or 6-man crew in total capacity that would be handling a schooner that is 55 feet on deck and were 92-feet overall in length."

The Madeline's masts are 68-feet and 71-feet high. It draws 7 feet of water and has a gross weight of 50 tons.

The Tri-Cities Historical Museum is sponsoring its visit this week. Nancy Buchanan, the museum's education curator, said the ship will be open for public as it is docked along the seawall at Bicentennial Park.

"People will be able to go aboard and tour it, because we want to highlight our maritime history and how important it is," Buchanan said.

Museum staff and invited guests took Lake Michigan excursions aboard the Madeline on Wednesday. Good said the schooner is registered as a dockside attraction and not certified as a charter boat that would allow them to make public excursions.

The replica was built between 1985 and 1990 by volunteer members of the Maritime Heritage Alliance. Their mission is for the ship to serve as a floating center for the interpretation of Great Lakes maritime history. It is open to visitors in her home port and travels to other Great Lakes ports under local sponsorship.

It was in Grand Haven six or seven years ago, Good recalled. A crew of nine, all members of the alliance, were aboard the Madeline on this week's visit.

"We are a nonprofit organization and this is our members' rewards for doing all the work on the schooner during the winter to keep it up," Good said.

The Maritime Heritage Alliance has six captains for its two schooners. The other is a smaller one-mast vessel named Welcome, a replica of a late-1700s private trading vessel built by the Mackinac Island State Park Commission in 1976.

The original Madeline was built in 1845 in Fairport, Ohio. Good said it delivered salt to fishing camps from spring through fall; returning with salted fish to sell in Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland. It also served as the first non-Indian school for the early residents of the Grand Traverse Bay region in the winter of 1851-52.

"Many schooners were lost when they tried to push the winter season and the winter always won," Good said.

The Madeline was delayed a few hours by lake fog in Tuesday's voyage from Port Washington, Wis., where the ship was also open for public tours. It is scheduled to depart Grand Haven on Sunday for its home port in Traverse City.

"Our season is basically winding down, being August, and we didn't have any further commitments," Good said.

Grand Haven Tribune


Updates - August 23

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - August 23

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Data from: Joe Barr, David Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Toledo maritime market, classic boat show is today

8/22 - Toledo - The Willis B. Boyer Marine Memorabilia Flea Market at the Toledo Antique & Classic Boat Show is today, August 22, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The market and boat show are located at the Toledo Maritime Center, 1701 Front Street, near the I-280 Veteran's Memorial Skyway Bridge (not at the Boyer).


Port Report - August 22

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Charles M. Beeghly was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal on Friday morning, taking on the first of six coal cargoes it is scheduled to carry to the power plant at Taconite Harbor between now and mid-September. The Beeghly is due back the terminal Saturday, arriving after the James R. Barker and Atlantic Erie. Elsewhere Friday morning, the saltie Isadora was anchored off Duluth and Capt. Henry Jackman was scheduled to load taconite pellets at CN/DMIR ore dock.


Updates - August 22

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspective Gallery I
Historical Perspective Gallery II
Public 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.


Port of Green Bay shows some improvement despite lag

8/21 - Green Bay, Wis. - While July numbers for the Port of Green Bay continue to lag in the face of a still-recovering economy, they are showing signs of improvement as the shipping season progresses. Last month the port saw an overall 32 percent decline in tonnage from the same month in 2008.

"We were tracking about 40 percent down and we've narrowed that to 32 percent down," said Dean Haen, port manager. "Things are moving and hopefully will narrow that gap, but we won't close it by the end of the year." Both carriers and port officials expected 2009 to be a slow year because of the economy, but both also are now hopeful slight rebounds in some areas may signal the start of continued improvement.

During July, Green Bay's port handled 178,783 tons of cargo, well off the July 2008 figure of 263,278 tons. For the year, the port's cargo total is 642,476 tons, down from 950,351 at the same time last year. "We pretty much lost our first two months of the season; nothing was happening," Haen said.

Last week, the Lake Carriers Association released its monthly report on cargo movement on the Great Lakes and, like the port, its numbers continue to lag, but the organization sees some signs of improvement.

Overall, U.S.-flag ships hauled 7.5 million tons of dry goods on the lakes last month, down 37 percent compared with 2008 and the five-year average for July, but two cargos — limestone and iron ore — showed improvement, though both still are down from previous years. So far this year, U.S.-flag ships moved 28.4 million tons, a decrease of about 45 percent compared with both a year ago and the five-year average.

One of the key ports on the lake, Duluth-Superior, reported a month-over-month improvement from June to July in the amount of iron ore leaving the port. That port says it saw about an 18 percent increase in shipments of iron ore last month, and that production is picking up at some of the mines in northern Minnesota.

"It bodes well, but it's a little early to say 'we're on a recovery,'" said Adele Yorde, public relations manager with the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. "We'll keep our fingers crossed that the end of August figures keep bearing out the trend."

Green Bay's port saw the numbers take a hit from a decrease in limestone and coal shipments, due in large part to the quantity of those products already in port. Haen said they're hopeful they'll see a 180-degree-turn late in the shipping season compared with last year, when shipments fell off precipitously in the closing months of 2008.

"Last year we were cruising, and at the end of the year it just dropped off," he said. "This year, hopefully it will be the reverse and it will be picking up at the end of the year and we'll have an exciting finish..."

The Green Bay Press-Gazette


Port Report - August 21

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Invincible-McKee Sons made their first trip of the year to the Saginaw River on Wednesday, going upriver to unload at the GM dock in Saginaw. The pair finished their unload and were outbound for the lake later in the day. On the outbound trip, they passed their fleetmate, Manitowoc, unloading at the Sargent dock in Essexville. Manitowoc unloaded there overnight and then turned in the Essexville turning basin before heading for the lake Thursday morning. Thursday evening saw the American Century call on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville to unload. She was expected to be outbound late Thursday night or early Friday morning.


Island made from sediment is proposed for Lake Erie

8/21 – Toledo, Ohio - With the help of a few million dollars, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is hoping to turn millions of cubic yards of sediment dumped in Lake Erie every year into another Great Lakes island attraction. The technical term is "habitation restoration unit," but the Western Lake Erie Waterkeeper Association's Sandy Bihn likes to call it an "eco island."

The concept is a new one for the Great Lakes region, and a costly one. Mrs. Bihn estimated the price in the tens of millions. She believes funds could come from $475 million for Great Lakes restoration that the U.S. Senate will vote on approving in the fall. "Think water," she told a group of about 20 at the Toledo Yacht Club this week. On an easel next to the lectern was a conceptual drawing of Toledo's very own eco island.

She envisions a kidney-shaped mound of sediment jutting out the corner of the Toledo Lighthouse. It would contain 10 million cubic yards of sediment and would be the size of over 350 football fields; 50 acres would be wetland habitat.

Environmental officials believe Senate approval of the $475 million in federal funds, called the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, is imminent.

Mrs. Bihn said public comments on the U.S. EPA's plan for the funds are due today and requests for project proposals are expected to go out by the end of the month. She hopes Toledo's eco island will be one of the projects proposed. She said, "An innovative approach to this island is a really good way to link Toledo to this waterfront."

The Army Corps of Engineers, along with the Ohio EPA and Department of Natural Resources, began to study the concept of an eco island in 2005. An initial $10,000 study was followed by a broader $1.2 million feasibility study, to be finished in a few months. David Schulenberg, a member of the study's planning division, said it's unclear if the restoration initiative could help fund the project, but said that it would be a possibility if next year's budget for the Corps of Engineers decreases.

Either way, federal funds for the project would be capped at $5 million. So the Corps would have to find a nonfederal cost sharer for the project.

So far, no one has set a dollar amount, but Mr. Schulenberg said securing a cost sharer will become easier as the study wraps up. He said it was very hard to determine the project cost because a lot of different plans are in play. Areas near Little Cedar Point and Turtle Island are also being considered for the island.

The idea of such eco islands stemmed from concerns about sediment affecting the Lake Erie ecosystem. For decades, the Corps has been dumping sediment from the Maumee River shipping channel into the lake. The sediment returns to the water surface and creates a host of problems for fish and water quality.

Sediment totaling about a million cubic yards is dumped into the lake each year. The eco island plans being considered range from using one year's worth of sediment to 20 years' worth. The sediment could be contained by a variety of different construction-block bases. Geo-textile tubes could act like large rubber socks to hold quantities of the sediment, or it could be piled within a shell of hard rock and stainless steel sheets.

Once the base is finished, the Corps would add plants and other wildlife to sustain a wetland-like habitat. It may sound more like creating a brand-new habitat than restoring an old one, but Mr. Schulenberg said the old habitat is older than one might think. "We're taking a step to restore the area … to what it historically was," he said, long before industrialization affected the wetlands around the Great Lakes.

At the yacht club, environmental activists, researchers, and public officials applauded the idea and said this year provided a unique opportunity to restore a body of water close to home. They stressed the importance of educating area residents about an asset whose full potential they still fail to realize.

Focus group studies show most perceive Lake Erie as an industrial lake with poor water quality. Even people in the Columbus groups didn't realize Cleveland was actually on the lake. "I cannot believe how many missed opportunities I see," said Warren McCrimmon, Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority seaport director. He said he believes the area needs to increase marketing for the Great Lakes region. Part of the federal funding initiative will go toward this goal.

The Toledo Blade


Updates - August 21

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspective Gallery I
Historical Perspective Gallery II
Public Gallery updated


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.


Great Lakes coal trade off 1.1 million tons in July

8/20 – Cleveland, Ohio - Coal shipments on the Great Lakes in July totaled 3.2 million net tons, a decrease of 1.1 million tons compared to a year ago. In terms of a percentage, the trade was 26 percent off the pace of a year ago.

It was difficult to find anything positive about the coal trade in July. Loadings at only one port, Toledo, Ohio, were on par with a year ago. Every other dock saw shipments dip.

The dredging crisis continued to take its toll on the trade in July. The month’s top loads were nearly 5,000 tons less than vessels’ optimum capacity. Full loads will not return until the Corps of Engineers’ dredging program on the Great Lakes is adequately funded by the federal government. The lack of adequate funding is galling to industry, as the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, which is funded by a tax on waterborne commerce, has a surplus that is approaching $5 billion. The Great Lakes Navigation System could be restored to functional dimensions for about $230 million.

For the year, coal shipments stand at 14.2 million tons, a decrease of approximately 28 percent compared to a year ago. The trade is almost 30 percent off the 5-year average for the January-July timeframe.

More information is available at

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association.


Port Reports - August 20

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The English River arrived Wednesday morning for the Lafarge Cement dock on Ganson St.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The Schooner Madeline of the Maritime Heritage Alliance came into port Tuesday. Her visit is in celebration of Grand Haven's 175th Anniversary and the 50th Anniversary of the Tri-Cities Historical Museum. The Calumet came in thru the pierheads at 8:15pm with a load of stone for Meekhof's D & M dock next to the power plant on Harbor Island.


Lake Erie islands high-speed ferryboat to be unveiled in Lorain

8/20 – Lorain, Ohio - The long-awaited, high-speed ferry to the Lake Erie Islands will be unveiled Thursday at Black River Landing. But Jet Express officials have not yet announced when it will begin service.

The $58 round-trip cost for adults to travel to Put-in-Bay is more than twice the $28 round trip from Port Clinton because the vessel travels farther, said Richard Novak, executive director of the Lorain Port Authority. "It's based on their charging about $2 per mile and I think there will be some people deterred by the cost," he said. But parking is free at Lorain, compared to $10 at Port Clinton. And he said the Lorain ferry's target customers, those who live east and south of the city, would have to drive an additional hour west to Port Clinton to catch a ferry there.

The Jet Express schedule in Lorain initially will be limited to once-a-day round trips on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, departing at 10 a.m. The boat will travel to Kelleys Island and Put-in-Bay. It departs Put-in-Bay at 7:30 p.m., with a stop at Kelleys Island before returning to Lorain. A one-way trip is 70 minutes. The boat will be available for charters.

Jet Express offers 21 departures, from 8:45 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., from Port Clinton to Put-in-Bay on most Saturdays in July and August. A one-way trip is 25 minutes. It also offers service to the islands from Sandusky. Jet Express officials could not be reached for comment on Monday.

The Lorain service was supposed to be launched on Memorial Day, but no boat companies responded in February to a request for bids. After rebidding, the port authority in April purchased a used 98-foot, 149-passenger vessel from Port Imperial Ferry Corp. in New Jersey. Novak had hoped to start the service on July Fourth, but wet weather delayed painting. The boat arrived in Port Clinton on Aug. 1 and is undergoing inspections, he said.

The port authority paid $1.66 million for the boat. The authority used federal funds and Put-in-Bay Boat Line Co., which runs Jet Express, contributed about $300,000 toward the purchase.

Thursday's event is not open to the public.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer


PETA wants to own Grand Haven lighthouses

8/20 - Grand Haven, Mich. - With Michigan's lighthouses falling apart, their federal custodian is looking for groups to take them over. But supporters of the twin lights in Grand Haven are alarmed by a possible savior - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. The animal rights group wants to use the buildings to teach people about what it calls the evils of fishing.

"It's a sham," said Dick Moehl, president of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association. "These PETA people are trying to get sympathy for their cause." As a nonprofit group, PETA has the right to apply for ownership under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Program. A representative for the group did not return calls seeking comment Monday.

The federal program is designed to preserve the structures by switching control from the Coast Guard to private or public entities. The new owner must prove that it can financially maintain the buildings and make them available to the public for education. A decision on Grand Haven won't be made for several months.

The National Park Service also is looking for suitors for two other Michigan locations - the Manistee North Pierhead Lighthouse and the Waugoshance Lighthouse in the Straits of Mackinac. Waugoshance's past is as embattled as Grand Haven's future may be. Built in 1851, the Waugoshance Lighthouse was used for target practice by U.S. fighter aircraft training for World War II.

The Detroit News


Updates - August 20

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspective Gallery I
Historical Perspective Gallery II
Public Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - August 20

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

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

The R BRUCE ANGUS in tandem tow with the ULS steamer GORDON C LEITCH behind the tug IRVING CEDAR arrived at 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.


U.S. appeals court rules against NorthShore Mining

8/19 – Duluth, Minn. - A state mandate for NorthShore Mining Co. to keep testing air for asbestos like fibers still stands after a ruling by a three-judge panel of the Eighth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. In a ruling filed Monday, the appeals court ruled that the federal court system is not the place to decide the issue and that the state regulation, as part of state pollution permits, is a state issue.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, in state permits, demands that the taconite mine and plant operations test air for asbestos like fibers. The permits also require the company must use best available technology to keep those numbers below a “medically significant level.’’

Because little or no scientific data is available on what that level is, the state has adopted an air quality comparison first ordered by a federal court judge more than 35 years ago that ordered the mining company to compare fibers in Silver Bay air to fibers in St. Paul air, the so-called control-city standard. That federal court order has since been dismissed, and North Shore has moved to get the fiber testing removed from state permits. The company failed at all levels of Minnesota courts and now has failed at the federal district and appeals court levels.

Environmental groups had hoped to keep the 1970s federal court order in play. But, short of that, they say the latest court ruling at least upholds the state’s right to require continued air testing. “The on the ground affect of this for the people up there is that the control city testing requirement will continue, only under the state mandate and not a federal court order,’’ said Chuck Laszewski, spokesman for the Minnesota center for Environmental Advocacy, which intervened in the court case to keep the standards in place.

It’s not clear if the company would or could take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. NorthShore and Cleveland Cliffs officials have repeatedly said fibers released from the ore during the taconite pellet- making process are not asbestos and are not a human health threat. NorthShore spokeswoman Maureen Talarico did not immediately return a reporter’s request for a comment.

Asbestos-like fibers have been an issue on Lake Superior's North Shore for more than 40 years. A 1970s federal court decision forced then-Reserve Mining Co. to stop dumping taconite tailings – waste rock from processing iron ore -- into Lake Superior because the fibers were found in high levels in the water and may be a threat to human health. The tailings are now dumped in on-land basins.

The debate continues, however, over whether those same fibers in the air are inhaled by people who work at the mine and plant or live near the mining facilities, and whether the fibers cause lung disease. When federal Judge Miles Lord ruled in 1974 that the fibers posed a potential health risk, there was little data on a safe standard for airborne fibers. Lord ordered air to be tested in St. Paul as a control site to compare with Silver Bay's air.

State officials say there are still no widely accepted standard for the fibers today and that the fibers inside the rock may be released during taconite mining near Babbitt and during processing at the plant in Silver Bay. The mineral fragments or fibers similar to asbestos have been found only in iron ore from the eastern Mesabi Iron Range, where NorthShore is the only active taconite operation.

While significant scientific data clearly show the harm that asbestos fibers cause in human lungs, it's not clear what harm similar mineral fibers or fragments of different shapes and sizes can cause.

Public cancer records show an unusually high rate of a serious lung disease in Northeastern Minnesota, and anecdotal accounts from Iron Range residents hint at a broader problem associated with taconite operations. University of Minnesota health experts this year are conducting a huge study of current and past taconite plant workers to find out why so many have died from mesothelioma.

Reserve Mining Co. was formed in the 1950s but filed for bankruptcy and closed in 1986. It reopened in 1989 as Cyprus NorthShore Mining and was sold to Cleveland Cliffs in 1994.

Duluth News Tribune


Updates - August 19

News Photo 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.



Carferry Pere Marquette 22’s bell back home

8/18 – Ludington, Mich. - Historic White Pine Village Executive Director Ron Wood welcomed new artifacts to the village’s maritime museum Saturday — artifacts from the steamship Pere Marquette 22. Among the items are a gyro repeater compass, a steam gauge, a steering wheel of sorts, and perhaps the most precious of the treasures — the ship’s bell, inscribed with its name and the year its first set sail, 1924. The ship’s last voyage was in 1971. It was scrapped a few years later in Wisconsin.

The items were recovered last year by Chicago area junk dealers Sam and Gail Schick whose crew of workers found them while cleaning out a collector’s home in Hinsdale, Ill. They recognized the items as having significant historical value the moment they saw them and decided to find out where the unique pieces might best be laid to rest. Their inquiries led them to the Ludington Daily News and Historical White Pine Village and it was decided the items would be donated to the maritime museum there.

Lake Michigan Carferry Service provided the Schicks with a complimentary trip to Ludington on the Badger. They arrived Friday with the items in the trunk of their car — 85 years after the Pere Marquette 22 arrived in Ludington, its home port for 47 years.

Several maritime and history enthusiasts were present at White Pine Village to witness the arrival of the artifacts — White Pine Village maritime committee chairman Gary Schnitker, maritime committee member Chuck Paukstis, urban archaeologist Jim Fay and Steve Elve.  A letter of donation was signed, and the heavy items were carried inside the museum where they were placed next to other maritime treasures from the era when Ludington was home to the largest fleet of carferries in the world.

The purpose of the steering wheel has not yet been determined. According to LDN history columnist Dave Petersen, who first wrote about the artifacts in January, it is not the original wheel as seen in period photographs taken in the wheelhouse of the PM 22. He ascertains it may date from a conversion to the ship in 1953.

The carferry enthusiasts on hand to help welcome the artifacts to their new home in the maritime museum had their own theories: It may have been a back-up auxiliary steering controller in the bow or a stern wheel controller. Whatever purpose the wheel may have served in its past life, it now serves to remind those who visit White Pine Village of the area’s unique maritime history.

The Ludington News


Port Reports - August 18

Duluth/Superior - Al Miller
Cason J. Callaway was outbound in the Duluth ship canal Monday about 7:20 a.m. with pellets destined for Gary while a stone-laden John G. Munson slowly approached the ship canal a couple miles out. The Munson’s cargo was to be unloaded at Hallett 8 dock in Superior. After that, the vessel was to shift to the CN/DMIR ore dock late Monday to load pellets for Gary. Elsewhere, J.W. Shelley continued loading grain at CHS elevator in Superior.

St. Marys River – Roger LeLievre
Another slow day on the river. Algosea locked downbound in the late morning and Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was upbound in the early afternoon. The upbound Robert S. Pierson plus the downbound Edgar B. Speer and Burns Harbor rounded out the day’s traffic


Action urged on Lake Huron's loss of water

8/18 Detroit, Mich. - Environmental groups are ratcheting up the pressure on the International Joint Commission to do something about Lake Huron water being lost through the St. Clair River.

The 20th century closed with three decades of Great Lakes water levels being above their historical average, a sign of health to many who live near the lakes or play on them. But the new century has brought the opposite. Up until 18 months ago, levels had dropped in most of the Lakes. Since the 1960s, many with a vested interest in the health of Lake Huron have had their suspicions about the ebb and flow of the water levels. They point to dredging work by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 40 years ago near the mouth of the St. Clair River as the cause of water loss today.

In May, the commission released its own report on that subject that concluded the increased outflow of water from Lake Huron to the St. Clair River was caused by natural events, not manmade actions. As a result, the commission recommended no immediate remediation. This week, the Buffalo, N.Y.-based conservationist group Great Lakes United joined many others who have challenged the study and its recommendations.

"On the basis of using the precautionary approach in the face of scientific uncertainty, Great Lakes United urges (the commission's study board) to revise its 'do nothing at this time' recommendation," the group stated in a press release. "Instead, the (board) should conclude that there is reason to believe that here have been significant changes in conveyance as a result of human activities and that it is time now to begin serious assessment of the various remediation options."

Jon Nevin, an International Joint Commission spokesman, said there is no scientific evidence to justify taking remediation action.

The Detroit News


State, research group battle for ownership of sunken schooner

8/18 – Buffalo, N.Y. - The shipwreck hunters who want to raise an old schooner from the bottom of Lake Erie and put it on display in the Buffalo harbor have been entangled in a five-year federal court battle with the state over rights to the vessel.

State historic preservation and museum officials believe federal law gives the state control of the ship, and they feel it is best preserved where it is, off the Dunkirk shoreline. They also allege the company behind the schooner-raising plan has damaged the ship and accuses its divers of improperly handling human remains found onboard. Northeast Research LLC denies the accusations and says it has followed all the rules to obtain the legal rights to the sunken ship.

The company, headed by Richard Kullberg, whose previous business ventures include starting Cape Cod's first whale-watching boat tour, laid claim to the shipwrecked vessel at the bottom of the lake in federal court in August 2004. Last month, after years of research on the ship, Northeast Research met with Erie County Executive Chris Collins, the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. and other government and tourism officials to lay out its plans for the schooner.

Northeast Research wants to raise the two-masted ship from the lake and place it on display in a giant water tank. They see it as a potential centerpiece of the Buffalo waterfront and say thousands of tourists would flock to Western New York to see it. They also want to make a series of documentaries about the shipwreck and its raising, which they say will bring international attention to Buffalo.

The group says it will put up as much as $5 million from investors to raise and store the ship while a museum is prepared. They said they'll lease the shipwreck to waterfront officials for $1 over a 99-year period. And they say they will spend "over $1 million" on the first of four documentaries. In exchange for all this, they want a third of ticket sales from the museum. To pay for the museum, Northeast has suggested using money that has been set aside for other projects in the Buffalo harbor redevelopment plan.

Northeast Research says its research shows the ship was a trading schooner, based on grains and hickory nuts found in its hull. While no nameplate has been found on the ship, Northeast Research and its experts believe there's a strong possibility the schooner at one time had been the warship Caledonia, which was commandeered by the British during the War of 1812, then taken over by the Americans and used against the British in the Battle of Lake Erie. It then was refitted in 1816 to become a trade ship called the General Wayne, which may have been used to smuggle slaves to Canada.

The identity of the ship is key to Northeast Research's claim to the sunken vessel. Federal law protects only abandoned shipwrecks, but not those whose owners have living descendants who want to lay claim to the ships or insurance companies with policies on them. In this case, Northeast Research has tracked down a direct descendant of one of the owners of the General Wayne who has given consent to the group to raise the ship.

But as Northeast Research has been developing and promoting its plan, it has been simultaneously fighting off efforts by the state to gain control of the shipwreck. The state attorney general's office, representing state historic preservation and museum officials, has been arguing for the rights to the shipwreck since almost immediately after Northeast Research went to federal court in 2004. In court papers, an expert for the state argued there's no evidence the ship is the Caledonia/General Wayne, which would mean the ship is abandoned. Under the federal Abandoned Shipwrecks Act of 1987, such a vessel would fall under the jurisdiction of the state where it was found.

Arthur B. Cohn, an underwater archaeologist with the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, said none of the artifacts found on the ship points to its being the historic vessel. Cohn said the ship's "flat-bottomed hull and parallel sides" are more consistent with ships built to fit in the Welland Canal, which was completed in 1829. The Caledonia is believed to have been built near the end of the 18th century.

In addition, the state has "serious concerns regarding the archaeological methods used by the plaintiff in their efforts on the shipwreck," including what officials called the "desecration of human remains," court papers read.

In June 2008, during the course of the lawsuit, the state had been forced by the courts to give Northeast Research an archaeological permit to work on the ship. The permit lays out specific guidelines on how to handle an archaeological site and includes specific guidelines on what to do with human remains that are encountered.

The state says bones believed to be human that were found on the ship were never reported to authorities. The state said that the bones were gathered up into a "bone bag" and that other pieces of bone were sucked up through a dredge hose and are being kept in cold storage in Dunkirk. After the state received information about the discovery of bones, it rescinded the permit.

Northeast Research strongly denies the state's assertions that it has been anything other than careful with the shipwreck. "The last thing we're going to do in a shipwreck of this historical magnitude is to destroy the integrity of the ship," Pat Clyne, a part-owner and spokesman of Northeast Research, told The Buffalo News.

He said his firm has been working on the ship using expert technical divers and archaeology experts from Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa. Northeast Research contends any damage to the ship had been caused by trespassers. Regarding the human remains, Clyne said the state's accusations "are blatantly false and hearsay."

Clyne said that divers sent down to explore and desilt the ship came across objects that they thought could be human bones and that they were set aside in a canvas bag inside the hull. A dredge hose also sucked up tiny, blackened fragments of bone, some of which were human and some from fish. A few pieces were sent to an Army DNA lab, and the rest were frozen for conservation purposes, as was recommended to Northeast Research by archaeological consultants.

Northeast Research also contends that its experts have found strong evidence that the ship is the Caledonia/General Wayne. It disputes Cohn's description of the ship, saying its design is consistent with the types of vessels built when the Caledonia was and also cites a line drawing by a Great Lakes historian that looks very close to the historic ship.

The drawing was based on historic accounts in 1997, which the state says should not count as proof. Northeast also says the lack of identification on the ship is consistent with the theory that it had become involved in helping escaped slaves.

Northeast alerted Collins about the "unresolved legal issues surrounding the wreck," said Collins' spokesman, Grant Loomis. "Erie County has done its own due diligence on this matter" he said.

Collins says he doesn't believe the project can be funded by the county alone. "Going forward, Northeast Research must now resolve its legal matters and convince the state and federal governments that this project is worth pursuing in Buffalo," he said.

The legal fight and publicity over the schooner proposal have raised questions among some in the Great Lakes shipwreck community. They wonder about the ethics and wisdom of disturbing archaeological sites to such an extent.

"In terms of picking it up and putting it in a tank, I don't see how that's a good idea in any way, shape or form," said Carrie Sowden, archaeological director of the Great Lakes Historical Society in Vermilion, Ohio. Sowden supports leaving ship wrecks in their final resting places. "The general rule of thumb within the Great Lakes is almost everything stays where it is," she said.

"I really think they're best preserved left where they are," said Pat Labadie, historian for the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Michigan. "Diving activity alone takes an awful toll on historic wrecks." Still, he said, it's feasible that the shipwreck could be raised and that keeping it in a tank "could be a way of preserving the vessel. ... It would certainly be impressive," he said.

Many shipwreck researchers cited the cautionary tale of the Alvin Clark, a schooner not unlike the Dunkirk wreck, that was raised in 1969 off of Wisconsin.

Valerie Van Heest, who made a documentary about the ill-fated ship, explained how the Alvin Clark was raised "with good intentions." The vessel was put on display outdoors on the waterfront in Green Bay. "But there was absolutely no financial backing beyond taking it out of the water," she said. "It rotted. Storms took it apart ... To make a long story short, they had to bulldoze it, and it went into a landfill."

Northeast's Clyne says he understands such concerns. "It just wasn't done correctly," Clyne said of the Alvin Clark. "We have the technology now. We know what destroys shipwrecks. We know how to conserve them indefinitely. There is no reason in the world that shipwrecks can't be put on display."

Clyne said he believes that his company and the state are really on the same page and hopes they can figure out a way to work together. "We as private, historical shipwreck salvors would like to bring this up and display it for the people of Buffalo," Clyne said. "The state wants to keep it at the bottom of the lake. We both feel it belongs to the people of Buffalo."

The Buffalo News


August 22 - Diamond Jack cruise Wyandotte to Toledo Marine Mart

Diamond Jack’s River Tours and Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping are co-sponsoring a round-trip cruise aboard the Diamond Belle from Wyandotte to the S.S. Willis B. Boyer Marine memorabilia Flea Market in Toledo. The trip will pass the Detroit River Light, Toledo Harbor Light, the CSX coal dock, the drawbridges in the Maumee River, the dry docks at the Toledo ship yard. During the flea market a shuttle bus will provide transportation between the Toledo Maritime Center and the museum ship Willis B. Boyer. The Diamond Belle will depart Bishop Park at 8 a.m. and return around 9 p.m. The cost of $95.00 per person includes three meals on board. Reservations are required. Click here for reservation form


Updates - August 18

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery - Heron Bay updated with new pictures
Calendar of Events page updated
Public Gallery updated - Transportation


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.


Severstal Says Wheeling Mill Will Remain Idled

8/17 - Wheeling, WV - Severstal North America's order book is showing an uptick, but a spokeswoman says it's far too soon to say it's a sign that the steel business has turned the corner.

"We have seen an upturn in orders but are unsure if that upturn is a result of restocking depleted inventories or sustainable," Severstal North America's Bette Kovach said. "Our capacity utilization rate of our three operating facilities -- in Dearborn, Mich.; Columbus, Miss.; and Sparrows Point, MD. -- is about 85 percent." Severstal's other operations in Wheeling for the most remain idled "pending a return of the market for their products."

Kovach said Wheeling's Mountain State Carbon operation, which produces coke for use in steel making, "is operating as it has been, albeit at a low level." Its Martins Ferry coating line was restarted late in July "to process a seasonal uptick in orders." "We expect that mill will operate for a period of about six to eight weeks," she said. "All other Severstal Wheeling operations are idle." The company's Warren, Ohio, division also is idled.

Recent reports, meanwhile, had suggested the Russian-based company was planning to pull out of North America, but the company was quick to label those accounts as "erroneous." "While our new leadership team in North America is reviewing a variety of operating strategies for our facilities, we expect our three facilities currently in operation to continue to run with a focus on greater efficiency and internal cost reduction," the company had said in a statement issued in response to the stories. "Ongoing production at these facilities will allow us to meet the obligations of our order book while we also work to further enhance our ability to respond to customer needs. As previously stated ... the Warren and Wheeling operations will remain idle until the market returns for their products."

Kovach said in-house efforts to boost efficiency and reduce costs referred to in that statement would "improve our overall competitiveness, now and in the future." But she said it would be "speculative to say exactly what impact, if any, those efforts would have on employment numbers."

From the State Journal


Port Reports - August 17

Duluth/Superior - Al Miller
Twin Ports traffic late Sunday afternoon included James R. Barker outbound in Duluth harbor with coal while American Century waited at the Murphy Oil dock. Quebecois was loading taconite pellets at CN/DMIR while Cason J. Callaway occupied the outer end of the dock with its boom swung out and apparently loading by the chutes. Adam E. Cornelius was docked at Quebec Pier in Superior on Sunday, apparently undergoing repairs.

Grand Haven - Greg Barber
The Calumet arrived in Grand Haven Saturday afternoon about 5 p.m. and proceeded to the Verplank Dock to unload stone. It departed a little before 10 p.m.

Menominee Marinette - Scott Best
Sunday morning, the Canadian Transport arrived in Marinette with a cargo of salt for Marinette Fuel & Dock. This trip marked a very rare trip for the Transport, and was the fourth load of salt for the season at Marinette. The Transport also marks the first delivery to Menominee or Marinette since late June.


Coast Guard assists vessel taking on water

8/17 - CLEVELAND - The U.S. Coast Guard assisted a vessel taking on water near Toledo, Ohio, Saturday, at approximately 12:17 a.m.

Coast Guard Station Toledo received notification, at approximately 12:14 a.m., that a 36-foot vessel, with four adults aboard, was taking on water after colliding with an aid to navigation in the Maumee River Channel.

The Station launched their 25-foot response boat and arrived on scene at 12:24 a.m. A nearby dredging barge assisted the distressed vessel with dewatering. The operator of the distressed vessel reported nearly four feet of water had entered the craft in a matter of minutes. All persons were wearing life jackets and no injuries were reported.

The boat crew utilized a portable dewatering pump and was able to reduce the level of water inside the vessel. After determining that there was no pollution risk, the station crew towed the damaged vessel back to Bayview Yacht Club, where the owners had friends waiting to remove the vessel from the water.

"We got on scene really fast and by working with the crew of the barge we got the water level down to a point where we could safely tow them in to shore," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Lance Sapp, the small boat engineer aboard Toledo’s 25-foot response boat.

USCG News Release


Port Huron Float Down shut down

8/17 - Port Huron, MI - Authorities on the St. Clair River shut down the Float Down, according to scanner traffic.

The many agencies assisting in the event, including St. Clair County Sheriff Department Marine Division, United States Coast Guard and Port Huron Fire Department are picking up anyone still floating in the river and dropping them off at Chrysler Beach.

The event began at 1 p.m. at Lighthouse Beach in Port Huron, just north of the Blue Water Bridge. No floaters reached Chrysler Beach in Marysville, the ending point, until about 4:45 p.m., according to a swimmer at the scene. Excessive wind kept many people from their destination, and they were leaving the water in droves at any accessible point along the length of the river beginning at the south end of Port Huron.

At about 5:40, the same photographer said several boats were slowly heading downriver, pulling lines of 10 to 15 people behind them on flotation devices lashed together.

Thousands of people are making their way down the St. Clair River with thousands more lining the waterway to cheer them on. Float Down participants took to the water at 1 p.m. today from Lighthouse Beach. They will be traveling 8 miles to Chrysler Beach in Marysville. Mark Olsen of Preferred Charter is on a boat in the river and said officials estimate that 3,000 to 4,000 people took to the water. Crowds gathered at the beach in Port Huron starting at about 8 a.m. with everything from inflatable swans to a real duck.

A strong wind is blowing some floaters into Canadian waters, Olsen said. Boats are being used to tow them back, he said. Olsen said shortly before 3 p.m. freighter traffic isn’t expected for about an hour.

Nobody from the Port Huron Float Down had reached Chrysler Beach in Marysville, the end point for the event, by 4:15 p.m., but many were getting out elsewhere. In at least one case, a homeowner in the 3000 block of Military Street contacted the police after a confrontation with a floater who got out of the river in the homeowner's back yard, according to a Times Herald photographer at the scene.

One of the busiest spots seemed to be near the Seaway Terminal at 2336 Military St. in Port Huron. Cars packed into all available spaces, and some invented ones, along Military Street and northbound Busha Highway. Many people were packing up their flotation devices in the parking lot of the River Grille at 3136 Military St. in Port Huron.

Matt Barnhouse, 36, of Marysville, said he and some of his family came to a standstill in that area of the river, which is a bit more than halfway between Lighthouse Beach in Port Huron, the starting location, and Chrysler Beach, and then the wind made things worse. We were going backwards," he said. Still, he said ending before the destination didn't spoil his first Float Down experience. "The weather was nice. Everybody was friendly. The water was calm; it wasn't rough at all," he said. "I'll be back next year." Swimmer Darren Redlawsk, 19, of Marysville reported that the first floaters showed up at Chrysler Beach at about 4:45 p.m.

Port Huron Times Herald


Updates - August 17

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery - Heron Bay updated with new pictures
Calendar of Events page updated
Public Gallery updated - Transportation


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.


 Port Reports - August 16

South Chicago - Brian Z.
It was a busy day on the Calumet River in South Chicago with Wilfred Sykes loading a coal cargo for Holland, Mich. Peter R. Cresswell arrived at Morton Salt to discharge Friday afternoon. The Sykes completed loading at 9:00 p.m. and was replaced at KCBX dock with the Manitowoc early Saturday morning. The Manitowoc finished loading coal at 9:00 am and departed for Alpena, Mich.

Holland - Bob VandeVusse
Wilfred Sykes made its first visit of the season to Holland on Saturday, entering the channel shortly after 8 a.m. It proceeded to the east end of Lake Macatawa, waking late risers along the way with salutes. It spent most of the day delivering coal to the James DeYoung power plant.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Zeus and her tank barge were inbound for the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City during the early morning hours of Saturday. The pair remained there through the day and into the late evening. Also inbound on Saturday was the tug G.L. Ostrander with the cement barge Integrity. The pair traveled upriver to the LaFarge Cement dock in Carrollton, Mich. They finished their unload and were outbound for the lake late Saturday evening. This was both the first visit by the Ostrander/Integrity and the first to the LaFarge dock in 2009.


August 22 - Diamond Jack cruise Wyandotte to Toledo Marine Mart

Diamond Jack’s River Tours and Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping are co-sponsoring a round-trip cruise aboard the Diamond Belle from Wyandotte to the S.S. Willis B. Boyer Marine memorabilia Flea Market in Toledo. The trip will pass the Detroit River Light, Toledo Harbor Light, the CSX coal dock, the drawbridges in the Maumee River, the dry docks at the Toledo ship yard. During the flea market a shuttle bus will provide transportation between the Toledo Maritime Center and the museum ship Willis B. Boyer. The Diamond Belle will depart Bishop Park at 8 a.m. and return around 9 p.m. The cost of $95.00 per person includes three meals on board. Reservations are required. Click here for reservation form


Updates - August 16

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery - Heron Bay updated with new pictures
Calendar of Events page 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.


U.S.-Flag cargos on Great Lakes dip again in July

8/15 – Cleveland, Ohio - U.S.-Flag vessels hauled 7.5 million net tons of dry-bulk cargo on the Great Lakes in July, a decrease of 37 percent compared to both a year ago and the month’s 5-year average.

While shipments of most commodities declined, there were perhaps some hints of recovery. Both the iron ore and limestone totals were the highest recorded for any month this year.

July also saw the most U.S.-Flag lakers in service at any point this year. As the month came to an end, 53 hulls were in service. The previous peak was 49 vessels on June 1.

U.S.-Flag lakers continued to struggle with inadequate water depth in ports and channels. The month’s largest cargo – 68,363 tons of iron ore – was still almost 4,000 tons below what the largest vessels can carry when high water levels offset the system-wide lack of dredging. That cargo was also the exception; most loads in 1,000-footers were 65,000 tons or so.

For the year, U.S.-Flag carriage stands at 28.4 million tons, a decrease of approximately 45 percent compared to both a year ago and the 5-year average for the January-July timeframe. Another way to illustrate the impacts of the recession is the fact that the fleet’s iron ore total of a year ago – 25.8 million tons – is almost as much as the fleet’s total for all cargo through this July.

More information is available at

Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports - August 15

Waukegan, Ill. - Nathan Ruska
The barge Integrity and tug G.L. Ostrander departed Waukegan Harbor at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Detroit - Ken Borg
Tim S. Dool was downbound at Delray Park at 6:43 PM. Herbert C. Jackson was loading coke in the original River Rouge channel behind the old Detroit Marine Supply Co. Loading was going very slow.


Upper Great Lakes water levels inch higher

8/15 – Detroit, Mich. - The water levels of Lakes Superior and St. Clair crept upward by 1-2 inches over the past month, and Lakes Michigan and Huron held steady, according to report issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Meanwhile, the levels of Lakes Erie and Ontario dropped by 2 inches between July 14 and Aug. 14, the report said.

The weekly report of the Army Corps, released late Thursday, shows that the lakes of key interest to Metro Detroiters remain significantly higher than a year ago: Lakes Huron and Michigan are up 8 inches, Lake St. Clair is up 7 inches and Lake Erie is 4 inches higher than this time in 2008.

That's generally good news for recreational boaters, who have fewer underwater obstacles to avoid and easier passage into and out of harbor and dock areas. It's also good for Great Lakes freighters, which can carry heavier loads, and many property owners, some of whom found receding lake levels left the water hundreds of feet from their homes and docks.

High water levels in the Upper Great Lakes eventually boost the lower lakes, flowing southward to Lake Erie, over the Niagara Falls, into Lake Ontario and out the St. Lawrence River to the Atlantic Ocean. Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron are all 6 or more inches lower than historical averages for August, while Lakes St. Clair, Erie and Ontario range from 4-7 inches higher than their long-term norms.

The five Great Lakes represent about 20 percent of the world's fresh surface water supply and are vital to the state's tourism industry.

Source: The Detroit News


Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority unveils makeover plan for lakefront

8/15 – Cleveland, Ohio - The Cleveland waterfront could be transformed by 2013 into a year-round playground of recreation, restaurants and open space, according to concepts unveiled Thursday, Aug. 13, at a Cleveland Waterfront Development Project meeting.

Jill Akins, principal of Van Auken Akins Architects LLC, unveiled the outline of the first phase of the lakefront plan, which could start in 2011. The first phase would cover the lakefront from the Steamship William G. Mather Museum in North Coast Harbor to the 50-yard line at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

The concept included Crystal Square, which would be built behind the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and feature a pavilion with glass structures facing the water. In the winter, its doors would close to shield people from the harsh winds and cold while still providing a view of the lake. Streets would also be designed to turn the area into a four-season playground. Roads would jog, instead of being built on a straight grid, to block frequent and strong winds. A wharf and a park built around a portion of Cleveland Browns Stadium were also included.

The Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority has decided to divide the lakefront plan into four phases, officials said. The entire four phases, expected to be completed in about 25 years, would cover 100 acres from the Mather west to the Cuyahoga River.

"The notion of many in the community is that this will take a lifetime; and 'I'll never see it,' " Eric Anthony Johnson, the port's real estate director, said before the meeting at St. Ignatius High School. "The best way to execute it is to break it down into smaller pieces over time and to say to the community that this is an executable, realistic type of development on the waterfront."

As part of the project, the port would move its operations from North Coast Harbor east to East 55th Street. No construction can take place until the plan is approved, which is expected this year. After approval, officials would begin working on specifics, including costs and funding.

Austin Kotting of Cleveland, who attended the meeting, said he was open to most concepts as long as they included this principle: "People should have easy access to the lakefront," he said. Dominic LoGalbo of Sagamore Hills said the lakefront should be devoted to boating, fishing and similar recreational pursuits. "Where are they going to get the money for all these other things?" he said.

John Onacila Jr. of the Greater Cleveland Boating Association said he fears that doing the project in phases means redevelopment proposed for other waterfront sites may be delayed. Johnson said the goal is to create a waterfront where people can "live, work and play."

"The Cleveland waterfront has many things in place: a great infrastructure, great tourist institutions, like the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Great Lakes Science Center and Browns Stadium. Now the challenge is to fill in, to build around the already special assets that exist there," he said.

Source: The Cleveland Plain Dealer


Detroit budget cuts may put fire boat in storage

8/15 – Detroit, Mich. - During the summer, the Detroit fire boat crew puts out flames on the water. Now, it looks like it's their jobs that are going up in flames thanks to city-wide budget cuts. However, the crew is prepared to fight this battle.

The pilot of the fire boat says he just learned it's being taken out of commission and that could come with some very dangerous consequences if something goes wrong on the river. "9-11 would be one of the biggest reminders of what could happen. Fire boats were instrumental in the recovery efforts," said Detroit Fire Department Pilot Marty Tighe.

The fire boat has been back in service since June 22. There's a six man crew, three of which are pilots. Wednesday, they learned budget cuts will put the boat into storage in just two weeks and lead to their layoffs.

From across the border, the Windsor fire chief says without a backup plan, Canadians are being put at risk, too. We asked Chief Dave Fields what they will use if there's an emergency. He responded, "Well, we don't have a boat." The Coast Guard has another small ship equipped to fight fires, but not designed for that reason.

Council President Ken Cockrel, Jr. says after hearing all this, he's personally going to investigate. "Council did actually set aside money. I believe it was about $300,000 or so for the fire boat," he said.

In response, the deputy fire commissioner says the layoff decision is not yet final, and they're working to postpone cuts until October. The union says normally they would operate the boat until early December.

Source: Fox 2 Detroit


Updates - August 15

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspective Gallery I
Historical Perspective Gallery II
Public Gallery updated
We have an equipment outage at one of our locations, this effects the webcams at Detroit, Port Huron, Mackinac Island and Marquette. We hope to have it corrected by Saturday.


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.


More dredging set for Saginaw River and Bay, along with expansion of Channel Island

8/14 - Bay City - More dredging is coming to the Saginaw River and Bay, and with it, more concerns about the environmental impact of the work. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded contracts to continue clearing the navigational channel in the Upper Saginaw River, from Bay City south to Saginaw, and the Saginaw Bay channel, at the river mouth.

The Corps also is spending more than $500,000 from the federal stimulus package to increase the capacity of a confined disposal facility in the bay by raising and extending the length of an interior dike. That facility, known as Channel or Sludge Island, is thought by some to alter the flow of the river, depositing dead algae, discharged sewage and other gunk onto the shoreline at the Bay City State Recreation Area.

A newly constructed DMDF, or Dredged Material Disposal Facility, also began operating this year along the Saginaw River in Frankenlust and Zilwaukee townships. That 500-acre DMDF site is garnering complaints from residents about flooding.

Wayne Schloop, chief of operations for the Corps in Detroit, didn't have figures on how many jobs will be created or sustained by upgrading the spoils site in the bay. But he said there are about 270 direct jobs related to navigation on the river, from shipping companies and people working on docks along the waterway.

"We looked at it two ways," Schloop said. "Obviously, dredging the channel sustains a lot of economic lifeblood in the Saginaw Bay area, and if you don't have a place to put the material, which is part of this job, then you really can't maintain the channel ... and commerce in the Saginaw Bay."

But Ernie Krygier, head of Save Our Shoreline and a Bay County commissioner, said he thinks the stimulus money would be better spent to remove the island altogether. "Of course, I believe most of the problems with the state park and the shoreline going toward Pinconning is related to the fact that Sludge Island's out there, changing the littoral flow, not allowing that crap to flow out into the lake like it should," Krygier said. He said there weren't sufficient studies conducted on the island's impact in the first place, and spending money to continue its use "is a bunch of crap, no pun intended."

The Saginaw Bay island was constructed in 1978, with 284 acres and a capacity of 10 million cubic yards, according to Corps records.

Dredging Money
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded contracts for dredging projects in the Saginaw River and Bay. Here's a rundown:
--- $532,500, to Luedtke Engineering Co. of Frankfort, to raise interior dikes at Channel Island in the bay by 2-3 feet and extend the length of the horseshoe-shaped dike to about 3,500 feet. Work is expected to begin by early fall.
--- $3 million, to Luedtke, to dredge 400,000 cubic yards of material from the bay channel. The dredging is due to begin next year.
--- $1.3 million, to Ryba of Cheboygan, to continue dredging on the Upper Saginaw River, removing about 100,000 cubic yards in a half-dozen high spots. Due to begin next spring.

Robert McCann, a spokesman for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, was unaware of the impending work at Channel Island. But "we plan to take a closer look at it and see if anything else needs to be done," he said this week. Schloop estimates that the expanded bay island will create another two to three years of capacity for dredging the Lower Saginaw River, or about 700,000 cubic yards worth of room.

At the new DMDF, everything appears to be operating safely, said Angie Mundell, operations project manager for the Corps in Detroit. The agency installed 14 additional groundwater monitoring wells around the facility at the request of the DEQ. The Upper River was dredged this summer with the spoils deposited at the new DMDF facility.

Mundell said now that dredgings from earlier work have settled, the Corps will sample the groundwater wells surrounding the site and the water contained in the DMDF. Those testing results should be back within a month, at which time the Corps hopes to discharge water remaining from the earlier dredging deposits within the parameters of a state water quality permit. "Nothing's going to get out of there," Mundell said of earlier concerns from nearby residents and DEQ officials that the site might leak legacy contaminants back to the river.

Pat Bradt, the Zilwaukee Township supervisor, was part of an unsuccessful court battle to stop construction of the DMDF. She said the site is now pushing water into her backyard and those of another 10 or so residents on Melbourne Road. Land around the spoils site used to be farmed and drained. Now, it fills with water and that water runs to riverfront properties, she said, creating nasty smells and swarms of mosquitoes. "The water that's been there is stagnant and it's got green slime on it and the mosquitoes are just awful," she said. "We can't even go outside."

Bradt said she's met with a DEQ official from Bay City about the problems. But McCann said the DEQ is keeping an eye on data from the monitoring wells. "I think time will tell is everything is going well," he said.

Source: Bay City Times


Port Report

Saginaw River - Stephen Hause
Shipping activity remains slow on the Saginaw River with only two arrivals logged so far this week. The tug Undaunted with barge Pere Marquette 41 arrived Thursday morning at the Bay Aggregates dock. Walter J. McCarthy Jr. called at the Consumers Energy Dock on Sunday afternoon, the first visit of the season for the vessel.


Updates - August 14

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspective Gallery I
Historical Perspective Gallery II
Public Gallery updated
We have an equipment outage at one of our locations, this effects the webcams at Detroit, Port Huron, Mackinac Island and Marquette. We hope to have it corrected by Saturday.


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.


7-million contract to deepen channel downstream of Soo Locks

8/13 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The United States Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a nearly $7-million contract to deepen the downstream approach channel at the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., to allow sufficient depth for 1,000- foot vessels to pass through a replacement for the long-closed Davis and Sabin Locks.

Of the four existing locks, just the 40-year-old Poe has sufficient depth for the 1,000-foot Great Lakes carriers.

Proponents have been advocating for a new lock for more than two decades and hopes were high that federal government dollars to stimulate infrastructure construction and the rest of the U. S. economy would make it a reality. But officials in the Soo were disappointed earlier this year that part of the $41 million in stimulus funding wasn't dedicated to a new superlock.

In late February it was announced the U. S. federal government committed $17 million from appropriation funds for the first phase of the $500-million project, through Congress's Fiscal Year 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act. That money also allows the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin building the cofferdams needed to prevent water flow into the aging Sabin and Davis locks, which will be replaced by the new lock.

It is expected the mammoth project will take between five and seven years to complete.

The latest work will begin in the fall. Some 71,000 cubic yards of bedrock and material will be removed without dewatering the area, so it will require dredging. The excavated material will be placed in designated areas on the northwest pier of the locks, just past the International Bridge on Soo Locks property.

The work will be done by Kokosing Construction, of Fredricktown, Ohio.

Congress will provide funds on a year-to-year basis, and the extent of work will depend on how much as allocated, said Lynn Duerod, Detroit district public affairs officer.

The Sault Star


Port Reports - August 13

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Midwest Energy Terminal was again the star of the day in the Twin Ports on Wednesday, with Lee A. Tregurtha loading for Taconite Harbor early in the day while Walter J. McCarthy Jr. backed up the St. Louis River so it could dock at the terminal as soon as the Tregurtha left. Paul R. Tregurtha, Canadian Enterprise and James R. Barker were scheduled to arrive throughout the day to load there. Elsewhere in port, small saltie Liamare was loading grain at CHS terminal in Superior.

Waukegan, Ill. - Nathan Ruska
St. Marys Conquest was in Waukegan Harbor on Tuesday.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Wednesday, Canadian Transport arrived at 2:30 p.m. with coal for Dofasco. The Cuyahoga arrived at 2:45 p.m. followed by Maritime Trader at 4:30 p.m. The CSL Laurentian departed at 5:30 p.m. from U.S. Steel.


Coal saving grace of shipping season; iron ore may increase this fall

8/13 - Duluth, Minn. - A busy day Tuesday at the Midwest Energy Docks saw several ships loading coal to be delivered to electrical power plants around the Great Lakes.

Coal is one saving grace of a difficult shipping season that has seen a significant dip in ship traffic and tonnage.

Adele Yorde, with the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, said "it keeps the lakers moving it keeps all those crews and pilots working and it really has sustained the start of the shipping season the first three-four months of this navigation season."

Many factors contributed to the slower than normal shipping season including a late start as well as lower demand for some of the products shipped through the port, but the experts agree there's some reason to be optimistic.

Yorde said "Now we're seeing a little bit of an uptick in the steel production so we're hoping now heading into the next quarter we'll start to see an uptick in the iron ore moving on the lakes too."

Mines on the Iron Range have sat idle or operated at diminished capacity since spring. But with low steel reserves across the county that could change.

Craig Pagel, president of Iron Ore Mining Association of Minnesota said "what we're cautiously optimistic about is that the demand for steel will increase utilization rates have been over 50 percent for about the last five weeks and that's a good stable sign, however last year we were at about 90 percent we want to see those continue to climb."

It may be a while before the full economic impact of steel demand is felt. But for workers that benefit from the shipping and mining industries this is good news that has been a long time coming.

Grain shipments through the port have actually seen a 23 percent increase over last year so far.

Northland’s News Center


Duluth Port Authority to get $3 million for improvements

8/13 - Duluth, Minn. - Three projects that will improve the state’s freight transportation infrastructure will receive $6.25 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.

The Duluth Port Authority will receive $3 million for dock and navigation improvements at the Duluth harbor, including replacement of corroded sheet piling.

The project will place protective steel plating around the perimeter of the 5,775-foot dock wall of the Port Authority’s Clure Public Marine Terminal facility.

The facility, operated by Lake Superior Warehousing Co., is a major shipment hub for wind energy components, handles a variety of other heavy-lift cargo (e.g. wood pulp and paper, steel coil and oil extraction equipment) and is designated a Foreign Trade Zone.

Northland’s News Center


Coast Guard medevacs woman from Mackinac Island

8/13 - Cleveland, Ohio - The U.S. Coast Guard evacuated a woman from Mackinac Island, Mich., Wednesday at approximately 5 a.m.

Station St. Ignace launched its 47-foot Motor Life Boat, received and transported the woman to awaiting Emergency Medical Services at the station. EMS took her to Northern Michigan Regional Hospital in Petoskey, Mich.

"Our main goal was to make sure she was comfortable during the ride," said Petty Officer 1st Class Tyler Benson, the coxswain of the motor life boat. "Plus it was my birthday, so I got to give myself the gift of helping someone in distress."

Station St. Ignace received a call from the Mackinac Island Clinic at approximately 4:20 a.m. requesting assistance transporting a 72-year-old woman who was complaining of chest pains.

Coast Guard Station St. Ignace is able to quickly assist those in need of medical attention due to its high level of training and proximity to Mackinac Island.



Invasive Asian carp close to entering Great Lakes

8/13 - The Asian carp, an invasive species that can grow to be more than 4 feet long and 100 pounds and threatens to disrupt the Great Lakes ecosystem, has been detected within 10 miles of the electrical barrier built to keep the carp out of Lake Michigan, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reports.

In a statement released Aug. 7, the Army Corps warned that a new monitoring method developed by a team of University of Notre Dame scientists detected DNA from the fish in water samples taken in the manmade canal that connects the Mississippi River basin and Lake Michigan.

These findings indicate that the Asian carp may be closer to the Great Lakes than previously thought.

Earlier this year the Corps completed a $9 million electrical barrier in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. By running current through the water in the canal the agency hoped to stop the fish from entering the lakes without impeding shipping or water flow.

With news that the unwelcome fish appears closer to the Great Lakes than expected, the Alliance for the Great Lakes called for the voltage of the electrical barrier to be increased.

“The electrical barrier system has been operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at a reduced voltage of 1 volt per inch since its partial completion earlier this year,“ the environmental group said. “Current system conditions allow operation at between 2 and 4 volts, but the barrier has never been turned up that high.”

“The state of Illinois has to put an abort on Asian carp if this mission goes critical, and it needs support from the entire region,” Joel Brammeier, acting President of the Alliance said in a statement released Monday. “An ounce of prevention could save the Great Lakes from a crushing burden for decades to come — perhaps forever.”

Brammier called for aggressive monitoring of the fish and said that it may be necessary to poison the fish in the water if they make it through the electrical barrier.

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, if Asian carp reach the Great Lakes they will disrupt the food chain that supports native fish.

“Due to their large size, ravenous appetites, and rapid rate of reproduction, these fish could pose a significant risk to the Great Lakes Ecosystem,” according to an EPA statement. “Eventually, they could become a dominant species in the Great Lakes.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has warned that the carp could disrupt Great Lakes sport and commercial fisheries which are valued at $4.5 billion per year.

Some Asian carp can jump 10 feet out of the water and this behavior has caused injury to boaters.

The Army Corps has been reluctant to operate the underwater electrical barrier at full power because of concerns that people could get shocked and that sparks could endanger cargo ships carrying flammable materials.

Michigan Messenger


Updates - August 13

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspective Gallery I
Historical Perspective Gallery II
Public Gallery updated
We have an equipment outage at one of our locations, this effects the webcams at Detroit, Port Huron, Mackinac Island and Marquette. We hope to have it corrected by Saturday.


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 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 27-30, 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



Seaway traffic declines by roughly 21% in recession

8/12 - St. Lawrence Seaway traffic suffered under the weight of the recession in July, the latest figures show.

Year-to-date numbers as of July 31 show overall "transits" on the eastern Ontario stretch of the St. Lawrence-Great Lakes system suffering a decline of more than 21%.

Overall, the number of trips by commercial vessels along the entire system has gone down by more than 28 percent, roughly the same rate as a month ago, according to figures compiled by the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation.

On the Montreal-Lake Ontario stretch, the total number of single trips by a vessel is down from 1,181 last year to 930.

For the entire system, which also includes data from the Welland Canal, transits are down from 2,018 to 1,450.

Total cargo on the entire St. Lawrence-Great Lakes system is down from more than 19.5 million metric tonnes last year to under 12.2 million tonnes.

Iron ore has seen a staggering drop of 61.4 per cent, from nearly 6.5 million metric tonnes as of July 31 last year to 2.5 million tonnes at the same date this year.

On the positive side, grain shipments were at 3.2 million metric tonnes at the end of July, up from nearly 2.8 million tonnes.

Kingston Whig Standard


Port Reports - August 12

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Charles M. Beeghly arrived at the Upper Harbor ore dock Tuesday afternoon in heavy fog and loaded taconite into the evening. Herbert C. Jackson loaded taconite and departed earlier in the day, and Michipicoten was due later in the evening.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The heavy lift vessel Jumbo Spirit arrived in port Monday morning. Stephen B. Roman and English River were both in port. The saltie Pochard continued unloading at Redpath Sugar.


Saginaw River dredging makes progress

8/12 - Saginaw, Mich From winter driving salt to fertilizers, and material for asphalt and concrete, the Saginaw River is the preferred method of transportation for many businesses shipping into mid-Michigan because of its affordability.

Months of river dredging has only made the channel more business friendly, said Saginaw County Public Works Commissioner James Koski. He has made it a labor of love organizing the dredging, at a time when he said the need was most pressing.

Before the dredging, “the boats didn’t want to come anymore,” he said. The process helps to widen the water and increase its depth. Otherwise boats have to lighten loads which can be less efficient.

The river was last dredged about 25 years ago. The biggest hold up? Nowhere to put the sediment, Koski said.

Crews were contracted to not only remove decades-old sediment from critical areas such as the 6th Street Turning Basin in Saginaw County (a key region for boats to turn around), but the Dredge Material Disposal Facility was constructed between Bay and Saginaw Counties. This is a specialized area where sediment can separate from the water and the water can recede back into the river.

The sediment resting spot looks much like a sandy beach compete with sea shells, pieces of wood and other items you’d find at the bottom of a body of water. Now that the most critical region has been dredged, crews are focusing on the outer bay, operating on $4 million for this year.

"It helps the marketing of the Saginaw and Bay County area, because it's all one part,” Koski said.



Carferry stays longer in Manitowoc with piston issue

8/12 - Ludington, Mich. – The carferrt Badger's engine crew had to replace a piston in one of the carferry's engines Monday night while it was docked in Manitowoc, Wis. The piston problem occurred on the trip over to Wisconsin during the day Monday, but the crew carries a spare and was able to make the repair at night, delaying the carferry's return trip to Ludington Monday night by a couple of hours.

Ludington Daily News


Coast Guard dedicates new facility for historic Station Marquette

8/12 - Marquette, Mich. - U.S. Coast Guard Station Marquette will commission its new station and boathouse on Lakeshore Boulevard during a dedication ceremony Thursday at 3 p.m.

The new station will incorporate the finest of modern architecture and technology, and it will be among the first Department of Homeland Security facilities to earn the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for green buildings.

Using geo-thermal energy tapped from thirteen nearby wells for heating and cooling, the six-thousand square-foot building was designed to be eco-friendly by recycling wastewater for other uses throughout the building and on the building’s grounds.

The new station will be named for Capt. Henry Cleary, the station’s first keeper and developer of the nation’s first motorized lifeboat. Capt. Cleary was also coxswain aboard the lifeboat used to rescue the crew of the Charles J. Kershaw.

The current station was constructed in 1890 for the U.S. Life Saving Service, which later merged with the Revenue Cutter Service in 1915 to form today’s Coast Guard.

Station Marquette has played a critical role in preserving maritime safety in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and has been involved in a variety of dramatic rescues, including what has been called one of the greatest rescues on Lake Superior—the rescue of 13 crewmembers from the grounded Steamer Charles J. Kershaw in 1895.

The station has continued its impressive legacy, more recently during its 2003 response to flooding along the Dead River, the rescue of a stranded surfer in February 2009, and numerous other dramatic search and rescue operations.



Updates - August 12

News Photo Gallery
One of our locations appears to be experiencing a power outage, this effects the webcams at Detroit, Port Huron, Mackinac Island and Marquette.


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.


Port Reports - August 11

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Lee A. Tregurtha was in port Monday morning to unload before proceeding to Midwest Energy Terminal to load the first of three consecutive cargoes for the power plant at Taconite Harbor. (Charles M. Beeghly is scheduled for the same duty last week of August.) Presque Isle was due in Duluth later Monday to unload stone at the CN/DMIR ore dock and then load taconite pellets destined for Gary

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Michipicoten loaded taconite Monday afternoon at the Upper Harbor ore dock and departed during an approaching thunderstorm.

Cleveland, Ohio - Bill Kloss
The Cuyahoga was loading at Cargill Salt Monday.


Michigan City seeks to protect 1904 lighthouse

8/11 - Michigan City, Ind. - A historic lighthouse that has stood sentry over Lake Michigan could soon get protection of its own. Michigan City officials are considering installing a surveillance camera to protect the 1904 lighthouse from vandals who've marked it with graffiti.

Harbormaster Tim Frame says crews painted over a recent wave of graffiti, only to have fresh markings show up on the 50-foot-tall lighthouse the same night. The lighthouse is featured prominently in tourism marketing materials.

Officials say they'll study the cost of a surveillance camera and other ideas for stopping the vandalism before deciding how best to protect the structure.

South Bend Tribune


Finalists for Lake Michigan marine sanctuary

8/11 - Manitowoc, Wis. - The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will decide soon where along Lake Michigan it wants to build the headquarters for its proposed marine sanctuary.

Sheboygan, Manitowoc, Two Rivers and Port Washington are among the finalists, according to Ellen Brody, regional coordinator for the Great Lakes and Northeast Region for NOAA. She said the decision about where to build the headquarters is going to be difficult. "We've been welcomed with open arms in each of the four places we've been visiting," Brody said. "I really feel like we can't go wrong with any of the places."

The sanctuary's purpose is to study and preserve the many shipwrecks in Lake Michigan, Brody said. The study area begins just north of Two Rivers and ends just south of Port Washington. Brody has said she would like to open the sanctuary "within two to three years." Brody has met with city officials in each of the four possible locations and said each place would love to be "the home base."

"They all want it," Brody said. "We never really thought that would be an issue." Brody has spent much of the last year scouting possible locations for the sanctuary. Besides meeting with city officials, she's also met with local divers and fishermen. "I think it's gone extremely well," Brody said. "I think everyone sees the benefits from this."

Brody said the cities would receive a big tourism boost. "The Thunder Bay sanctuary really put Alpena, Mich., on the map," Brody said. "It's a huge positive that can bring in a lot of tourist dollars." Brody emphasizes that the state is partnered with NOAA on the project, and said she doesn't expect any problems moving forward. "I really haven't seen any resistance," Brody said. "I am very optimistic."

Brody said it's too early to project how much the sanctuary would cost, but said it cost "between $2 million and $3 million" to open the sanctuary in Thunder Bay. "It doesn't necessarily mean it would cost that much," Brody said. The sanctuary would be the third dedicated primarily to preserving shipwrecks. The other two include Thunder Bay and the Monitor sanctuary off the coast of North Carolina.

Keith Meverden, maritime archaeologist for the Wisconsin Historical Society, said the number of shipwrecks in Lake Michigan makes the eastern lakeshore an obvious place for a sanctuary. "This is the largest collection of nationally significant shipwrecks." Meverden said.

According to a map provided by NOAA, there are 31 known and 52 "probable" shipwrecks in the area. The majority of the shipwrecks are closest to Two Rivers and Sheboygan.

Brody said she hopes the people in all of the proposed locations support the sanctuary no matter where they decide to build. "I hope people don't see this as a 'winner-takes-all,'" Brody said. "No matter where it winds up it's something that really can benefit all of the communities."

 Sheboygan Press


Updates - August 11

News Photo Gallery
Weekly Updates
One of our locations appears to be experiencing a power outage, this effects the webcams at Detroit, Port Huron, Mackinac Island and Marquette.


Special presentations planned at Welland Gathering

8/11 - Four featured speakers have been lined up to make presentations at this years Annual Welland Canal Gathering. On Friday evening, September 18, Steve Hinchcliffe will discuss "The Four Welland Canals" followed by author D'Arcy Jenish "The St. Lawrence Seaway; Fifty Years and Counting". Each presentation will run 30 minutes or less and will be followed by your slide show. Bring a tray of your best slides to share with the group. We will have a laptop and digital projector available, so bring a CD or DVD of your best stuff.

On Saturday evening, September 19, special presentations will be Paul Beesley "My 35 Years in the Canadian Coast Guard" and author Buck Longhurst "Ships That Have Served Manitoulin". Again your slide will follow.

The evening meeting will be held at the Canadian Corps Association #22, 7 Clairmont Street in Thorold. Doors will open at 6 p.m. to visit the vendor tables and the presentations will start at 7:30. Vendors who desire a table either/both night(s) should send an e-mail . Other details about the weekend events are available here


August 22 - Diamond Jack cruise Wyandotte to Toledo Marine Mart

Diamond Jack’s River Tours and Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping are co-sponsoring a round-trip cruise aboard the Diamond Belle from Wyandotte to the S.S. Willis B. Boyer Marine memorabilia Flea Market in Toledo. The trip will pass the Detroit River Light, Toledo Harbor Light, the CSX coal dock, the drawbridges in the Maumee River, the dry docks at the Toledo ship yard. During the flea market a shuttle bus will provide transportation between the Toledo Maritime Center and the museum ship Willis B. Boyer. The Diamond Belle will depart Bishop Park at 8 a.m. and return around 9 p.m. The cost of $95.00 per person includes three meals on board. Reservations are required. Click here for reservation form


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.


Four rescued from capsized boat

8/10 - Erie, Pa. - U.S. Coast Guard Station Erie and a good samaritan rescued three males and one female from a capsized boat two miles offshore the entrance to the Erie Channel Sunday at approximately 10:30 a.m.

"They were clinging to the hull; two of them had life jackets and two did not," said Boatswain's Mate 3rd Class Bill Campbell, 47-foot motor lifeboat (MLB) coxswain. "We transferred the male from the good sam boat and brought him aboard with the other three." "He had apparently been in the water for about two hours, but the good sam was able to see him waving his arms in a Coast Guard Auxiliary life jacket," said Campbell.

The 47-footer crew transported the four, who ranged in ages from 35 to 45, to awaiting Emergency Medical Services for delivery to Hamot Hospital in Erie. After rescuing two males and a female, Campbell and his crew received a call via channel 16 on VHF radio from a good sam at approximately 9:30 a.m. Sunday, who said they rescued a man who said he had been in the water for a long time.

Following a creeping line search to locate and rendevous with the good sam, the 47-footer crew saw his red flare and brought the fourth person from the capsized boat aboard. Two of the four experienced possible shock and signs of hypothermia.

A 25-foot small response boat crew from Erie and an HH-65C helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Detroit assisted with the initial search.


Port Reports - August 10

Manistee, Mich. - Stephen Grima
Mississagi was outbound Manistee Sunday morning.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Michipicoten made a rare visit to the Saginaw River early Sunday morning, calling on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. She completed her unload and was outbound for the lake before sunrise.

Erie, Pa. -
The Clipper Victory left Erie at around 10 a.m. after loading biodiesel.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Hamilton Energy was in port Saturday afternoon bunkering the cruise ship Clelia II. The brigantine St. Lawrence II was also in port Saturday afternoon.



Updates - August 10

News Photo Gallery
One of our locations appears to be experiencing a power outage, this effects the webcams at Detroit, Port Huron, Mackinac Island and Marquette.


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.



Port Reports - August 9

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were inbound at the Buffalo Traffic buoy around 7 a.m. Saturday, the pair departed about at 3:45 p.m. The Rebecca Lynn and barge A-397 departed at 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning. The tug and barge and the Karen Andrie-Endeavor were seen rafted together at the Noco dock Friday night, Karen Andrie also departed Saturday morning. The English river departed Thursday at 10 p.m. Adam E. Cornelius departed at 8:15 Wednesday.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Friday the Quebecois arrived at 6:30 a.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco. The tug Tony McKay and barge Niagara Spirit arrived at 7 a.m. in ballast from Montreal. They then departed down the lake at 6:30 p.m. The tug Karen Andrie and barge A397 arrived at 8 a.m. The CSL Laurentian arrived at 10 a.m. followed by the Canadian Olympic at 2:30 p.m. The tug Omni Richileau departed at 3 p.m. and arrived back in port at 10 p.m.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
Stephen B. Roman sailed into Toronto Harbor about 9 p.m. on Friday. The cruise ship Clelia II also arrived in Toronto Friday afternoon.


Lake Travel Before Bayfield

8/9 - Before Admiral Bayfield charted the Great Lakes, passage on the Great Lakes by ship was more perilous than ocean passage to the new world. There were no charts of the waters showing depths and shoals. Many, perhaps most, of the vessels built were unable to work adequately to windward in the narrow passages and such mariners as there were had little experience with the sudden squalls common on these bodies of water.

As mentioned in last week's column, the very first ship on the upper lakes, de LaSalle's Griffon of 1679 disappeared without a trace ever being found. LaSalle set sail from Cataraqui, now Kingston, on the Nov. 18, 1678 for the Niagara River with material for building a brigantine to sail on Lakes Erie and Huron.

The brigantine, The Griffon, was built on the Niagara River six miles above the falls and launched into Lake Erie on Aug. 7, 1679. She was a vessel of 60 tonnes burden and was towed up river to enter Lake Erie. Sailing back from Mackinac, loaded with furs from the profits of which de La Salle hoped to pay off his debts, Griffon disappeared off the face of the earth, never to be heard of again.

In William Canniff's Settlement of Upper Canada, he notes that the next sailing vessels launched on the Upper Lakes were named the Gladwin, Lady Charlotte, Victory and Boston. All these early ships were built of green lumber, so they rotted quickly. A 10-year-old ship was a rarity. Of the above list, one was burned at her winter mooring and another lost within the first year of construction. The year was 1766, only a dozen years short of a century after LaSalle built The Griffon.

The famous steamship Enterprise, which sailed on lakes Simcoe and Couchiching in the 19th century (believed to be the prototype for Stephen Leacock's immortal Mariposa Belle) was built as a schooner by Capt. McPherson at Quarry Point, here on Lake Couchiching, in the 19th century.

Her predecessor in the 18th century was the schooner Enterprise built by Richard Cornwall, a carpenter from New York, in 1769 to sail the Upper Lakes. She was rigged for sail by boatmen sent from Schenectady, several of whom perished from hunger, Canniff records, and the survivors returned south via Fort Pitt, now Pittsburgh.

After Upper Canada was settled, the first vessel built on Lake Ontario is believed to have been the Gov. Simcoe, built for the Northwest Company fur trade by Judge Cartwright, who also built an identical ship for himself at the same time, side by side. He named his sloop Elizabeth.

It was not until Deputy-Surveyor General Collins, in a survey made at the request of Lord Dorchester in 1788, that there was any assessment made of what was suitable and reliable for use in shipping on the Great Lakes.

His report, quoted by Canniff, reads in part "Vessels sailing on these waters being seldom for any length (of time) out of sight of land, the navigation must be considered chiefly as pilotage, to which the use of good natural charts are essential and therefore much wanted. Gales of wind, or squalls, rise up suddenly upon the lake and from the conflicted state of the water, or want of sea room, vessels may to some degree be considered as upon a lee shore and this seems to point out the necessity for their being built in such a construction as will best enable them to work to windward. Schooners should, perhaps have the preference as being rather safer ships. They should be from 80 to 100 tons burthen on Lake Ontario and 50 tons burthen on Lakes Erie and Huron."

The Orillia Packet & Times


Updates - August 9

News Photo Gallery (we are behind on the photo updates, please continue to send images, we should be caught up for Monday)


Today in Great Lakes History - August 9

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.


Rising lake level good for ships

8/8 - Green Bay, Wis. - A report that the Lake Michigan water level is rising is good news for the port of Green Bay, according to port manager Dean Haen.

Haen said the water level is 6 inches higher than last year and is forecast to remain at or above last year's level. "When water levels increase, ships are able to carry more cargo and still safely travel in and out of the port," he said.

"Increasing water levels reduce the cost of water transportation and will help businesses in Northeastern Wisconsin during our current economic environment."

Haen said that through June, 463,693 metric tons of cargo moved through the port, consisting mainly of cement, coal, limestone and liquid asphalt.

Green Bay Press-Gazette


Port Reports - August 8

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick and Lee Rowe
After a short stay in Sturgeon Bay for repairs, Charles M. Beeghly loaded taconite at the Upper Harbor ore dock Friday evening.

Sault Ste. Marie - Herm Phillips
Thursday was a busy day at the Soo. Early morning saw the Lee A. Tregurtha, H. Lee White, Cason J. Callaway and Algosar downbound before dawn. Morning ships were Saginaw, Joseph L. Block and Canadian Navigator. Afternoon saw the Michipicoten arrived from Marquette to unload ore at Issar (Algoma) Steel. The tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 also arrived from Duluth to unload scrap. Later that afternoon the Ojibway came down followed a few hours by the American Century. Early evening one of the only two upbounders for the day was the Edgar B. Speer. Followed by the Gordon C. Leitch down at dusk and the Charles M. Beeghly was upbound around mid night.

Manistee, Mich. - Stephen Grima
The Manistee was outbound Friday afternoon as the Agawa Canyon was inbound, the two vessels met about 3/4 mile outside the pierheads.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
On Firday the James Norris was docked in Toronto.


Coast Guard assists boat taking on water

8/8 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - U.S. Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan received a distress call from a vessel taking on water off of Green Island in Green Bay Friday at approximately 8:29 a.m.

Coast Guard Station Sturgeon Bay dispatched a 25-foot small response boat (RB-S) and a 41-foot utility boat (UTB). When the Coast Guard crews arrived, there was one-and-a-half feet of water in the engine room.

"When our boat crew arrived on scene, we saw that the two people onboard had taken the extra precaution of putting on their lifejackets," said Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Larry Hall, 25-footer coxswain.

After placing a pump onboard the boat and safely dewatering, the crew towed the boat safely back into Menominee.

There were two people and one dog onboard the 33-foot boat when the call was made over channel 16 on the boat’s marine band radio. Sector Lake Michigan’s command center directed Coast Guard Station Sturgeon Bay to respond to the call.


Probable barrel close to Duluth water intake

8/8 - The nearest probable Department of Defense barrel dumped into Lake Superior is 1.68 miles from Duluth’s water intake.

The information, released at a public meeting in Duluth Wednesday night, comes from last year’s sonar scan by Duluth engineering firm EMR. It was taken along the Lester to Knife Rivers northeast of Duluth.

This is the first definitive distance given for a probable barrel from Duluth’s water intake between Knife River and Lester River. Other reports from old records had put barrel dump sites within a quarter mile from the water pipe to farther than two miles.

The barrels contain munitions parts unloaded into Lake Superior half a century ago by order of the DoD to the Army Corp of Engineers.

Meanwhile, Duluth Engineering firm EMR Senior Hydrologist Scott Carney says when they remove 70 of the barrels next summer, they’ll take precautions in case the 55 gallon drums are contaminated or contain explosives.

Carney says the condition of the 591 barrels they’ve identified vary. The barrels in deeper water are in better shape.

EMR found 591 barrels in a 96 square mile sonar scan last year in three sites, eliminating four other places that were thought to be dump sites. Army Corp and DoD records from 1957 to 1962 show about 1449 barrels dumped, which may or may not exist outside the scanned area. Seven barrels were recovered in 1990 and two more in 1994.



Today in Great Lakes History - August 8

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.


Coast Guard busy with evacuations

8/7 - U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Detroit evacuated a 51-year-old crewman aboard the Algolake in the Western Basin of Lake Erie approximately 27 nautical miles offshore Cleveland Thursday at approximately 1:30 p.m.

A Detroit HH-65C crew lowered a rescue swimmer and litter on board the 730-foot Algolake to transport the crewman to the Windsor, Ont. Airport.

"We had good support from Sarnia; we were able to talk with the vessel - they had him ready to go," said Lt. j.g. Derek Lehr, Public Affairs Officer, Air Station Detroit. Apparently, after sustaining an injury in the engine room, he began to exhibit signs of a possible heart attack. He was conscious upon medical evacuation. The Coast Guard worked closely with the Joint Rescue Coordination Center Trenton to deliver the crewmember to safe and immediate medical attention.

Also on Thursday, the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City evacuated a male in his 30's with a significant head injury from a 28-foot Catalina 15 miles west of Little Traverse Bay Thursday at approximately 11:15 a.m.

A Traverse City HH-65C helicopter crew arrived on scene and hoisted the man from the deck of Coast Guard Station Charlevoix's 41-foot utility boat.  "The smooth hoist evolution was due to our frequent training with Station Charlevoix to effect safe basket rescues," said Lt. Christopher Yane, HH-65C pilot. Following safe transport from the 41-footer, the aircrew took the man to the Harbor Spring's Airport for transfer to the Petoskey Hospital.

The Coast Guard received the distress call at approximately 8:15 a.m. Thursday of a man on a sailing vessel who sustained an injury to his head from the boat's boom. Initially, the man embarked Wednesday evening, became disoriented and then drifted to a location approximately nine miles north of Charlevoix.

Finally on Thursday, Coast Guard Station Lorain evacuated a 27-year-old female with nausea from a 35-foot sailboat approximately 12 miles northwest of Lorain Harbor Thursday at approximately 3:30 p.m. "She had severe abdominal pains, so we raced her back to the Beaver Creek Marina," said Boatswain's Mate 2nd Class Jason Lisner, coxswain, Station Lorain. Lisner and his 25-foot small response boat (RB-S) crew situated the woman on the back deck for safe transport to awaiting Emergency Medical Services.

EMS then took her to Lorain Community Hospital, where she was in stable condition. Participating in a sailboat race in Put In Bay, a crewman aboard the sailboat contacted the Coast Guard via channel 16 on a marine band radio that a female passenger required immediate medical attention.



ArcelorMittal to bring back hundreds of laid off steelworkers in Cleveland

8/7 - Cleveland, Ohio -ArcelorMittal Cleveland said Thursday it is in the process of restarting a blast furnace and other operations at its steel complex near downtown. Some laid-off workers will be back on the job next week.

The return to production of the company's C-5 blast furnace, a steel shop, hot mill, pickle line, tandem mill and galvanizing line at the East Side manufacturing and annealing plant is a result of improving market demand, said ArcelorMittal spokeswoman Mary Beth Holdford.

Hundreds of employees will return in phases, but ArcelorMittal said some will be back on the job by Monday.

It's been a long wait for some. On May 11, the company announced it would temporarily close its plant in the Flats, putting 912 steelworkers out of work. The shutdown followed a staggering 45 percent decline in the global steel market during the darkest days of the past year's recession.

The company also moved many of its 300 or so Cleveland-area salaried workers to jobs at mills in other states.

When product shipments from Cleveland fell off last fall, ArcelorMittal idled its two blast furnaces and stopped steel production. Then, earlier this year, the company cut operations dramatically at its finishing plant.

Holdford said Thursday that local officials of the world's largest steel maker, based in Luxembourg, were "working closely" with United Steelworkers of America union Local 979 "to ensure a safe and successful restart."

She said the company was not able to determine how many Steelworkers and salaried employees would return to work at the plant but agreed that "hundreds would be a safe bet."

Mark Granakis, president of Steelworkers Local 979, was not immediately available for comment.

In steel and coal-producing areas around the world, signs have emerged in recent weeks that the tremendous excess global inventory was gradually diminishing. Orders for the special coal used in steel making were increasing, for instance, a sign that steel companies might soon fire up their furnaces.

Markets for automotive-grade steel, too, have slowly begun to show signs of life. ArcelorMittal's East Side operations are geared toward making the type of treated sheet metal that North American auto plants stamp in vehicle body parts.

Cleveland Plain Dealer


Port Reports - August 7

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Superiors Midwest Energy Terminal was experiencing another busy day Thursday. At daybreak it was loading the Walter J. McCarthy Jr. Scheduled to arrive for loading throughout the rest of the day were Paul R. Tregurtha, James R. Barker and Indiana Harbor. Elsewhere in port, Algocape was loading at the CN/DMIR ore dock while Edwin H. Gott sat at the Murphy Oil terminal awaiting its turn at the ore dock. Federal Elbe continued loading at CHS grain terminal and Antikeri continued loading at the Peavey elevator. Local news media are reporting that U.S. Steels Minntac plant plans to put two more production lines into operation in September, returning the plant to the same level of operation as a year ago.

Marquette, Mich. Port Report - Rod Burdick
Robert S. Pierson was waiting to load taconite Thursday morning at the Upper Harbor ore dock.

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
The Manistee returned to Holland on Wednesday morning, arriving at the Brewer dock at about 10 a.m. to deliver a cargo of stone. It departed shortly after 4 p.m.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
All three cement carriers have been in port the past few days to load at Lafarge. The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were under the silos Wednesday evening . The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived early Thursday morning followed by the Alpena in the afternoon.

Goderich, Ont. - Dale Baechler
Kaministiqua has gone into short term layup in Goderich on Thursday at 6 p.m.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The English River was towed in by the tug Washington at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The Adam E. Cornelius was at General Mills unloading between Tuesday and Wednesday.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood and Charlie Gibbons
The saltie Pochard arrived in port Thursday afternoon, as did the tug LaPrairie, from Hamilton, to assist Pochard into the Redpath Sugar slip. The tug returned to Hamilton once done.


Shipping grain on barges could mean savings for farmers

8/7 - Transporting grain through the Port of Oshawa will mean increased return for farmers in this area, says NorAg Resources Inc. spokesman Ben Currelly of Canton. "Right now all the grain... in Central Ontario... is either trucked through Toronto to Hamilton or (east) through to Prescott," he said.

Truck transportation is more expensive than barge and this is where the savings will come for area farmers, Currelly said. "Any time you lower the cost of getting the product to market, it reduces the cost to the produce," he said.

Due to changes in Transport Canada regulations, barges can now travel in open water beyond Prince Edward County eastward to the Port of Oshawa, opening up this alternative transportation to farmers. From that Port, grain can be transported across the lake to Buffalo, other U. S. markets and exported through the St. Lawrence Seaway, Currelly said.

NorAg Resources has been working about two years to get this in place, he said. As the process of shipping from the Port of Oshawa develops, it would "not be unreasonable to expect" a price increase of $5 per metric tonne for grain farmers, Currelly said.

Shipping starts in August and the expectation is a barge will arrive weekly "or as needed", taking about two days to fill. The barges should continue shipping from the port into December, he added. Currelly says farmers can get more information by contacting their local grain elevators.

"Not too many people know about this yet," he said. Currelly's family owns an elevator in the rural area of the Municipality of Port Hope. Farmers can sell directly to their elevator or store their crops there after they are cleaned and dried.  About 700,000 metric tonnes of corn, beans and wheat are grown in the area, he said.

Using water transportation is not a new phenomena, rather a return to the way business and commerce was conducted as long ago as the 1800s as resources were shipped out to buyers through ports along Lake Ontario.

Northumberland Today


Canadian divers believed to have found U.S. wartime plane wreck

8/7 - Canadian divers have found what they believe is the wreck of a U.S. seaplane that sank in the St. Lawrence River in November 1942, and there may still be human remains aboard, officials said on Thursday.

The U.S. Army Air Force PBY 5A flying boat -- popularly known as the Catalina -- foundered after trying to take off in high waves near Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan, Quebec, some 580 miles northeast of Montreal. Five members of the nine-man crew died.

Underwater archaeologists working for Parks Canada found that the plane appeared to be in very good condition and said there could be a chance of finding remains of the missing crew.

Longue-Pointe-de-Mingan was home to one of the airfields built in Eastern Canada that were used to ferry aircraft and supplies to Allied forces in Europe in World War Two.

Canadian officials will now work with the U.S. government to formally identify the wreck and to "explore the possibility of eventually recovering the remains of the missing crew members," Parks Canada said in a statement.


Winds of change rock Wolfe Island

8/7 - For generations, the most prominent landmarks visible on Wolfe Island from the ferry chugging back and forth from Kingston were the cross and spires of the churches in the village of Marysville.

Sometime last century, progress did have its way, even on a sleepy little island where modernity has been assiduously ignored, and hydro and the odd transmission tower was installed to stretch slightly nearer the heavens.

Still, Wolfe Island, the largest of the Thousand Islands, a 25-minute ferry ride from the mainland, where Lake Ontario ends and the St. Lawrence River begins, remained a place so admirably resistant to change that things like neon and motels, chain stores and drive-thrus made no inroads at all.

Until now.

This year, things have changed utterly. The future has arrived on Wolfe Island with a wind-turbine vengeance. And many ferry passengers will surely lament this summer that one of Ontario's more tranquil refuges has been turned into a wind-turbine theme park.

Eighty-six wind turbines now tower over a flat little land mass only 35 kilometres long and 10 wide, dwarfing those churches that once claimed pride of stature. "You can't miss 'em," sighed the lady at the inn booking a traveler's reservation.

And if opinion might be split locally about the merits of the Wolfe Island Wind Project, there can be no argument about that appraisal. The turbines are a dominating – some say overbearing – omnipresence.

The project is the second-largest in Canada and a submarine cable to the mainland delivers enough wind-generated juice to provide power for tens of thousands of homes. Owner Canadian Hydro boasts that wind power "creates no air pollution or greenhouse, leaves behind no hazardous or toxic wastes and uses no water." Whatever the technical merits of the project, there's no question about the aesthetic impact on the island. The turbines have tilted its ambience from the pastoral to the industrial.

The turbines are a looming presence visible or palpable from almost anywhere on the island and the impression they leave depends a lot on one's outlook, angle, even mood. At times, they appear like a devouring wave of massive, mantis-like insects; at others, a squadron of fighter planes. At 80 metres high, their slow, relentless spinning can be mesmerizing. Their whirr, from nearby, is like the drone of a distant plane, or the whooshing, surf-sound heard by putting an ear to a conch shell.

Now that the turbines are up and running, most locals shrug and say opposition and controversy is abating – though concerns remain about potential health effects and, recently, carved hands were placed at the turbine sites in what was taken to be a mysterious protest.

Meanwhile, not far to the west, opponents of proposed wind projects in Prince Edward County cite "the perceived ruin of Wolfe Island" as part of their call to arms. Still, one island farmer said "once they're up, they're not hurting anything." Since the turbine kicked in on his property, "I haven't lost any sleep over it."

The turbines are even used as a selling point. The Alton Moor Golf Course says these "majestic structures provide a striking backdrop" to its nine holes and invites visitors to "golf amid the turbines."

As the farmer says, from his point of view, wind beats nuclear and coal. And he understands the motivation for the project. "There's certainly wind over here." Enough, he says, to have once blown over his 16-foot hay wagon. "They didn't put them here for nothing."

The Star


Coal miners to return to work

8/7 - Cleveland, Ohio - Officials at Cliffs Natural Resources said the company is recalling 100 coal miners. This is because of improving demand for coal used to manufacture steel, officials say. The miners will now work at the company's mine in Alabama. The recall is the latest sign of stronger orders for coal from the steel industry. A Virginia-based company is also recalling laid-off miners.


For Panama Canal, a new era of trade is coming

8/7 - Panama City — Under leaden skies, mammoth yellow vehicles prowl an enormous gash in the earth. Excavators, bulldozers and loaders relentlessly carve the rippled black and brown ground, reshaping nature's handiwork.

There's no sense of drama or romance or history. Nothing to suggest this sprawling site is anything special.

But these workers are trying to improve upon one of the great engineering feats of history: the Panama Canal. On the other side of a nearby rise, the refrigerated cargo ship Cape Town Star, hauling fruit from Ecuador to Russia, is easing through the canal's almost century-old Miraflores Locks. Now, under a $5.25 billion project, the canal authority is adding a third lane to the ocean-spanning waterway that will double its capacity and allow access to the world's largest cargo-carrying vessels.

"We are eliminating the restrictions the canal has imposed on the maritime industry. … The capability you have here, you have nowhere else in the world," says Alberto Aleman, the canal authority administrator.

How much of an impact the bigger, better canal will have on global trade patterns remains to be seen. Roughly 65% of the goods sailing through the canal go to or from U.S. shores, and American ports and rail yards that compete with the canal will fight to retain as much business as they can. Cargo from Asia, for example, can reach U.S. markets either via the canal or by docking at a West Coast port and riding rail lines to inland destinations.

Shippers must balance myriad factors — fuel costs, type of cargo, time and distance — in calculating the best route for individual shipments. "It's possible to reach Chicago a lot of different ways," says Paul Bingham, managing director of global commerce and transportation for IHS Global Insight.

But Peter Keller, president at NYK Line, says the expanded canal will send a seismic shock through the business of transporting goods around the globe. Among the fallout: construction of larger vessels for bulk cargo, such as iron ore, and a tougher climate for American dockworkers seeking pay raises.

"Long term, the expansion of the Panama Canal will be a major change," he says.

The canal expansion — or ampliación, in Spanish — is among the largest construction projects in a recession-ravaged world, and it's moving forward mostly as planned. In July, canal officials awarded the project's largest single contract, for the design and construction of the new locks that will raise and lower ships in the canal. A consortium led by Spanish construction giant Sacyr Vallehermoso beat out two rivals for the job, including San Francisco-based Bechtel.

The ambitious expansion, however, is occurring against a backdrop of unraveling globalization. With debt-laden U.S. consumers in retreat, fewer cars, appliances, toys and clothes are crossing the world's oceans. This year, overall trade is expected to fall 10%, according to the World Trade Organization.

Augmenting the canal as world trade shrivels for the first time since World War II might seem like adding a spare bedroom just as the kids head off to college. Canal officials, however, say the global downturn has struck them only a glancing blow.

The canal handled 310 million tons of cargo in 2007, an amount officials hadn't expected to see until 2012 or 2013. Even during the worst recession in 80 years, shipments this year are expected to total 295 million to 299 million tons — less than 5% below the peak two years ago. Once an economic recovery kicks in, that total is certain to rise.

"We are quite confident that growth is going to return," says Francisco Miguez, the canal authority's chief financial officer.

'Unprecedented' engineering

When it opened in 1914, the canal revolutionized sea transport. For ships steaming between California and the East Coast of the USA, the canal — linking the Caribbean Sea to the north with the Pacific Ocean to the south — turned a 15,000-mile journey around Cape Horn into a relatively swift, 6,000-mile jaunt.

"The creation of the Panama Canal was far more than a vast, unprecedented feat of engineering. … Apart from wars, it represented the largest, most costly single effort ever before mounted anywhere on earth," historian David McCullough wrote in his magisterial account of the canal, The Path Between the Seas.

The achievement, however, came at a terrible price. About 22,000 workers died in the original French-led effort of the late 19th century, largely because of rampant yellow fever and malaria in Panama's jungle. Several thousand more perished when, after the French failure, President Theodore Roosevelt launched the United States upon the task of digging a trans-isthmus canal.

Roosevelt midwived a separatist revolt against Colombia, which then governed the area, while American engineers diverted 21 rivers, forged a man-made lake and constructed locks of unprecedented size. The new country of Panama in 1903, formed with U.S. backing, then leased in perpetuity a 10-mile-wide canal zone to the U.S. government.

The canal builders' legacy can be found here in Building 721, in a nondescript room known colloquially as "the vault." Michael Kennedy, 60, an engineer at CH2M Hill, an Englewood, Colo.-based firm that provides project management expertise to the canal authority, found information and inspiration in the yellowing blueprints and photographs.

He marvels at the intricate, hand-drawn specifications for prosaic components such as a 20-inch blind flange. "At that time, everything was done by hand. The science and engineering behind it just to get it done," he says, shaking his head in admiration. Aleman, an engineer by training, credits his early-20th-century predecessors with achieving "a lot of firsts": Conquering jungle-borne diseases by eradicating the ubiquitous mosquitoes. Experimenting with new types of cement and cranes. Gathering a skilled, multinational workforce of Americans, Spaniards and West Indians and backing them under unforgiving conditions.

The current expansion, by comparison, is a relatively straightforward undertaking.

That the epoch-defining romance has drained from today's project is clear when Aleman cites contracting paperwork as the most "demanding" element. "We are engaged in a large construction project. It's known technology, proven technology. Nothing fancy," he says. "That's why I say those guys back then were phenomenal engineers."

Funded by higher ship tolls and $2.3 billion in loans from multilateral development banks, the expansion includes dredging the existing channel to the depths needed for the largest cargo carriers. The centerpiece of the venture, however, is the pair of massive new locks at the Pacific and Atlantic canal entrances.

Today, the largest ships that can use the canal are the Panamax class, capable of carrying about 5,000 standard shipping containers. They squeeze through the waterway's 110-foot-wide locks with just 2 feet to spare on either side.

Wider, deeper and longer than the existing portals, the new locks will handle a class of superships known as post-Panamax vessels, the world's largest cargo carriers, which can haul more than twice as many containers. The canal's third lane is scheduled to open in August 2014, 100 years after the steamship SS Ancon became the first vessel to officially transit the canal.

Bombs, daggers, mud

The U.S. operated the canal and the surrounding canal zone as its own fiefdom until 1977, when it agreed to return the area to Panamanian sovereignty. On New Year's Day 2000, Panama finally assumed responsibility for operating the canal, amid widespread doubts about the abilities of local officials.

Almost a decade later, canal officials say they have transformed what had been essentially a transport utility into a customer-oriented institution. Over the past decade and a half, the amount of cargo shipped annually through the canal has soared to 4.6 million containers from about 200,000 in 1995.

American managers adopted a one-size-fits-all approach to canal traffic, seeking only to cover the costs of operating the trade route. The Panamanian overseers, however, embraced innovations such as charging different tolls based on the type of vessel. They also established a reservation system designed to minimize costly idling by the canal's entrance, and they began two years ago to auction off one transit each day, so that ships in a hurry could pay extra for the right to jump the queue. In April 2008, an especially impatient tanker paid a record $397,300.

Now, the expansion represents the next challenge for the canal's Panamanian managers. With a few exceptions, the work performed bears out Aleman's relaxed verdict. Excavation of the Pacific channel linking the new locks to the main channel began two years ago. Since then, crews have cleared from the 360-acre site unexploded bombs, left behind by American warplanes that once practiced here, and the occasional historic artifact, such as a 17th-century dagger.

The principal task involves whittling nearly 300 feet in height from a big hill lying in the path of the new channel. Work is ahead of schedule and under budget on one of the four excavation contracts.

But a team led by a Mexican contractor bogged down shortly after starting work last year and has struggled to master the area's tricky geology, which bedeviled the canal's creators with frightening landslides.

Despite warnings about the slippery subterranean mix of basalt and clay, the Mexican team chose for the job one of the heaviest mining trucks, the Caterpillar 785. The wheeled behemoths quickly sank into the ground, which "gets like Play-Doh" under the battering of near-daily rain, says Jorge Fernandez, the canal authority project manager. Only by limiting the trucks' loads to just 40 tons, well short of their design maximum of 150 tons, were workers able to use them at all, said Jorge Quijano, executive vice president of the canal authority who manages the expansion.

In recent weeks, work has picked up and officials are confident they will deliver on schedule. "We've been able to work around all the surprises we've had. … It looks simple, but it hasn't been," says Quijano.

USA Today


Updates - August 7

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History - August 7

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.


July brings uptick in Great Lakes ore trade

8/6 - Cleveland, Ohio - Even though iron ore shipments on the Great Lakes in July were 53 percent below a year ago, the trade did show some signs of life. Loadings totaled 3.5 million net tons, an increase of 635,000 tons compared to June. The uptick in shipments reflects a slight increase in production rates at steel mills. The capacity utilization rate at mills had been mired around 45 percent, but has risen to about 52 percent.

For the year, the Lakes iron ore trade stands at 12.8 million tons, a decrease of 60 percent compared to a year ago. The decrease is slightly less – 58 percent – when compared to the trade’s 5-year average for the January-July timeframe.

Higher water levels did not totally erase the negative impacts of the dredging crisis, but did hint at what vessels could accomplish if there was adequate dredging the Great Lakes Navigation System.

On July 31, a 1,000-foot-long U.S.-Flag laker loaded 68,363 tons of iron ore, the largest cargo of the season. Nonetheless, the record for an iron ore cargo that transits the Soo Locks is 72,117 tons, so even the year’s top cargo represents only 95 percent of what vessels were able to carry in 1997, a year of very high water levels.


Port Reports - August 6

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Duluth-Superior harbor appeared relatively busy again Wednesday morning with Federal Elbe arriving at CHS grain terminal with help from one Great Lakes Towing tug, Antikeri loading at the Peavey elevator in Superior, American Century loading coal at Midwest Energy Terminal and Gordon C. Leitch loading taconite pellets at the CN/DMIR ore dock. Later in the day Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was due to load coal for Ashtabula and Algocape was expected to arrive at the CN/DMIR ore dock. U.S. Steels Minntac taconite plant in Mountain Iron, Minnesota, reportedly brought 350 people back to work last week and plans to restart an idle production line this month that will bring back another 250 workers.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Wednesday was busy with four vessels at the Upper Harbor. James R. Barker unloaded coal into the hopper most of the day, and fleetmate Lee A. Tregurtha loaded ore in the morning. Also in the morning, Michipicoten arrived to load ore and anchored off the Upper Harbor waiting for the Barker to finish her unload. Robert S. Pierson was expected late in the evening for ore.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Agawa Canyon arrived on the Saginaw River early Wednesday morning to break the dry spell of vessels we have been experiencing. She traveled upriver to the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee to unload, finishing by early afternoon. The Canyon turned in the Sixth Street basin and was outbound through Bay City around 2:30.


Lakeside steel wants former Stelco plants

8/6 - Welland, Ont. — Four years after founding Lakeside Steel by resurrecting an old Stelco plant, the Welland company is at it again. When Lakeside was founded in 2005, Ken Hunter, the company’s chief financial officer, said they took over a plant that was “definitely in troubled times.”

Lakeside purchased the former Stelco's steel pipe and tubular plant in Welland a year after Stelco filed for bankruptcy protection from creditors. In the years since, Hunter said they’ve “turned the corner and we’ve had significant success.”

That success, he added, is evident in the company’s financial results released on March 31, which showed estimated revenue of $207 million. Hunter said the company is confident it can see the same success by taking over the rest of the former Stelco facilities.

“We believe that U.S. Canada has some of the same problems and issues that we had here, albeit on a much larger scale,” he said. “But we feel we can help solve those problems and turn that company around as well.”

Lakeside Steel Inc. announced Wednesday it has filed for intervenor status in Federal Court hearings into alleged breaches by U.S. Steel of job and production commitments it made two years ago in getting federal government approval for its $1-billion takeover of Stelco. Ultimately, Lakeside plans to purchase the former Stelco plants in Hamilton and Nanticoke from Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel — which shut down most of its Canadian operations in southern Ontario this spring. Those shut downs affected about 1,500 employees at mills in Hamilton and Nanticoke because of weak markets. The company has since recalled 800 workers to the mill in Hamilton.

In a prepared statement, Vic Alboini, chief executive of Jaguar Financial Corp., which owns 25% of Lakeside Steel, said the alternative Lakeside is proposing to the court “would repatriate a former Canadian icon and resume operations immediately at the Hamilton and Nanticoke facilities.”

“We believe this is a viable business solution to address the difficult reality at U.S. Steel Canada,” added Alboini, who also serves as Lakeside’s chairman and chief executive officer. Tuesday a story was published about disappointing financial results that say the company reported a net loss of nearly $3 million in the latest quarter of 2009.

“We weren’t happy with the results but it wasn’t a surprise considering the condition of the steel market,” Hunter said. “But we’re poised and ready to take advantage of the markets when they do come around, and we’ll be leaner and more effective when that happens.”

As of May, the workforce at U.S. Steel's Canadian operations had shrunk to only 23% of the more than 3,000 workers the company promised to employ when it took over Stelco, the government said in its court filing.

It also alleges U.S. Steel repeatedly broke production promises, with the amount of steel produced by its Canadian operations representing “a small fraction” of the amount it was required to produce on an annualized basis.

According to the federal court application, U.S. Steel made two major promises when it acquired Stelco: that its Canadian steel production between Nov. 1, 2007 and Oct. 31, 2010 would be greater than or equal to 3.95 million tonnes a year, and that it would maintain an average employment level of 3,105 full-time workers at its Canadian operations.

After the U.S. Steel shutdowns, Industry Minister Tony Clement sent a letter to the company, asking it to comply with its 2007 commitments. The government is asking for a court order mandating U.S. Steel to meet its promises or face a $10,000 daily fine.

Canada's big steelmakers — the former Stelco, Dofasco, Algoma Steel and Ipsco — have all been acquired in recent years by foreign companies in a wave of consolidation in the global steel industry.

Steel output has taken a beating from the recession, which has hurt demand for everything from vehicles to household appliances. The World Steel Association said Monday global steel output plunged 21.3 per cent in the first six months of 2009 compared to a year ago.

Welland Tribune - The Canadian Press


Updates - August 6

News Photo Gallery


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.



Great Lakes Limestone Trade Struggles Again in July

8/5 - Cleveland, Ohio - U.S. and Canadian Great Lakes ports loaded 2.9 million net tons of limestone in July, a decrease of 31 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings slumped even further when compared to the month’s 5-year average: 37 percent. Although some quarries reported a slight increase in demand for fluxstone from the steel industry, the construction industry remains depressed, so orders for aggregates are weak.

The lack of dredging added to the trade’s woes in July. A 1,000-foot-long integrated tug/barge twice loaded limestone, and the cargos totaled 97,492 tons. However, if the Great Lakes were dredged to project dimensions, the vessel would have delivered almost 108,000 tons of limestone.

For the year, the limestone trade stands at 10.3 million tons, a decrease of 35.5 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments are 42.4 percent below the 5-year average for the January-July timeframe.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Port Reports - August 5

Twin Ports – Al Miller
The Twin Ports appeared uncharacteristically busy early Tuesday morning with Joseph Block passing the port terminal while outbound after unloading limestone at the CN/DMIR ore dock, Canadian Transport loading coal at Midwest Energy Terminal and H. Lee White fueling at the Murphy Oil terminal while awaiting its turn at Midwest Energy Terminal. At the same time, Canadian Navigator was sitting in the harbor anchorage area waiting for its turn at the CN/DMIR ore dock while Cason J. Callaway was docked at the CN/DMIR ore dock. The Callaway arrived Monday afternoon with stone and was to load taconite pellets before departing late Tuesday for Gary. The slowdown in the steel industry and taconite production has resulted in Great Lakes Fleets Edwin H. Gott and Edgar B. Speer calling at Duluth more often this season than in recent years. The Gott is due at the CN/DMIR ore dock Thursday and the Speer is due there Saturday.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
After a lengthy delay, Robert S. Pierson loaded taconite at the Upper Harbor ore dock and departed on a sundrenched Tuesday afternoon.


Last Day to sign up for the August 8 Detroit/ Rouge River Cruise
 reservations must be received no later than Friday August 7

On Saturday, August 8, we will repeat the popular BoatNerd Detroit River Cruise aboard the Friendship, with Captain Sam Buchanan. This year’s cruise will be four hours and will go up the Detroit River, and hopefully into the Rouge River. Pizza for lunch will be delivered by the J. W. Westcott II mail boat. Cost is just $30 per person, same price as last year. Reservations are a must, as we are limiting the group to 100 persons. The cruise will depart at 10 a.m. sharp from Portofino's On The River in Wyandotte, Mich. Time is running out, if you wish to join us please send in your reservations. Click here for reservation form


Updates - August 4

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery - Heron Bay updated with new pictures


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.


Rand Logistics Looks to expand off Lakes

8/4 - According to an SEC filing, Rand Logistics, Inc. has written bankrupt U.S. Shipping Partners offering it an alternative to its present plan of reorganization. In its letter, Rand says it has completed a comprehensive review of U.S. Shipping's present plan and believes "that the recoveries it describes for the Debtors' creditors are built on unrealistic assumptions which would render the Reorganized Debtors insolvent almost immediately upon emergence. and that, as currently drafted, it "presents significant issues of feasibility."

New York City headquartered Rand Logistics (formerly Rand Acquisition Corp.) was started as a "blank check" company in June 2004. In March 2006 it acquired Lower Lakes Towing and its affiliates Grand River and Lower Lakes Transportation. Today it is the only operator in the Great Lakes region that provides domestic port-to-port services in both Canada and the U.S., operating both U.S. flagged and Canadian flagged vessels in compliance with the Jones Act in the U.S. and the Canadian Marine Act in Canada. Rand owns a fleet of nine fresh water River Class self-unloading carriers, two bulk carriers and one integrated self-unloading tug/barge unit.

Now it is evidently looking beyond the Great Lakes. Rand's proposal, which it values at $225 million, would see it acquire substantially all of U.S. Shipping's assets, excluding cash on hand, and also assume its contracts of affreightment and time charters.

The ITB New York, the ITB Baltimore, the ITB Philadelphia, the ITB Mobile and the Sea Venture would be placed in a new entity ("VesselCo"), with 100% of the equity issued to U.S. Shipping's creditors; Rand would bareboat charter and manage the five vessels, with each vessel's charter period ending when the vessel is sold or 30 days prior to its next scheduled drydocking. During the charter period, Rand would actively market the five vessela for sale on behalf of VesselCo. The Retained Vessels have been valued at between $10.5 million and $13 million in the liquidation analysis included in the draft Disclosure Statement.

The other U.S. Shipping assets acquired in the proposed deal would be owned by a newly-formed, Rand subsidiary "New U.S. Shipping." New U.S. Shipping would have aggregate outstanding indebtedness at closing of approximately $135.0 million, as well as access to a $20.0 million revolving credit facility. Rand says its existing lender would provide this financing.

Rand would pay $160 million plus $60 million in aggregate principal amount of newly issueed senior notes, with a six-year maturity and a cash interest rate of 10%, payable semi-annually and warrants to purchase 750,000 shares of Rand common stock at an exercise price of $8.00 per share and an expiration in August 2013.

To fund a portion of the cash consideration, Rand plans to issue approximately $30 million of common equity. Alternatively, Rand would be prepared to issue this common stock directly to the creditors in lieu of all or a portion of the cash and note consideration. Rand says it has confirmations from senior creditors who would take at least one-third of the common equity required in lieu of cash and note consideration.

Marine Log


Port Reports - August 4

Marquette, Mich. – Lee Rowe
Herbert C Jackson loading ore at Marquette on Monday.

Green Bay, Wis. - Stephen Grima
The Manistee was in bound Green Bay loaded with coal Monday heading to the Fox River Coal Dock. They departed Monday evening.

Manistee, Mich. - Stephen Grima
Calumet was inbound Manistee, Mich. on Monday evening.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
The Calumet came in at 3 a.m. Sunday morning. It departed at 8:30 a.m. after delivering a load of stone for Meekhof's D & M dock next to the power plant on Harbor Island.

South Chicago - Gary Clark
Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin unloaded Monday morning at the Morton Salt dock in South Chicago.


Great Lakes shipping downturn showing in Muskegon

8/4 - Muskegon, Mich. - Avid ship watchers and those who work at local docks are expecting to see significantly fewer freighters in Muskegon's port for the remainder of the shipping season.

According to predictions of shipping industry officials and followers, the local commercial port will follow the downward trend that is beginning to be felt around the Great Lakes. After a solid first half of the season for local ship traffic, the poor economy's impact on other parts of commerce will likely pull down another local industry.

Ron Matthews, president of Verplank Trucking and Dock Company, said shipments for their business will be down "a little bit" over the rest of the season. He blames the reduction on the inventory the company already has on hand rather than a business decline. Verplank is not expected to receive any more shipments of salt this year, but slag and limestone shipments are still scheduled.

Morris Braafhart, an avid ship watcher from Fremont, said he has noticed a recent decline in ships coming into Muskegon. He began his fascination with watching ships when he was a boy taking family trips to the Soo Locks.

"I've always been interested in watching the ships, and I've noticed they've been slowing down some," said Braafhart, who regularly makes the half-hour trip to Muskegon to watch freighters bring in their loads.

Richard Snyder, an avid boat watcher and photographer from Muskegon, predicts that the second-half decline will result in the lowest level of ships delivering to Muskegon in the last five years. He pointed out that that trend is in sharp contrast to the first half of the season in Muskegon where the port received 35 ships, the same number as in the first half of 2008.

The shipping decline is being felt in most parts of the Great Lakes. The Detroit Free Press reported recently that freighter traffic on the Great Lakes was down by about 40 percent this summer.

According to Glen Nekvasil, vice president for corporate communications for the Lake Carriers Association, the demand for transporting limestone, coal and especially iron ore, which is used quite heavily in the auto industry, are all on the decline.

Matthews blames the overall shipping decline on the price of steel, which was "very strong" last year but the price "fell through the bottom" this year. However, he is starting to see an uptick in steel.

"When that collapsed, shipping companies put their ships on the wall and left them there," Matthews said.

Locally, Snyder said the construction industry downturn has hurt the demand for cement, meaning declines in shipments of aggregates, including various types of gravel, limestone and slag. He also expects coal to be down because of the temporary closing of Sappi Fine Paper's mill in Muskegon.

Braafhart is hoping for an eventual rebound of the shipping industry because of his fascination with watching ships and his son's pursuit of a career in the field. His 19-year-old son, Seth, is set to attend the Great Lakes Maritime Academy in Traverse City on Aug. 17.

The Muskegon Chronicle


Updates - August 4

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery - Heron Bay updated with new pictures


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.


New build barge departs lakes

8/3 - The barge Petrochem Supplier and tug Corpus Christi departed the builder’s yard in Sturgeon Bay last week.

Late Friday afternoon, Paola Vianello, wife of Fincantieri's Chief Engineering Officer Umberto Vianello, christened the ship, Petrochem Supplier, also known as BSC Hull 768. The christening celebrated the third chemical barge built by Bay Shipbuilding, a part of the Fincantieri Marine Group, for U.S. Shipping.

The barge is 521 feet long by 72 feet wide and has the capacity to carry 156,000 barrels of chemicals. After departing from Sturgeon Bay Saturday, the tug and barge will head to pick up its first load in New Jersey under charter to Conoco Phillip Oil Co.

Patrick O'Hern, general manager of Bay Shipbuilding Co., said the departure is bittersweet. "While the company and the workers can take enormous pride in their accomplishments, the sight of a departing vessel signifies just that — a departure," O'Hern said.

The contract with the customer, U. S. Shipping, was signed Feb. 16, 2006. "After 3½ years, we hate to see the project end," O'Hern said.

Sunday night the tug and barge were downbound passing Detroit.

Door County Advocate


Port Reports - August 3

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Marquette's harbors were busy Sunday evening. Saginaw loaded taconite at the Upper Harbor ore dock, and tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder unloaded stone at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock.

Gladstone, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Maumee unloaded salt Sunday morning at the Upper Lakes Coal Dock.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
Saturday morning saw the arrival of the tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber with a spilt load for the Bay City & Saginaw Wirt Stone docks. The pair lightered in Bay City and were then upbound for Saginaw before noon. Finishing their unload in Saginaw, the Moore & Kuber turned at Sixth Street and were outbound for the lake Saturday night.

As has been the trend so far in 2009, and for the past few years for that matter, vessel passages have been below average. For the month of July, there were 22 commercial vessel passages. This was three below last July and 10 below the five year average of 32.
For the year to date, there have been 78 commercial vessel passages. This is down 20 from last year at this point, and 46 below the five year average. If you look back to 2005, we are a whopping 95 vessel passages below where we were during the same time period.

Port Huron - Bruce Hurd
The yacht Linda Lou was upbound in the Detroit/St. Clair Rivers Sunday. They departed their overnight anchorage off Grosse Pointe, Mich. in Lake St. Clair. The yacht took the scenic route through the South Channel in the lower St. Clair River. Commercial traffic normally uses the St. Clair Cutoff Channel. Sunday night they were anchored north of Port Huron in lower Lake Huron.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Saturday the Gordon C. Leitch departed at 5 p.m. for the canal. The saltie Jo Spirit (the rum boat) departed at 7 p.m. for Mexico. Diamond Star arrived at the Petro Canada Pier in Bronte at 8 p.m. Sunday the Jette Theresa arrived at 8:45 a.m. Peter R Cresswell departed the Dofasco ore dock at 10:30 a.m. for the canal. The John B Aird arrived with coal for Dofasco at 2 p.m. Diamond Star departed the Petro Canada Pier in Bronte at 2:30 p.m. for Hamilton. The tug Omni Richileau departed at 3:30 p.m. for Clarkson. Montrealais arrived at 6 p.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco.


Brig Niagara returns to Put-in-Bay

8/3 - Put-In-Bay, Ohio - The U.S. Brig Niagara will return to Put-in-Bay August 19 -23 for public tours and day sails as part of Commodore Oliver H. Perry's Birthday Celebration. The public can experience the life of an early 19th century seaman by taking an on board and below deck tour of the ship on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The tour cost is $8 for an adult, $4 for children 6- 11 years, and children 5 years and under are free. There will also be 5-hour day sailings around the Lake Erie Islands offered on Friday and Saturday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. The 5-hour sailing cost is $100 per person, but is discounted $25 with five crushed Pepsi cans. The Niagara will also host Oho Educators' Day Sail on August 20 to develop a curriculum including of the history of the Battle of Lake Erie and navigation classes for eighth graders.

The sail-in of the Niagara is sponsored by Pepsi and Miller Boat Line of Put-in-Bay. For more information visit


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.


Port Reports - August 2

Manitowoc, Wis. - Stephen Grima
St. Mary's Conquest departed St. Mary's Cement on Saturday afternoon.

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
The Manistee arrived in Holland very early Saturday morning to deliver a cargo of coal to the James DeYoung power plant. It completed the unload and departed at about 9 a.m.


Soo recreational lock reopened

8/2 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario - The recreational lock at the Sault Ste. Marie Canal is back in operation following replacement of all eight of its gate anchors. The lock is used by recreational craft and tour boats.

The lock will be open to boat traffic for the remainder of the operating season. Operating hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily until Labor Day. From September 8 until October 15 the recreational lock will be open daily from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Completed in 1895, the Sault Ste. Marie Canal was the largest lock in the world when it opened and the first to be electrically operated.

The construction of the Sault Ste. Marie Canal marked the completion of an all-Canadian waterway from the Atlantic Ocean to Lake Superior.

Soo Today


Last week to sign up for the August 8 Detroit/ Rouge River Cruise
 reservations must be received no later than Friday August 7

On Saturday, August 8, we will repeat the popular BoatNerd Detroit River Cruise aboard the Friendship, with Captain Sam Buchanan. This year’s cruise will be four hours and will go up the Detroit River, and hopefully into the Rouge River. Pizza for lunch will be delivered by the J. W. Westcott II mail boat. Cost is just $30 per person, same price as last year. Reservations are a must, as we are limiting the group to 100 persons. The cruise will depart at 10 a.m. sharp from Portofino's On The River in Wyandotte, Mich. Time is running out, if you wish to join us please send in your reservations. Click here for reservation form


Updates - August 2

New feature for August in the Historical Perspectives Gallery - a pictorial history of the Heron Bay
News Photo Gallery


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.



Wet weather puts Great Lakes levels closer to average

8/1 - Detroit, Mich. - Most of the Great Lakes will start 2010 with higher water levels than they've seen in almost three years.

Lake Ontario is the exception, but once the calendar turns, the lakes will be within a few inches of their historical averages. According to the latest statistical estimates from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, St. Clair and Erie will start 2010 with higher levels than in 2009 or 2008 at the same period.

With a little luck -- luck meaning steady doses of rainfall -- the Great Lakes could be back at or above their historical averages by January.

After more than six years of declining levels beginning in 2000, the lakes have seen a trend reversal in the past two years. This year got off to a particularly helpful s tart with heavy rain and snow hitting the Great Lakes basin.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' latest six-month projections show:

Lake Superior will range from five to seven inches below its long- term average.
Lakes Michigan and Huron will be six inches below their long-term averages.
Lake St. Clair will remain near its long-term average.
Lake Erie will range two to four inches above its long-term average.
Lake Ontario will be one to two inches below its long-term average.

"If we continue to see conditions like we have in the last year-and-a- half with high levels of precipitation, we could be right back near those long-term averages," said Keith Kompoltowicz, a meteorologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' Detroit office.

The Detroit News


Port Reports - August 1

Northern Lake Michigan - Stephen Grima
Friday the tug Victory and barge James Kuber were northbound though Gray's Reef.

Manitowoc , Wis. - Stephen Grima
The St. Mary's Conquest was inbound Manitowoc Friday going to St Mary's Cement.

South Chicago - Brian Z.
Canada Steamship's Atlantic Erie was at Chicago Fuels Terminal on Friday loading a cargo of petroleum coke for Essroc. Over at KCBX Terminals, the Manistee was taking on a coal cargo destined for Holland, Mich.

Lorain, Ohio - Jim Bobel
The Algoway arrived in Lorain Friday evening with a partial load for the Terminal Ready-Mix Dock on the Black River.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Friday the Calliroe Patronicola departed at 6 a.m. heading down the lake. The Maritime Trader arrived at 8:30 a.m. for Pier 25 and an indefinite lay-up. The saltie Jo Spirit arrived at 8:45 a.m. with a cargo of rum from Puerto Rico for Pier 26. After discharging her cargo she will head to Mexico. Friday also had the tug Tony McKay and barge departing at 7 p.m. followed by the Spruceglen departing US Steel with coke at 7:45 p.m. Thursday the John B Aird departed Dofasco at 6 a.m. The Canadian Enterprise arrived at 11 a.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco and then departed at 6:30 p.m. for Goderich. The CSL Laurentian departed at 3:30 p.m. from US Steel with coal for Ashtabula. The tug Tony Mckay and barge arrived in port at 6:30 p.m.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood and Charlie Gibbons
Both English River and Stephen B. Roman were docked in Toronto over night. Stephen B. Roman had departed by 12:45 p.m. Friday afternoon.
The Toronto civic employees strike is over and ferry service to Toronto Island resumed Friday at 6:30 a.m.


Coast Guard rescues two from breakwall

8/1 - Michigan City, Ind. – U. S. Coast Guard Station Michigan City rescued a grandfather and his grandson that had become stranded on the breakwall at approximately 11:30 a.m. Thursday. Station Michigan City responded to the scene with a 25-foot response boat-small (RB-S). The crew of the 25-foot Coast Guard boat were able to place the raft in tow and recover the two people from the breakwall.

"Both of the individuals were wearing lifejackets, which helped keep them afloat, as they swam to the breakwall," said Boatswain's Mate 1st Class Sean Sewell of Station Michigan City. "Without those life jackets, the situation could have been much more dangerous with an out of control boat."

At approximately 10 a.m. Station Michigan City received a call over VHF-radio channel 16. The reporting source stated that there was a 10-foot rubber raft with an outboard motor circling out of control near the breakwall. The two people from the boat were reported to have made it safely to the breakwall but were stranded there.


War of 1812 ship signals start of Canal Days

8/1 - Port Colborne, Ont. - A U.S. warship sailed into Port Colborne, firing its canon as it entered the mouth of the Welland Canal. But it posed no danger to the crowds that lined the banks of the canal to watch.

The ship hasn’t fire a shot in anger for nearly 200 years — at least not one aimed at Canada. It was the U.S. brig Niagara, a restored relic of the War of 1812, and it’s arrival helped herald the start of Port Colborne’s 31st annual Canal Days Marine Heritage Festival.

“It’s one of Port Colborne’s all-time favourite tall ships,” said Mayor Vance Badawey, shortly before the historic vessel was tied off along West St., next to the Tall Ship Empire Sandy. “It’s all about celebrating our history, celebrating our past,” the mayor added.

This year, Canal Days is very much focused on the city’s marine history. Because the marine industry remains an important part of the city’s economy, Badawey said it’s more than a celebration of the past. “We’re also celebrating our future."

St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp. is a big part of that future, said Dick Corfe, the organization’s president and chief executive officer. “We’re thrilled to be here in a position of prominence and I’m going to support Vance in the community, and knowing that the community is well-served by these kinds of events. It’s not just a big party, it’s a way of putting Port Colborne on the map,” said Corfe, the festival’s honorary grand marshal.

The 50-year-old seaway runs through hundreds of communities from the Great Lakes to the Atlantic Ocean. Port Colborne, even the Welland Canal, is really just a small piece of the overall waterway, Corfe said. It’s a huge thing that’s made up of all these little pieces and we have to try and stitch them together.”

In addition to top-notch entertainment, Badawey said organizers also placed a focus on ensuring family activities. He said there are many activities for children to enjoy with their parents, and at the same time they can learn a lot about the Great Lakes, the marine industry and transportation.

Welland Tribune


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.


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