Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

Copyright All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

* Report News

Recovering economy boosts cargo shipping

8/31 - Duluth, Minn. - The 2010 Duluth-Superior shipping season got off to a strong start in March, thanks to a demand for iron ore as the economy improved.

Iron Range mines were gearing up production to satisfy the demand for iron ore, which drives Great Lakes shipping. But did that demand continue?

“We continue to see improvement across all types of cargo,” said Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. “The biggest improvement to date has been in iron ore, primarily because all the mines are at full production.”

Now, halfway into the shipping season, iron ore shipments are up 55 percent over the same period last year, increasing from about 4 million short tons in 2009 to 6.2 million this year, according to Port Authority numbers.

Coal shipments have slipped 9 percent, from 9 million short tons in 2009 to 8.2 million shipped through July this year. Grain is up from about 417,000 short tons in 2009 to 524,000 this year. Other cargo, which includes limestone and wind components, show a 60 percent increase, from about 1 million short tons in 2009 to 1.6 million this year.

Total tonnage shipped as of July 31 is 16.6 million short tons, up 14 percent from last year’s 14.5 million short tons. And total vessel arrivals are rebounding, from 326 through July 2009 to 409 this season.

By the end of the shipping season, Ojard expects total tonnage to be 20 percent to 30 percent over last year.

“We’re looking at definite signs of a recovering economy,” Ojard said. “We are moving significant tonnage increases. When you’re up 20 to 25 percent, those are big improvements over the previous year.”

But 2010 follows one of the worst shipping seasons in the port’s history. With the economic downturn, total tonnage shipped was down 32 percent last year and shipments of iron ore plummeted 60 percent.

The rebound throughout the Great Lakes is even greater, with tonnage shipped by U.S.-flagged Great Lakes freighters up 53 percent so far this year. Iron ore is up 130 percent. Limestone — which has doubled in tonnage in the Twin Ports this year — is up 32 percent throughout the Great Lakes, while coal is only up 3.7 percent.

Despite substantial gains, Glen Nekvasil, a spokesman for the Lake Carriers Association, isn’t celebrating.

“2009 was a very good re-creation of the Great Depression,” he said. “It’s not hard to improve over a year like 2009. When you look at the five-year average, we’re still down substantially. Although there’s been significant improvement, it’s no time to start singing, ‘Happy Days are Here Again.’ ”

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports - August 31

Calumet River, TJ O'Brien Lock - Pat Pelz
Kimberly Selvick was southbound loaded with heavy equipment at 6:30 a.m. Monday. At 7:10 a.m. the Windy City passed through carrying four coal barges, and two barges light north bound into the lock, likely headed to KCBX.


Grain on the upswing: Shipments rebound due to demand for U.S. wheat

8/31 - Duluth, Minn. - A jump in iron ore shipments in Duluth-Superior this year is driving a shipping rebound after a dismal 2009 season. But grain is the up-and-comer.

So far in the 2010 shipping season, grain shipments out of Duluth-Superior harbor are up 27 percent over the same period in 2009 and 67 percent over 2008, according to figures from the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. Still, it’s nothing to brag about, said Ron Johnson, the authority’s trade development specialist.

That’s about to change, however, as the port begins to benefit from the misfortunes of other major grain producers in the world.

“We’ve already seen a flurry of activity,” Johnson said, “noting that some companies in the grain trade expect to have the busiest September and late autumn in four or five years.”

That’s because Russia, a major player in the global grain market, has seen its wheat crop decimated this year by severe drought and wildfires. Russia recently banned wheat exports and wont honor existing contracts, opting to keep what grain it does have for its own needs.

“That’s pretty serious,” Johnson said. “That sent the market in another direction. Everybody is scrambling to replace 10 to 20 million tons of wheat.”

“A lot of the wheat out of Russia is high-quality spring wheat used for baking, and that’s what we ship out of here, from the Dakotas and Minnesota,” he said. “It’s a big plus for our region. And we have a good quality and quantity of crops this year.”

Other grain-producing countries affected by the drought, such as the Ukraine and Kazakhstan, may follow Russia’s lead and also stop grain exports. Closer to home, Canada’s grain exports are down after production dropped 21 percent because of excessive rainfall.

With a bountiful crop this year, United State’s wheat and other grains are suddenly in demand. Big time. And that means a boom for grain trade out of ports like Duluth-Superior.

Normally, Canadian lakers are booked to haul Canadian grain out of Thunder Bay, said Adele Yorde, a Port Authority spokeswoman. A lot of these ships were laid up, and now being called out to Duluth-Superior to bring grain out to transfer to saltwater ships.

David Torgerson, executive director of the Minnesota Association of Wheat Growers, already is seeing the impact. Some Middle Eastern countries that typically buy from Russia have ordered Minnesota grain in the last month. And they want it shipped as soon as possible.

The trade is anticipating a real banner export year, Torgerson said. The demand is so great, some doubt the United States can meet the demand in needed ships and facilities, he said.

Johnson agreed, saying, “We don’t have enough ships available to handle it.”

So ships are coming. Lots of them.

And in the Twin Ports, they’ll be loading up on grain grown in Minnesota and the Dakotas that will end up in Canada, Russia the Middle East and other countries hungry for grain.

Duluth News Tribune


Seaway will dig for source of sulphur

8/31 - St. Catharines, Ont. - Seaway officials will dig into a buried canal remnant in Thorold, after local explorers stumbled across a smelly yellow substance now identified as sulphur.

Rene Ressler, a heritage buff who runs the Welland Canals Advocate website, found a wide expanse of "sulphur smelling" material atop what he believes to be the filled-in southern approach to Lock 25 of the third Welland Canal earlier this year.

The overgrown area between the current Welland Canal and Beaverdams Rd. is owned by the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp., but is criss-crossed with informal trails popular with cyclists and hikers.

Ressler theorized the old canal approach could be a former industrial dumping ground.

Seaway environmental staff tested soil in the area and found "sulphur and carbon residue," said Jean Aubry-Morin, vice-president of corporate sustainability.

That was enough to prompt officials to plan an inquiry into how much sulphur or other contaminants are buried in the area, said Aubry-Morin, although additional testing likely won't begin until the spring.

Historical dumping into Niagara's many abandoned canals was common decades ago. But Aubry-Morin cautioned officials "just don't know" if the sulphur was dumped at the site or not.

"We don't know the volume of material, or the source," he said. "We will do an assessment … and determine the appropriate actions going forward."

Ressler hopes the Seaway will excavate the buried lock approach.

"Number one, you're probably helping the environment," he said. "Opening up part of our heritage would be a great bonus."

So far, Aubry-Morin said, officials don't think any contaminants are migrating into the nearby water.

"We don't think there is an environmental worry at this point," he said.

The Seaway is a bit worried about public safety, however.

Aubry-Morin acknowledged old canal lands are popular destinations for history buffs, hikers and explorers. A trail connecting cyclists to the Greater Niagara Circle Route is just a short walk away from the buried lock approach.

But so are aging canal walls and a steep drop into the water, he noted.

"Certain parts of this aging infrastructure … may be a safety concern," he said. "This part of the canal is not supposed to be open to the public, so we would appreciate it if members of the public could show restraint and not access that area."

Pollution and public access problems surrounding the old waterways aren't likely to fade away, Ressler said, as canal advocates push for a federal heritage designation for all four versions of the industrial link between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie.

Niagara Region recently formed a committee of heritage activists and politicians committed to making the designation a reality.

St. Catharines Standard


Hamilton Police get high-speed boat

8/31 - Hamilton, Ont. - A Hurricane has hit Hamilton Harbor. It’s black and cost about $250,000. Fitted with twin, 300-horse Mercury outboards it packs a 600 hp punch and can hit an ‘official’ speed of 50 knots (112 km/h or 70 mph) carrying four police and all their gear.

With forward-looking infrared radar, it can find your body heat in the dark.

The RCMP’s Zodiac Hurricane, eight metres of mean boat, took its first run on the harbor Monday morning. On patrol and fully operational, it will be co-crewed by RCMP officers and their Hamilton police counterparts and will be available for Hamilton police operations such as rescue.

The vessel is one of four the RCMP has deployed in Halifax, Montreal, Vancouver and now Hamilton as part of its national ports enforcement team. That group enforces Canadian laws and combats organized crime and terrorist, says RCMP Inspector Steve Martin, the officer responsible for the Hamilton Niagara Regional Detachment.

It will also help fulfill the RCMP responsibility for ensuring the security of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway.

Martin said the partnership with Hamilton police – the Zodiac will be based at the Hamilton Police Marine Unit on Discovery Drive – is vital because Hamilton officers know the harbor, know the water conditions and, perhaps most importantly, know what might look suspicious in the port.

Hamilton Deputy Chief Eric Girt estimates the Zodiac will improve first-response time on a rescue by about half. And those low sides will make betting someone aboard that much easier, he said.

“It is fast,” Girt said, adding these days police expect to encounter criminals with fast equipment.

The Hamilton Spectator


Updates - August 31

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.


Port Reports - August 30

Calumet River - Pat Pelz
The tug Steve A. McKinney entered the T. J. O'Brien Lock and Dam at 7:45 p.m. Sunday with two barges loaded headed north through the lock. Tug Windy City left the lock with six barges, all light, heading south Sunday about 10 p.m.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
There were numerous vessels transiting the Saginaw River the past week. On Tuesday, Calumet called with a split cargo for the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee and GM dock in Saginaw. Also in on Tuesday were the tug Gregory J. Busch and her deck barge, calling on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City and Algorail, who called on the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. Wednesday saw the tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber arrive with a split load for the Bay Aggregates dock and the Buena Vista dock in Saginaw. Thursday saw the steamer Alpena depart from the Lafarge dock in Carrollton and head for the lake. She had arrived on August 20th and remained there until her departure on the 26th. On Friday, the tug Zeus and her tank barge called on the Bit-Mat Asphalt dock in Bay City. Saturday saw the return of the Olive L. Moore-Lewis J. Kuber with another split load, this time for the Bay City and Saginaw Wirt Stone docks, as well as the Indiana Harbor, who called on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville. Finally, Sunday saw Manistee call on the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. This was her first visit to the Saginaw River this season. Manistee was headed for the Sixth Street Basin to turn and head for the lake late Sunday night.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
Beluga Recognition was at the Gateway Metroport in Lackawanna Sunday morning. She may be in port to load a dimensional cargo since there has been some large steel shelled equipment sitting on the dock for weeks. Algosteel is expected Monday with a load of salt.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Saturday the Hamilton Energy departed at 7 a.m. and returned to port at 3 p.m. Chemtrans Havel arrived at 10:30 a.m. James Norris arrived at 8 p.m. for Pier 26. Sunday, James Norris departed at 10 a.m. for Clarkson. Chemtrans Havel departed at 10:15 a.m. Ocean Groupe tug Omni Richelieu arrived at 5 p.m.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Clelia II arrived in port early Saturday, followed in by Hamilton Energy, which bunkered the former before returning to Hamilton just after noon. The patrol boat was is also in port for the weekend.


Updates - August 30

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - August 30

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Data from: Joe Barr, David Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, James Neumiller, Jody L. Aho, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series


Port Reports - August 29

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
English River was towed up to LaFarge stern first by the tug Washington at 9 p.m. Saturday.

Rochester, N.Y. - Tom Brewer
Stephen B. Roman departed Rochester Saturday morning, after unloading bulk cement at Essroc's Terminal.

Calumet River - Pat Pez
At 3:30 p.m., Steve A. McKinney was waiting on the wall of the T.J. O'Brien lock and dam on the Little Calumet River for William C. to exit the Lock. William C. was headed south while McKinney headed out to the lake.


Seaway cargo up 17 percent in 2010

8/29 - Ogdensburg, N.Y. — Cargo shipments on the St. Lawrence Seaway are up 17 percent over last year, a promising sign for the U.S. economy, which is trying to shake free of the deepest recession in a generation.

Officials are hoping some of that will reach North country shores.

"What happens on the Seaway is fairly reflective of what's happening in the larger economy," said Nancy T. Alcade, a spokeswoman for the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp.

The upward trend was sparked by an increased demand for iron ore and steel slabs, and a rejuvenation in wind turbine business.

The recent wind turbine projects have not stopped in Ogdensburg and the North country, landing instead in Duluth, Minn., and locations farther west.

Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority Executive Director Wade A. Davis said that the authority is in discussion on wind turbine and other cargo projects. He did not elaborate, citing OBPA policy to withhold discussions on ongoing business negotiations.

"There are multiple projects that we're following up on that have resulted from our discussions" on Wednesday, Mr. Davis said.

So far this year, estimates on salt shipments are on track, with 168 tons brought in already. Impressive mounds of salt sit at the port, waiting for the winter weather, covered in giant black tarpaulins.

Agricultural tonnage is also up at the port, Mr. Davis said, spurred by an increase in rail shipments.

"And we're optimistic that the increase in rail shipments will attract additional business on the marine side," Mr. Davis said.

Watertown Daily Times


Dossin Great Lakes Museum event on Belle Isle brings ships crews ashore

8/29 - Detroit, Mich. - More clear skies are due Sunday as Belle Isle’s Dossin Great Lakes Museum in Detroit plans a second day of its free Ship Spectacular weekend that lets visitors meet crews that sail the Great Lakes.

Saturday’s crowd seemed captivated by the father-daughter team that docked the J.W. Westcott, a 45-foot boat that delivers mail to freighters from around the world as they sail the Detroit River.

“People are thrilled to get close to our boat,” Capt. Sam Buchanan said. “You can’t do that at our dock,” at the foot of 24th Street, about one-quarter mile downstream of the Ambassador Bridge, Buchanan, 43, of Brownstown Township said.

Enthusiastic visitors at Saturday’s mooring next to the museum, Buchanan said, “were like groupies — Oh, we love your boat!” The vessel’s duty is unique in the country, he added: “There’s boats that deliver pilots, but we’re the only one anywhere that’s contracted by the U.S. Postal Service and making deliveries on the fly” to moving ships.

Buchanan, 43, is a long-time museum volunteer who built the model of the Bob-Lo boat St. Claire and one of the sunken Edmund Fitzgerald ore freighter that are on display in the museum, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, museum programs manager Rebecca McDonald said.

The captain’s only crew today was his daughter Jessica Buchanan, 18, a Wayne State University student spending her summer doing what her dad’s first job was on the mail boat — entry-level deckhand.

Detroit Free Press


New members inducted to Great Lakes Lore Maritime Museum

8/29 - Rogers City, Mich. – Last weekend the Great Lakes Lore Maritime Museum in Rogers City celebrated its 20th Annual Lake Lore Celebration and gathering luncheon.

The goal of the museum is to honor those men who have made a living working on the Great Lakes and to always remember those men who have lost their lives in shipwrecks on the Great Lakes.

Board member Roger Hulett mde a brief introduction of each candidate followed by one toll of the bell, and museum director Dave Erickson presented each candidate or family member with the certificate for that inductee. Nine of the 22 inductees received their own awards while sons, daughters, granddaughters, nieces, nephews and friends received awards for those who have passed away.

Merle M. Morway, a watchman with the Straits Transit Company accepted not only his own award but also the award of his father, Joseph M. Morway, watchman with the Michigan State Ferry Company. Edward J. Brege, captain with the Great Lakes Fleet, was inducted while his late father-in-law, Marvin H. Karsten, was also inducted as a part of the class of 2010.

Presque Isle County Advance


Updates - August 29

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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 1,000-foot boat on the lakes, the STEWART J. CORT, and the 1,000-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


Port Reports - August 28

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Twin Ports grain elevators have been busy this week. Friday morning saw Federal Power at CHS 2 and Pineglen at CHS 1 and Stefania1 at Peavey. Canadian Enterprise was expected later in the day to load grain. On Thursday, American Mariner loaded at General Mills in Superior and John D. Leitch loaded at CHS. Elsewhere, small saltie Flinterrebecca remained at the Duluth port authority's Garfield dock waiting for a grain berth and the Rt. Hon. Paul Martin was loading at the CN/DMIR ore dock.

Menominee & Marinette - Dick Lund
Menominee and Marinette have been busy ports this past week. It began when the USCG Mackinaw docked at Menominee North Pier Lighthouse late Saturday afternoon. They remained there until about 8 a.m. Monday morning. The ship looked fantastic, having just come from Bay Shipbuilding at Sturgeon Bay, WI, where they had been since June 17. While they were there, the hull was sandblasted and completely repainted, while the crew painted the upperworks. There was a fair crowd at the lighthouse pier when the ship arrived, and all were amazed when the ship stopped in the middle of the channel when they had proceeded to the place where they wished to dock and then moved the ship into the dock sideways using their bow and stern thrusters. The ship was not open for tours this trip. According to a crewmember, they just wanted a "change of scenery" while they do some training.
Monday saw the arrival of the BBC Mississippi with another load of wind turbine tower sections for KK Integrated Logistics.
Tuesday night, the Catherine Desgagnes arrived at Marinette Fuel & Dock with another load of pig iron.
Wednesday saw both the Catherine Desgagnes and BBC Mississippi depart. The Catherine Desgagnes took about a half hour as they turned around in the Menominee River before departing with a stiff wind from an unfavorable direction. With no bow thruster, it took a couple tries, but they made it. The BBC Mississippi departed about a half hour later.
Thursday saw the Beluga Fraternity arrive in Menominee with wind turbine parts for KK Integrated Logistics. However, instead of carrying the tower sections like the previous loads; the ship is carrying nacelles and rotors. This dock hasn't seen this type of load since 2007.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Rob Jackson
The Walter J. McCarty arrived off Green Bay Friday afternoon for unknown repairs.

Straits of Mackinac - Rod Burdick
Edgar B. Speer sailed under the Mackinac Bridge Friday evening into Lake Michigan.

Stoneport, Mich. - Daniel McNeil
Finishing loading on Friday was the Frontenac. Expected on Saturday is the Arthur M. Anderson. Due for Monday is the John G. Munson and the Manistee followed by the Manitowoc Tuesday.


Updates - August 28

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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


Port Reports - August 27

Sault Ste. Marie - Wendell Wilke
Thursday, Algoma Guardian was upbound at the Soo on her second trip of the year for Thunder Bay. The former Zenith Tugboat tugs Anna Marie Altman and Sioux left the slip at the Carbide Dock and moved to the Purvis Marine dock (Government Dock) in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. The Anna Marie Altman, under power, took the Sioux over rafted alongside. They have been acquired by Purvis Marine. Until about a month ago they had been tied within the MCM Marine Yard in the Michigan Soo.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Thursday, Algowod departed at 10 a.m. for the canal. Canadian Olympic departed at 10:15 a.m. with coke from Pier 26 for Sept. Ile, Que. Tim S. Dool departed at 2:30 p.m. from Dofasco for Thunder Bay in ballast. The cruise ship Grande Mariner departed at 6 p.m. for Kingston.


Port expansion will help Windsor climb out of economic slowdown

8/27 - Windsor, Ont. – It might not sound huge, but the $20.2 million Port of Windsor expansion announced Tuesday is another major step toward the region becoming a transportation hub.

It means Windsor and Essex County will climb one more important rung up out of the economic depression it's been suffering through.

Newly minted federal Transport Minister Chuck Strahl made the announcement. He touched down in Windsor this week to bestow $10.1 million worth of Infrastructure Stimulus Funding on the publicly owned port so it can rebuild one of its terminals for Sterling Marine Fuels. Windsor is the only port in Ontario to get any ISF funding.

Everybody has driven past Sterling at some point. It's the tank farm consisting of a dozen huge black fuel bunkers ranged along the southern end of Russell Street, between the scrapyard and the cement plant on the city docks. Some of the tanks have been tarted up recently with cheerful murals of Great Lakes shipping scenes.

Sterling has been a part of Windsor's marine history for more than 50 years, mostly as a source of heating oil and a fuelling stop for Great Lakes freighters. It was owned by Ultramar Ltd. until 1993, when McAsphalt Industries of Toronto bought it.

Between the tank farm and the river are 20 acres of unused port lands which have been vacant for more than 30 years, says David Cree, president and CEO of the Port of Windsor.

Under the plan announced Tuesday, that formerly weed-choked property will be converted into an aggregate storage yard and the entire Sterling operation upgraded with a $10.1 million matching private investment.

Sterling, McAsphalt and their partners will put up the other half of the cash. They include the Miller Group of construction and paving companies out of Toronto, Huron Construction of Sarnia, and others.

"It's a little complicated -- we have a lot of partners," says John Carrick Jr., the 41-year-old president of McAsphalt who is the second-generation head of the company.

The $20.2 million will pay to replace the crumbling seawall along the water's edge, extending it 500 feet to 1,500 feet and doubling the number of lake freighters that can dock there from one to two.

A new dock will be built. Fuel handling lines will be relocated so aggregate can be dropped off by freighter. A new office block and warehouse will be built. Staff will increase from 25 to 35.

So why do taxpayers have to pony up $10 mill for this work?

Windsor and Essex have to import most of their aggregate, and freighter is the cheapest way. But one of our two largest shipping and storage yards will disappear when the new DRIC bridge to Detroit is built.

As planned, the proposed bridge will displace Southwestern Sales Corporation, which will be expropriated when the Detroit River International Crossing is eventually approved.

That leaves contractors with a serious bottleneck for construction materials as they build the Windsor-Essex Parkway, which is going to require shiploads of material. Together with the bridge, both projects are worth more than $5 billion.

And the best site left for a new aggregate yard happens to be the 20 acres owned by the Port of Windsor and leased by Sterling, putting both outfits in the catbird seat.

Carrick says his company hasn't locked up any contracts yet to supply the parkway and DRIC bridge builders. But with billions in play and so much work to go around, he is more than confident they will win some.

"We're bidding. We're going to be a supplier. With all the construction equipment coming in there is going to be a big need for fuel, lube and aggregate."

With an existing liquid storage capacity of 23 million gallons, Sterling and McAsphalt are ideally sited to supply diesel, oil and liquid asphalt for the projects. But they were expanding anyway on the Great Lakes.

If you've been watching, Carrick says, the company has been upgrading its Windsor terminal steadily for the past 10 years.

The companies employ 300 people Canada-wide, and have 18 other terminals including sites in Oshawa, Valleyfield, Que., Thunder Bay and Halifax. But Windsor now stands apart, Carrick says.

"It's a strategic location for us," because it permits them to chase American business.

Carrick wasn't saying, but between the construction of the new terminal, which must be finished by March 31, and all the other irons they have in the fire, there are going to be far more than just 10 new jobs in this deal.

The Windsor Star


Dossin Museum program feature “Know Your Ships” publisher

8/27 - Detroit, Mich. - The Detroit Historical Society continues its popular Scholar Series with Roger LeLievre, editor and publisher of “Know Your Ships,” on Thursday, Sept. 16 at 6 p.m. at the Dossin Great Lakes Museum. He will speak about the evolution of the annual field guide, as well as his process in putting the book together each year.

“Know Your Ships” has covered the waterfront for more than 50 years. The book includes complete data on hundreds of U.S., Canadian and international-flag cargo vessels, tugs, excursion boats and barges currently in Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway service. It also chronicles changes in the shipping scene from year to year and features images from its extensive archives.

LeLievre is the president of the Marine Historical Society of Detroit. He is also vice president of Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping On-Line Inc., more commonly known as LeLievre currently writes for Ann and is a writer for Great Lakes/Seaway Review magazine and Greenwoods Guide to Great Lakes Shipping.

For more information visit


Updates - August 27

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.


Lakes iron ore trade up 72 percent in July

8/26 - Iron ore shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 6 million net tons in July, a nominal increase compared to June, but a significant improvement of 72 percent over a year ago. However, loadings were down about 6 percent compared to the month’s 5-year average.

July loadings at U.S. ports increased 70 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments from Canadian ports essentially doubled.

Year-to-date the Lakes ore trade stands at 27.6 million tons, an increase of 115 percent compared to the same point last year. The end-of-July total is also within striking distance of the 5-year average for the January-July timeframe. Shipments from U.S. ports are up 124 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings at Canadian ports are 59 percent ahead of last years pace.

Glen G. Nekvasil


Ludington looks to stimulus funds to repower S.S. Badger

8/26 - West Michigan - The city of Ludington is seeking a $14 million federal transportation grant to repower the coal-fired S.S. Badger to preserve the historic cross-lake ferry service to Manitowoc.

If the city is successful in securing the federal stimulus money for the private Lake Michigan Carferry, the Badger would receive new diesel engines that would allow the ferry operator to end the practice of dumping coal ash in Lake Michigan.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has given the Lake Michigan Carferry until the end of the 2012 sailing season to halt the coal ash discharges into the lake.

If Ludington is able to solve the Badger’s environmental problems through a federal grant, it would put the viability of the Muskegon-to-Milwaukee Lake Express service in question, company officials said. Lake Express owners said a federal grant for the Badger would provide an unfair market advantage.

So goes the never-ending Lake Michigan ferry battle. The two companies have been fighting for supremacy of Lake Michigan cross-lake transportation for years.

Lake Michigan Carferry officials fought Lake Express development before the high-speed service began operations in 2004. Lake Express received a $17.5 million U.S. Maritime Administration federal loan guarantee for construction of the catamaran jet boat.

Most recently, Lake Express and Lake Michigan Carferry have been battling to carry customers and vehicles across Lake Michigan with competing discount fares. Now Lake Express is fighting the proposed federal grant for the Badger.

To hear both sides argue their cases, the stakes are high.

The Badger provides hundreds of direct and indirect jobs in the area, Lake Michigan Carferry spokeswoman Lynda Matson said. This historic ship is an icon for the (Ludington) community and is loved by locals, visitors and millions of passengers who have had the pleasure of traveling on this majestic ship.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has $600 million to put into highway, bridge, public transportation, railroad and port infrastructure projects.

Ludington City Manager John Shay said the city is confident that federal dollars can be granted to the city and passed on to a private company. U.S. Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Holland, said federal transportation officials have initially ruled that funding for the Badger engines is allowable for the TIGER II program.

“We feel pretty confident about it,” Shay told The Muskegon Chronicle of receiving the federal aid. “One of the criteria for use of the transportation funds, beyond providing a significant boost to the nation’s or a region’s economy, is improving the environment.”

The Badger has been dumping its coal ash in the water since it began operating on Lake Michigan more than 50 years ago. Environmental regulators allowed the practice for the historic passenger and vehicle ferry until recently, when federal officials announced that its permit expires at the end of the 2012 sailing season.

The Lake Michigan Carferry will have to build an expensive ash container system on board the Badger or change the propulsion system from the current coal-fired steam boilers. When it fought for regulatory approval after the 2008 sailing season, company attorneys said operations would have ceased if the coal ash dumping was immediately outlawed.

The company intends to be in business for the next 50 years, Shay said. They said they will work on other options to stay in business if the federal grant is not approved.

Lake Michigan Carferry would need to provide a $2 million match to Ludington’s $14 million grant, if it was awarded, Shay said.

Don't count those federal transportation dollars yet, officials in Muskegon and Milwaukee say. The communities, along with Lake Express, are fighting the Ludington grant application.

“The viability of Lake Express would be placed in doubt because of the unfair market advantages given to Lake Michigan Carferry by this subsidy,” Lake Express President Ken Szallai said. Szallai argues that Lake Michigan Carferry, without having to pay for the capital costs of engine replacement, could unfairly offer lower fares than Lake Express, which must pay off the debt on its ferry.

“If you give your competition $14 million, it is a huge advantage in a market like this,” Szallai said. “To give a private company this kind of support is an egregious example of overreach by the federal government.”

Lake Michigan Carferry officials have a different view.

“Governmental (Environmental Protection Agency) mandates have created a need for assistance for the Badger,” the Lake Michigan Carferry’s Matson said. “Lake Express was given government assistance to compete with an existing company. The TIGER II grant does not give the Badger an unfair competitive advantage. Actual operating costs may increase with the conversion of diesel power.”

Officials at the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce suggested to federal transportation officials that the owners of the Badger use the same funding method as Lubar & Co. did to launch the Lake Express.

“We respectfully oppose the use of public grant money ... being used to directly subsidize a company ... due to the market-altering precedent it would set,” MMAC Government Affairs Director Steve Baas wrote federal transportation officials. “We support the Badger’s pursuit of Title 11 loan guarantees. This type of financing would maintain the markets competitive balance.”

Muskegon Mayor Steve Warmington has written letters to Hoekstra and Michigan Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin opposing the federal grant for the Badger.

“We believe the granting of such funds creates unfair competition with other private companies,” Warmington wrote. “The city of Muskegon applauds the efforts of Lake Michigan Carferry to eliminate waste discharge in Lake Michigan, however we do not believe the program is intended for this type of project.”

Hoekstra again finds himself in the middle of the ferry battle between Muskegon and Ludington, both of which are in his 2nd Congressional District. The lame duck congressman said he has not taken a position on the Ludington stimulus grant for the Badger engines but reminds both communities that he took no position on the Lake Express loan guarantee.

“I have been tugged and pulled by these two communities on the carferry issue for years,” Hoekstra said.

Muskegon Chronicle


Windsor's Sterling Fuels granted $10M to expand

8/26 - Windsor, Ont. - The federal government announced it will contribute $10.1 million -- half the costs -- for an improvement project along Windsor's riverfront to improve the shipping operations at Sterling Fuels.

A new warehouse, extended dock, fueling capacity and office space will be constructed before next spring at the marine operation located at 3600 Russell St. in the city's far west end.

Once completed, the project will increase staff at the firm by 10 up to 35 employees. Federal transport minister Chuck Strahl came to Windsor to make the announcement about the funds, which will be paid for out of the federal government's Infrastructure Stimulus Fund.

"It's important this city has improved infrastructure to move goods more efficiently," he said.

The Windsor Port Authority has partnered with the federal government to pay the remainder of the improvement project's costs.

The Windsor Star


Port Reports - August 26

Stoneport/Calcite, Mich. - Daniel McNeil
Frontenac is due at Stoneport Thursday. Friday, the John G. Munson and Arthur M. Anderson are expected. Calumet departed Calcite on Wednesday. James J. Kuber is due Thursday. Due Friday is Sam Laud. Due Saturday is John J. Boland. Finally, James J. Kuber is due back on Monday.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Wednesday, John B Aird departed Pier 26 at 7:30 a.m. with slag for Serpent Harbor. Michipicoten arrived at 2:30 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Superior for US Steel. CSL Laurentien departed US Steel at 4:30 p.m. in ballast for the canal. Federal Shimanto departed Pier 14 at 5:30 p.m. Tim S. Dool arrived at 7 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Port Cartier for Dofasco.


Mechanical failure leads to contact in the Welland Canal

8/26 - Algosoo and CSL Niagara were involved in an incident on Tuesday morning between Locks 7 & 8 along the Welland Canal, Captain John Greenway, VP of Operations at Seaway Marine Transport, has confirmed. Seaway Marine's Algosoo suffered "a mechanical malfunction causing the ship to move out of position in the canal," he said. Contact was made, however damage was minimal as Algosoo only suffered paint scuffs and CSL Niagara suffered minor damage. Greenway would not comment further on Niagara's damage, as the vessel is not under his firm’s management.

Both vessels cleared inspection following the incident and CSL Niagara continued on its way Tuesday. Algosoo was expected to have mechanical issues resolved Wednesday morning and continue on to Ashtabula, Ohio to load.

Michael Folsom


Navy postpones decision on Marinette Marine contract

8/26 - Marinette, Wis. – The U.S. Navy has postponed its decision on a contract that could be worth billions of dollars for Marinette Marine.

The Navy was expected to choose this month between ship designs from Marinette and Alabama shipbuilder Austal USA for up to 55 shallow-water combat ships. It's an all-or-nothing competition worth billions of dollars and thousands of jobs.

On Monday, the Navy said that it needed further information on the proposals, and that a decision would come after that.

"The Navy is taking the time necessary to carefully review and analyze the competing proposals," Cmdr. Victor Chen said in a news release.

It's a big decision for the Navy as it gears up to buy 55 of the littoral combat ships, about one-sixth of the Navy fleet. Both designs meet the Navy's requirements, but the similarities end there.

The Austal design is far more unconventional, with a narrow central hull and two outrigger hulls that support a broad deck. The trimaran would be too wide to get through the St. Lawrence Seaway, and some say its width could be a problem in harbors and canals that can't handle such large vessels.

But the Austal ship - already in service as a prototype named USS Independence - has an enormous flight deck for landing helicopters. Its aluminum hull is lightweight and has less drag in the water than a conventional hull, increasing the ship's speed and fuel efficiency.

The Marinette design - in operation as a prototype named USS Freedom - has a single steel hull that's much narrower and more conventional than the tri-hull Austal ship. It has a smaller flight deck that is 19 feet above the water and is more likely to get wet with sea spray. But at 4,680 square feet, its hangar for parking aircraft is larger than the 3,500-square-foot hangar on the Austal ship.

The Navy now expects the two shipbuilders to submit revised final designs in September, and a decision will come within 90 days after that.

"We understand there is keen public interest in this competition," Chen said.

Analysts say the Navy may be seeking revised proposals to ensure that its decision will withstand any challenges.

"It doesn't sound as if they are looking for a lot of new information," said James Hasik, a defense industry consultant from Austin, Texas, familiar with the Navy program.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Toledo Antique & Classic Boat Show this weekend

8/26 - Toledo, Ohio - In conjunction with the S.S. Willis B. Boyer Museum Ship and Ramsey Brothers Restorations, the fourth annual Toledo Antique & Classic Boat Show will take place at the Toledo Maritime Center Saturday and Sunday.

This event is for boating enthusiasts of all ages to enjoy a day of re-living maritime history on the Great Lakes and Maumee River. There will be dozens of boats displayed on land and in the water ranging from the 1920s era through the modern day replicas bearing historic names such as Chris Craft, Dart, Gar Wood, and Lyman. This year's show is featuring the vintage unlimited hydroplanes Such Crust IV & Miss U.S. 1, as well as a visit from the Detroit based passenger vessel Diamond Belle and an expanded marine memorabilia mart.

Many classic and antique cars of all makes and models from throughout the years will be shown as well. Ragtime Rick and the Chefs of Dixieland will be performing live Dixieland jazz from noon until 3 p.m. Saturday. Other live music performances will take place during the show as well. Food vendors will also be on site.

Admission is $3 per person - per day (children 10 and younger are free). Admission not only allows the Toledo community to view these great maritime artifacts, but also includes admission to the S.S. Willis B. Boyer Museum Ship. Free trolley service will be available between the Boyer Museum Ship and the Toledo Skyway Marina.

"The Toledo Antique & Classic Boat show has quickly become the Boyer's signature event. Regardless of a marine enthusiast's particular affinities, every individual who appreciates waterborne craft can find a common ground at this venue." said Paul C. LaMarre III, Executive Director of the Boyer.

This show will serve as a kick-off for the creation of the National Great Lakes Maritime Museum at the Toledo Maritime Center that will incorporate exhibits from the Great Lakes Historical Society.  More details on the show

Note: BoatNerd is cosponsoring a cruise from Wyandotte, Mich. to Toledo and return, Cruise information


Updates - August 26

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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


Badger crews make quick engine repairs

8/25 - Ludington, Mich. - The S.S. Badger's Tuesday morning departure from Ludington, Mich. was delayed by four hours due to a piston change. It was fixed without incident according to a Lake Michigan Carferry news release.

The Badger arrived in Manitowoc at about 5:45 p.m. and made a quick turnaround departing about an hour later. A spokeswoman stated passengers on board were alerted to the delay and "were made very comfortable and enjoyed special accommodations."

Lynda Matson said passengers departing Manitowoc on the scheduled 1:55pm departure also were notified and were asked to arrive for a later departure time.

Herald Times


Port Reports - August 25

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
Tuesday afternoon, the tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity were in port loading cement. Fleetmate Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation were expected to arrive around 10 p.m. Tuesday night. On Aug. 20 the Calumet brought coal to Lafarge.


Updates - August 25

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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.


Coast Guard, police search water off Pelee Island

8/24 - Pelee Island, Ont. -- A Calgary woman is missing after trying to rescue a friend from the waters of Lake Erie off Pelee Island Monday afternoon.

Essex County OPP said a man from Bright, Ont., was in distress in the rough waters off East Shore Road when the woman and a female relative took a raft out to rescue him. “In the process of rescuing him, she’s nowhere to be found,” said OPP Const. Janet Hayes.

Hayes said she was unaware if the woman fell into the water or if she tried to help the man. At about 3 p.m. police were called to the scene. The OPP Marine Unit, Canadian Coast Guard, several private vessels and an off-duty Canadian Coast Guard Captain search for the woman Monday evening. The search was called off about 8:30 p.m. and is likely to resume this morning, according to police.

“I’ve never experienced anything like this in the 15 years that I’ve been here,” said Mayor Rick Masse, who said he believed the woman, 53, was visiting the island for the day with friends and two daughters. He was at the island airport to pick up two relatives from Harrow, who flew there to be with the woman’s children, ages 12 and 15. The missing woman’s name has not been released. “When something like this happens obviously it affects everybody,” Masse said of the island, which has a population of up to 2,000 during the summer months and between 150 and 300 in the winter. Masse, a volunteer firefighter, was among the second group of firefighters to search from the shores.

Fire Chief Bruce Botham, who was one of the first on the scene, swam out into the lake to search for the woman for 30 minutes, while others searched from shore and boats. “The person that’s missing was already under the waters of the lake,” he said, adding that he’s been in that area of the lake before and doesn’t usually notice a strong current like there was Monday.

“Generally the waters are like glass, they’re very still on this side of the beach. I haven’t seen it this rough since there was a storm,” said Sandra Laranja, owner of The Wandering Pheasant Inn, which she said is about 40 metres from where the woman disappeared. The waters got rough at about noon, she said, but are generally very still and shallow. She declined to say whether the woman was staying at her inn.

The sandy beach, Laranja said, isn’t usually where people go swimming. There’s a campground and public beach nearby, she said, and there aren’t usually more than a few people on the shore in the area where the woman was last seen. “There’s a lot of help in the water right now,” she said at about 6 p.m of the people voluntarily bringing their boats out and about 20 people wandering the shores trying to help with the search. “It’s a tight-knit community here and we definitely take care of the people who come here.”

As of Monday, 92 people had drowned in Ontario this year compared to 88 at the same time last year, according to The Lifesaving Society.

“It’s a natural reaction when someone’s in the water, to try to help them,” said spokeswoman Barbara Byers. People should be careful when someone’s struggling in the water because their instinct to survive gives them “superhuman strength,” she said. She said someone struggling in the water will reach for anything that could pull them above water so it’s best to extend a paddle, lifejacket or something else.

“Sadly this does happen every year,” Byers said.

The Windsor Star


Updates - August 24

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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 d.) AMARA in 2001 and MENNA in 2008

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.


Port Reports – August 23

St. Marys River - Steve Hogler
Only three vessels passed through during daylight Sunday – Charles M. Beeghly and Cason J. Callaway upbound and Sam Laud downbound. American Integrity was upbound in the lower river after dark.

Green Bay – Wendell Wilke
Sunday afternoon the Cuyahoga was unloading coal at Fox River Dock.

Toronto – Charlie Gibbons
Evans McKeil with the cement barge Metis departed early Sunday, as did John D. Leitch. The passenger vessel Grand Mariner arrived at the International ferry terminal from Kingston, Ont., Sunday morning.


Updates - August 23

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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


Port Reports – August 22

St. Marys River
Repairs on the Poe Lock gate were completed early Saturday morning, and vessel traffic slowly got back to normal as the day went on. Downbounders included J.W. Shelley, Roger Blough, Lee A. Tregurtha, Lake Explorer II and Algowood. On the upbound side were James R. Barker, Algobay, Stewart J. Cort, Peter R. Cresswell, Burns Harbor, American Century and Edwin H. Gott. Frontenac and Avenger IV and barge were upbound in the lower river as night fell.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The St. Mary's Challenger appeared out of the grey haze of our twilight Friday night blowing a salute as she passed through the pier heads on her way to the St. Mary's Cement Terminal in Ferrysburg. She was expected to be in port about 20 hours.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Manitowoc was outbound the Saginaw River early Friday morning after finishing her unload at the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City.  The tug Joe Thompson, Jr. and barge Joseph H. Thompson were inbound Friday afternoon with Sugar Stone for the Bay City Wirt dock.  The pair completed their unload late in the evening, turned off the dock, and headed for the lake.  Alpena was inbound Friday evening, headed upriver to the Lafarge Cement dock in Carrollton to unload.  She was expected to be outbound Saturday morning.
The Algoway was inbound the Saginaw River Saturday morning, bound for the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee.  She completed her unload and was outbound for the lake during the late afternoon.

Buffalo – Brian Wroblewski
The tug Rebecca Lynn and barge A-397 departed Tonawanda Saturday at 3 p.m. The tug Jaclyn was moored with her spud barge across the face of the Union Ship Canal Saturday afternoon to prevent pleasure craft from entering the waterway while work is being done for the new park land going in there.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
English River was a late evening departure Friday. The light tug Evans McKeil arrived in late to mate with Metis at the Essroc dock. Also in late was the John D. Leitch for the salt dock


Soo Locks boat schedule hotline announced

8/22 – Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The Soo Locks Visitors Center Association has announced a hotline for public use. The hotline is a joint project between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Visitors' Association.

The Hotline will be updated periodically between 9:30 a.m. and 9 p.m. All times are estimated and boats may arrive sooner or later than expected based on weather, vessel speed and waiting time at the locks. The hotline will operate during the months that the Visitors Center is open. Call 906-253-9290 for information on current vessels in the system.


Updates - August 22

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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 R. L. IRELAND (Hull #62) was launched August 22, 1903, at Chicago, Illinois, by Chicago Ship Building Co. for the Gilchrist Transportation Co. Renamed b.) SIRIUS in 1913, and c.) ONTADOC in 1926.

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

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

On 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.


Poe Lock closed for repairs Friday, several vessels delayed

 8/21 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - The Poe Lock was closed at noon Friday for unspecified gate repairs and was expected to be down at least until after midnight. Vessels delayed included the downbound Mesabi Miner, Federal Oshima, Great Lakes Trader and Edgar B. Speer, as well as the upbound Indiana Harbor and Walter J. McCarthy Jr. Smaller vessels able to use the MacArthur Lock passed without delay, including the upbound Canadian Progress and downbound Quebecois, Algolake and Algosar. At dusk, heavy weather with high winds, rain and hail was moving into the Soo area.


Port Reports - August 21

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Manitowoc called on the Saginaw River Thursday evening, traveling the short distance upriver to the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. She was unloading there at 10:30 p.m. and was expected to be outbound late Thursday night or early Friday morning.

Sarnia - Frank Frisk
Algocanada has gone into temporary lay up, at the Sidney E. Smith dock in Sarnia, for an undetermined period. She joins Canadian Transfer, which has been laid up in the north slip for several weeks.


County and museum plan to restore Fort Gratiot light and reopen it for tours

8/21 - Port Huron, Mich. - Just before a walk through the Fort Gratiot Light Station grounds, Mark Brochu grabbed a chain and wrapped it around a gate to block the entrance. The director of St. Clair County's Parks and Recreation Department said if he didn't do that, he'd have people pulling in to look at the lighthouse and its six outbuildings -- just as a passing bike rider had done before he shut the gate. "It's popular," he said. "That's for sure."

After a years-long quest by many community members, the property now is in local hands rather than federally owned. That means soon -- as early as next year -- the gates can be flung open and visitors again will get a close look at a site some say will help define the area. "This will absolutely be a jewel of the entire region," said Susan Bennett, Port Huron Museum's director of administrative and community relations. The museum plans to coordinate tours and exhibits at the property in collaboration with the county. "We really can't wait to get started," she said.

The light station property was transferred officially from the U.S. Coast Guard to St. Clair County in July. A public deed transfer ceremony will be Sept. 2 in the shadow of the lighthouse tower. Work is starting now, however, to get the property into shape. The lighthouse was closed to visitors last year after it was determined to be structurally deficient.

Brochu said the county's first priority is to use a federal grant -- acquired by the city of Port Huron and transferred to the county -- to fix masonry work at the 86-foot-tall lighthouse. The $370,000 grant for the work was matched with $370,000 from the city. Brochu said that project will be bid out this fall, with work likely to start after this winter.

To start fixing the lighthouse roof, the county will use another $60,000, two-thirds of which is from a state grant. The Friends of the Fort Gratiot Light provided the additional $20,000. Brochu said work on the roof likely will start this year. Officials from the city and the Port Huron Museum partnered six years ago with the goal of taking ownership of the station from the federal government.

Port Huron Times-Herald


Fire destroys shops on Kelley's Island

8/21 - Kelley's Island, Ohio - A fire Friday afternoon on a Lake Erie island has destroyed a row of shops and sent thick, black smoke billowing through a resort town.

Kelley's Island Mayor Rob Quinn says firefighters saved a bed-and-breakfast by hosing it down yesterday afternoon while its vinyl siding was melting from the fire's heat. No injuries were reported. Quinn says the cause of the fire isn't known, but investigators are looking at whether it was linked to heating and air conditioning work being done in one of the storefronts that burned down.

The island's fire department was helped by firefighters from several communities on the mainland, who had to take a ferry to get to the fire scene. Kelley's Island is in Lake Erie off northwestern Ohio, about 60 miles east of Toledo.

Columbus Dispatch


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 McDOUGALL (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 McDOUGALL did not stop.

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

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

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.

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.


New CSL ships many not see the Great Lakes

8/20 - Montreal, Que. - Montreal-based CSL Group has placed orders worth about $500 million U.S. with China's Chengxi shipyards for 10 self-unloading dry bulk carriers, including five 75,000-tonne vessels designed to haul ocean-going cargoes and five 32,000-tonners intended for the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway trade.

But the smaller vessels won't sail the key inland waterway unless the federal government scraps the 25-percent tax on imported ships as promised last autumn, said Gerry Carter, head of Canada Steamship Lines, CSL's domestic unit.

"Canadian shipowners have been campaigning for remission of that tax for three years, and it's vital for the renewal of the inland fleet that now averages 35 years," Carter said yesterday.

"It just isn't economic to build the ships in Canada or to operate them in the Great Lakes-Seaway trade with that tax. A decision was expected in January, but unfortunately, Ottawa is procrastinating."

As an example, he said one of the new Seaway-size vessels on order will cost $44 million U.S. and the import tax would add about $10 million U.S., meaning hauling rates would be higher than shippers can bear. If the ships cannot ply the inland waterway, they will be deployed in the ocean-going trades.

No bulk carrier has been built in Canada for 26 years, he added. Canadian yards have not been able to compete with offshore construction.

"We asked our western and East Coast yards, including Davie and Irving, to quote on the ship order, but they refused to bid," Carter said. "We had no choice but to go to China, which has become the world's leading builder of bulk carriers."

The self-unloading technology will come from Canada and the engines from Europe, he added. The ships will be delivered in the last half of 2012.

"The Chinese will be on a learning curve with the first, but the others will be launched every 45 days."

The 10-ship CSL order is divided: three firm orders for the larger Panamax self-unloaders, plus three options; two firm orders for the smaller Seaway-size vessels and two options.

CSL, owned by the family of former prime minister Paul Martin, has 1,000 employees, half in Canada. It operates 19 Canadian-flag vessels, including 11 self-unloaders and eight bulk carriers, trading on the Great Lakes-Seaway and carrying mainly iron ore and export grain.

The Boston-based international unit manages 28 ocean-going self-unloaders, including 11 wholly-owned, while an Australian unit operates eight self-unloaders and an iron-ore transhipment facility, and an Asian unit manages one self-unloader and coal transhipment points in Indonesia.

The Montreal Gazette


Port Reports - August 20

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Twin Ports vessel traffic Thursday featured a flurry of grain activity. Canadian Provider was under the spouts at CHS 1 while J.W. Shelley was loading at the Peavey elevator, both in Superior. Anchored out on the lake were salties Federal Power, waiting for CHS 2, Flinterrebecca, waiting for CHS 1, and Isadora, waiting for Peavey. CHS (formerly Cenex Harvest States) has been the busiest grain elevator this season, with Peavey and the two General Mills elevators a distant second. The former Cargill and AGP elevators, now owned by hedge funds, have been handling rail and truck traffic only.

St. Marys River
A very slow traffic day saw the sea cadet training vessel Grayfox and Saginaw downbound during daylight hours. Kaye E. Barker, Robert S. Pierson and American Integrity were down after dark, and Sam Laud was headed up.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
All three of the cement carriers have been in port at Lafarge the past few days. Alpena arrived Wednesday morning to load for Detroit. G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity came in late Wednesday night. Sam Laud waited for their departure out in the bay early Thursday morning before coming in to unload coal. Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation tied up under the silos on Thursday but took a delay waiting for more cement.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Manitowoc called on the Saginaw River, Thursday evening, traveling the short distance upriver to the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. She was unloading there at 10:30 p.m. and expected to be outbound late Thursday night or early Friday morning.


Diver says he’s found Westmoreland shipwreck

8/20 - Lake Ann, Mich. - Ross Richardson set out on yet another search in what had become a series of personal expeditions for one of the Great Lakes' noted shipwrecks.

The Lake Ann real estate agent and avid diver traversed the water near the Sleeping Bear Dunes for years, but never tracked down the elusive Westmoreland — a vessel that foundered near South Manitou Island in a Lake Michigan winter storm on Dec. 7, 1854.

"I didn't know if I was going to find it this year, next year, or never find it at all," said Richardson, who began his search in 2004. But he said his expedition on July 7 proved to be a turning point in his long underwater adventure after a blip on his sonar screen displayed an unusual object.

"It stuck out," Richardson said. "I knew I had something. That's when things got exciting."

Richardson was on the phone with a fellow diver, Jim Sawtelle, of Drummond Island, when his sonar technology picked up traces of the Westmoreland, a passenger steamer also referred to as a "propeller."

"I never got too excited or cracked open the champagne bottle," he said.

Sawtelle began his search for the elusive Westmoreland in 1956 and said he could sense the enthusiasm in Richardson's voice when he picked the vessel up on his sonar screen.

"It was the most excited voice I've heard in years," said Sawtelle, who worked closely with Richardson to find the ship. "There's no more beautiful wreck in the Great Lakes. It's the most romantic wreck in the Great Lakes."

Richardson, however, kept his discovery a secret until he could set aside time to dive down and see the ship up close. His brother joined him three days later, and they filmed underwater video of the Westmoreland, which rose 30 feet above the sand in some spots. Richardson then posted the video on his website,

"I was shocked," Richardson said of his discovery. "It's an area of underwater archaeology that's kept it pretty hidden. It's a good piece of history."

Several expeditions failed in the search of the 200-foot Westmoreland, though some newspaper reports from the late 19th century indicate the vessel was located. Historians believe it was sunk by a wicked winter storm. Stories passed down over generations about treasure aboard the ship, but Richardson refutes those claims.

"There's no proof or records of it down there," he said.

Seventeen people from the vessel died after one of the ship's life boats flipped over nearly 150 years ago. And although the remains likely disintegrated beneath the depths, Richardson admits the initial dive spooked him a bit.

"I was really nervous," he said. "It was eerie."

Richardson also was shocked by how well Lake Michigan preserved the ship, but it remains a mystery as to where exactly it lies. He wouldn't disclose where he found the Westmoreland, in fear that divers will attempt to steal items aboard the vessel.

"I don't like having a secret that no one knows," he said.

Anything that rests on the bottom of Lake Michigan, like a shipwreck, belongs to the state of Michigan, said Tom Ulrich, deputy superintendent of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. State law requires people to request permits from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment, as well as the state archaeologist office, in order to bring up wrecks.

"We're very reluctant to give permits for wrecks found in underwater preserves," state archaeologist John Halsey said. "They'll have to have a pretty good reason to take something off it. We'd like to leave as much as possible on wrecks to increase the enjoyment for sport divers."

Richardson hopes to explore the ship a few more times and possibly reveal its specific location next year. He and Sawtelle hope the discovery will increase enthusiasm among divers in northern Michigan and also spike tourism.

"This guy has done a super, super thing," Sawtelle said. "It takes a man with real guts to do that."ť

Traverse City Record-Eagle


As repairs continue, Canadian Lock at the Soo emptied

8/20 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. - The coffer dam in now in place and most of the water in the Sault Ste. Marie Ontario lock has been drained.

The last piece of the coffer dam that holds back the lower St. Marys River on the downriver side of the lock went in earlier Wednesday. By 3 p.m., pumps had drained the lock about as dry as it's going to get.

The original wooden floor of the lock is now covered in a layer of mud, a bit of water and some rather odd cast-offs. A shopping cart is the most visible object on the floor of the lock. There are many other mysterious shapes visible in the mud and the modern electric valves used at the upriver end of the lock are also clearly visible.

This is the first time the lock has been emptied since the recreational lock was built inside the historic lock from 1996 to 1998. The lock had been closed to marine traffic after a failure in the lock wall in 1987 until the new recreational lock opened in 1998.

Now, it's being inspected, serviced and maintained.

Staff at the Sault Ste. Marie National Historic Site of Canada are also hoping the source of a mysterious and longtime leak in the historic powerhouse will be identified and repaired.



Kingston hails return of cruise ships

8/20 - Kingston, Ont. - Kingston's docks, once some of the most active on the Great Lakes, may soon be getting a whole lot busier.

Thursday, the 82-passenger Grande Mariner will dock at Crawford Quay, just across from the Holiday Inn at the foot of Brock Street. It will be the first time in several years that a cruise ship has called at Kingston and marks the return of Blount Small Ship Adventures cruises after a six-year hiatus.

"We're looking forward to seeing many more ships visit the city," said Rob Carnegie, director of tourism for the Kingston Economic Development Corporation. "This is just one of what we hope to be many ships coming through."

The city's storied waterfront, scenic location and historic tourist attractions make it a prime location as a port of call for cruise ships travelling the St. Lawrence River. Most of the passengers on The Grande Mariner have already signed up for the Haunted Walk, a trip to Fort Henry and a Sir John A. Macdonald tour.

"It's a matter of showcasing what we've got," said Stephen Burnett, executive director of the Great Lakes Cruising Coalition. "Cruise owners shake their heads when they see the city and say: 'Oh my, we're really guilty of not knowing how wonderful this place is.' "

Kingston also offers the unique opportunity to dock in the heart of downtown. When passengers step off the ship, they will stroll directly into the vibrant city centre.

"We were looking for new course itineraries in Ontario," said Erika Moore of Blount Adventures. "Kingston was a nice place to stop, with plenty of activities to do on shore."

Despite the "magnitude and beauty" of what's available along the St. Lawrence, cruise service on the river has been intermittent. Many cruise lines have stopped at Kingston in the past, only to go out of business after a few years.

Large ships can't ply the river, so smaller, more specialized craft are required to navigate the shallow depths and narrow lochs.

Bob Clark has been operating St. Lawrence Cruise Lines out of the city for nearly 20 years. He said it's easy to see why people love to travel the St. Lawrence, but that it can be a challenge to operate a cruise line along the Great Lakes.

"Syndicated ownership is a major part of the problem," he said. "It's all a matter of business philosophy. Not every year is rosy, but the big firms don't have the same love and dedication we do."

Kingston can help its case to become a major port-of-call by providing deeper docking facilities. Crawford Quay offers only two metres of depth, which means that only smaller, shallow draft ships can dock there.

The Marine Museum has been proposed as a site for a new wharf where larger ships could dock comfortably in nearly 20 feet of water.

Blount will be sending an another ship in three to four weeks, and it hopes to have Kingston on the itinerary for its St. Lawrence cruises throughout the 2011 season.

A new cruise line, Pearl Seas Cruises, is also poised to stop in Kingston starting next summer. "Kingston has been on our map since 2008," said Jill Palumbo, director of marketing at Pearl.

"The Great Lakes are really one of the last uncruised regions of the world," said Burnett.

Kingston Whig Standard


Updates - August 20

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - August 20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

On 20 August 1852, ATLANTIC (wooden 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.


Parrish and Heimbecker plans new grain terminal at Hamilton

8/19 - Hamilton, Ont. – Work will soon begin on a multimillion-dollar, state-of-the-art grain terminal on Hamilton Harbour. Parrish and Heimbecker, a national agri-food business based in Winnipeg, has signed a long-term lease with the Hamilton Port Authority for more than 380,000 square feet at Pier 10.

Details of the length of the lease are confidential, although the deal governs at least 10 years.

P&H will tear down existing warehouse buildings on the property and build a pair of 10-story concrete silos, each 25 metres across, which will include equipment that will automatically unload ships.

The new facility will become the company's export hub for Ontario grains and will also import products from the United States and Western Canada destined for processors such as flour mills and ethanol plants.

Rob Bryson, director of eastern Canadian grain operations with P&H, wouldn't reveal how much the company will invest in Hamilton, other than to say it's in the "tens of millions in the first phase of construction."

That phase of two silos will be finished in time for the harvest of 2011. The second phase, another two silos, will take another year, he said. "From there, it depends. If business keeps growing, we'll keep growing."

The company has been operating at the site for a couple of years, under a rolling monthly lease, while deciding whether to make an investment in Hamilton.

Bryson says the company looked at many ports in the region before settling on Hamilton to join its network of terminals in Vancouver, Thunder Bay and Owen Sound.

"Hamilton is the right place."

He said the port lies on the "right side" of the Welland Canal to serve the export market and the frequency of ships coming in and out was also a selling point.

"The ore ships coming in for the steel plants can reload with grain to go back to the St. Lawrence." He said marine transport will shift loads from road and rail, cutting greenhouse gas emissions and costs.

In the short to medium term, P&H could bring half a million tonnes through the port, says Ian Hamilton, vice-president of the Hamilton Port Authority.

"Grain products through the recession stayed constant. Everyone has to eat. It's not like the wild fluctuations in steel. This adds to our diversity at the port."

The terminal will be located on about 3.7 hectares behind the former Lakeport plant.

Measured by square footage, the P&H facility will be among the top 10 biggest tenants at the port, says Hamilton. About 120 enterprises call the port home.

Neil Everson, the city's director of economic development and real estate, said P&H's investment is a win for the city in terms of putting use to a brownfield site and ties in perfectly with Hamilton's economic development strategy, which focuses on agriculture and food processing as a growth sector.

While the grain terminal itself can be run with just a few employees, Bryson said the terminal will bring jobs in shipping, trucking and stevedoring, along with construction employment.

P&H, a family-owned business founded in 1909, has locations across Canada in grain trading, milling, poultry farming and food processing.

The Hamilton Spectator


Port Reports - August 19

S. Chicago
Wednesday evening, St Marys Challenger was calling 106th Street bridge for a lift. She has been in short term layup at the sheds on Lake Calumet for the last month or so.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Algoway arrived Wednesday evening for the Jonick dock.


Tall Ships about to invade Chicago

8/19 - Chicago, Ill. – The tall ships haven't visited Chicago in four years. Next week, there will be 20 of them coming from all over the United States and two from across the pond. Some are 100 feet long and just as tall. Each has a historical connection.

The Niagara is a warship which helped win the War of 1812. The Bounty was an obvious crowd favorite judging from the long line. It was the same ship used in the 1960 film "Mutiny on the Bounty" with Marlon Brando. The Europa is 99-year-old beauty from the Netherlands and is home to up to 62 trainees and crew. It spends half the year sailing to and from Antarctica so a trip across Lake Michigan probably feels like a weekend jaunt.

The visit to Green Bay ends as the crew for the tall ships prepare to sail off.

All 12 ships here and 7 others will meet next week at their final port of call in the Great Lakes: Navy Pier Chicago. The ships will arrive Tuesday afternoon August 24 in the Parade of Sail. For six days, you can tour the vessels and there's still time to sign up to become trainees on board these ships.



Updates - August 19

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - August 19

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

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

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

The ROBERT S. PIERSON (i) 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.


Seaway cargo shipments up 17 percent for first half of season

8/18 - Washington, D.C. - Cargo shipments through the St. Lawrence Seaway continue to be buoyed by demand for iron ore and steel slabs, with an overall increase of 16.6 percent year-to-date compared to the same period last year.

The St. Lawrence Seaway reported that marine vessels carried 14.8 million tonnes of cargo from March 25 to July 31 an increase of over 2 million tonnes compared to the 12.7 million tonnes handled during the same period last year.

Total shipments during the month of July were down 4.8 percent compared to the same period in 2009 due to lower coal and grain traffic. However, iron ore continued to perform strongly during the month with a 30 percent increase to 892,000 tonnes. Imports of steel slabs, in the category of break bulk, rebounded to 45,000 tonnes.

Richard Corfe, President and CEO of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation, said: "As we approach the mid-point of the 2010 navigation season, the year over year increase in tonnage of almost 17 percent is encouraging." 

He added: “Robust improvements within the break bulk sector provide reason for cautious optimism for continued strength in shipments for the remainder of 2010. Within the project cargo market, the marine sector remains the transportation mode of choice, as heavy-lift/oversized cargoes can be reliably and safely transported on our waterway.”

This statement was reinforced by the arrival last week at the Port of Duluth of a ship carrying giant wind turbine components destined for Minnesota Powers Wind Energy Center, which is now under construction near New Salem, North Dakota. Manufactured at a Siemens facility in Brande, Denmark, the equipment was shipped from the port of Aarhus (Denmark).

The Port of Duluth has handled nearly 1 million freight tons of wind turbine components in the past five years, noted Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. “We’ve begun to see an uptick in wind shipments this year, signaling that sector is starting to rebound. One of the main advantages of the Great Lakes-Seaway System is that we are able to reach 2340 miles into the heartland of North America and deliver wind turbines as close to the wind resource as possible. Wind power operators and manufacturers are recognizing this benefit.”

The Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway waterway is responsible for approximately 75,000 direct and indirect jobs in Canada and 150,000 in the U.S. and annually generates more than $4.3 billion in personal income, $3.4 billion in transportation-related business revenue, and $1.3 billion in federal, state and local taxes. This vital trade corridor delivers approximately $3.6 billion in annual cost savings compared to the next least expensive mode of commercial transportation. This provides a competitive advantage for the North American manufacturing, construction, energy and agri-food sectors.

Marine Delivers


Tug releases tall ship Amundsen from sandbar

8/18 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - The U.S. Coast Guard says after leaving the waters of Green Bay Monday, the tall ship Roald Amundsen hit a sand bar about five miles north from the Sturgeon Bay entrance canal and became grounded.

No one was injured. The local tug Jimmy L. was called in, and five hours later, the tall ship was pulled to deeper water. Roald Amundsen then resumed her voyage to Muskegon, Mich., on her way to Chicago.

Green Bay Press Gazette


Port Reports - August 18

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Despite gale warnings on Lake Superior, Michipicoten loaded ore at the Upper Harbor Monday morning and again Tuesday evening. Tug Rochelle Kaye and barges remain at the Lower Harbor.

St. Marys River
Thanks to windy, fall-like weather, several vessels spent Tuesday day at anchor in the lee of Whitefish Point. However by late evening, Canadian Provider, Algolake, Buffalo, H. Lee White and Great Lakes Trader were all back underway upbound. Other traffic Tuesday included CSL Assiniboine and James R. Barker downbound and upbounders Quebecois, Edgar B. Seer, Grayfox (which tied at the U.S. Coast Guard Base in the Soo), Isadora, Flinterrebecca, Federal Mackinac, Herbert C. Jackson, Canadian Enterprise, Algowood and Roger Blough. The USEPA research vessel Lake Guardian, which had been at the Carbide Dock awaiting better weather, also locked upbound in the late afternoon.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Jeff Birch
Barge Great Lakes and tug Michigan departed Bay Shipbuilding Monday at about 7 p.m., heading to Lake Michigan via the ship canal. Tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder are in the shipyard for an unknown reason.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Calumet came in about 2:45 p.m. Tuesday with a load of coal for the Grand Haven Board of Light and Power's plant on Harbor Island in Grand Haven. It was expected to unload and depart later Tuesday evening.

Oswego , N.Y. - Ned Goebricher
The ocean ship Beluga Recognition, of Breman, Germany, was in Oswego Harbor Tuesday unloading aluminum, along with the English River unloading cement.


Water levels improve above Cote Ste. Catherine Lock

8/18 - Mariners are advised that given the significant precipitations in June and the almost average precipitations over the Lake Ontario Basin in July and August, the outflows have been increasing gradually and the water levels have improved above Cote Ste Catherine Lock. Restrictions above Montreal/Lake Ontario section have been lifted.


Updates - August 18

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - August 18

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

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

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

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

On 18 August 1907, KATE WHITE (wooden propeller steam tug, 62 foot, 28 gross tons, built at Erie, Pennsylvania in 1885, as a yacht) sank near the harbor entrance at Fairport, Ohio. On 18 August 1878, JAVA (iron twin propeller passenger/package freight vessel, 232 foot, 1,525 gross tons, built in 1873, at Buffalo, New York) was sailing from Bay City, Michigan for Chicago and Milwaukee with mixed merchandise, including 300 tons of fine household goods, parlor stoves, salt, etc. She was a twin-screw and the main theory of her loss in good weather was that her starboard shaft coupling came loose and the shaft slid out the stern, allowing water to flood through the sleeve. Nevertheless, she sank quickly, 15 miles off Big Sable Point on Lake Michigan in over 300 feet of water. The crew escaped in lifeboats and was 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.


Canada Steamship to build 10 self-unloading bulk carriers

8/17 - China’s Chengxi Shipyard has signed an up to $514 million contract with Canada Steamship Lines to build 10 self-unloading bulk carriers.

The order is for three Panamax (Panama Canal-sized) bulkers with an option for a further three, and two plus two Handysize ships. Because of their size, the vessels are not expected to trade on the Great Lakes.

The Panamaxes were priced at $55 million per unit and the handies at $46 million apiece. By going for geared ships, the price tag rises by around $16 million to $18 million per ship, CSL said.

The Motorship


Port Reports - August 17

St. Marys River -
Strong winds from the northwest sent Canadian Provider and Algolake to anchor for most of the day in the lee of Whitefish Point, while Manitowoc was on the hook off Brimley after winds kept her from docking at Essar Steel. Other traffic Monday included the downbound Montrealais and American Century. Several vessels were upbound in the lower river as night fell, including Paul R. Tregurtha, H. Lee White, Saginaw, Federal Power, Buffalo and St. Clair.

Menominee, Mich. - Mike Bancroft
BBC Rio Grande backed into Menominee, with the assist of the tug Jacqueline Nicole, with a load of wind turbine parts.

Milwaukee, Wis. - Jason Heindel
Isadora was berthed on the north side of South Pier 1 and Algorail was berthed at the south side of south pier 2.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Sunday evening the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived at Lafarge to load cement for Detroit. Monday before 7 a.m., Mississagi was anchored out in the bay. It waited a few hours before it came into the river to unload road salt. Around 12:30 p.m. the lines were brought in and the Mississagi started backing out of the river.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Olive L. Moore, with Lewis J. Kuber, called on the Saginaw River Saturday with a split load. The pair lightered at the Bay City Wirt dock before continuing upriver to the Saginaw Wirt dock to finish. The Moore and Kuber were then outbound for the lake Sunday morning.


Retired Canadian sub will land at Port Burwell

8/17 - Port Burwell, Ont. - Port Burwell has won the battle to be the site for the HMCS Ojibwa submarine.

I feel sublime, said Bayham Mayor Lynn Acre following the decision Saturday by the Elgin Military Museum board to locate the Cold-war era Canadian submarine in the village. Acre said the submarine will make Port Burwell a destination for tourists, benefiting area businesses.

It will change everything, she said.

Both Port Burwell and Port Stanley were in the running for the decommissioned submarine.

Central Elgin Mayor Tom Marks said he was disappointed in the boards decision, but wished Port Burwell all the best with the project. At least the submarine will still be located in Elgin County, he said.

The proposed site for Port Stanley wasnt owned by the municipality and would have required remediation before it could be used, Marks said. The museum is receiving $1.9 million from the federal government to mount the submarine.

The submarine is expected to be brought on a barge to Port Burwell through the St. Lawrence Seaway before the end of this years shipping season.

Dan McNeil, a retired Canadian rear admiral who advocated for the submarine to be located in Port Stanley, said the decision to put it in Port Burwell will still benefit the entire region, creating jobs and drawing tourists.

"It is a win, win, win," he said.

London Free Press


Lake Erie nears record-breaking temperatures

8/17 - Windsor, Ont. - An unseasonably mild winter and spring accompanied with a scorching summer may see Lake Erie climb to record-breaking temperatures.

According to data from Environment Canada's buoy in the western basin of Lake Erie, temperatures had reached 27 C by mid-August.

"Lake Erie which is so shallow, I mean my gosh it's like bath tub water there," said Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips. "From January on and even earlier than that we've just had every month in the Great Lakes basin that has been warmer than normal and record warming."

Phillips said the warm water is a result of the mild winter, which reduced the amount of ice that formed across the Great Lakes.

"The first dibs on the energy coming either from the heat that's convective from the south or from the sun goes to melt the ice and snow," Phillips said. "Then, after you melt the snow and ice it can heat up the water ... but when there isn't much ice and then you end up with a warm spring it is really a recipe for hot water out there and that's what we're seeing."

Lake Superior and Lake Michigan reached record temperatures this summer with Lake Superior 8 C above seasonal and Lake Michigan 4 C above seasonal.

Phillips said despite the unusual number of hot days this summer, Windsor and Essex County has had only one smog event -- in early July -- which lasted six days.

"Compared to 2007 when it wasn't quite as warm, there were 13 smog events and 38 days with smog for that whole summer."

The reason, Phillips said, is the amount of precipitation the region has experienced, which "scrubs" the air and removes impurities.

"People are saying it is because of the recession or the Ohio valley, there are fewer coal burning plants, so it may be a little bit of that, but I think it's more the meteorology, the fact that you have had more rain days which will just scrub the air," Phillips said.

While a mild winter has an affect on lake temperatures, Phillips said it is difficult to predict whether the heated lake will bring the area another mild winter.

"The Great Lakes do not make the cold winter or the warm winter, there isn't enough heat there to moderate the temperatures," Phillips said. "If the area gets brutally cold air and the water is still warm then you are absolutely going to get buried in lake-effect snow," Phillips said.

But, until winter sweeps its way across the county, Phillips said the area should be grateful for such an incredible summer.

The Windsor Star


Fewer turn out than expected for Green Bay Tall Ship Festival

8/17 - Green Bay, Wis. — Fewer people turned out for the Baylake Bank Tall Ship Festival this year than expected by organizers and less than the number recorded in 2006, the last time the maritime-themed event was in Green Bay.

About 51,621 people watched the ships arrive on Thursday and attended the festival between Friday and Sunday.

About 58,775 attended in 2006, said Terry Charles, a spokesman for PMI Entertainment Group, which organized the festival in Green Bay. PMI Entertainment Group had predicted as many as 75,000 would attend the festival this year.

The festival featured 12 replicas of sailing ships from the 1700s and 1800s, which docked at various places along the Fox River in downtown Green Bay. The ships were open for tours during the day and took some festival-goers on short voyages into the bay of Green Bay.

Rain and heavy winds on Friday canceled some events and likely kept crowds down that day, Charles said. The festival this year also ran only three days after running four days in 2006, which also likely contributed to this year’s smaller numbers, he said.

The festival-opening “Parade of Sail” ceremony was held in Sturgeon Bay this year after taking place in Green Bay in 2006. Holding the ceremony in Sturgeon Bay lowered the turnout in Green Bay, Charles said.

Despite the lower numbers, Charles said PMI Entertainment Group is happy with turnout this year.

“It was a very successful event, especially Saturday and Sunday when the weather was good,” Charles said.

Green Bay Press-Gazette


Retiring coastguardsman named new leader at Great Lakes Maritime Academy

8/17 - Traverse City, Mich. - Jerry Achenbach has made a living off the water. Achenbach, 48, spent more than two decades with the U.S. Coast Guard, where he serves as prevention chief for a sector/air station in Corpus Christi, Texas.

The New York native soon plans to retire from the coast guard, but won't leave his nautical passion behind — he's been named superintendent of Northwestern Michigan College's Great Lakes Maritime Academy. Achenbach will replace John Tanner, who retired in June after 15 years with the maritime academy.

"I'm excited and can't wait to start," he said. "I will do everything not to let them down."

Achenbach is expected to earn $90,000 annually as superintendent. His retirement from the coast guard is set for December, but he plans to use leave time in order to make the job transition by October. "At a certain point in time, your coast guard career ends," he said.

NMC officials launched a nationwide search to replace Tanner that attracted nearly 50 applications. Four candidates were invited to Traverse City last month to participate in open forums that were posted online in hopes of generating public feedback, said Stephen Siciliano, NMC vice president for educational services.

"This wasn't an ordinary position, so there wasn't an easy template to use," said Siciliano, who headed up the search process. "It's a really unique position for the college. You can imagine the pool from which to choose from is small, as well."

NMC's maritime academy is one of six state maritime academies in the nation, and the only one on freshwater. Achenbach will serve as administrative leader and chief academic officer of the maritime academy that enrolls 170 cadets.

"My primary goal is to continue to develop the best merchant marine officers," he said. "I've always considered myself a merchant marine at heart."

Achenbach also cited the northwest Michigan region as a major attraction that prompted him to apply for the position. Officials recently designated Traverse City as the nation's 10th Coast Guard city. His first visit to Traverse City came last month during the final round of interviews, but he said the area reminds him of a mix between Juneau, Alaska, and upstate New York.

"It's a perfect combination of the two," he said. "I think it's outstanding."

Traverse City Record Eagle


Updates - August 17

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - August 17

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

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

Data from: Joe Barr, Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Freighter traffic stopped for float down event

8/16 - Port Huron, Mich. - Emphasizing it was only a guess, Port Huron Fire Chief Bob Eick estimated Sunday that more than 1,000 people participated in the Port Huron Float Down.

Even though this year’s event was “unofficial” — since there was no organizer — public safety officials were well organized. Eleven area public safety groups — Port Huron police and fire, St. Clair County Sheriff, U.S. Coast Guard and St. Clair Fire, to name a few — had resources on the water.

In a meeting before the event, Eick said the U.S. Coast Guard commander had ordered the international shipping lane closed from noon to 5 p.m.

The Coast Guard also set up a safety zone on the river from north of the Blue Water Bridge to Chrysler Beach in Marysville. In that zone, only officials’ boats and floaters were allowed in the American side of the river. All power boats had to travel on the Canadian, or east, side of the river, Eick said.

The river closed to commercial traffic from noon to 8 p.m. delaying a number of vessels, some with operating costs up to $1000 per hour just to sit at anchor.

Delayed by the event were Mesabi Miner, downbound with coal, which went to anchor about 1 p.m.; Canadian Enterprise, Tim S. Dool and John D. Leitch. The upbound BBC Rio Grande and Algoway were delayed until about 5 p.m. When the floaters passed them, the two vessels were allowed to continue upbound. Downbound traffic got underway about 7 p.m., with the Dool followed by Leitch and Canadian Enterprise. Mesabi Miner was last to pull anchor, shortly before 8 p.m.

Port Huron Times Herald and BoatNerd.Com


Port Reports - August 16

Eastern U.P. - Bob VandeVusse
The tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons arrived at the Drummond Island quarry Sunday morning.

St. Marys River
Traffic was sparse Sunday, with Lee A. Tregurtha downbound in mid-morning. Algomarine was upbound and Pineglen downbound in the early evening. American Spirit also passed downbound after dark.


Updates - August 16

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards 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 WM. 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 towline 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.


Port Reports - August 15

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Lee A. Tregurtha arrived at the Upper Harbor ore dock Saturday afternoon, and after a fast load, departed in the early evening.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
Thursday the CSL Laurentian arrived around 9:30 p.m. and backed into the South Entrance for the Gateway Metroport in Lackawanna. Later that night, Manistee arrived for the Sand Supply Company landing on the City Ship Canal around midnight. Manistee backed out and departed around 10:30 a.m. Friday.


Ferry rescues 4 from plane that lands on Lake Erie

8/15 - Sandusky, Ohio – Steve Rose may have thought his eyes deceived him. The small, gray plane was flying far too low as it approached Put-in-Bay from the west.

“I was wondering why this gray plane was so close to the water,” Rose said. “Next thing I know, I looked up and it skipped once, and then it crashed into the water.”

The crisis didn’t end when the 1977 Cessna crash-landed in Lake Erie. And Rose, captain of a Miller Boat Line ferry, had more than just a front-row seat to the spectacular crash off South Bass Island on Friday morning.

He and others on his ferry rescued the plane’s four occupants, who managed to escape from the sinking wreckage.

It all started at about 11:30 a.m., when Rose’s ferry was running a few minutes late. He stood in the boat’s pilothouse, waiting for his deck hands to lift the ramp after loading the final cars onto the boat. Not minutes after the ferry pulled away from the island dock, the Cessna T210M appeared low in the sky. Far too low.

The plane landed in water about 22 feet deep, and about 30 feet away from the end of the island dock.

“I figure if we would have left a minute or two earlier, it would have hit the boat,” Rose said.

He moved the ferry quickly toward the sinking plane and shouted orders at his crew.

“We just heard Steve coming over the microphone saying something about ‘Go up into the bow of the boat,’” said Jake Market, one of the deck hands. “I saw the plane starting to sink, and that’s when we just kicked into overdrive.”

The plane sank in less than three minutes, but all four occupants managed to scramble into the water.

Market and two other crew members, Bernie Wise and Greg Johnson, had trained for situations like this. They tossed a life ring and a few life jackets to the people in the water, then put a ladder over the side and pulled the people in with a boat hook.

The plane’s fast-acting pilot told authorities he ditched the plane near the Miller ferry for an easy rescue.

The plane left Canton, Mich., that morning with four occupants from the Detroit area: the pilot and owner of the plane, Mark F. Neal, 61, Westland, Mich., and passengers Michael Reddy, 67, Westland, and Amber McClure, 21, and Ashley Braunstein, 21, both of Detroit.

McClure suffered a bruised shoulder, but the other three reported no injuries.

Neal told authorities the plane lost power as he approached the island in a final turn, a half-mile from the airport. At about 400 feet, he tried to restart the engine several times but failed.

“At that point, he saw a Miller ferry coming in, and he knew he was going to have to make a water landing, so he wanted to take it down near the ferry for a quick recovery,” said Sgt. Eric Short, of the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s Sandusky post.

The plane started sinking nose-first as soon as it hit the water.

Neal told authorities he, Reddy, and McClure escaped out the pilot’s-side door. But Braunstein, in the front-passenger seat, couldn’t reach that door, or even open her own because of the water pressure.

As the plane sank, Braunstein headed for the rear luggage area.

“The pilot had enough sense to open the rear luggage (door) and get her out that way,” Short said.

Dozens of passengers on the Miller ferry watched the scene unfold. Among them was Buffalo, N.Y. resident Jon Cook, who captured most of the rescue on video with his iPhone.

Cook said the ferry’s crew had to shoo away passengers who seemed eager to help.

As the ferry crew pulled the occupants in from the water, the plane’s two men appeared calm, while the women seemed to panic. One of the women, still in the water, screamed, “Get me out of here!

Somebody help me, please!” “I actually talked to that girl when she got up on the deck,” said Cook, who’d been visiting Put-in-Bay Friday with members of his church. “Her comment was, ‘I’m never riding on an airplane again.’”

Ferry passengers got towels for the victims and then helped them onto the dock when the boat returned to the island. Emergency personnel whisked them away.

In addition to State Patrol, others who responded to the scene included Put-in-Bay police and fire, Ohio Division of Watercraft, U.S. Coast Guard and Federal Aviation Administration officials.

Salvage crews endeavored to retrieve the plane from the lake’s murky depths, and FAA officials said they’ll examine it in hopes of pinpointing the cause of the crash.

“The last time we had a plane crash here was in 2004,” Put-in-Bay police Chief Robert “Ric” Lampela said. “I don’t ever remember, in the history of the airport here, having one in the water.”

Authorities and Miller Boat Line employees reflected afterward on the quick action and good luck that kept the crash from becoming a tragedy.

Despite the shock of what had just happened, the Miller ferryboat crew continued with their ferry run after helping the crash victims onto the dock. The boat made it to Catawba Island only five minutes late.

Sandusky Register


Three Severstal steel plants for sale, union says

8/15 - Hagerstown, Md. - The United Steelworkers union says it is working with Russian steelmaker Severstal to find a buyer for Severstal's plants in Maryland, West Virginia and Ohio.

A spokesman in Washington said today that the union wants the plants sold as a package. The trade journal American Metal Market reports that Severstal wanted to hear from potential bidders by Friday.

A Severstal spokeswoman in Dearborn, Mich., declined to comment on what she calls "market rumors and speculation."

In 2008, Severstal acquired the Sparrows Point plant near Baltimore, the former Wheeling-Pitt operations based in Wheeling, W.Va., and the former WCI Steel plant in Warren, Ohio. The union says the plants have a combined work force of about 6,000.

Columbus Dispatch


After years of court delays, man to resume quest to ID the Griffon sailing ship

8/15 - Detroit, Mich. - After more than six years of wrangling over who has the legal rights to explore a mysterious shipwreck, the state and an underwater explorer have reached an agreement that will allow him to finally find out whether the wreck he found in Lake Michigan is really the Griffon, the first sailing ship on the Great Lakes.

Virginian Steve Libert, who also owns a home in Charlevoix, said he believes he has found the Griffon, what many call the Holy Grail of Great Lakes shipwrecks.

This week, both sides reached an agreement under Judge Robert Bell of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan in Grand Rapids to halt any further litigation, allowing the shipwreck hunter to proceed.

Libert said he is overjoyed.

"It's been years - six years, two months and three days" of court battles, he said Friday.

Work to determine the true identity of the wreck has been stalled for years by court battles. Now he has regular deadlines to report any new findings.

The ship disappeared in 1679 on its maiden voyage, after the French explorer Rene-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle built the ship and sent it back down the lakes, laden with furs that were supposed to help fund his expedition. La Salle went on to claim the Mississippi Valley for France.

Libert has been in court ever since he told the state he believed he found the Griffon and suggested the two sides work together to confirm it was the Griffon. Michigan claims everything on the Great Lakes bottoms within the state's borders, and said state officials, not Libert, should explore the wreck, and expressed doubt that the find was really the Griffon.

The only problem was state officials needed Libert to tell them where to look. Libert steadfastly refused and the two sides ended up in a lengthy legal deadlock.

Three lower courts ruled in Libert's favor, but the legal maneuvering with the state continued. The two sides were close to an agreement about a year ago, Libert said, but negotiations broke down.

Libert even brought France into the battle. Because the Griffon sailed under the French flag, France has laid claim to the wreck -- allowable under international law if indeed it turns out to be the Griffon.

Carbon dating of wood brought up from the wreck in 2006 has placed it in the right age range. But Libert and experts are a long way from the end of their quest.

There are undoubtedly months of planning to be done before they even begin diving again. The undisclosed site needs to be thoroughly recorded and mapped before anything is done to the wreck itself, said Ken Vrana, president of the center for Maritime and Underwater Resource Management in Laingsburg.

"Especially in a site such as Le Griffon, which literally is an icon of maritime heritage in the Great Lakes," Vrana said. "The enterprises and the work that La Salle was doing for the king of France helped shape what we are today. To me, it's a fairly neglected aspect of our history."

Libert said the first moves will be remote sensing of the site, scanning each sector of the site with sonar devices and profiling the bottom of the lake around the wreck. He plans to bring several high-powered experts, including some that helped find the Titanic, and he expects four Michigan universities, including the University of Michigan and Michigan State University, to be involved.

"I want to keep everything in Michigan," he said.

He even dreams of the museums that will one day safeguard the Griffon's story. He's had interest in adding the Griffon to museums in Chicago and Niagara Falls, where the ship was built.

Libert has always said he would turn the wreck over to the state and museums. If it is the Griffon, the court agreement allows Libert the rights to books, videos and other projects for five years.

Detroit Free Press


Updates - August 15

Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - August 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Port Reports - August 14

St. Marys River
Another slow day, with Paul R. Tregurtha passing down during the afternoon and Presque Isle heading up. Traffic picked up in the evening, with Walter J. McCarthy Jr., Herbert C. Jackson, St. Clair and John B. Aird downbound and Frontenac and American Century upbound. Lee A. Tregurtha was upbound at Lime Island and 9 p.m., and American Integrity was off Isle Parisienne downbound. The McCarthy spent most of the day at tied at the west pier above the locks undergoing unspecified repairs. She got underway around 5 p.m.

Eastern U.P. - Bob VandeVusse
On Friday evening, John G. Munson was at the Carmeuse dock in Cedarville and Mississagi was at Drummond Island.

Green Bay, Wis. - Jeff Goodlet
It is expected to be a busy weekend in the Port of Green Bay with the tall ships in port. John J. Munson is expected to arrive with limestone for Great Lakes Calcium Terminal. Alpena is expected for the Lafarge Terminal with cement. The tug Prentiss Brown and barge St. Marys Conquest are expected with cement for St. Mary's Cement.

Sarnia, Ont. - Mike Cunningham
Algomarine arrived the government dock early Friday morning for what appears to be belt repair.

Clarkson, Ont. - Ron Beaupre
The tanker Clipper Lancer, which grounded while approaching the dock at Clarkson on Friday, August 6, was freed by offloading 1,100 tons of cargo into Vega Desgagnes.


Suit filed over proposed Rogers City coal plant

8/14 - Rogers City, Mich. - Wolverine Power Supply of Cadillac is going to court in pursuit of a new coal fired power plant in Rogers City. The company filed the action against the state in Missaukee County Circuit Court this week.

In May, state regulators ruled that there isn't enough demand for electricity to justify plans for the large coal fired plant near the shores of Lake Huron. Officials said there are other, less polluting alternatives to meet what demand there is.

Wolverine says it met all the conditions of the air permit, and new requirements imposed by Governor Granholm to look at cleaner sources of energy give the state arbitrary power to pick and choose which companies get permits.

But environmental groups say Wolverine has it wrong.

"Both the federal Clean Air Act and the Michigan Environmental Protection Act are very clear that alternatives can be considered when it comes to looking at whether pollution can be avoided," says Ann Woiwode, with the Michigan chapter of the Sierra Club.

Wolverine is asking the Court to throw out the Governor's order and for the DNRE to reconsider the permit. A company spokesman was not immediately available for comment.

IPR News


Lake Michigan water levels down from last year

8/14 - Despite record-breaking rainfall in July, and 20 inches of rain since June first in parts of Northeast Wisconsin, Lake Michigan water levels are actually down from this time last year.

According to data from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the lake and bay of Green Bay are down eight inches from a year ago, and the levels are currently one foot below average.

Those in the boating industry say rainfall makes up just a small piece of the pie when it comes to all the factors impacting Lake Michigan water levels.

"You've got the weather, you've got the wind, you got the pressure, rainfall, snow cover, snow pack in the winter, if the bay doesn't freeze over there's a lot of evaporation," says Lee Johnson, general manager of South Bay Marina.

The Corps of Engineers says despite high, muddy rivers like the Fox River in Green Bay, only the Wisconsin portion of the Lake Michigan basin has received above average rainfall.

They say high rivers in Northeast Wisconsin can give boaters a false sense of security that there's plenty of water in the bay and Lake Michigan to clear shallow reefs and sand bars, when in fact that may not be the case this summer.



Lake Superior surface waters are warmest on record

8/14 - Duluth, Minn. - Surface waters of Lake Superior recorded at three buoys across the lake this week reached their highest average temperature in the 31 years records have been kept.

The water temperature Tuesday hit 68.3 degrees at a time of year it should be about 55, topping the previous record of 68 degrees set during the strong El Nino summer of 1998.

The News Tribune first reported in July that the big lake was on a record warming pace, with August usually the warmest month of the year for Superior’s surface water.

Researchers Jay Austin and Steve Colman at the Large Lakes Observatory of the University of Minnesota Duluth have been predicting that the water would likely reach and pass the old record after a winter with little ice and an unusually warm spring.

Austin has been studying the data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration buoys in the lake and said he’s unsure as to how much higher the temperature could get.

“We’re basically in uncharted territory,” he said. “But we will anticipate seeing these warmer temps for the next week or more. I’d be astounded if (that high temperature) would be able to hold for another week.”

The big lake usually mixes, or turns over, when the surface waters hit 39 degrees Fahrenheit, when a shallow layer of warm water forms at the surface. That usually happens in mid-July. This year it happened a month earlier. That allowed the sun and warm air temperatures — Duluth is on pace to set a record for most 70 degree days in a row — to keep warming the big lake.

What higher water temperatures mean for the lake is unknown.

It could mean a more fertile lake with more organisms that thrive in warmer conditions. And it could cause cascading biological effects to fish and other species that we can surmise but haven’t confirmed, according to Colman, co-researcher and director of the Large Lakes Observatory.

While less ice in winter leads to warmer water in the summer, warmer water in the summer does not seem to correlate to less ice in the winter, Austin said.

“It does not appear that what happens now is going to affect (how much ice will form on the lake) this winter,” he said. “It’s not something I completely understand. This is an active area of research.”

Research by Austin and Colman in 2007 showed that summer Lake Superior water temperatures were warming twice as fast as air temperatures over the past 30 years, based on NOAA buoy data. It is one of the most graphic temperature increases on the planet.

The warmer water not only means more swimmable water earlier this summer but also warmer breezes for people on shore. Now, even when winds are off the big lake, they’re more refreshingly cool than chillingly cold.

Duluth News Tribune


Agreement reached in identifying Griffon wreck

8/14 - Charlevoix, Mich. - The state of Michigan, France and private divers have reached an extraordinary agreement to finally determine whether a Lake Michigan shipwreck is the Griffin, which sank in 1679.

There will be no immediate effort to remove anything from the ship. But Steve Libert, the diver who discovered it, says scientists with high-tech equipment will take images at the site. One of the tasks will be to determine if King Louis XIV's insignia is on a cannon.

The precise site has not been publicly disclosed but is believed to be between Escanaba and the St. Martin Islands, near Wisconsin.

During years of litigation, Michigan sought to have any wreckage declared state property. But that position changed after France claimed ownership in 2009. A judge put the lawsuit on hold this week. The Associated Press


Great Lakes museum presents a ship spectacular weekend on Belle Isle

8/14 - Detroit, Mich. - The Detroit Historical Society continues to observe the Dossin Great Lakes Museum’s 50th Anniversary with a Ship Spectacular weekend Saturday and Sunday, August 28 and 29, from 11 a.m. 4 p.m. at the museum on Belle Isle.

Each day, a different boat will be docked near the museum, and visitors will have the opportunity to meet the crew and learn more about their unique missions in sailing the Detroit River and the Great Lakes.

On Saturday, visit with the crew of the J.W. Westcott II mailboat from noon to 3 p.m. to experience the operation firsthand. The J. W. Westcott Company operates the mailboat for the U.S. Postal Service marine post office in Detroit, the only mailboat that delivers mail to freighters while they are moving. This unique story is told in the children's book “Mail by the Pail” by Colin Bergel, published by Wayne State University Press. A special quantity of books signed by the author will be available for purchase at this event inside the museum.

On Sunday, the Pride of Michigan will be docked near the Museum from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Operated by the Noble Odyssey Foundation and Captain Luke Clyburn, the ship is completely operated by middle and high school age participants in the Great Lakes Division Sea Cadets Corps program, under the supervision of experienced volunteer staff. The Corps is a non-profit, volunteer-supported program which encourages the development of youth into good citizens through experience with Navy-style training, discipline and activities in a seagoing environment.

For more information visit


Updates - August 14

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - August 14

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Great Lakes shipping rebound continues

8/13 - U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters carried 10,550,379 net tons of cargo in July, an increase of 2 percent compared with June, the Lake Carriers’ Association said Thursday.

Year-over-year, the increase was 40 percent higher than July 2009, when the country was in the midst of the recession.

July iron ore cargos increased 70 percent compared to a year ago, reflecting the same recessionary issues, which temporarily shut down the Iron Range mining industry. Coal loadings were up 16.2 percent. Limestone cargos increased 40.2 percent.

Year-to-date U.S.-flag cargos stand at 43,437,768 net tons, an increase of 53 percent compared to a year ago, but 9 percent behind the 5-year average for the first seven months of the year. Iron ore cargos are up 119 percent. Coal is 5.7 percent ahead of last year’s pace. Limestone cargos are up 38.7 percent.

Business North


Port Reports - August 13

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Twin Ports vessel traffic early Thursday morning included BBC Ems unloading wind turbine assemblies at the Duluth port terminal, Tim S. Dool loading at CHS grain terminal, Edwin H. Gott loading at DMIR ore dock, John B. Aird loading at Midwest Energy Terminal while American Integrity lay nearby waiting for its turn at the dock, and Edgar B. Speer moving into BNSF ore dock to load

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Herbert C. Jackson unloaded stone Thursday evening at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock. Also at the Lower Harbor, the tug Rochelle Kaye and two barges were secured inside the Lower Harbor breakwall near the USCG station.

St. Marys River – Roger LeLievre
Thursday saw very little traffic on the St. Marys River. Cuyahoga passed downbound around 1 p.m., and that was it until evening, when Montrealais and Kaye E. Barker headed upbound, ending the drought. American Spirit and Integrity / G.L. Ostrander were approaching the locks upbound as midnight neared, while CSL Assiniboine was near Lime Island upbound.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Thursday CCGC Limnos arrived at 8 a.m. and docked at the Canada Centre for Inland Waters in Burlington. The Group Ocean tug Omni Richelieu arrived at 11 a.m. Maritime Trader arrived in ballast at 8 p.m. for Pier 25.Robert S. Pierson arrived at 8:30 p.m. with canola and soya beans from Thunder Bay for Pier 11W. Canadian Progress arrived at 9:30 p.m. with salt from Windsor.


Detroit-Windsor passenger ferry studied

8/13 - Ann Arbor, Mich. - A ferry service across the Detroit River could be built with federal money under a new initiative to ease traffic congestion at the border.

Some 23,000 people cross the border between Windsor and Detroit every day through the tunnel and on the Ambassador Bridge. About 4,000 of them work in Detroit hospitals. Detroit is one of eight finalists for U.S. Transportation Department funding to create marine highways.

Michigan Radio


U.S. Exporters sell wheat via Canada as weather raises demand for grains

8/13 - U.S. exporters are shipping 275,000 metric tons of hard-red spring wheat through Canada that eventually will be sent elsewhere, according to the Canadian Wheat Board.

The wheat will go through Canadian ports on the St. Lawrence Seaway before delivery overseas, said Bruce Burnett, the director of weather and market analysis for the Wheat Board in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The sale, currently classified as exports to Canada, will be reclassified later as a non-Canadian transaction, he said.

Demand for U.S. exports is rising as drought harms crops in Russia, the European Union and Kazakhstan and rains lower output Canada and Ukraine. Canada will harvest 20.5 million tons during the year that ends May 31, down 16 percent from a July forecast and 23 percent from last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said Thursday in a report.

Canadian exports are forecast at 15.5 million tons, down 16 percent from last year, the USDA said. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, who returned from Canada earlier this week, said Wednesday that poor growing conditions abroad are creating export opportunities for the U.S.

Wheat futures for December delivery jumped to a 23-month high of $8.68 a bushel on Aug. 6 on the Chicago Board of Trade after Russia, the world’s third-biggest producer last year, banned exports of grain through year-end to conserve supplies for domestic food production and animal feed. Since then, wheat has fallen back 14 percent to $7.52 today, as investors slowed bets on further price gains.



St. Lawrence Power Development Visitor Centre opening ceremony today

8/13 - Cornwall, Ont. - Ontario Power Generation will hold a ceremony to celebrate the official opening of the St. Lawrence Power Development Visitor Centre today. The ceremony is for invited guests and will begin at 11:15 a.m. The centre opens to the public on Aug. 16.

The Visitor Centre offers people a chance to explore the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project construction story. The 13,000 square foot centre will be an important addition for tourism in Cornwall and the surrounding area.

The centre is located at 2500 Second Street West, on the bank of the St. Lawrence River just east of the Robert H. Saunders Generating Station.


17 tall ships coming to Green Bay, Port Washington

8/13 - Madison, Wis. — Seventeen tall ships will dock in Lake Michigan harbors over the next two weekends, allowing visitors a chance to tour and sail on the vintage ships.

Twelve rigged vessels will be in the Port of Green Bay this weekend. The ships will include the H.M.S. Bounty, the ship that was built for the movie "Mutiny on the Bounty." Another five ships will dock in Port Washington during the weekend of Aug. 20. Visitors will have the chance to go on a day sail or take sailing lessons.

Even if you can't make either event, the Wisconsin Department of Tourism says there are plenty of ways to enjoy the state's maritime history.

For example, there's the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc. Or, if you're a fan of lighthouses, there are 10 along the 75-mile-long Door County peninsula.

Chicago Tribune


Updates - August 13

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - August 13

Operated by a crew of retired Hanna captains, chief engineers and executives, the GEORGE M. HUMPHREY departed the old Great Lakes Engineering Works yard in Ecorse, Michigan, under her own power on August 13, 1986, for Lauzon, Quebec. The 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


Tug Jenny Lynn still sunk in Duncan Bay

8/12 - Cheboygan, Mich. - Tuesday evening the tug Jenny Lynn remained on the bottom of Duncan Bay. At some point in the last couple days the oil booms that have been surrounding the wreck have been removed as well as the marker buoys. The sunken tug has no buoys or lights marking the location and with only about 24 inches of the pilothouse above water is difficult to see after dusk. The former tug William Hoey is still moored at Durocher's Boat yard on the Cheboygan River almost directly across from the USCGC Mackinaw's moorings.

Brent Michaels & Jon Paul Michaels


Lakes limestone trade up 27 percent in July

8/12 - Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 3,682,308 net tons in July, a decrease of 4.7 percent compared to June, but an increase of 27 percent compared to a year ago. The trade was down 11.5 percent when compared to the month’s 5-year average.

Loadings at U.S. ports were up nearly 850,000 tons compared to a year ago, but shipments from Canadian docks slipped by 65,000 tons.

Year-to-date the Lakes limestone trade stands at 13,669,350 net tons, an increase of 32.5 percent compared to a year ago, but a decrease of 15.2 percent compared to the 5-year average for the January-July timeframe. Loadings at U.S. ports are up 39.3 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments from Canadian docks are 10.5 percent ahead of last year’s pace.

Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports - August 12

St. Marys River
Traffic Wednesday included the downbound Spruceglen, James R. Barker, Chestnut, Quebecois and Joseph L. Block. Roger Bough, John D. Leitch and Burns Harbor passed upbound. Fleetmates Mississagi (downbound) and Cuyahoga (upbound) passed abeam of Nine Mile Point, exchanging salutes, as night fell.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Undaunted, with the barge Pere Marquette 41, finished unloading at the Saginaw Wirt dock then went up to the Sixth Street Basin to turn and head outbound. In an unusual twist, the pair stopped at the Sargent sand dock and loaded a cargo of sand for her outbound trip. Very rarely does a vessel take on a cargo at a Saginaw River dock. Once loaded, the pair were outbound for the lake on Tuesday morning.


Port of Milwaukee earns Pacesetter award

8/12 - Milwaukee, Wis. - The Port of Milwaukee posted significant increases in international cargo over the 2009 navigation season, earning it the prestigious Robert J. Lewis Pacesetter Award from the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC), an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation. SLSDC Administrator Terry Johnson presented the award today to Eric Reinelt, Milwaukee’s Port Manager, at a ceremony in Milwaukee.

“This is a strong performance by a vital member of the Seaway System,” said Johnson. “The Port of Milwaukee has done an outstanding job of marketing themselves to current and prospective shippers.”

The Port of Milwaukee moved 318,000 million metric tons of cargo through the Seaway, a 22 percent increase over the 261,000 metric tons posted in 2008. Milwaukee, Wisconsin’s largest port, was one of only two ports in the U.S. Great Lakes Seaway System to post gains last year.

“Milwaukee has always looked to the Seaway as a vital marine trade route for moving manufactured and agricultural goods to market and receiving essential imports,” said Reinelt.

“That was especially true in 2009 as we saw an increase of 75 percent in grain shipments and handled an 800-ton transformer, one of the biggest pieces of project cargo we’ve moved in recent years,” he said.

The transformer was imported through the waterway on a heavy-lift ship last summer and handled by the Federal Marine Terminals stevedores who transferred the cargo from the port to Union Pacific rail and to its final destination. The Port of Milwaukee received 94,000 metric tons of general cargo through the Seaway last year while shipping out almost double that amount in grain.

This year’s award marks the ninth time the Port of Milwaukee has won the Pacesetter Award, which is presented annually to U.S. Great Lakes Seaway ports that register an increase in international tonnage shipped through the Seaway when compared to the previous navigation season. Originally known simply as the Pacesetter Award, the 2002 name change honors long-time Seaway trade analyst Bob Lewis.


Tall ships to sail through Sturgeon Bay Thursday

8/12 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - The 12 tall ships participating in the Baylake Bank Tall Ship Festival are scheduled to move through Sturgeon Bay on their way to the festival Thursday morning.

The festival is in downtown Green Bay Friday through Sunday.

Sturgeon Bay's "Parade of Sail" is expected to take place between about 7:30 and 10:30 a.m. Thursday.

Ships escorted by the U.S. Coast Guard and the Sturgeon Bay Police Department will parade through the bay in groups of two to four at a time. The group is scheduled to muster on the Lake Michigan side of the canal at about 7 a.m.

A pancake and porkie breakfast will be served during the parade at Great Lakes Yacht Services. The meal is a fundraiser for P.A.T.H., a nonprofit support group for families with special-needs children. A viewing party and breakfast are also scheduled under the big top at Door County Maritime Museum.

Timothy Graul, marine architect and designer of the tall ship Denis Sullivan, is scheduled to give a presentation at 8:30 a.m. at Great Lakes Yacht Services, and the Sturgeon Bay High School Band is scheduled to perform there at 8:45 a.m.

A cannon salute from the museum and Bay Shipbuilding Co. is planned around 9 a.m.

More details about Thursday's activities can be found by visiting and clicking "Parade of Sail." The website also contains information about this weekend's activities in Green Bay.

Door County Advocate


Updates - August 12

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - August 12

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sidsel Knutsen undamaged, resumes its trip to Montreal

8/11 - Port Huron, Mich. – Sidsel Knutsen was underway about 6:15 p.m. Tuesday night headed downbound for Montreal. The tanker, which had been stuck in the St. Clair River since Aug. 3 after an engine room fire caused the vessel to lose power, was released Monday around 8:20 p.m. with the help of the G-tugs Wyoming and Idaho.

The vessel headed upbound for the Lake Huron anchorage for inspection before resuming its downbound trip. Inspection was delayed Tuesday morning by fog. No damage was found and the Knutsen was underway Tuesday evening.


Great Lakes coal trade up 26 percent in July

8/11 - Coal shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 4,096,149 net tons in July, an increase of 5.7 percent over June, and an increase of 26 percent compared to a year ago. However, loadings were down 3.4 percent compared to the month’s five-year average.

Shipments from Lake Superior ports increased 16.8 percent compared to a year ago, but were up only 2.6 percent compared to July’s five-year average. Loadings in Chicago increased by 160 percent compared to a year ago, but basically mirrored the months five-year average. The coal trade out of Lake Erie increased 29.6 percent compared to a year ago, but was 16 percent off the five-year average.

Year-to-date coal shipments stand at 14.8 million tons, an increase of 3.7 percent compared to a year ago. However, a year ago the total was still depressed by the recession. A better measure is the five-year average, and in that regard, 2010 loadings are 22.6 percent off the pace.

Lake Carriers' Association


Port Reports - August 11

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
On her second visit of the season, John J. Boland loaded ore at the Upper Harbor Tuesday morning. Tug Rochelle Kaye and two barges were secured on the south side of the Lower Harbor ore dock Tuesday afternoon.

St. Marys River Traffic was heavy Tuesday on the St. Marys River. Downbound vessels included American Republic, Philip R. Clarke, Peter R. Cresswell, Robert S. Pierson, Algoma Guardian, Michipicoten, Algocape, Stewart J. Cort, Presque Isle, Lee A. Tregurtha and CSL Laurentien. Upbound were Paul R. Tregurtha, John B. Aird, Charles M. Beeghly, American Integrity, Mississagi and Edgar B. Speer. Cason J. Callaway, St. Clair and Cedarglen were upbound in the lower river as night fell while John J. Boland and Kamininstiqua were downbound in Whitefish Bay.

Traverse City -
The training ship Manatra is dockside at the Great Lakes Maritime Academy until Wednesday morning. The USN Sea Cadets are touring the facilities and visiting the USCG Air Station for the day. The training vessel will depart on Wednesday for Sturgeon Bay and back to her dock in Chicago on Saturday. This marks the second of two 10-day summer training sessions for the cadets.

Stoneport and Calcite, Mich. - Daniel McNeil
Tug Victory and Lewis J. Kuber were expected at Stoneport Tuesday, followed by John G. Munson and Frontenac. Due on Thursday are Maumee, Pathfinder, Buffalo and a return of the Lewis J. Kuber. Phillip R. Clarke is due Friday. Due for Calcite Tuesday were Cason J. Callaway, H. Lee White and the James Kuber. On Wednesday Cuyahoga is expected, followed by the Calumet Thursday.


Tall ships sail back into Green Bay on Thursday

8/11 - Green Bay, Wis. – An armada of 12 old-time sailing ships will slip into the Fox River on Thursday, bringing a slice of 19th-century nautical history with it.

An assortment of schooners, sloops, ketches and brigs, most of them replicas of vessels from the 1800s, will be the headline attraction of the Baylake Bank Tall Ship Festival Friday through Sunday in downtown Green Bay.

"People will be able to tour these ships, really learn about each of the ships' history," said Terry Charles, spokesman for PMI Entertainment Group, which is organizing the event in Green Bay.

Dockside ship tours, voyages into the bay of Green Bay, food, music and children's activities will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day at Leicht Memorial Park. Baylake Bank, which has locations in Green Bay, is the main sponsor of the festival.

Tickets for short voyages aboard ships into the bay have sold out, Charles said, but people will be able to tour the vessels while they're docked riverside.

The vessels will enter Green Bay on Thursday, marking the first time they have all been here since 2006. People can watch ships enter the Fox River from vantage points on the Ray Nitschke Memorial Bridge in Green Bay from 1 to 5 p.m. Cost is $4 a person. The bridge will be closed to vehicle traffic from 10 a.m. Thursday to 6 a.m. Monday, and a detour route will be set up.

Charles said the U.S. Coast Guard will monitor the ships entering the river to ensure they follow maritime laws. The Coast Guard also will make sure passenger walkways leading to the ships are secure.

Green Bay Press Gazette


Decision advances Toledo coke plant

8/11 - Toledo, Ohio – Backers of the proposed $800 million FDS Coke Plant and co-generation power plant believe they have crossed another bureaucratic hurdle that has made their project more attractive to investors.

FDS learned on Friday that the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator Inc., agrees the proposed 135-megawatt co-generation power plant is a viable addition to the project.

According to a final impact study, the project would not impair the region's electrical grid and the plant could be connected to it at a cost of $2 million or less.

“This is the best outcome we could have ever really hoped to get,” said Lance Traves, project spokesman and president of Labyrinth Management Group Inc., of Medina, Ohio, FDS' technical consultant. Mr. Traves said the report “eliminates the guessing as to what the interconnection costs would be.”

He said a one-time $2 million connection fee for a plant that is expected to generate $50 million a year in electricity should be attractive to investors.

FDS has not broken ground on the project despite holding an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency permit for it since 2004 and getting it modified to the EPA's liking a year later.

The project is designed for a 51-acre site on the East Toledo-Oregon line owned by the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority. Large ovens would produce coke, a vital ingredient for steel, with waste steam being piped into the co-generation power plant.

Mr. Traves said he now hopes to break ground this fall.

In March, the Ohio Environmental Review Appeals Commission, a state panel empowered to void Ohio EPA permits, rejected an appeal filed by the Sierra Club and the village of Harbor View, which is downwind from the project site. Construction is expected to take 2˝ years.

Toledo Blade


Rand Logistics reports financial results

8/11 - New York, N.Y. – On Tuesday, Rand Logistics announced financial and operational results for the first quarter of fiscal year 2011, ended June 30. The company reported a 27 percent Increase in operating income plus depreciation and amortization.

"We experienced an overall increase in demand in our markets during the fiscal first quarter, as compared to the same period last year, when a weakened economy delayed the start of the 2009 sailing season,” Scott Bravener, President of Lower Lakes, stated. “A stronger steel industry significantly increased shipments of ore, and to a lesser extent coal and aggregates used by the steel industry in our markets, offset by modest reductions in shipments in our grain and salt markets compared to last year. “Overall, we are satisfied with our fiscal first quarter operating performance as we continued to achieve operational improvements within the fleet. We were, however, disappointed that these improvements were partially offset by a major mechanical incident on one of our vessels. We incurred approximately $400,000 in excess repair expenses related to this incident. Of greater impact to the quarterly financial performance was the foregone revenue and profit from the affected vessel not operating for approximately 43 days, as well as the inefficiencies created in our trade patterns resulting from our having to substitute other less optimal vessels into the trade routes."

"With few exceptions, our vessels were operating on April 1, 2010, and our total sailing days for the quarter equaled 1,023 versus a theoretical maximum of 1,092, a substantial increase from the 912 days sailed in the comparable quarter last year. In general, our customer demand and visibility has improved meaningfully as compared with the same period last year, although tonnage volumes for certain of the commodities that we carry are still meaningfully less than the trailing five-year average. We continue to pursue additional long-term contractual business, which will allow us to further increase vessel utilization and allow for further growth as the economy continues to rebound. Based on current customer demand, we remain confident in our ability to operate our fleet in fiscal 2011 closer to our 3,300 day theoretical maximum as compared to fiscal 2010, which will enable us to continue improving the efficiency of our vessels," Mr. Bravener concluded.

"We were very pleased to recently announce our plans to convert our last steam powered vessel, the SS Michipicoten, to diesel power,” added Laurence S. Levy, Chairman and CEO of Rand. “We expect to begin this project in December 2010 and estimate that it will take approximately 120 days to complete. Based on our experience with a similar vessel repowering in 2008, we estimate that this U.S. $15 million investment will generate an annual return on invested funds in the mid teens which significantly exceeds our marginal cost of capital. “We are financing this project with a CDN $20 million incremental term loan provided by certain of our existing lenders. As previously stated, subsequent to the repowering of the Michipicoten, we are projecting to generate between $0.90 and $1.00 of free cash flow per share per year, assuming no drastic deterioration in economic conditions. We are currently evaluating a number of potential attractive investment opportunities to deploy capital, and would expect each of these opportunities to allow us to generate unlevered returns in the mid-teens level and therefore would be accretive to the $0.90 to $1.00 free cash flow guidance that we have already presented."


Even restoration fund may not save Lake Huron lighthouse

8/11 - When the Point Clark lighthouse received nearly $500,000 to restore its historic tower, lighthouse workers were thrilled. This, of course, was before they began work and realized the structure would have to be shut down because its exterior was crumbling.

“My initial reaction was just ‘ugh,’ ” said Mike Fair, director of recreation and facilities for the Township of Huron-Kinloss. “It was a real sinking feeling.” The tower, located on the east shore of Lake Huron, is owned by Parks Canada but operated by the township.

The federal government committed $495,000 earlier this year to the 150-year-old tower, enabling Parks Canada to complete an assessment and determine what work needed to be done. The engineer’s report in late June, however, was worse than anticipated. It said the tower’s stone exterior was crumbling and unsafe to keep open, at least for the rest of the summer.

Mr. Fair believes the total cost of restoring the tower to meet safety standards may exceed $495,000, and is concerned that, should no further funding become available, it could remain closed indefinitely. But, he said, both Parks Canada and the township are doing everything they can to ensure that doesn’t happen. “I don’t think it’s ‘If it will get done,’ ” he said. “I think it’s ‘When it’ll get done.’ ”

Parks Canada is figuring out the cost for repairs. Despite those efforts, residents of Point Clark, to which the lighthouse helps attract thousands of visitors each summer, remain concerned.

“I can’t imagine Point Clark without the tower and without being able to climb it,” said Stacey Courtney, a student who’s worked at the lighthouse for six summers. “It’s upsetting to know that if it doesn’t open again, there won’t be a hub for the locals who can be proud of the history Point Clark has.”

Ms. Courtney, whose family used to own the land the tower now sits on, said the tower has served as a backdrop for generations of wedding proposals, family pictures and storytelling sessions. And, as with all lighthouses, this one is full of stories.

One of the most popular tales about the Point Clark lighthouse is the one about the MacDonald boys, said Ms. Courtney’s family member, Bob Courtney. The MacDonalds were the mischievous sons of a 19th century lighthouse keeper. They allegedly sent a cat sailing off the top of the 26-metre high tower one day in a makeshift parachute fashioned out of an umbrella and an old fruit basket. “The cat, apparently, survived,” said Mr. Courtney.

Point Clark is not the only lighthouse at risk these days. In May, the federal government declared about 970 lighthouses across the country “surplus,” meaning they are cheaper to replace with automated lights, and offered them up for sale.

To lose historic lighthouses, said Mr. Fair, would be a shame.

“It’s the mystery surrounded by it, the fog and the mist,” he said. “Mariners in years past looked at lighthouses as their sign of hope for knowing where they were and where they were going.”

Globe and Mail


Updates - August 11

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - August 11

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

The night of August 11, 2001, the WINDOC was damaged and caught fire when the 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 1,000- 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.


Sidsel Knutsen freed from St. Clair River grounding

8/10 - St. Clair, Mich. – 6:15 p.m. update - The Sidsel Knutsen was underway about 6:15 p.m. Tuesday night headed downbound for Montreal.

The tanker Sidsel Knutsen, which has been stuck in the St. Clair River since Aug. 3 after an engine room fire caused the vessel to lose power, was released Monday around 8:20 p.m. with the help of the G-tugs Wyoming and Idaho.

The vessel headed upbound for the Lake Huron anchorage for inspection before resuming its downbound trip. Inspection was delayed Tuesday morning by fog. No damage was found and the Knutsen is expected to get underway about 5 p.m. Tuesday evening.

During the day on Monday, divers worked from a barge pushed by the Malcom Marine tug Debbie Lee removing the buoy that became entangled in the ship’s anchor chain. Also on scene was the Malcom tug Gerry B.

As efforts got underway Monday morning to free the Sidsel Knutsen - which nearly slammed into the sea wall in St. Clair before coming to a stop about 50 feet from shore - the incident served as a reminder the Knudsen is just the most recent ship to experience a mishap on the waterway.

"It's always a possibility," United States Coast Guard Station Port Huron Chief Jeffrey Ryan said. "Mechanical things fail."

Tugs were on the scene Monday. If the vessel is freed, plans call for divers to go down and inspect the hull. Meanwhile, Ryan said last week's near accident was the first such incident since he took over at the station two years ago.

However, Frank Frisk at the Great Lakes Maritime Center said several incidents in the past 20 years have involved ships making contact with the sea wall along the Thomas Edison Parkway near the Blue Water Bridge. He said several other close calls and a handful of other accidents have occurred downriver.

The incident that caused the most damage occurred in 2002.

A 151-foot tugboat pushing a 400-foot barge south in the St. Clair River lost control of the larger vessel as they passed beneath the Blue Water Bridge when one of the ropes tying them together broke.

Sparks flew, and concrete crumbled as the barge crashed into 200 feet of sidewalk near Pine Grove Park. It also crashed into the decks of three homes. That incident caused $100,000 worth of damage.

"It raised up the sidewalk," Port Huron city engineer Bob Clegg recalled. "It was quite severe."

Frisk said the 600-foot freighter Rudjer Boskovic caused $180,000 worth of damage in 1987 in the same area. He said most of the incidents involved simple mechanical failures that caused the ships to go into the wall.

In August 1997, a wake from a 729-foot Canadian freighter, Halifax, struck an East China Township home, causing nearly $100,000 in damage. Two different ships crashed into a refueling dock in Corunna, Ontario, in 2006 and again in 2008.

Ryan said most freighters run with the same system and all are susceptible to such problems. "They are all basically the same," he said. "And with that much force, they can cause a lot of damage."

Bruce Hurd, Frank Frisk and Port Huron Times Herald


Conveyor accident kills crewman on Stewart J. Cort

8/10 - Bayfield, Wis. - A worker was fatally injured Sunday aboard the 1,000-foot laker Stewart J. Cort off the Apostle Islands.

The Bayfield County Sheriff’s Department indentified the victim as Denton Heske, 61, of Harrison, Mich. According to the sheriff’s department, Heske and two others were doing repairs on the ship and Heske was caught in the conveyer belt system and crushed between the belt and a roller.

The Bayfield Coast Guard station contacted the sheriff’s department around 9:15 p.m. Sunday, requesting emergency medical technicians from the Bayfield Ambulance Service ride with them to the Cort about 10 miles northwest of Devil’s Island. When the Coast Guard and EMTs arrived, they found the ship’s crew performing CPR on Heske. It was reported that CPR had been started immediately after the accident and had been performed for about an hour. Heske was moved to the Coast Guard boat and CPR was continued until medical control for the EMTs advised them to stop.

The Sheriff’s Department, the Bayfield County Coroner’s Department and the Coast Guard Duluth Station investigated the death and determined that it was accidental.


Port Reports - August 10

Traffic on part of the St. Marys River was suspended for a few hours Monday morning due to fog. When the river reopened, Herbert C. Jackson and four tall ships Europa, Roald Amundsen, Dennis Sullivan and Pride of Baltimore, passed downbound. BBC Ems was upbound around noon, while John J. Boland and Walter J. McCarthy Jr. were up later in the afternoon. Joseph H. Thompson Jr. and Buffalo were downbound in the evening.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Undaunted, with the barge Pere Marquette 41, were inbound the Saginaw River on Monday afternoon, headed for the Wirt Stone dock in Saginaw to unload. The pair were expected to be outbound early Tuesday morning.

Lorain, Ohio - Phil Leon
Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder docked south of Henderson Bridge and was unloading Monday evening.

Rochester, New York - Tom Brewer
Stephen B. Roman arrived at Essroc's Terminal to unload bulk cement Monday.


Ship carrying Minnesota Power wind components expected in Duluth Tuesday

8/10 - Duluth, Minn. - When the BBC Ems arrives in the Port of Duluth on Tuesday, it will mark a significant milestone for Minnesota Power’s wind development project that spans two states.

The BBC Ems is carrying wind turbine equipment destined for the company's 76-megawatt Bison 1 Wind Energy Center now under construction near New Salem, N.D. On board the ship are 16 nacelles and 16 rotor hubs that are integral components of the first phase of Bison. Manufactured at a Siemens facility in Brande, Denmark, the equipment was shipped from the port of Aarhus.

The Bison 1 project consists of 33 wind turbines to be installed in the project by the end of 2011. Sixteen wind towers will be assembled and scheduled for activation by the end of this year. The remaining 17 will be installed in 2011. Each nacelle supports a rotor and encloses a wind turbine plant’s major components for electric power generation -- the gearbox, drive train and control electronics. A rotor hub fits on the front of the nacelle and contains large holes where the blades will be fitted. Each set of blades, rotor hub, and nacelle weighs 144 tons.

Construction of this $178 million wind farm follows the company’s $70 million purchase of a 465-mile transmission line to bring wind energy from North Dakota to its customers in northeastern Minnesota. When coupled with Minnesota Power’s existing wind, hydro and biomass assets across Northeastern Minnesota, Bison will enable the company to meet Minnesota’s 25 percent renewable standard by 2025 in a timely and cost effective manner.

“Developing cost effective wind resources in North Dakota benefits our customers, and utilizing the Duluth Port for the delivery of this large equipment also enables us to contribute to a green jobs economy in our own back yard,“ said ALLETE President and CEO Alan R. Hodnik.

The nacelles and hubs will be stored at the Clure Public Marine Terminal until needed at the project site; specialized trucks will later be dispatched to transport the heavy components to North Dakota.

“The Port of Duluth has handled nearly a million freight tons of wind turbine components in the past five years,” noted Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. “We’ve begun to see an uptick in wind shipments this year, signaling that sector is starting to rebound. While we have established relationships with manufacturers and developers in Europe and across North America, we are especially pleased to be handling this shipment for Minnesota Power, a company headquartered here in Duluth and committed to northeastern Minnesota.”

Most wind turbine components shipped through the Port of Duluth since 2005 were inbound from manufacturers in Germany, Denmark and Spain for delivery to major projects in the Upper Midwest. The Port has also served wind farm projects as far away as Montana, Missouri, Oklahoma and Wyoming, and handled outbound shipments of blades manufactured in North Dakota to Spain, Brazil and Chile.

The blades for Bison 1 will be fabricated in a Siemens facility in Fort Madison, Iowa and trucked to the construction site. Towers for the wind turbines will be built in West Fargo, N.D.


EPA christens new research vessel in Duluth

8/10 - Duluth, Minn. – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials on Friday christened their Lake Superior research vessel Lake Explorer II at a ceremony in Duluth.

Paul Anastas, assistant administrator for research and development, joined U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Chisholm, at the event. Lake Explorer II has been in Duluth since spring 2009, assigned to the Mid-Continent Ecology Division’s laboratory here.

The boat is being used to conduct research on environmental stressors affecting the big lake — things such as toxic and nutrient pollution, invasive species, habitat loss and degradation, air pollution and polluted runoff.

“The Lake Explorer II will serve EPA as an important tool in protecting the environmental health of the Great Lakes,” Anastas said in a statement.

The refurbished boat, first launched in 1966 and which served as an NOAA research vessel before being acquired by the EPA, is 90 feet long with a maximum draft of 7 feet and has sleeping quarters for 11 crew and scientists. The EPA replaced the wastewater holding system and many structural features. Scientists now can analyze water quality by processing plankton samples on board.

The new boat replaces the 82-foot original Lake Explorer that had been stationed in Duluth for many years.

Duluth News Tribune


Updates - August 10

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - August 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

Data from: Joe Barr, David Swayze, Jody L. Aho, Max Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Tugs will work today to free tanker; mishaps are nothing new on St. Clair River

8/9 - St. Clair, Mich. - 9 p.m. - Sidsel Knutsen was underway about 8:20 p.m. Monday night. The tanker headed upbound for the Lake Huron Anchorage, they are likely heading to the anchorage for inspection before resuming their downbound trip.

3 p.m. update - The Sidsel Knutsen is expected to get under way tonight between 6 - 7 p.m. Divers have been working from a barge pushed by the Malcom tug Debbie Lee, they are removing the buoy that became entangled in the ship's anchor chain. Also on scene is the Malcom tug Gerry B.  Marine and the G Tugs Wyoming and Idaho. The tugs will work the Kuntsen free this afternoon.

Original Report:

As efforts get underway Monday morning to free the 533-foot Norwegian fuel tanker Sidsel Knutsen -- which nearly slammed into the sea wall in St. Clair last week -- the incident serves as a reminder the Knudsen is just the most recent ship to experience a mishap on the waterway.

"It's always a possibility," United States Coast Guard Station Port Huron Chief Jeffrey Ryan said. "Mechanical things fail."

Tugs were on the scene Monday. If the vessel is freed, plans call for divers to go down and inspect the hull. Meanwhile, Ryan said last week's near accident was the first such incident since he took over at the station two years ago.

However, Frank Frisk at the Great Lakes Maritime Center said several incidents in the past 20 years have involved ships making contact with the sea wall along the Thomas Edison Parkway near the Blue Water Bridge. He said several other close calls and a handful of other accidents have occurred downriver.

The incident that caused the most damage occurred in 2002.

A 151-foot tugboat pushing a 400-foot barge south in the St. Clair River lost control of the larger vessel as they passed beneath the Blue Water Bridge when one of the ropes tying them together broke.

Sparks flew, and concrete crumbled as the barge crashed into 200 feet of sidewalk near Pine Grove Park. It also crashed into the decks of three homes. That incident caused $100,000 worth of damage.

"It raised up the sidewalk," Port Huron city engineer Bob Clegg recalled. "It was quite severe."

Frisk said the 600-foot freighter Rudjer Boskovic caused $180,000 worth of damage in 1987 in the same area. He said most of the incidents involved simple mechanical failures that caused the ships to go into the wall. 

In August 1997, a wake from a 729-foot Canadian freighter, Halifax, struck an East China Township home, causing nearly $100,000 in damage. Two different ships crashed into a refueling dock in Corunna, Ontario, in 2006 and again in 2008.

Ryan said most freighters run with the same system and all are susceptible to such problems. "They are all basically the same," he said. "And with that much force, they can cause a lot of damage."

The Sidsel Knutsen sustained an engine-room fire Aug. 3 and, while those on board were fighting the blaze. The ship was southbound when it hit a buoy at the south end of the Middle Ground, a shallow area in the middle of the river. It then swung around and headed for the sea wall, dropping its anchor before making contact, witnesses said.

Ryan said he believes the pilot of the Sidsel Knutsen did the right thing to avoid any impact.

"From my perspective, they did a good job," Ryan said.


Crews work to raise tug sunk off Cheboygan

9/9 - Cheboygan, Mich. - Saturday night the former tug William Hoey was towed to the Durocher Dredge and Dock's boat yard to get her out of the way before salvage operations start on the sunken Jenny Lynn. Divers have been down almost daily checking the Jenny Lynn in preparation for salvage. The Cheboygan paper reports that the Coast Guard considers them abandoned and has taken over the direction of the salvage.

Brent Michaels


Port Reports - August 9

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Twin Ports vessel traffic Sunday included Kaministiqua departing CHS grain terminal late in the afternoon, following Ojibway out of port. Algolake departed Fraser Shipyards earlier in the day after reportedly undergoing stern tube seal repairs. Quebecois was finishing unloading at St. Lawrence Cement. Stewart J. Cort was loading at BNSF ore dock and Saginaw was loading at Hallett Dock 5.

Marquette. Mich. - Rod Burdick
Sunday at the Upper Harbor the Joseph H. Thompson, an uncommon visitor, unloaded stone into the hopper and Herbert C. Jackson loaded ore.

St. Marys River
Evening traffic included the upbound Kaye E. Barker (Capt. Greg Sipper offered a nice salute at Mission Point and another above the locks) and Sam Laud. American Mariner and Great Lakes Trader were downbound.

Welland Canal - Brian W.
The American articulated tug Morgan Reinauer and barge RTC-101 were downbound in the canal Sunday. This is the first time a Reinauer tug has been on the lakes since the late 1990s when the Stephen Reinauer and George Morris combo were running gasoline into Buffalo out of Nanticoke.

Hamilton and Bronte - Eric Holmes
Sunday Maria Desganges departed the Petro Canada Pier in Bronte at 2:30 a.m. CSL Assiniboine arrived at 2 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Superior for U.S. Steel. Canadian Olympic arrived at 1:30 p.m. from cleaning holds in Lake Ontario. John D. Leitch arrived at 2:45 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Sept. Ile, Que., for Dofasco. Asphalt Carrier departed at 3 p.m. and headed down the lake. The tug LaPrairie departed at 3:30 p.m. The tug William J Moore and barge McLeary's Spirit departed at 4 p.m.


Updates - August 9

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


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.


Port Reports - August 8

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Three vessels visited the Upper Harbor on Saturday. Robert S. Pierson loaded ore in the morning and departed. James R. Barker arrived in the late afternoon to unload coal into the hopper. At sunset, Joseph H. Thompson, loaded with stone, arrived and docked on the north side of the ore dock to wait for the hopper.

Soo - Herm Phillips
On a partly cloudy and very windy Friday at the Soo, upbound traffic consisted of Philip R. Clarke in the late afternoon and Buffalo in the evening. Algosoo, Beluga Fidelity, Edwin H. Gott, Algosar, Canadian Enterprise and Cason J. Callaway were downbound during the day. Early morning traffic was Kaye E. Barker down American Century and Lee A. Tregurtha up. Late night traffic included Edgar B. Speer down and Algocape up. Robert S. Pierson departed Essar for Marquette late in the afternoon.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Greg Barber and Dick Fox
Algorail came through the pierheads at 11:15 Saturday morning, blowing three salutes as she headed for Meekhof's D & M Dock next to the power plant on Harbor Island. She was expected to leave about 6:30 p.m.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Friday the tug Everlast and barge departed at 5:15 a.m. for the canal. Tim S. Dool departed at 5:30 a.m. for Thunder Bay. The tug LaPrairie departed at 7:30 p.m. Maria Desgagnes arrived at 8 p.m. with gasoline from Montreal.
Saturday the tug LaPrairie arrived at 8 p.m. Canadian Olympic arrived at noon with coal from Toledo for Dofasco. CSL Tadoussac departed at 1:30 p.m. from US Steel in ballast. Frontenac arrived at 4 p.m. with iron ore pellets from Superior for US Steel. Maria Desgagnes arrived at the Petro Canada Pier in Bronte at 4 p.m. in ballast. The tug William J Moore and barge McLeary's Spirit arrived at 7 p.m. The CCGC Limnos arrived in Burlington at 7:30 p.m., going to the Canada Centre for Inland Waters.

Calumet River -
Saturday the towboat Steve A. McKinney locked through the O'Brien lock and dam with an empty fuel barge heading out towards the lake. On Friday, William C. passed through the O'Brien Lock and dam loaded with coal heading northbound. A short while later the McKinney was observed upbound loaded with unknown products.


BoatNerd cruise hits the jackpot with vessels, weather

8/8 - Great weather and an unusually high volume of vessel traffic awaited more than 60 BoatNerds who took our annual Detroit River Cruise aboard the Friendship with Captain Sam Buchanan Saturday.

After departing Portofino restaurant in Wyandotte, the first vessel on our menu was the upbound Tim S. Dool. Two salties, Chestnut and BBC Ems, were docked on the Windsor side and the cement carrier Alpena was at the Lafarge dock on the U.S. Side. Alpena got underway while we were nearby, heading downbound and passing the back-to-back upbound vessels Michipicoten, Manistee (thanks to Captain Ron Bresinski for the great salute) and Federal Oshimo. As Michipicoten passed up going one way, Algosteel and Beluga Fidelity were headed down.

Taking advantage of a lull in traffic, we stopped by the J.W. Wescott Co. to take on a full load of cheese and pepperoni pizzas. Headed back down river, Captain Buchannan explored the slip where the BobLo boats Columbia and Ste.Claire are laid up. We also popped into the old Great Lakes Engineering Co. slip to view the G-tugs Vermont and Idaho as well as the one-time Duluth bumboat Marine Trader, which is laid up and for sale. Stops for photos were also made for the laid-up barge Sarah Spencer and her tug, Jane Ann IV.

As we headed back to our dock, we passed the Wyandotte-based passenger vessel Diamond Jack and exchanged salutes with Captain Mike Nicholls. The four-hour trip was over far too soon, so a number of disembarking passengers decided to head by car up to the Jefferson Avenue bridge to watch Kaye E. Barker depart. Watch for an announcement of next year's cruise date sometime this winter. Thanks for all who rode along!


Updates - August 8

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


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 its 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.


Oil leak from wrecked Nordmeer in Lake Huron plugged

8/7 - Alpena, Mich. – A ship that sank in 1966 in Thunder Bay caused concern after an oil leak was discovered. An oil spill response crew from T&T Bisso, along with U.S. Coast Guard Sector Detroit, sealed the source of oil discharge from the sunken 470-foot freighter Nordmeer, Friday.

Coast Guard Station Alpena discovered a sheen coming from the wreck during a routine patrol July 24, 2010.

After years of deterioration and severe damage from winter storms, Nordmeer had begun to collapse upon itself, and some of the residual oil had discharged from the vessel.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) divers were able to locate a damaged flange which was leaking a peanut-sized drop of oil every five seconds.

Sector Detroit hired T&T Bisso and coordinated with the NOAA Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary to stop the leak and mitigate any further pollution. U.S. Coast Guard Sector Detroit opened the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund August 3, 2010, to stop the leak and clean up the escaped oil.

No further leaks are expected, but Sector Detroit will continue to monitor the situation.



Pizza company delivers to stranded tanker

8/7 - St. Clair, Mich. - Representatives from the Murphy Inn and the St. Clair Chamber of Commerce gave new meaning Thursday evening to “delivering pizza.”

About 6:30 p.m., a small contingent boarded a Lake Pilots Association vessel and ferried five Murphy Inn pizzas and three fruit pies to crew members on the Sidsel Knutsen, a Norwegian fuel tanker stranded in the St. Clair River since Tuesday.

Jody Skonieczny, director of the chamber, organized the effort at the suggestion of a city resident. “It was wonderful,” Skonieczny said about meeting the crew. “They weren’t expecting dessert. They were very appreciative.”

The 533-foot Sidsel Knutsen dropped anchor at the Pine River after an engine-room fire. The ship’s crew members are working to get the ship up and running.


Anchor lost at Pointe Fortier anchorage on Lake St. Louis

8/7 - One anchor has been lost with two shackles of chain in the Point Fortier anchorage at position 45 20.04 North & 73 54.31 West Beauharnois wall bearing 210 degrees true x .7 nautical miles. Divers will be marking the anchor with a buoy and the anchor will be recovered by a vessel from the Desgagnés Group before the beginning of September.


Port Reports - August 7

Soo – Herm Phillips
Upbound vessel passages at the Soo on Thursday were James R. Barker, Kaministiqua, Michiganborg, tug Joyce L. Van Enkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader, St Clair, American Mariner and Ojibway by noon. Quebecois was upbound in the evening. Downbounders before dawn were Indiana Harbor, Frontenac and Presque Isle. Downbound in the afternoon were the saltwater ship Iryda, John B. Aird, CSL Assiniboine and Canadian Progress. Mapleglen was down in the evening.

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
Two vessels loaded cement at Lafarge on Friday. Alpena came in during the morning to take on product for Detroit. G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived in port late afternoon.

Saginaw – Todd Shorkey
It has been fairly active on the Saginaw River the past few days, with first of the season visits by the tug G.L. Ostrander - barge Integrity and tug Dorothy Ann - barge Pathfinder on Thursday, and Calumet's seventh visit of the season on Friday. The Ostrander/Integrity called on the Lafarge cement dock in Carrollton during the morning on Thursday. The pair were outbound early Friday morning. Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder were inbound during the morning on Thursday as well, and were outbound during the early evening hours. Calumet arrived with a split cargo on Friday evening, lightering at the Lafarge dock in Essexville, then continuing upriver to finish at the Lafarge dock in Saginaw. She was expected to be outbound Saturday morning.


Updates - August 7

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


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.


Port Reports - August 6

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Algolake was at Fraser Shipyards in Superior on Thursday morning to undergo repairs to its stern tube. Earlier in the week the vessel had been forced to transfer its cargo to Canadian Progress in a side-by-side transfer using their self-unloading equipment. Elsewhere, Algomarine was unloading salt at the Cutler Salt dock in Duluth, Cason J. Callaway was loading at BNSF ore dock, Canadian Enterprise was preparing to depart Midwest Energy Terminal while Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was standing off the dock ready to takes its place. J.W. Shelley and Merweborg both remained at CHS grain terminal.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
A regular visitor since reactivation, Kaye E. Barker was at the Upper Harbor Thursday morning loading ore. On her third trip of the week, Robert S. Pierson arrived for ore in the evening.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
The Pere Marquette 41 and Undaunted crossed the pierheads inbound for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg at 5:15 p.m. Thursday.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
Rt. Hon. Paul J Martin arrived around 1 a.m. Thursday for the Gateway Metroport Main dock in Lackawanna.


Updates - August 6

New Discussion Boards updated


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.


Saltwater tanker Sidsel Knutsen remains aground at St. Clair

8/5 - St. Clair, Mich. - Knutsen OAS Shipping crews have begun efforts to try and remove a 533-foot Norwegian tanker stuck in the St. Clair River. The Sidsel Knutsen lost power after an engine room fire while downbound on in the St. Clair River Tuesday. She was bound from Sarnia to Montreal.

Nathan Mathis, situation unit controller for the United States Coast Guard Detroit sector, said the efforts to get the ship moving again could take up to a week.

Port Huron Times Herald


Port Reports - August 5

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
After a quick turnaround, Robert S. Pierson was back at the Upper Harbor Wednesday morning for another load of ore.

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
Calumet delivered a cargo of coal to the James DeYoung power plant in Holland on Tuesday. On Wednesday, Algorail delivered stone and agricultural lime to the Brewer dock.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Monday evening, the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived at the Lafarge dock and tied up under the silos. Following the departure of the Innovation, Alpena came in early Tuesday morning and loaded cement for Green Bay, Wis.


Nautical Festival begins with Sailors Memorial

8/5 - Rogers City, Mich. - The annual Sailor's Memorial on Tuesday kicked off events for the 2010 Nautical Festival in Rogers City. Retired captains and chiefs present at the memorial sat on stage while the names of sailors who died in tragic shipwrecks of the Bradley and Cedarville were read.

A short sermon given by Rev. Jack Ferguson reminded audience members and those seated on stage that the sailors lost in the shipwrecks were committed into Jesus' hands. "When everything falls apart and all hope of gaining land is lost, they sink no lower than the hands of Jesus. It is in his hands that we have committed them," he said.

The reading of the names of the sailors who lost their lives was done by Capt. Dick Peacock, who said the memorial honored the sailors. "It's for all the sailors," he said.

Mayor Beach Hall, who welcomed all to the memorial, said the ceremony reflected the maritime heritage of the nautical city. "It helps us remember those who lost their lives on the lakes and oceans as a part of the history of our community ... We will never forget, we will always remember," he said.

The ceremony concluded when the retirees were led to the memorial of the two shipwrecks to place a wreath near its base and listen to taps being played. The conclusion of the ceremony, the Nautical Festival was officially begun.

The Bradley shipwreck took place on Nov. 18, 1958, and the Cedarville wreck took place on May 7, 1965.

Alpena News


Coast Guard saves 2 from sinking boat in Lake Erie

8/5 - A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter crew assigned to Air Station Detroit helped save two people whose boat was sinking in Lake Erie Tuesday.

The pair’s 19-foot boat started taking on water an estimated 10 miles north of Ashtabula, Ohio, around 11:45 a.m., according to Coast Guard officials. The HH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew had a rescue swimmer help lift the two boaters into the chopper.

No one was injured, the Coast Guard said.

Detroit Free Press


Sturgeon Bay: Tall Ships saluted with Aug. 12 parade

8/5 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – The Door County Maritime Museum plans to host Cannon Salute & Breakfast Under the Big Top in conjunction with the Baylake Bank Tall Ship Parade of Sail Aug. 12 in Sturgeon Bay.

Ships escorted by U.S. Coast Guard and Sturgeon Bay Police Department boats will parade through Sturgeon Bay in groups of about four as they travel to Green Bay from Lake Michigan. The vessels are bound for the Baylake Bank Tall Ship Festival Aug. 13-15 in Green Bay.

Foreign ships slated to participate in the parade are the Roald Amundsen from Germany and Europa from the Netherlands. In addition the Lynx, Appledore IV, Friends Good Will, Unicorn, Wisconsin's flagship S/V Denis Sullivan, Pride of Baltimore, Roseway, Royaliste and movie favorite H.M.S. Bounty are expected to participate in the parade.

Each ship will get a cannon salute from the museum's 10-gauge yacht gun, originally owned by Capt. John "Cap" Roen.

Those attending the breakfast at the museum will watch the parade from the museum's waterfront grounds, including the deck of tug John Purves, the museum's balcony, and the windows of the Reddin Bridge Room.

Door County Advocate


Updates - August 5

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


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.


Tanker Sidsel Knutsen remains aground off St. Clair

8/4 - St. Clair, Mich. - The Norwegian tanker that lost power and grounded in the St. Clair River Tuesday remained aground Wednesday morning. Crews have started efforts to try and remove a 533-foot Norwegian tanker from the river. Nathan Mathis, situation unit controller for the United States Coast Guard Detroit sector, said the efforts to get the ship moving again could take up to a week.

U.S. Coast Guard officials said the Sindsel Knutsen sustained an engine-room fire about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday and, while those on board were fighting the blaze, the ship's master and pilot decided to steer the vessel out of the main shipping lane to avoid any problems within the channel.

The Sidsel Knudsen lost power while downbound in the river and came to stop very close to shore. No damage was visible and no pollution was reported.

Check back for updates; please send reports or pictures to

Port Huron Times Herald


Port Reports - August 4

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Two ULS boats were tied up at the Duluth Port Terminal on Tuesday morning to transfer coal from one vessel to the other. Algolake was transferring cargo to Canadian Progress. Algolake had loaded coal Monday at Midwest Energy Terminal but was seen late that afternoon receiving assistance from at least one Great Lakes Towing tug. Elsewhere, John G. Munson was fueling at Murphy Oil terminal. It was in port to unload cargo and then load pellets for Conneaut. Federal Leda was completing its load at CHS berth 1 while Merweborg remained in berth 2. Indiana Harbor was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal, to be followed by Mapleglen and John B. Aird.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Two vessels loaded ore at the Upper Harbor on Tuesday. Robert S. Pierson departed at sunrise, and Herbert C. Jackson arrived in the late afternoon. After a passing storm, a rainbow appeared during Jackson's load.


Ships' arrival marks start of weeklong festival activities

8/4 - Grand Haven, Mich. - A pair of U.S. Coast Guard cutters and a big red Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker were greeted by a cheering crowd as they made a grand entrance to Grand Haven's port Monday afternoon.

The three ships are docked along Escanaba Park and at the Coast Guard Station Grand Haven bay, and open for public tours through Saturday.

Arriving from Parry Sound, Ont., the Canadian Coast Guard's Samuel Risley is a 229-foot light icebreaker and medium navigation aids tender. The ship is named after the first chairman of Canada's Board of Steamship Inspection. During the primary navigation season, from late March to late December, the ship tends aids to navigation in the Canadian waters of the Great Lakes. During the winter months, the ship breaks ice in Canadian and U.S. waters from Port Colborne to Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Arriving from Cleveland, the Neah Bay is a 140-foot icebreaking tug. Its primary duty is facilitating the movement and commerce in the ice-choked Great Lakes from November to May. Additional missions include search and rescue, public relations, and law enforcement.

Lt. William Woityra, the commanding officer of the Neah Bay, said this was the first time he had attended Grand Haven's Coast Guard Festival, and he was astounded by the public interest in not only the festival, but in the U.S. Coast Guard.

This, he said, was evident when they first arrived in Grand Haven on Sunday night — a day prior to the ship parade.

"There were hundreds of people lining the sea wall, coming out in their boats cheering for us saying 'Coast Guard, Coast Guard,'" Woityra said. "It's the most amazing sight I've ever seen."

Arriving from Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., the Buckthorn is a 100-foot inland buoy tender, the only cutter of its class. Its shallow draft allows the ship to service aids to navigation in waters that are not navigable by deeper draft vessels. The Buckthorn's primary mission is aids to navigation on the St. Marys River. The crew is responsible for maintaining 270 buoys, three lighthouses, 16 ranges, 71 shore-side lights and 39 Canadian buoys as part of an international agreement.

Tour times are 6-8 p.m. today; 10 a.m. to noon, 1-3 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Restrictions include no backpacks, coolers or bags of any type; no open food or drink; and searches may be conducted.

Grand Haven Tribune


Tall ships depart Duluth

8/4 - Duluth, Minn. - After six days in the Northland, the majority of the Tall Ships are gone with the wind. The vessels attracted nearly a quarter of a million visitors while they were in port.

The 3-masted schooner Bounty hit the open waters Monday. The other vessels sailed under the Aerial Lift Bridge Tuesday morning, getting ready for the next stage of the tall ship challenge to Green Bay.

Duluth officials say visitors to the ships spent more than $15 million at area hotels, restaurants and shops. Plans are already underway to host another Tall Ships festival in the future.



New barge service created by Newfoundland transport operator

8/4 - Conception Bay South, N.L. - A Newfoundland transport operator has created a new barge service to the mainland.

Greer Hunt, president of Hunt's Transport Ltd., said Monday that he was motivated in part by Marine Atlantic's advance booking requirement for truckers travelling between Cape Breton and Newfoundland.

Hunt said large operators are booking the majority of spaces on the ferries, while smaller companies like his are having trouble committing in advance.

Marine Atlantic said it has no problem with the barge and hopes the system works well for Hunt.

"Hunt has introduced a new mode of transportation that is geared for his business and a certain segment of the market. We wish him well with his endeavours," said Tara Laing, a spokeswoman for the Crown corporation.

Hunt has partnered with McKeil Marine Ltd. of Hamilton, Ont., to ship containers between Newfoundland and Ontario. He said it will ensure more of his business can avoid delays.

"Since they brought the reservation service in, it's cut us back at least 20 per cent in our return trips," he said.

The barge Niagara Spirit was loading Monday in Conception Bay South, N.L., and Hunt said he was already booking for the next voyage in three weeks.

He said the rented barge, which can carry about 57 truckloads, is not meant to replace Marine Atlantic.

"We can use the barge for three years ... and that's what we're hoping to do," said Hunt, as he busied himself with loading the vessel. The service will ship to Hamilton, but Hunt said when the St. Lawrence seaway closes in winter months, the barge may only travel to Montreal.

Hunt said his trucks will continue to use Marine Atlantic and the barge is only meant to supplement his business.

"It's just another mode of transport. Barges are used all over the world. Newfoundland is very vibrant in the oil and gas industry and the mining industry, and there's a lot of activity here ... it's certainly a perfect opportunity," he added.

Small trucking companies have been taking issue in recent months with Marine Atlantic's new booking system. Last week, a group of truckers planned a protest, but it was postponed after Marine Atlantic warned them that it would not tolerate any disruption of service.

Chris Howlett of Akita Equipment in Mount Pearl, N.L., said that companies with "deep pockets are booking up the ferry."

Marine Atlantic's president and CEO, Wayne Follett, has said the reservation system is meeting the objectives of avoiding long lines at the terminals and that many in the trucking industry support it.

Follett said Marine Atlantic understands the transition to the commercial reservation system has been much more difficult for some smaller trucking companies, but adjustments have been made to accommodate them.

Marine Atlantic requires 34 hours advance notice of cancellations to allow others to pick up those spaces.

The Canadian Press and Mathieu Larochelle


Updates - August 4

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - August 4

On August 4, 1790, the first Congress authorized the construction of a fleet of "revenue marine" cutters to enforce the fledgling nation's tariff and trade laws and protect the co Congress when the Revenue Cutter Service merged with the Life-Saving Service. The Coast Guard is one of the oldest organizations of the federal government and, until the Navy Department was established in 1798, served as the nation’s only armed force afloat. The Coast Guard has continued to protect the nation throughout its long history both at home and abroad, and Coast Guardsmen have proudly served in every one of the nation’s major conflicts, including Operation Iraqi Freedom.

On this day in 1896, the whaleback COLGATE HOYT became the first boat to transport a load of iron ore through the new Poe lock. The man at the wheel of the HOYT, Thomas Small, was also at the wheel of the PHILIP R. CLARKE when the second Poe lock was opened to traffic 73 years later.

On this day in 1910, a mutiny occurred aboard the Pittsburgh steamer DOUGLAS HOUGHTON when a deckhand was confined for peeping into the cabin window of 5 female passengers (relatives of officers of the United States Steel Corporation). It required one hour for Captain John Parke, loaded revolver in hand, to quell the mutiny, confine the ring leaders, and clear away the broken furniture.

On the clear, almost perfect night of 4 August 1902, the SEGUIN (steel propeller freighter, 207 foot, 818 gross tons, built in 1890, at Owen Sound, Ontario) collided with the CITY OF VENICE (wooden propeller freighter, 301 foot, 2,108 gross tons, built in 1892, at W. Bay City, Michigan) abreast of Rondeau, Ontario on Lake Erie. The CITY OF VENICE, which was loaded with iron ore, sank and three of her crew were drowned. The U. S. Marshall impounded the SEGUIN for damages

Two favorites of many boatwatchers entered service on August 4 – WILLIAM CLAY FORD on August 4, 1953, and EDWARD L. RYERSON on August 4, 1960.

Paterson’s ONTADOC, built in 1975, sailed to the Netherlands with a load of bentonite from Chicago on August 4, 1979. Renamed b.) MELISSA DESGAGNES in 1990.

The E. J. BLOCK was laid up for the last time at Indiana Harbor, Indiana on August 4, 1984. The E. J. BLOCK was sold for scrap in late May, 1987.

The D.M. CLEMSON left Superior on August 4, 1980, in tow of Malcolm Marine's TUG MALCOLM for Thunder Bay, Ontario where she was dismantled.

The HOCHELAGA (Hull#144) was launched August 4, 1949, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd., for Canada Steamship Lines Ltd., Montreal, Quebec.

On a foggy August 4, 1977, the POINTE NOIRE went hard aground near the entrance to the Rock Cut in the St. Marys River and blocked the channel. After her grain cargo was lightered by Columbia Transportation's crane steamer BUCKEYE, 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.


Coast Guard aboard grounded tanker, tug is on its way

8/3 - St. Clair, Mich. - 2:30 p.m. update -  U.S. Coast Guard officials have boarded the Norwegian tanker that lost power and anchored in the St. Clair River today.

Jesse Guarneri, a boatswain’s mate first class with the U.S. Coast Guard, said inspectors from the Detroit base boarded 533-long Sidsel Knutsen to inspect it and evaluate what went wrong. “Something happened and they are going to figure out what and why,” he said. Guarneri said he is not an inspector so was not sure exactly what they would be looking for.

A tug boat is still on its way to the ship, Guarneri said as of 2 p.m. Reports indicate the tanker was downbound headed for Montreal, when the incident occurred.

Witnesses said the fuel tanker nearly slammed into the seawall this morning before anchoring near the Pine River. They said the ship was downbound near The Voyageur restaurant when it hit a buoy at the south end of the Middle Ground. The ship then swung around and headed for the seawall ­ dropping its anchor before making contact.

“I thought it was going to take out (the restaurant)," Karen Foley, a witness said.

The St. Clair County Sheriff Department’s marine division is on the scene. An official with the U.S. Coast Guard said officers were en route about an hour ago. According to Coast Guard reports, the freighter went out of control after losing power. No injures were reported.

1 p.m. update - The Sidsel Knutsen grounded in the St. Clair River about 11:20 a.m. Tuesday morning off St. Clair, Michigan. Details are limited but the tanker was downbound from Sarnia's Sun Oil Dock about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Eyewitnesses report that the tanker was downbound on a normal course and then turned towards shore. The vessel dropped the upriver anchor and then drifted downriver facing the US shore, finally coming to a stop facing almost upriver, the opposite way it had been traveling. A small boat from Station Port Huron arrived on scene about 1 p.m.

Traffic is still moving in the river, but at reduced speed while passing the stranded tanker.

Check back for updates, please send reports or pictures to


Port Reports - August 3

Twin Ports - Tom Caine
Monday afternoon, the G-tugs Minnesota and Kentucky were ready to tow Algolake from the Superior Midwest Energy Terminal to the Duluth Port Terminal. Upon arrival at the Port Terminal, Canadian Progress, which has been anchored inside the harbor waiting for a berth at SMET, will come alongside, and Algolake will discharge a load of coal into the Canadian Progress. It appears that Algolake's stern tube may be leaking and repairs will be necessary.


Coast Guard helps rescue 11 on Niagara River

8/3 - Cleveland, Ohio – The U.S. Coast Guard aided in the rescue of 11 people on Lake Erie after their 40-foot vessel began taking on water near the entrance to the Niagara River about 9:30 p.m. Aug. 1.

Coast Guard Station Buffalo received notification of the vessel in distress at about 9:15 p.m. and launched a 33-foot Special Purpose Craft crew in response.

“When we got to their vessel, there was already a few inches of water on the deck,” said Petty Officer Jess Hamilton, coxswain aboard Special Purpose Craft. “That indicated the cabin had almost completely flooded. The stern was beginning to sink.”

Station Buffalo crewmembers removed five people from the vessel and officers from the Buffalo, N.Y., Police Department removed six more.


Underwater explorer presents Lake Ontario shipwreck programs in Sackets Harbor

8/3 - Sackets Harbor, N.Y. – Shipwreck explorer Jim Kennard will present “Deep Shipwrecks of Lake Ontario” on Aug. 13 and “More Wrecks of Lake Ontario” Aug. 14 at the Great Lakes Seaway Trail Discovery Center in Sackets Harbor, N.Y.

Kennard’s shipwreck discoveries - more than 200 since 1970 - have received worldwide attention and have been featured in National Geographic magazine. One of his recent and more spectacular finds is the HMS Ontario, a Revolutionary War British warship. Kennard and his diving partner, Dan Scoville, located the wreck in deep water off the southern shore of Lake Ontario using sophisticated side scan sonar equipment and a remote operated vehicle (ROV) they built. The wreck is the only fully intact British warship ever found in the Great Lakes.

The Saturday program, which begins at 10 a.m.. will include presentations on “The Final Chapter of the US Coast Guard Cable Boat #56022,” “Discovery of the Schooner Orcadian” and “The Last Flight of the SeaBee.”

For more information, visit


Updates - August 3

News Photo Gallery
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - August 3

On this day in 1960, the EDWARD L. RYERSON, new flagship of the Inland Steel fleet, successfully completed her sea trials.

Under tow, the AVONDALE, a.) ADAM E. CORNELIUS of 1908, in tandem with former fleet mate FERNDALE. a.) LOUIS R. DAVIDSON of 1912, arrived at Castellon, Spain for scrapping in 1979.

The CANADOC left the St. Lawrence River on August 3, 1991, in tow bound for Mamonal, Colombia, for scrapping.

On 3 August 1915, ALEXANDRIA (wooden sidewheel passenger/package freight, 174 foot 863 gross tons, built in 1866, at Hull, Quebec, formerly a.) CONSORT, was carrying foodstuffs 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.


Tug Jenny Lynn sinks off Cheboygan over the weekend

8/2 - Cheboygan, Mich. - The tug Jenny Lynn and a tug believed to be the former William Hoey (under new ownership register in Wisconsin) arrived and anchored in Duncan Bay early last week. Saturday night the Jenny Lynn was noted to be sitting lower in the water then she had been earlier in the week. Over night the Jenny Lynn sank in 16 feet of water while still tied to the other tug. The top of the pilothouse was visible above the water and a light sheen of diesel was around the tugs. A containment boom was placed around the sunken tug Sunday. Jenny Lynn was formally the Carole Ann and B.H. Becker. As the B.H. Becker she was pushing a cement barge in 1962 and collided with the saltie Montrose, sinking her under the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit.

Brent Michaels


Port Reports - August 2

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
Calumet arrived at Holland at 9 a.m. Sunday morning to deliver a load of Port Inland stone to the Verplank dock. It departed at about 3 p.m.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber called on the Saginaw River Saturday morning, carrying a split cargo. The pair lightered at the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City, then continued upriver to the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee to finish. The pair were outbound late Saturday evening.
For the month of July, there were 14 commercial vessel passages on the Saginaw River, a decrease of eight from the same period last year and 15 passages below the six year average of 29. For the year to date, there have been 63 commercial vessel passages on the Saginaw River. This number is down 15 from the same time period last year. Looking at the six-year average is where you really see the difference. There were 50 less passage then the average of 113 and a huge 110 less then the 2005 shipping season, when there were 173 passages at this point in the season.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
H. Lee White was inbound at the South Entrance for the Gateway Metroport in Lackawanna at 8 p.m. Sunday. English River was towed in by a G-tug at 5:40 p.m.


BoatNerd Detroit River cruise Saturday
Mail your reservation today

Time is running out to reserve your tickets for the annual Detroit River Cruise aboard the Friendship, with Captain Sam Buchanan August 7. This year’s cruise will be 4 hours and will go up the Detroit River and, hopefully, into the Rouge River. Pizza lunch will be delivered by the J. W. Westcott mail boat. Cost is just $30 per person, same price as last year.

We are taking reservations that arrive in the mail through Thursday this week, the weather forecast looks to be a nice day for a great cruise on the river.

The boat will depart at 10 a.m. sharp from the Portofino's On The River in Wyandotte, Mich. Click here for reservation forms and details


Updates - August 2

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - August 2

On August 2, 1991, Paterson' 1961-built lake bulk carrier CANADOC, which had been in lay-up in Montreal since April 6, 1990, and sold for scrapping, cleared the port in tow of the Netherlands Antilles tug DALMAR SPIRIT, bound for Mamonal, Columbia, arriving there on August 26, 1991.

On this day in 1880, the new Goodrich propeller CITY OF LUDINGTON was launched at Manitowoc, Wisconsin. The CITY OF LUDINGTON was 170 feet loa x 35 feet x 11 feet, had 44 staterooms 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 watertight 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.


Port Reports - August 1

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
Maumee delivered a load of trap rock to the Verplank dock at Holland Saturday afternoon. It departed at 9:30 Saturday evening.

Chicago, Ill. - Dan Vandenberg
Tug Undaunted and barge PM 41 was anchored along the pier at Chicago's 31st Street Beach. She was anchored between two other barges, receiving stone from the barge to starboard and depositing the stone directly into the water to the port side via a conveyor on her deck. There is a third barge with a tug between PM 41 (port side) and the pier. This third barge has a crane on it that was not moving Saturday evening. There are plans for a new marina at this site and this work may be in preparation for the marina.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Lafarge has had a couple visitors the past few days. On Friday the Buffalo unloaded coal at the dock and the G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity arrived Saturday night to load cement.

Toronto, Ont. - Charlie Gibbons
Hamilton Energy arrived in port Saturday morning to bunker the passenger vessel Clelia II at Pier 52. The Energy then returned to Hamilton. Clelia II arrived in port Friday afternoon and tied up at Pier 52.


Convert Norisle to high-end cruise ship, study recommends

8/1 - Manitowaning, Ont. -If an ambitious plan to refit the S.S. Norisle as a high-end "pocket liner" comes to pass, the Township of Assiginack could be in the ironic position of owning a cruise ship that it can't—as things currently stand, at any rate—accommodate.

On Saturday, close to 50 people packed the hall of the Knox United Church in Manitowaning to learn whether the retired ferry might fill a niche in the Great Lakes cruising picture. The answer to that question, according to Norisle rep John Coulter, is an emphatic "yes," although which ports the ship visits would depend on the facilities and attractions available in each.

"Build it, and they will come," said the restoration director for the S.S. Norisle Steamship Society. "Only in this case, it's backwards, because the ship's coming—so you better build something as an attraction."

Citing the findings of a yearlong market and feasibility study, Mr. Coulter said "the ship indeed has a future and can be self-supportive." And he urged those in attendance to recognize the asset they have in their midst and act upon this opportunity before they miss the, ah, ship.

"Mark my words, in 20 to 30 years, the Great Lakes will be the fourth largest cruising ground in the world," said Mr. Coulter, rivaling areas like Alaska and the Mediterranean. "Ships are coming independent of the Norisle, so why not gain from the direct asset and not just the spinoffs? You've got the ship."

While stately, domestic cruise ships once plied the Great Lakes, they essentially vanished by 1960, largely because it became too costly for them to upgrade to new safety standards, he said. Now, renewed interest in this form of tourism on our inland seas has grown to the point that "the Canadian government has identified the need for 15 ships," Mr. Coulter indicated.

The Norisle, if spruced up and redesigned to accommodate more (and more picky) passengers, would be "the biggest and best of the Canadian and American fleet," he said, while holding a competitive edge against foreign ships due to her heritage quality and navigational ability to duck into channels and harbours where the bigger vessels, flying under French, Greek, and German flags, can't venture.

Again referencing the feasibility study, carried out by a team of consultants who are steeped in the cruise and tourism sectors, Mr. Coulter outlined the routes and schedule that a revived Norisle would most profitably (and practically) follow.

In the spring, the ship would perform seven-day circuits of Lake Ontario, he said, to take advantage of both the more predictable weather at that time of year in the south, and the traffic afforded by bigger centres. But it would spend the bulk of the summer on Lake Huron, making 13 weeklong cruises through Georgian Bay and the North Channel.

During this phase of the Norisle's sailing season, the ship would launch from Midland, paying stops in Parry Sound, Little Current, Sault Ste. Marie and Tobermory, Mr. Coulter indicated. At the end of the season—which would last 25 weeks altogether—the vessel would likely lay up in Midland for the colder months.

A certain omission in that cruising itinerary and wintering scheme was not lost on the meeting attendees, most of whom were residents of Manitowaning, where the ship has been berthed since 1975.

"This schedule does not seem to include Manitowaning," remarked Peter Baumgarten. "It won't winter here, and never stops here. Is there a plan for a way that this community could benefit from the Norisle?"

Mr. Coulter said the community stands to reap significant benefits during the refit phase, as much of the work, performed by a veritable army of tradespeople, would be carried out in Manitowaning, but at present the port is not a realistic place for a passenger ship to tie up.

"Cruise ships can't come here because there are no docking facilities," he said. "You have a lot here, but you don't have the infrastructure to attract the ship."

While a few others in attendance worried that that the Norisle would essentially sail away and park its tourist dollars elsewhere, Mr. Coulter stressed that the community still has a major stake. "You haven't lost it—you still own it!" he said. "But you own a ship that can't come home."

"It can't now," qualified Rob Maguire, a member of the Norisle preservation group. "But it could."

Hugh Moggy, a former Assiginack councillor and Norisle supporter, suggested that the potential of the ship as a cruise enterprise should be a wakeup call for the township to improve its waterfront so that it can truly capitalize on the venture. "The community has to get behind this project and get the infrastructure in place," he said.

While such undertakings are costly, Mr. Coulter suggested that Assiginack Township could make a stronger case to funding agencies because of its obvious connection to the vessel in question. "The odds for you are much greater, because you own the ship," he said. "More important than owning it, though, is having faith in the asset, and if you can show that, you'd get the first shot."

Citing the old adage of the squeaky wheel getting the grease, Mr. Coulter said: "you've got the biggest squeak."

Council for Assiginack had been apprised of the study results in a private meeting held the previous day, he noted, and while he hesitated to speak for the township, he characterized the response as "respectful and positive."

He also emphasized that, while both he and fellow steam expert Wayne Fischer, of the Ontario Steam Heritage Museum, have put a lot of energy into the project, and would love to see the Norisle sail again, they have nothing to gain financially from the project, and don't presume to speak for the ship's home community. "It's your ship, not ours," he stressed. "We live seven hours away."

That said, it's been people like Mr. Coulter and Mr. Fischer, who reside in southern Ontario, along with a devoted but small crew of Island volunteers, who have seen the potential in the ship, while many who live next-door to the artifact have been indifferent, if not dubious.

As Norisle Society member Paul Rowe noted, "It was three years ago this past March that Assiginack wanted to sink it." To which Mr. Maguire added: "As I remember, there were three options: sink it, sell it, or scrap it."

Mr. Coulter said he can appreciate the community's reluctance to immediately embrace a new incarnation of the vessel, as it has been static for so long and it would seem an unlikely turnaround to many who know it only as an unmoving fixture on the waterfront.

The Friends of the Norisle, since redubbed the S.S. Norisle Steamship Society, sensed that there could be a prouder role for the craft, however, and "formed to preserve this operating piece of Canadian history," said Mr. Maguire.

Norisle Society chairman Dave Ham, a former reeve of Assiginack, was instrumental in bringing the ship to Manitowaning in the first place, although he credits Jean McLennan equally, if not more, for both that decision and the more recent one to form the Friends of the Norisle.

"We're very fortunate to have a great group to work with, and very fortunate to have become acquainted with Wayne Fischer, who has been instrumental in a meticulous overhaul of the Norisle engines, and the one and only John Coulter," said Mr. Ham. "We could always use more members, of course, and I'm sure Jean's got some applications there in her purse," he added.

While Manitowaning has had its share of Norisle naysayers, Rick McCutcheon of Little Current suggested "the community shouldn't beat itself up too much," as the current drive to not only rescue the ship but find a new and profitable purpose for it would never have occurred "were it not for a group of people, largely in Manitowaning," who believed in this cause. "I'd like to commend them for sticking to this vision, which has not always been popular."

He wondered if, as a nod to such enterprise and the community's long relationship with the vessel, Manitowaning could at least be certified as "the port of registry" for the Norisle. Mr. Coulter replied that "there's a technical issue" that currently prohibits that type of recognition, but, if nothing else, the vessel "can fly the flag" of its home port when visiting other communities.

When Manitowaning acquired the Norisle in 1975, the price tag was a mere dollar. Now, if the projections of the consulting team that carried out the feasibility study are accurate, the ship—presuming financing can be found for its refit—stands to make thousands annually.

According to the findings of the study, the Norisle would turn a profit of $428,000 a year, and that's over an operating season of just five months. This assessment, Mr. Coulter hastened to add, is based on a conservative projection of 85-percent ridership, whereas the likelihood, in his estimation, is that the vessel would actually run at full capacity even in its initial years, so the return would probably be much greater.

At present, cruise ships serving the Great Lakes scarcely lack for clients, he noted, as passenger bookings "tend to be 100-percent capacity."

While that projected surplus is encouraging, and would ensure that the ship could be adequately maintained from year to year, the broader rewards reaped by communities that the Norisle would visit are the bigger story, according to Mr. Coulter.

"Yes, it can be self-supportive," he said. "But the success of the ship in terms of the regions it serves, and the spinoff advantages, that's really the key factor to Norisle's future success."

The numbers here, as crunched by the consultants that carried out the feasibility study, are impressive. According to these cruise experts, a Norisle reincarnated as a mini-liner would pump $5 million annually into the places it pit-stops.

Over 10 years, that would be $50 million, noted Mr. Coulter. Meanwhile, over the same time frame, $15 million in taxes would be realized—a figure he drew special attention to, as it "exceeds the cost of refitting Norisle," meaning that if a government invested in that start-up expense, "they would get their money back in 10 years."

Those estimates will be helpful in attracting investors, both of the government and private variety, Mr. Coulter believes.

But there's no denying the fact that fitting out the ship for cruising purposes will be pricey. According to the study, it will cost $13.5 million for the refit alone, while another $4 million or so will be required for contingency, shore equipment, and other costs.

That's largely because the vision for the Norisle isn't just to get it moving again, but to turn it into a lavishly equipped retro liner, with spacious staterooms and fine dining options, in keeping with the grand cruisers of the 1930s and 1940s—an era it actually derives from, even if its original purpose was to ferry cars back and forth from Tobermory.

To see the ship puffing into port would be no different from before, and no doubt quite nostalgic for those who remember the ferry's period of service (from 1946 to 1974), but inwardly the car decks and other sections would be vastly reconfigured and refined.

"On the outside it will still be Norisle, but inside she will be designed to the standards of the liners of the past, offering a lot more luxury," said Mr. Coulter, a naval architect who spent the past year working on a new interior layout. He held up examples of veneers—these would be a facing on fireproof material, as wood itself is no longer acceptable due to new safety standards—that would sheath the interiors of the library (a rosewood veneer being the choice for this room), the restaurant, and two lounges, which are named, according to his sketch, the Huron and Georgian.

The ship, according to the recommendations of the consultants, would be best suited to carry 64 passengers. "We could have 300 staterooms, but if we did they would be the size of a closet," noted Mr. Coulter. "Or we could have a private yacht with 20 passengers and butlers for every stateroom. In the end, we decided on 32 staterooms for 64 passengers, who can expect a three- to four-star standard. And the bottom-line economies support that."

Travelling a rebuilt Norisle won't be cheap. A walk-on passenger would be expected to shell out a per-day fare of $500-$550, meaning many, if not most, Islanders would never have the chance to sail aboard the vessel that has been docked here for more than three decades.

But that, said Mr. Coulter, is not an unrealistic rate to charge in today's cruising market, and many will pay it for the opportunity to have a unique, and very comfortable, cruising experience. "It's like going to the Holiday Inn or the Royal York," he analogized. "We're providing the style of the Royal York. And when we asked the experts in the cruise industry if they could sell that, they all said, 'absolutely.'"

The Norisle spokesman believes the study, which was conducted by reputable parties who understand the industry, is a great tool for moving forward and gaining the resources required for a refit of the vessel. He noted that faith has already been shown in the enterprise simply because the study was deemed worthy of pursuing, with FedNor contributing the lion's share, at $97,500, while Mr. Fischer and Assiginack Township chipped in $20,000 and $10,000, respectively.

As for the ship's seaworthiness, Mr. Coulter said the Norisle was "excellently engineered" when it first left the shipyard, "even overbuilt," and has remained much more spry and serviceable than its calendar age might suggest.

While the ship ran between Tobermory and Manitoulin for almost three decades, and has been mothballed for as many years, "it's really just 13 years old" in terms of the wear and tear on its hull and parts, he said. "Because it ran for such a short season, on a dedicated short run, and was laid up overnight, it's in great shape, and we've taken off parts that have never been used," he noted.

And while not a huge ship compared to, say, the MS Columbus, Mr. Coulter believes the Norisle is more than capable of withstanding a few swells, as it did in the past. "I'm not an expert on that, but I'm told by those who sailed on the Norisle that she was a better sea ship than the Chi-Cheemaun," he said. "In terms of engineering design, she was way over the top."

While some concerns were raised that Assiginack Township, as owner of the vessel, could be on the hook if the repurposed Norisle had a bad year as a cruise ship—or if the whole endeavour somehow went south, due to a mishap at sea or shift in the economy—both Mr. Coulter and Mr. Fischer reassured those in attendance that operation of the vessel would be the responsibility of an arm's-length company, which would assume the risks and liabilities.

"You're always protected, because there's a firewall there," said Mr. Coulter. "If the ship gets into trouble, the owner just pulls it back, and it sits for a while."

Presuming everything goes according to plan, though, as many as 60 jobs could be generated, and many of those would be available to Islanders, presuming they had the required training to be a purser, cook, officer, or whatever the role requires.

And once refitted, and regularly cared for through the money reaped in excess revenue, the ship could last well into the future. In fact, it could last "indefinitely," said Mr. Coulter, and longevity is simply a matter of the resources applied to a ship's upkeep.

He urged those in attendance to not only get personally excited about the ship's potential but to "spread the gospel" among others on Manitoulin, as the venture stands to benefit the area as a whole.

Mr. Fischer, meanwhile, pointed to other areas where the cruise industry has taken off in recent years, and counseled Islanders to jump at the chance that has been presented to them while the time is ripe—particularly since, with a seaworthy craft already at their disposal, they're not starting from scratch.

"The cruise industry is going to happen here, with or without us," he said. "If you look at Maine, five years ago there were zero cruise ships; now, they have 385 cruise ship dockings. It's going to happen, and this is the last area that is open. This community can choose to be a follower, or a leader."

The Manitoulin Expositor


Updates - August 1

News Photo Gallery
Public Gallery updated
New Discussion Boards updated


Today in Great Lakes History - August 1

On 01 August 1862, UNION (wooden propeller passenger-package freight steamer, 163 foot, 434 ton, built in 1861, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) was sold by the Goodrich Line to James H. Mead and J. F. Kirkland for $28,000. This was $9,000 more than Goodrich had paid to have the vessel built just the previous year.

On August 1, 1982, the Canadian tanker LŐERABLE 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.


News Archive - August 1996 to present

Return to Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping

Comments, news, and suggestions to:

Copyright All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Due to frequent updates, this page will automatically reload every half hour