Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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* Report News


Port Reports -  August 31

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
After being at anchor off the Upper Harbor for 24 hours, John B. Aird docked Tuesday evening to load ore.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
Federal Katsura departed Toronto overnight after 10 p.m. Also of interest – the Port of Toronto website has two new pages on it. One shows regular ships in port and the other special ships in port. The regular ship page says the saltie Blacky will arrive on August at Redpath. On the special ship page it shows three Canadian Navy ships arriving August 31.


Coast Guard works with firefighters, EMTs to rescue teenager after fall from cliff

8/31 - Cleveland, Ohio - A U.S. Coast Guard boat crew from Station Marquette, Mich., working closely with the Marquette City Fire Department and local emergency medical technicians, rescued a teenager who fell roughly 75 feet off a cliff and landed on rocks at Presque Isle Point in Marquette Tuesday.

After receiving a report of the accident from a 911 dispatcher at 11:54 a.m., a Station Marquette boat crew launched aboard a 25-foot Response Boat and arrived on scene at 12:01 p.m.

Two Marquette City firefighters were rappelling down the cliff to the 17-year-old Gwinn, Mich., girl when the boat crew arrived. One of the Coast Guardsmen, Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Connolly, got off the boat, waded through about two feet of water and climbed onto the rocks where the girl was lying at the same time the two firefighters reached her. She was conscious but extremely disoriented and indicated she couldn’t feel her extremities. Connolly worked with the firefighters to stabilize the girl’s neck.

Meanwhile, the Coast Guard boat transited to Presque Isle Marina, picked up two emergency medical technicians and went back to the scene. Connolly, two other Coast Guardsmen and an EMT carried the girl on a rescue stretcher through the water and put her on the Coast Guard boat. The boat crew took her to Presque Isle Marina where additional EMTs were waiting. She was taken by ambulance to Marquette General Hospital.

Her current condition is unknown. The girl’s name is not being released.

U.S. Coast Guard release


RCN ships to visit Great Lakes

8/31 - HMC Ships Montreal, Shawinigan and Summerside will be visiting various St. Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes ports from Matane, Que., to Little Current, Ont., during late August and September.


100-year-old pilothouse of the steamer Thomas Walters to be rededicated

8/31 - Ashtabula, Ohio – The officers of the Ashtabula Maritime and Surface Transportation Museum will rededicate the 100-year-old original pilothouse off the steamer Thomas Walters on Sept. 4 in the garden area in front of the pilothouse. The pilothouse is located outside and behind the museum at 1071 Walnut Blvd. in the Ashtabula Harbor.

Museum Director Bob Frisbie will give a brief history of this lake boat, which was launched on March 25, 1911, in Lorain, Ohio, for the Interstate Steamship Company. It was reported in the press of the day that the Thomas Walters was built in 50 days, a record speed at that time. The records show that it carried its first load on May 12, 1911 with coal from Sandusky to Duluth, Minn.

Duff Brace and Paul Petros, founders of the museum, acquired the donated pilothouse in 1984 from Triad Salvage, local scrappers in Ashtabula Harbor. It was transported by crews of Ashtabula Harbor businessman David Marshall to the museum and erected in the back of the museum facing the lake. The pilothouse is outfitted as it was when it was active, with the pilothouse wheel, compass, the spotlight, the cabinet for maps, the ornate wood railing, the steam whistle and the Chadburn (a ship’s telegraph). The ship was renamed Frank R. Denton on May 24, 1952. After the pilothouse installation was completed at the museum, 1950s-style radar equipment was donated by Kent State and installed by their retired instructor Bill Ryan of Conneaut, Ohio.

Also of interest, Mr. Frisbie will also remind those in attendance that in the summer of 1901, exactly 110 years ago, the "Great Steamboat Race" from Cleveland to Erie passed in front of Ashtabula Harbor about the mid-way point of the race. The Cleveland boat City Of Erie beat the Detroit boat, Tashmoo, by 45 seconds.

The public is welcome to attend the short re-dedication.



Updates -  August 31

News Photo Gallery
Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - new feature for September Leecliffe Hall


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

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Monday morning the Upper Harbor ore dock, Algoma fleet mates Algosoo and Algocape waited to load ore. In the evening, Mesabi Miner, loaded with coal, and John B. Aird waited at anchor for a clear dock.


Soo locks project still waiting for funds to flow

8/30 - A second super freighter gateway from Lake Superior into the lower Great Lakes, at the Soo Locks, continues to await a significant cash infusion.

The United States Congress authorized the twinning of the Poe Lock a quarter century ago, 20 years later Washington agreed the more than $500 million project would be built with federal dollars, but since then funding has only trickled -- not flowed.

The largest Great Lakes maritime construction project in more than 40 years has received about $19 million in the first three construction seasons, including only $1 million in each of the past two years.

"It's frustrating (the lack of funding) but our budgeting is year-to-year and lock replacement hasn't been atop Washington's priority list the last few years," said John Niemiec, project manager, in a telephone interview from Detroit.  "There were no construction dollars allocated this year and I am afraid next year (the government fiscal year begins Oct. 1) doesn't look much better."

The already announced President's budget for the next fiscal year contains no replacement lock dollars, he said, similar to preliminary committee reports from the House of Representatives and the Senate -- which both must agree upon an allocation.  "We hope there will be a consistent significant flow of dollars in the near future but in the meantime we work with what they give us," said Niemiec.

The kind of "annual adequate investment" needed to complete the project in seven to 10 years, as previously announced, is in the $40-million to $50-million range.

The hope was the project would have received federal stimulus consideration a few years ago when President Obama was looking for shovel-ready projects to stimulate the American economy but its long construction period was an apparent drawback.

The $1 million allocated for the current year is going towards engineering and design, which had already been allocated about $18 million since the project got the Congressional go-ahead, similar to the previous year.

The only construction activity to date came on the Year One $17 million allocation where more than $10 million went into coffer dam construction and dredging.

The Poe Lock is the only lock in the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system capable of accommodating super freighters which handle 70% of the 80 million tons of cargo moving through the Soo Locks annually.

The second lock would have Poe Lock chamber dimensions, 366 metres long by 34 metres wide and 10 metres deep, and replace two First World War-era locks that are 10 metres narrower and three metres shallower than the Poe.

The older locks, too small to handle modern commercial traffic, include the Sabin, decommissioned for more than a decade and the seldom-used Davis, which serves as emergency backup passage for narrow, shallow-draft vessels.

The new lock, similar to the Poe, would provide super freighters with less than a metre of clearance on either side of the chamber, and would be built in the footprint of the Sabin while the Davis chamber would be back-filled.

Supporters want a backup to the Poe, fearing economic turmoil should the only lock capable of accommodating super freighters be knocked out of commission due to an accident or sabotage.

The more than three dozen super freighters working the Great Lakes would be denied entry-exit of Lake Superior in the event of Poe Lock disruption.

The significance of the Soo Locks to the American economy was established nearly 70 years ago, say supporters, when thousands of troops were deployed for its protection in the Second World War.

Critics to lock replacement argue more attention should be paid to other Great Lakes economic and environmental needs instead of duplicating an existing lock passage.

The Poe Lock, which opened in 1968, was the catalyst to the modernization of Great Lakes commercial shipping -- super freighters, capable of carrying twice the cargo of conventional vessels, entered service four years after the opening of the super lock.

The Soo Locks' second operational chamber, the MacArthur Lock, which opened nearly 70 years ago, in 1943, is 10 metres narrower and a meter shallower than the Poe, and handles ocean-going salties, shorter than traditional freighters, and recreational traffic.

The Sault Star


Updates -  August 30

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery


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 without 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

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
The Manitowoc made its sixth call of the season at Holland Sunday, bringing a cargo of coal to the James DeYoung power plant. She arrived at about 6 a.m. and departed mid-afternoon.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
Stephen B. Roman departed Toronto on Friday.


Fundraising Cruise for Boblo Boat SS Columbia

8/29 - The S.S. Columbia Project will host their 3rd festive fundraising cruise on the Detroit River on Saturday, Sept. 24th from 2:00 – 5:00 pm aboard the MV Friendship. The Friendship will depart from the dock at the Portofino Restaurant in Wyandotte. Boarding begins at 1:30 pm. Suggested donation is $40 per person.

Guests are invited to bring memorabilia, share their fond memories and reminisce about America’s oldest surviving passenger steamer as they view the beloved Bob-Lo boats, Columbia and Ste. Claire. The Cruise will also serve as an official reunion event for former Boblo Crew members and employees.

During the cruise, guests will feast on complimentary pizza delivered by the J.W. Westcott II mailboat while toasting the slow steady progress in restoring the Columbia to its former glory.

Reserve tickets at


Luck of the Lakes Raffle to Benefit New Museum in Toledo

8/29 - The Great Lakes Historical Society and the Steamship Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship are holding the ultimate freighter trip raffle in support of creating the new national Great Lakes Museum in Toledo, Ohio. The raffle features an “Early Bird” raffle in which all participants get a complimentary number of raffle tickets for a trip for two aboard the Canadian Empress for a cruise along the St. Lawrence Seaway in 2012.

The Luck of the Lakes general raffle will take place November 5, 2011 in Toledo. This raffle features trips on an Interlake vessel, the St. Marys Challenger, the Wilfred Sykes and the Saginaw all in 2012. Also included are cash prizes equaling $25,000!

Tickets are $100 each, but a maximum of 3500 tickets will be sold.

Tickets can be purchased by calling 800-893-1485 extension 1 or on the Boatnerd website. GLHS and the Schoonmaker will donate $10 per ticket to the Boatnerd website for tickets purchased using the Boatnerd form.

Click here to order


Updates -  August 29

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery


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


Canadian National issued final permits for oredock demolition

8/28 – With a stroke of his pen, Ashland Mayor Bill Whalen Monday signed off on permits that will allow Canadian National Railway to begin the long anticipated process of demolishing the Soo Line oredock.

Canadian National is the successor company to the Wisconsin Central Railroad, which obtained the historic oredock from the Soo Line a number of years ago. They have contracted with VEIT & Co. of Duluth to raze the superstructure and concrete supports for the dock in phase I and II of the demolition project. No plans have yet been made for a third phase, which would entail the removal of the concrete base and thousands of wooden pilings that form the foundations of the massive structure.

The signing marks the end of a long period of negotiation between the City of Ashland and the railroad. Now that the railroad will soon have the permits in hand, demolition could begin as early as 60 days from now, Whalen said.

"They can begin anytime they want; it's their dock," Whalen said. "I would expect this year that they could take the chutes and the metal off and leave the freestanding structure for another time. They are very good at mobilizing, very efficient. They are the right people to move big equipment."

Whalen emphasized that the eventual fate of the base and pilings has yet to be worked out.

"With the possibility of mining in the area, if the legislation does get modified at the state level, there is an outside chance that the dock could be used for that," he said.

Whalen said the city and Canadian National have not had any conversations about the base of the dock.

"I really don't know what their intent is to do with that," he said.

Whalen acknowledged that there is considerable hope that some use could be found for the dock, perhaps as a fishing pier if the mining possibility doesn't pan out.

"That's my dream also, that we could take that 1,900 feet and turn it into something that could be a very striking tourist attraction and something that locals could use. Many of them fished out there when they were young children, and we have conceptual plans on our website showing how that dock could be used," he said.

Whalen noted that while developing the dock for an alternative purpose would require Canadian National's cooperation, they don't have a permit to do anything else with it.

"I would hope as we negotiate for that second permit, we could enter into talks and see how we could work together."

Negotiations between the city and Canadian National have been problematic at times. Although the city issued them a demolition permit last year, the firm balked at it because of conditions that would have allowed the city to halt the demolition process if water quality in Chequamegon Bay had been jeopardized. Under the new permit, that authority has been transferred to the Department of Natural Resources.

That proved acceptable to both parties. Whalen said the protection of water quality has been the overriding issue throughout the discussion of demolition of the dock.

"That was what I was very firm about; I was not going to jeopardize our water quality in the process of having this dock come down. It took us a long time to come to an agreement about how to make this work."

Whalen said the city would nevertheless conduct its own monitoring through the Public Works Department and would not hesitate to contact the DNR if the bay's water quality was threatened.

Whalen said he felt "very good" about the success of the negotiations, saying that on various matters, the city has enjoyed a good level of cooperation with Canadian National. However, he said the water quality of the lake was foremost.

"Our water pickup is about 1,300 feet from that dock. We can't let demolition materials get into the water and make it to the plant, because then we are going to be shutting down the plant. I never want to have that phone call made shutting down the plant because we weren't doing our due diligence. I feel very comfortable saying that we have done a good job; we've held pat to what we wanted. I am quite satisfied with the way it has turned out."

The Daily Press


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

Twin Ports – Al Miller
American Century departed Duluth early with coal from Midwest Energy Terminal destined for St. Clair and Essexville. James R. Barker arrived Duluth shortly before 8 a.m. to go to the energy terminal to load coal for St. Clair. The summer dearth of salties appears to be over, with several loading grain this week. The most recent was Federal Fuji, which was loading at CHS berth 1. Philip R. Clarke was loading at the CN ore dock.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Algowood and Michipicoten loaded ore Friday afternoon at the Upper Harbor. Algowood's visit was her second of the season.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
Stephen B. Roman arrived back in Toronto on Thursday.

Sorel, QC. - Normand Daneau
Tugs Salvor and Jarrette M are presently towing the Kathryn Spirit towards the Seaway, presumably for scrapping.


Toledo Harbor Lighthouse to open for tours

8/27 - For the first time, Frank will have company over for the weekend during public tours of the lighthouse where he stands silent sentry.

Tourists are to arrive Saturday and Sunday at the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse, home to Frank, a uniformed “phantom” officer who has become part of the rich history of the beacon on the bay.

The weekend event marks the first time in more than 50 years that the lighthouse will be open for tours, said Sandy Bihn of Oregon, president of the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse Preservation Society. “I think it’s exciting,” she said.

Boats will ferry visitors from the marina at Maumee Bay State Park to the towering buff-brick structure at the entrance to the Toledo shipping channel where Lake Erie and Maumee Bay meet.

Tours will be from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Tickets cost $40, and can be obtained at this weekend’s Toledo Antique & Classic Boat Show at the Toledo Maritime Center or by visiting the preservation society’s Web site

Visitors, who should plan to spend about 80 minutes altogether on the boat and at the lighthouse, will climb a rung ladder to the lighthouse deck. There are 76 steps to the top of the lighthouse. Tours will be conducted in groups of 6 or 10.

“It will be fun,” Mrs. Bihn said, noting tours will take place weather permitting.

If the weekend tours are successful, additional tours could be offered in September, she said.

Preservation society member Robert Nixon, 81, of Fremont would love to explore the lighthouse, but said his health will keep him home.

“I would like to go back out there just myself to see it,” he said.

Tour participants will see where Mr. Nixon, who served in the Coast Guard, lived during his years as keeper of the lighthouse, including the second-floor living area where he was seated near a TV on Nov. 22, 1963.

“We were flabbergasted when it came out on TV about President Kennedy being assassinated,” he said. “Wasn’t much we could do. We just kept doing our job. We did our mourning there at the lighthouse.”

Tourists will see where Mr. Nixon and other lighthouse keepers dropped fishing lines to catch perch or white bass for supper. During his shift he would stand watch, and would turn the light on at dusk and off at dawn.

“If visibility was bad we had to make sure the foghorn was on.” You quickly learned to stand behind the foghorn when it was turned on. Otherwise, the blare rattled your teeth, Mr. Nixon said.

“We did a lot of painting and cleaning and cooking. We had to make sure all the glass prisms on the lens were nice and clean so the light would work the way it was supposed to,” he said.

Later, an automated system was installed, and lighthouse keepers became a thing of the past.

Weekend tours will provide a chance to visit the lighthouse before a $1.5 million restoration project gets under way, Mrs. Bihn said.

A $500,000 transportation enhancement grant will help cover costs to improve windows, doors, bricks, and shutters in the first phase, and the preservation society’s $138,000 in matching funds is being raised through its My Lighthouse Window capital campaign, she said.

Overall, the lighthouse is “in very good condition. We want it to stay that way,” Mrs. Bihn said.

Restoration is to begin in 2013, she said.

Phase two would focus on solar power, electrical, plumbing, and waste water systems. Interior improvements and finishing work would be tackled in the final phase.

The Toledo Harbor Lighthouse Preservation Society, which applied for ownership of the lighthouse under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000, has owned the deed since 2007.

In an effort to prevent vandalism, mannequins were positioned at windows in the lighthouse where today the uniformed “phantom” officer known as Frank keeps watch. Ghost stories swirl from sightings of his shadowy figure.

Frank arrived in October, 2009, after Sarah, a mannequin with a blonde wig, was found ripped apart, an apparent victim of a vandal.

Mrs. Bihn fashioned Frank from a wooden frame of a scarecrow, dressing it in an official-looking shirt.

For now, Frank stands at what is known as Sarah’s window. She is to return to her post as the lighthouse is restored.

Toledo Blade


Toledo Antique and Classic Boat show this weekend

8/27 - Toledo, Ohio - On Saturday August 27 and Sunday August 28, in conjunction with the newly rechristened S.S Col James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship (former Willis B. Boyer) and Ramsey Brothers Restorations, the fifth annual Toledo Antique & Classic Boat Show will take place at the Toledo Maritime Center, 1701 Front Street, Toledo, Ohio. The show will take place from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sunday. For more information please visit

This event is for boating enthusiasts of all ages to come and 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 replica bearing historic names such as Chris Craft, Dart, Gar Wood, and Lyman. This year's show will feature tours of the newly-restored Schoonmaker, extremely rare survivors of Toledo's Dart boat Co., the vintage unlimited hydroplane Such Crust IV, the historic tugboat Josephine, and more.

The S.S. Col James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship has been undergoing continued restoration since February 22. In what can only be described as the most comprehensive restoration of any Great Lakes vessel in history, this herculean project witnessed the vessel's rechristening on July 1st at the exact moment of her launching 100 years earlier. Due to continued restoration the boat show will be the sole opportunity for the public to walk her decks and the tour the vessel this season.

The show also features a Marine Mart with items for sale, historical displays, models, and artwork. Food vendors will also be on site.

The Dart Boat Co. originally located on Summit Street in Toledo, produced inboard mahogany runabouts known for their speed, durability, and seaworthiness. One of the truly revered classics, Dart boats were manufactured by the hundreds and sold around the world. Though hugely successful at the turn of the century, The Great Depression devastated the company and by late 1933 the Dart Boat Company faded into history. Today, it is estimated that only 30 to 40 of the sleek, graceful Dart runabouts survive.

The Such Crust IV was the largest and most powerful boat in the unlimited hydroplane fleet from 1962-1967. Built for bakery owner Jack Schafer by the Hacker/Mariner Boat Co. the "Crust" was the first unlimited hull ever to be constructed of entirely aircraft aluminum, and is one of the largest ever assembled. Powered by Allison 1710 V-12's from a P-38 Lightning capable of producing nearly 4,000 horsepower, this hydro could travel at speeds up to 200 mph.

The tugboat Josephine was built in 1956 in Den Helder, Netherlands for the Dutch Royal Navy and is now owned by the Geo. Gradel Co. of Toledo. Geo. Gradel Co. was recently one of the largest benefactors of the S.S. Col James M. Schoonmaker donating unlimited use of towing services, barges, and other heavy equipment.

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. on Saturday. Other live music performances will take place during the show as well.

The show will also feature presentations by the Great Lakes Historical Society (GLHS) which, while serving as an event sponsor, will showcase details of the upcoming creation of the National Great Lakes Maritime Museum, their current "Luck of the Lakes" fundraiser, and ultimate relocation to the Toledo Maritime Center.

Admission is $3 per person per day (children 10 and younger are free). Not only does admission allow the Toledo community to view these great maritime artifacts but also includes admission to the S.S. Col James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship. Free trolley service will be available between the S.S. Col James M. Schoonmaker and the Toledo Skyway Marina.


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.


Algoma christens first completely new bulk carrier in over 25 years

8/26 - Port Colborne, Ont. - The Algoma Mariner — the first completely new Canadian flag dry-bulk carrier to be brought into service on the Great Lakes in over 25 years — was christened Thursday in a special ceremony in Port Colborne, Ontario.

The Canadian-flag ship, which is owned by Algoma Central Corporation, has been registered in the city of Port Colborne and resident Lisa Badawey was selected as the official sponsor of the vessel.

A crowd of local dignitaries and members of the marine industry watched as Mrs. Lisa Badawey, who is the wife of the city's Mayor, Vance Badawey, imparted a traditional blessing and pressed the button to lower a champagne bottle to break against the bow of the vessel. A banner was then lowered to officially reveal the name of the vessel on the side of the ship.

As part of the customary proceedings, Father David Mulholland from The Mission to Seafarers in Toronto offered prayers and other words of inspiration and wisdom to the 19-person Canadian crew.

The Algoma Mariner, which has a number of environmental and technical improvements including being 25 per cent more fuel efficient (see full list of benefits below), will carry traditional dry-bulk commodities such as iron ore, coal, salt, aggregates and grain in the Great Lakes-Seaway system and in Atlantic coastal waters for the next 30-40 years.

Greg Wight, President and CEO of St. Catharines-based Algoma Central Corporation, said at the ceremony: "I am pleased to be able to say that, although the Algoma Mariner is the first completely new dry-bulk vessel to enter Canadian service in a long time, it will not be the last. In addition to the Algoma Mariner we have contracted for six new Equinox Class vessels and the Canadian Wheat Board, a major user of the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Waterway and customer of Algoma, has contracted to purchase an additional two Equinox Class vessels. These vessels will be managed and crewed by Algoma.

He continued: "With the introduction of the new Algobay last year, the Algoma Mariner and the soon to be constructed "Equinox Class" vessels, Algoma will own and operate the most modern and environmentally efficient fleet in the entire Great Lakes system."

Vance Badawey, mayor of the City of Port Colborne, said: "Today's christening of the Algoma Mariner exhibits a confidence that the marine industry is alive and well - an industry that is prepared to be a major contributor to the revitalization of our region's new economy. We applaud this investment by Algoma and congratulate them on their announcement of the new Equinox Class ship order. The City of Port Colborne within the Niagara Region has been designated as a Gateway Economic Centre by the province of Ontario. The catalyst to this designation is the Canal - the Marine industry. In partnership with our transportation partners, we are working extremely hard to earn worldwide recognition that we are a "Transportation Hub" that highlights an availability of all methods of transportation to move goods globally. This builds on our strength - the Welland Canal," stated the mayor.

The official Port of Registry for the Algoma Mariner will be Port Colborne in recognition of Algoma's long association with the community. Algoma owns the Port Colborne-based ship repair company Fraser Marine and Industrial, the largest top-side ship repair company operating in the Great Lakes region and Port Colborne has long been a major hub for the winter lay-up of vessels and the associated vessel maintenance.

Algoma's Algoport was also named after the city. This vessel was retired after a long and successful career with Algoma and the Algoma Mariner was developed to be that vessel's replacement. The forebody and cargo handling systems of the Algoma Mariner are identical to the Algobay, which joined Algoma's fleet last year, however, the stern section is a completely new design by Deltamarin, designers of Algoma's new Equinox Class vessels.

The Algoma Mariner was delivered by Chengxi Shipyard in China on May 31, 2011 and reached Canadian shores on August 2, 2011. Following today's ceremony, it will deliver coal (picked up earlier from Superior, Wisconsin) through the St. Lawrence Seaway to Sydney, Nova Scotia.

Mr Wight remarked at the ceremony today that the occasion was also a visible symbol of the recent integration of the Algoma Central Corporation and the Upper Lakes Shipping fleet. He said: "This vessel was originally to be jointly owned by the two companies but with our recent acquisition of the Upper Lakes Shipping fleet, the Algoma Mariner became 100% owned by Algoma. The crew of the Algoma Mariner are all former Upper Lakes employees and we are pleased to formally welcome them to the Algoma family."

Facts and Stats of the Algoma Mariner

Vessel: Self-unloading dry-bulk carrier
Length overall: 225.56m (two football fields)
Carries: abt.26,000 tonnes (in St. Lawrence Seaway)
Carries: abt.38,000 tonnes (maximum capacity in Coastal waters)
Cargo holds (6) abt.39,000m³
Captains: Ken Mackenzie and Robert Loveless
Chief Engineers: David Cooke and Todd Walters

Environmental / Operational Enhancements

• Vessel designed for future installation of Water Ballast Treatment System.
• Vessel designed for future installation of Exhaust Gas Scrubber and associated equipment.
• All waste streams are managed and treated. Propeller and rudder shafts are water lubricated to reduce the risk of oil discharges to water.
• Vessel is fitted with a thermal oil system which recovers heat from exhaust gases.
• Optimized hull and rudder design to improve fuel efficiency and reduce wake.
• Modern slow speed engine: fuel efficient, low maintenance and long life.
• Self-unloading areas certified for carriage of coal and the entire unloading system, including the unloading boom, integrates dust control and suppression systems.
• Wash water for cleaning cargo holds is recovered and directed to built-in used wash water holding tanks.
• Modern engine room controls built to unmanned engine room standards.
• Enhanced crew accommodations including broadband internet and satellite TV connections, comfortable day rooms and plans for a full gymnasium.


Port Reports -  August 26

South Chicago, Ill. - Brian Z.
American Steamship's John J. Boland was loading coal at KCBX Terminal on Thursday. The Boland arrived late Wednesday night to take on a cargo of Western coal destined for Muskegon, Michigan. The Algobay was at anchor on the lake waiting for the Boland to clear the river before making her way to KCBX to load petroleum coke.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
Stephen B. Roman departed Toronto on Wednesday.


Updates -  August 26

News Photo Gallery


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


Port Reports -  August 25

Sarnia, Ont. - Mike Cunningham
Algorail arrived mid-day to the North Slip and pumped ballast. Reportedly she was on her way to Goderich.

Cleveland, Ohio - Thomas Seiler
Tuesday the Sam Laud was working the river ore shuttle service. Saginaw followed her under the Norfolk Southern Bridge with a load of stone, for the old river channel of the Cuyahoga River.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
Stephen B. Roman and Canadian Provider arrived in Toronto Tuesday.

Rochester, N.Y. - Tom Brewer
The tug Evans McKeil pushed the barge Metis into Rochester Wednesday afternoon and went up the river to the Essroc Dock. The James Norris went to anchor to west of Rochester due to high wind.

Montreal - Denny Dushane
A new Polsteam vessel the Resko is expected to arrive in Montreal, Quebec on August 29. The Resko is the most recent newbuild for the Polsteam fleet following her sisterships and fleetmates the Miedwie and Drawsko each of which have made appearances in the Great Lakes-Seaway system since 2010. All three vessels 623'04 long with a beam of 77'05, they were built in 2010 and fly the flag of the Bahamas with Nassau as their port of registry. The Resko has a cargo of steel coils from Ijmuiden, Netherlands for Cleveland, Ohio.


Great Lake States Lose Appeal of Effort to Keep Asian Carp Out of Waters

8/25 - Five U.S. states lost a bid to overturn a court’s rejection of their request to close links between the Great Lakes and Mississippi River to halt advancing, invasive Asian carp.

Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio and Pennsylvania had sued the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and an Illinois waterways management agency, claiming the voracious fish threatened a $7.09 billion sport fishing and tourism industry. Steps taken to stop the entry into the lakes were ineffectual, they alleged.

U.S. District Judge Robert M. Dow in Chicago last year rejected the states’ request, concluding they hadn’t shown the requisite imminent harm. A three-judge appellate panel of the U.S. Circuit Court in Chicago today upheld the lower-court ruling on different grounds.

“If the invasion comes to pass, there is little doubt that the harm to the plaintiff states would be irreparable,” U.S. Circuit Judge Diane P. Wood wrote in a 57-page ruling. “That does not mean, however, that they are automatically entitled to injunctive relief.”

Asian carp escaped into the Mississippi after being brought to the U.S. to cleanse fish ponds and sewage lagoons and in ballast water discharged by ocean-going ships. The fish grow as big as 100 pounds (45 kilograms) and feed on plankton that native species need to survive, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The states seek closure of locks at the mouths of the Chicago and Calumet rivers, where they meet Lake Michigan, as well as installation of permanent screens, grates and other measures to stop the alleged migration.



Port of Oswego wins Seaway Pacesetter Award

8/25 - Wednesday the Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC) presented the Robert J. Lewis Pacesetter Award to the Port of Oswego in New York State. SLSDC Administrator Terry Johnson presented the award today to Jonathan Daniels, Oswego’s Port Director, in recognition of the Port’s increase in international cargo during last year’s navigation season.

The port recorded an international tonnage increase of 4 percent in 2010 over the 2009 shipping season, handling 183, 502 metric tons of cargo. Aluminum shipments were up 37 percent and grain cargoes of soybeans, corn, and wheat were up 33 percent. This is the tenth time the Port of Oswego has received the Pacesetter Award.

“President Obama has set a goal of doubling U.S. exports, and it is this kind of strong performance by the Port of Oswego that is going to help do this,” said Administrator Johnson. “The new business through the Port shows a strengthening of the regional economy, which will translate into new employment opportunities.”

“As a proud member of the St. Lawrence System, we are pleased that we were able to show an increase in international tonnage for the season,” said Port Director Jonathan Daniels. “This is a testament to the dedication and work ethic of the longshoremen that work efficiently for the benefit of the customers that utilize the Port of Oswego as a critical component of their logistics chain. From aluminum to agriculture to transformers, the Port of Oswego stands poised to provide the most flexible and cost effective services for an ever expanding clientele.”

The Pacesetter Award is presented annually to U.S. Great Lakes Seaway ports that register increases in international overseas cargo tonnage shipped through the Seaway during the navigation season. Originally known simply as the Pacesetter Award, the name change honors long-time Seaway trade analyst Bob Lewis who passed away in 2001.


Tug Fest this weekend in Parry Sound

8/25 - Tug Fest is an annual gathering of tug boats (working, converted yachts, and other interesting vessels) in Georgian Bay. This year it is taking place in Parry Sound, Ontario. The festival runs from August 26 to 28th. For more information:


Help Wanted

8/25 - We are looking for a competent and practically trained Ships Master. Minimum qualifications are: Master 3000 GT Domestic for Inland Water Class 1 with knowledge of the Great Lakes system and Pilotage 2WC (Welland Canal), 2WOC International, District Outside Canal and O Lake Ontario.

Candidates must have:
- a valid Canadian passport
- all applicable Transport Canada certificates
- Transport Canada valid medical certificate

We offer a very competitive wage and benefit package, a positive work environment and an industry-leading leave system. Consideration will also be given to candidates looking for permanent or relief work.

Applicants who meet the job requirements for this position can send their resume to:

Personnel Manager - Fettes Shipping Inc.
3385 Harvester Road, Suite 250 Burlington, ON L7N 3N2
Tel 905-333-1600
Fax 905-333-6588


Former Ann Arbor captain passes away

8/25 - Bruce Jewell has passed away. He was master of Ann Arbor Railroad carferries City of Green Bay and the last master of the Viking.


Updates -  August 25

New Video on our YouTube Channel
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Today in Great Lakes History -  August 25

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Port Reports -  August 24

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Canadian Enterprise remained in port Tuesday morning to unload grain into the Duluth Storage grain elevator, not to unload stone as originally reported. The ships unloading boom was extended into a hopper near the top of what was named the B2 berth when the elevator was owned by Cargill. Few, if any, vessels have performed this procedure at this elevator in the past 25 years. This berth was used only occasionally to load and dock storage vessels. The elevator is on its second hedge fund owner since Cargill sold it several years ago. This elevator has loaded fewer than 10 vessels in the past two years. Elsewhere Tuesday, Great Lakes Trader and tug were unloading stone at the CLM dock in Superior and Federal Patroller was loading grain at CHS berth 2 in Superior.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Tuesday evening the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived at Lafarge to load cement. The barge McKee Sons and tug Invincible were not far behind the Innovation out in the bay as it turned around to back into Lafarge. Once the lines were secure the McKee Sons started unloading. The Alpena is expected to return on Wednesday.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
Last weekend the Federal Katsura arrive at Redpath and James Norris depart the Toronto harbor.

Hamilton and Bronte, Ont. – Eric Holmes
Tuesday the tug Tony MacKay and barge departed at 6 a.m. Tugs Omni Richileau and LaPrairie departed at 10:30 a.m. for Bronte. Canadian Provider departed at 11:15 a.m. from Dofasco for Toronto. John B. Aird departed at 12:15 p.m. from Dofasco for Toledo. CSL Laurentian arrived at 1 p.m. for US Steel to load coke. Chemtrans Oste arrived at the Petro Canada Piers in Bronte at 2 p.m. Tugs Omni Richileau and LaPrairie arrived back in Hamilton at 4 p.m. after helping the Chemtrans Oste dock. Rt. Hon. Paul J Martin arrived at 6 p.m. going to US Steel. The bunkering ship Hamilton Energy departed at 6 p.m. Federal Pioneer departed at 6:30 p.m. for the canal.


EPA official embraces NY's controversial ballast water rules

8/24 - For the first time, a top official with the US Environmental Protection Agency has publicly embraced New York's tough new ballast water rules. Those regulations, scheduled to go into effect next year, are designed to stop invasions of non-native animals and plants, like zebra mussels and the spiny water flea.

Industry groups, members of congress and some Federal officials are pushing back hard, arguing that the regulations set standards that can't be met by existing technology. The want New York's rules scrapped. And they're lobbying the EPA to create national ballast water guidelines that are far less strict.

But as Brian Mann reports, the top EPA administrator in New York says new regulations should push the shipping industry to do more to help stop invasives.

For months, New York’s department of environmental conservation has been hammered by members of commerce and by Federal officials.

Critics say New York’s ballast water rules – designed to stop invasive species – would shut down commerce in the state’s waterways and pinch off shipping access to the Great Lakes.

Collister Johnson, who heads the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation, spoke with North Country Public Radio earlier this summer.

"It is a great concern to the Seaway because it would shut down the Seaway," Johnson said. "It is a great concern to the port of New York and New Jersey because it would shut them down."

But during an in-depth interview with NCPR, the Environmental Protection Agency’s top administrator for New York and New Jersey praised New York state’s ballast water regulations. Judith Enck spoke while on a visit to Paul Smith’s College in the Adirondacks.

"We've learned a lot from the New York regulations," Enck said. "I really applaud the New York state department of environmental conservation for sticking with the regulations that they have."

Those regulations – which haven’t yet gone into effect – require every ship passing through New York state waters – from New York harbor to the St. Lawrence Seaway – to install a small wastewater treatment plant in their ballast water tanks.

James Tierney is assistant commissioner for water quality with New York’s Conservation Department.

"You have to put equipment on your ship that kills animals, bacteria, viruses, crustaceans, that might be carried in ballast water," he argued.

Opponents of the policy, including Republican congressman Steve LaTourette from Ohio, say that kind of hardware isn’t even available yet.

"If New York is permitted to go ahead with standards that can't be met by any technology that exists today, you're going to shut down commerce on the Great Lakes."

But the EPA’s Judith Enck – who helped develop New York state’s ballast rules when she served in the Spitzer administration – says the regulations are designed to spur development of new technologies.

"If you look at the history of environmental regulation over the last forty years, there have been regulations where companies have said, 'We just don't have the technology to achieve these numbers.' And it has driven innovation and over time dramatic reductions in pollution. Just like we have seen that with the Clean Air Act, we will see that on the issue of ballast water."

The EPA and the Coast Guard are currently developing their own new national guidelines for ballast water and it’s unclear how stringent those will be.

Industry groups say the current ballast purging method used by ships before they enter New York waters is adequate.

But Enck says the industry should expect to do more.

"I think the DEC regs are a really fine example of the need for the industry to invest in innovative technologies to deal with this problem. The status quo is not acceptible. We are going to lose major bodies of water because of invasive species that are brought in from distant locations."

The EPA’s ballast water rules are expected to be unveiled in November.

North Country Public Radio


Green Bay’s port busier after construction of a new dock

8/24 - Shipments through Great Lakes ports are reflecting positive economic news. Movement of raw materials is up across the board. In Green Bay, a newly-improved dock has opened up a new sector of shipments.

Earlier this year the oil company U.S. Venture used a federal grant to improve a petroleum shipment dock at the Port of Green Bay.

Port Director Dean Haen says the port is the end of the line for a pipeline that moves oil into Northeastern Wisconsin. From the port he says the petroleum is put onto ships bound for Cheboygan, Michigan and on to Canadian refineries.

Haen says the new dock means a more diverse cargo beyond the port's usual hauls of things like coal, cement, and raw materials for paper making.

"Which is always good, then you don't have such a peaks and valleys booms and busts of economic times. The more and varied types of cargo you're moving the better you weather those changing economic conditions,” he says.

US Transportation statistics show the port of Green Bay had an economic impact of 83-million dollars in 2010. Haen says movement through the port is a leading economic indicator for the region's economy. Tonnage dropped in 2008 due to the recession but Haen says activity is picking back up.

And since the new petroleum dock wasn't up and running until this year, Haen says the next economic report should reflect even greater movement.

A separate report gives a bigger picture of movement through the St. Lawrence Seaway. Numbers from the Seaway's Development Corporation indicate cargo shipments were up more than 20-percent this July compared to the same time last year.

Superior Telegram


Fake explosion sets off mock training exercise on Detroit River

8/24 - A blast from a barge anchored in the Detroit River echoed between the Renaissance Center and the Windsor shore setting off a massive, two-day training for emergency responders on both sides of the Detroit River Tuesday.

Dozens of Detroit firefighters, Windsor police, U.S. Coast Guard officers, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents boarded tugs, speedboats and ice cutters. Speeding off into the sparkling blue water, they then rescued 75 people – actually floating orange Coast Guard suits – from the water.

But when the suits made it to shore, volunteers made up with realistic-looking broken bones, gaping wounds and survivors’ moans took their place to help make the training exercise more authentic.

Coached on what to say, Nathaniel Mosby, 14, of Detroit knelt among the ‘survivors,’ telling a Detroit Fire Department investigator what happened.

“We were on the Detroit Princess,” he gasped quietly, “having a good time, and BOOM!”

More than 65 U. S. and Canadian federal, state and local emergency response agencies will take part in the mass rescue and oil spill response exercise, dubbed Detroit River Readiness 2011, according to the U.S. Coast Guard.

It’s designed to test and validate the Area Maritime Security Plan and contingency plans of all responding agencies, including:
• maritime search and rescue capabilities;
• mass rescue operations management;
• shore-side community mass casualty incident capabilities;
• landing/triage site management, survivor handling and accountability; and
• public information and media outreach.

The exercise is the result of three years of planning, according to the Coast Guard.

Detroit News


Invasive species ballast battle gets bigger

8/24 - Researchers working with the American Steamship Co. tested a new system Sunday to kill invasive species in the ballast water of a 1,000-foot Great Lakes freighter.

Crews pumped a biocide into two of 10 ballast tanks in the Indiana Harbor as it left Gary, Ind., treating 1.8 million gallons of ballast water. The chemical then was neutralized with a second chemical as the boat moved across Lake Superior before releasing ballast in the Duluth-Superior harbor.

It’s believed to be the first such major-scale test on the Great Lakes, with researchers from multiple universities and federal agencies involved along with funding from multiple state and federal grants. The issue is important because state and federal governments are moving to require ballast treatment to help stop invasive species that cause an estimated $5.9 billion damage annually in the region.

“The good news is that we were successful in delivering the biocide at this huge level for a 1,000-foot laker, then successfully delivered the neutralizer, all while the Indiana Harbor was on the job,” Phyllis Green, superintendent of Isle Royale National Park and the instigator behind the effort, told the News Tribune.

The tests used sodium hydroxide, which is commonly used in wastewater treatment plants but had never been used in major ballast water applications before. Crews then used carbon dioxide to neutralize the chemical so it wouldn’t keep killing when the ballast water was released.

“We hope to prototype it all the way to full size, all 10 tanks, very quickly,” Green said.

She praised American Steamship Co. for participating in the tests, calling the company a leader in the effort to curb invasives by offering the Indiana Harbor for the tests. The effort required more than a half-mile of tubes to be installed on the boat and researchers welded treatment equipment to the boat for the tests.

“As stakeholders in both the economic and environmental health of the Great Lakes region, we feel an obligation to support efforts to combat the detrimental effect of invasive species brought in by oceangoing ships,” said Noel Bassett, vice president of American Steamship Co., in a statement.

The Superior-based Great Ships Initiative now is testing water samples drawn from the ballast tanks to see if the biocide indeed killed organisms and whether the treated water was then successfully neutralized to prevent environmental harm. Results should be available next month.

Barnaby Watten, senior scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Leetown Science Center in West Virginia, said earlier shore-station testing at the Great Ships Initiative facility in Superior reached a 98 percent kill rate for living organisms in the water, with most perishing within 2 hours of exposure to sodium hydroxide.

“We’re hoping to get similar results in real world conditions,” Watten said in a statement. “But this trial demonstrated the feasibility of our process, and we are on target with equipment development to deliver and mix these biocides and neutralizers.”

Green became a leader in the ballast water treatment effort after moving to ban ballast water discharges in Isle Royale National Park waters and then installing a ballast treatment system onto the park’s own passenger boat to avoid moving a fish-killing disease to the park’s waters. She has worked over the past three years to bring academic researchers, industry leaders and federal regulators together to develop a system for Great Lakes freighters.

“I can’t protect the park unless we have a safety net for all of Lake Superior,” she said.

Duluth News Tribune


Updates -  August 24

Historical Perspectives Gallery updated - Chief Wawatam gallery


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.


Tornado damage will halt Goderich mine operations

8/23 - Goderich, Ont. – An F3-level tornado struck the town of Goderich Sunday.  The damage started at the Sifto Salt Mine at the harbor, where one worker was killed.  The Algoma Navigator had been loading salt all day, their unloading boom was extended over the inner channel.  The ship appeared to be undamaged but the loading boom at the salt mine has disappeared.  There was extensive damage to many of the storage sheds and buildings and the main office for the mine was destroyed by the tornado.

The tornado continued on into the town and destroyed much of the beautiful town 'square' and fine homes in the area. Shortly after the tornado, Algoma Navigator appeared to be making quick preparations to leave, despite the heavy debris in the channel. 

At least 37 other people were injured as winds of 280 km/h raged through the beach and port town of 8,000, ripping the roofs off historic buildings, turning trees into match sticks and tossing cars around like toys.

Compass Minerals International Inc., which owns the mine, reported that the employee killed was Norman Laberge. The Kansas City-based Compass, a provider of highway de-icing salt and specialty fertilizer, has a salt mine and salt mechanical evaporation plant in Goderich.

Some of the mine's surface structures and the evaporation plant both sustained significant damage that will prevent operations at these facilities until repairs are made, said the largest producer of magnesium chloride in North America.  There was no damage to the underground operations of the Goderich salt mine and there are no miners currently underground, Compass said.

The Goderich mine has a production capacity of 9 million tons and the Goderich evaporation plant has a production capacity of 175,000 tons of high-purity salt.

Chris Wilson and Compass Minerals


Port Reports -  August 23

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Indiana Harbor was loading coal at Midwest Energy Terminal on Monday morning while Metsaborg prepared to load grain at CHS berth 1 and Canadian Enterprise waited to unload stone at the Northland Constructors dock. Arthur M. Anderson was unloading stone. Following that, it was expected to proceed to Two Harbors to loan iron ore pellets for delivery to Gary. On Sunday, Algoma Mariner made its first visit to the Twin Ports to load coal at Midwest Energy Terminal.

Menominee, Mich. - Dick Lund
The Adriaticborg made its first-ever visit to Menominee on Saturday when it arrived at KK Integrated Logistics with a load of windmill blades. The Selvick tug Jimmy L assisted the ship with docking, otherwise the ship entered port on its own. This is the first load of blades since the Vanessa C delivered a shipment of them on Aug. 5, 2007.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Pere Marquette 41 and tug Undaunted came in about 9 a.m. Monday morning with a load for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg. The St. Marys Conquest and tug Prentiss Brown came in about 2 p.m. with a load for the St. Marys Cement Terminal, also in Ferrysburg.

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
Manistee arrived in Holland Monday evening to deliver a partial load of trap rock to the Verplank dock. She had delivered part of the load to Muskegon earlier in the day.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber arrived on the Saginaw River Monday evening, calling on the Wirt Stone Dock in Bay City to unload.
Stephen B. Roman called on the Saginaw River early Sunday morning, stopping at the Essroc Cement dock in Essexville to unload. She finished her unload, turned in the Essexville basin and was outbound for the lake late Sunday night.

Cleveland, Ohio - Paul Magyar
English River was inbound Cleveland Monday afternoon on her way to the Lafarge Dock with a load of cement.


Saugatuck gets cruise ship stop: Will ships return to other Great Lakes ports as well?

8/23 - Saugatuck, Mich. - About 10 years ago, cruise ships were making regular stops at West Michigan ports before the potential asset for the region's tourism industry fizzled.

Could Great Lakes cruise ships be ready to take another look at the possibilities here?

A cruise company announced last week that Saugatuck was being added to its destinations for its Great Lakes cruises next summer. When the 138-passenger cruise ship Yorktown visits Saugatuck beginning in June, that will end nearly a six-year absence to the small shoreline tourist town.

“It’s wonderful once again to have a ship of this size visit our resort community,” said Felicia Fairchild, executive director of the Saugatuck-Douglas Convention and Visitors Bureau, who noted Great Lakes cruises dropped off with the economy in the past five years.

The number of ships stopping at ports dropped off throughout West Michigan, including Grand Haven. The 400-passenger German ship Columbus drew much attention when it docked in Grand Haven a decade ago.

Laurel Nease, the Grand Haven/Spring Lake Visitors Bureau coordinator at the time, told The Chronicle for a story in 2000 that the 472-foot ship's arrival in Grand Haven was a boost to tourism in the area.

“We're excited we can be a destination for a luxury cruise ship,” she told The Chronicle in 2000. “What it does is promote our image. ... Look at all the people down here, and the restaurants are busy with folks. It's just exciting for Grand Haven to host something like this.”

The Columbus was one of several European vessels in the early 2000s seeming fueling a revival of Great Lakes cruising, which largely had died out by the 1950s.

At that time, the Niagara Prince made stops in Holland and the LeLevant was a regular visitor to Saugatuck.

Grand Haven and Muskegon County visitors bureau officials could not be reached for comment about the potential for the area with a cruise ship returning to West Michigan.

The Yorktown is scheduled to make more than a dozen trips on the Great Lakes and start making stops in Saugatuck in June 2012.

Inbound trips to Saugatuck will dock usually from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from noon to 7 p.m. on return stops. Cruises will run between Detroit and Chicago with stops at Mackinac Island and Sturgeon Bay, Wis., and other locations.

“Because of the short time they are here, passengers don’t usually spend a lot of money during their visits, but the exposure for the area is what’s most important,” Fairchild said.

New York City-based Travel Dynamics International operates the Great Lakes cruises.

Muskegon Chronicle


Wind, current sent some Float Down participants to Canadian side

8/23 - Port Huron, Mich. - Strong westerly winds caused a bit of mayhem once again at the Port Huron Float Down Sunday afternoon on the St. Clair River.

Though officials agree there were fewer floaters this year, the U.S. Coast Guard reported they had to tow more people to shore from cold and exhaustion.

About 2,000 to 3,000 people boarded inflatable rafts about 1 p.m. Sunday at Lighthouse Beach in Port Huron and floated down the St. Clair River. Many people exited at pit stops along the way such as the Port Huron Moose Lodge 158 and the Pilot House River Grille in Port Huron instead of continuing all the way to Chrysler Beach in Marysville.

Law enforcement boats from 13 different departments assisted 653 people Sunday, Coast Guard spokesman Lt. Justin Westmiller said. Three people were transported to area hospitals for injuries, and seven others were treated at the scene and released, Westmiller said. There were 40 reported cases of mild to moderate hypothermia, Westmiller said. The water temperature was 74 degrees.

Last year, the Coast Guard said officials assisted 545 people and rescued five.

Floaters had to battle the current -- which was pushing them towards Canada -- and the strong westerly winds, which made the five-hour trip even harder, St. Clair County Sheriff Marine Division Lt. Dennis Maurey said.

The St. Clair River was closed to U.S. traffic beginning noon Sunday from just north of the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron to Chrysler Beach in Marysville. Boats were also not allowed to leave the Black River.

By 3 p.m., authorities decided to completely close the St. Clair River to Canadian traffic because many people were being blown into recreational boat-filled Canadian waters by 15-20 mph winds, Westmiller said. The river opened to all traffic about 6 p.m. Sunday, as most floaters had reached their destination.

Westmiller estimated 100 people touched the Canadian side of the St. Clair River. Because they were on Canadian soil, U.S. law enforcement agencies were unable to aid the floaters.

"It's a foreign country -- you have to check in with Canadian officials," St. Clair County Sheriff Tim Donnellon said. "Once they hit Canadian shore, we can't help them." The Canadian Border Services Agency could not be reached for comment Sunday.

"Without the monumental effort of all of those folks, there's a high possibility that people could be hurt," Westmiller said.

Port Huron Times Herald


Updates -  August 23

News Photo Gallery
New Video on our YouTube Channel


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

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
The tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons brought a load in for Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg at around 9 p.m. on Saturday.

Buffalo, N.Y. - Brian W.
Tug Cleveland and barge Cleveland Rocks arrived last night around 11 p.m. for the Sand Supply Co. landing on the City ship Canal. They unloaded sand and departed by backing out stern first around 11 a.m. Sunday.

Iroquois Lock - Ron Beaupre
At 4:30 a.m. the Canadian Miner scrap tow was moving into the lock at Iroquois. The lead tug is Salvor with tugs Vigilant I and Seahound on the stern of the dead ship.


Updates -  August 22

Weekly Website Updates


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.


Port Reports -  August 21

St. Marys River
Algoma Mariner made an early morning maiden voyage upbound on the St. Marys River Saturday, hitting the locks about 8 a.m. Flags bedecked her forward mast to mark the event. Other upbound traffic included Burns Harbor, Indiana Harbor, Mapleglen, Walter J. McCarthy, Kaye E. Barker, Arthur M. Anderson and Canadian Enterprise. Paul R. Tregurtha, Algoma Spirit, Sam Laud, Presque Isle and Stewart J. Cort were downbound.

South Chicago, Gary, and Burns Harbor - Matt M
Saturday morning the Drechtborg called on the Iroquois landing dock on the Calumet River, Algowood and Edgar B. Speer were unloading at US Steel Gary Works and the Federal Patroller and Drawsko were unloading wind turbine parts at the Port of Indiana.

St. Joseph, Mich. - David Glasgow
Tug G. L. Ostrander and barge integrity unloaded cement at the LaFarge dock on Saturday. By 5:30 p.m. they had cleared the piers and were on their way back up Lake Michigan.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The tug Tenacious arrived on the Saginaw River and took a barge upriver to the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee during the afternoon on Friday. She was followed by the Manitowoc, which called on the Lafarge Stone dock in Essexville to unload. Manitowoc was back outbound for the lake early Saturday morning after turning in the Essexville basin. The tug Gregory J. Busch and her deck barge turned off the Dow Chemical dock Friday afternoon and were outbound from the Saginaw River, heading for the lake.

Toronto, Ont. - Mark Leich
Saturday evening the McKeil tugs Salvor, Vigilant 1 and Seahound towed the Canadian Miner out of Toronto likely for an overseas scrapyard. Early Sunday the tow was mid-lake with the Salvor on the bow and Vigilant 1 trailing.


Feds award $2.7 million for Lake Erie ferry boat

8/21 - Cleveland, Ohio - Ohio has landed a $2.7 million federal grant for a new ferry boat serving a Lake Erie resort island. The Federal Highway Administration grant was awarded to a partnership of the Kelleys Island ferry operator and Erie County to build a 160-foot vessel.

According to The Plain Dealer, the diesel-powered ferry will serve increasing demand on the route between Marblehead and Kelleys Island. The line handles about 175,000 passengers and 60,000 vehicles annually. The boat is estimated to cost $6 million. The grant announced Wednesday is in addition to $1 million in federal funds received last year. The ferry operator is expected to cover most of the remaining cost. A second grant for $790,000 will be used to improve a terminal dock at South Bass Island.

The Plain Dealer


Maritime anti-terrorism exercise, security training set for Port of Duluth-Superior

8/21 - Duluth, Minn. — A multi-agency, full-scale exercise and maritime security training and exercise program called Operation Down Under is scheduled to take place Wednesday, Aug. 24, in the Port of Duluth-Superior.

Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Duluth, in coordination with the transportation industry, the states of Minnesota and Wisconsin, local law enforcement, fire and emergency management agencies will conduct a full-scale underwater terrorism response exercise at various pre-designated sites within the Duluth-Superior area.

The exercise scenario is not based on any specific credible threat to the Port of Duluth-Superior. The Coast Guard and its state and local area partners conduct emergency preparedness and response exercises every year as part of established strategies to build response capabilities and improve readiness levels for first responders.

Planning, training and exercising are important components of the nation's homeland security strategy. The 2011 Operation Down Under full-scale exercise is a part of the Area Maritime Security Training and Exercise Program and the National Preparedness for Response Exercise Program. The goal of the exercise is to validate current processes in the Western Lake Superior Area Maritime Security Plan and the Underwater Terrorism Preparedness Plan.

Individuals may see Coast Guard assets carrying mounted automatic weapons during the course of the exercise. In a place as strategically important as the Port of Duluth-Superior – critical to the economic vitality of not just Minnesota but the entire Great Lakes - armed waterborne patrols are a key part of the Coast Guard’s ability to defend others and itself in response to maritime security threats. The Coast Guard routinely carries mounted automatic weapons when and where appropriate as part of its mission to detect, deter, and disrupt maritime threats to the people and infrastructure of our Great Lakes. This is not a live-fire training exercise. The Coast Guard does not conduct any live-fire training on the Great Lakes. It trains its crews in the use of these weapons at a Department of Defense facility outside of the Great Lakes region.

Activities scheduled throughout the Duluth-Superior area include: marine dive operations and other under-water technologies; as well as water patrols, which will be available for viewing throughout the day.


Detroit-Windsor ferry feasibility study to be finished by fall

8/21 - Windsor, Ont. - A $75,000 feasibility study on a proposed Detroit River passenger ferry service will be completed this fall. "We've looked at this enough in the past where we are fully aware of the issues," said David Cree, CEO for the Windsor Port Authority, which is a partner in the study.

A Detroit-Windsor passenger ferry service ceased operation in the 1940s, victim of competition from the Ambassador Bridge and Detroit-Windsor tunnel. There has been some recent interest in restoring the service as a tourist attraction and for commuter use, but there has never been a feasibility study until now, Cree said.

The $75,000 study was launched more than a month ago and is being conducted by an arms-length company of New York passenger ferry operator Arthur Imperatore.

The primary issues to be addressed by the study, aside from whether there is demand for the service, include the number of boats that would be required, parking needs and customs security requirements. The study will also offer site recommendations in Windsor - the recently opened port in downtown Detroit has already been chosen as the landing for a ferry on the U.S. side.

"The local governments on both sides will also be brought into the process and their views heard," Cree said. "It's a fairly extensive process."

Should a proposed marina of the west side of downtown some day become reality and a water park constructed, it may offer a docking site for a ferry, he said.

Customs cost recovery - under federal legislation the operator of any new border crossing must pay for customs services - is a major hurdle. The bridge and tunnel are grandfathered under the legislation. "I don't know if that can be worked out," Cree said. "That will be fleshed out."

Another potential hurdle is a master concession agreement reached by the Detroit port authority and bridge owner Matty Moroun. The billionaire businessman purchased the Nicholson Terminal, the only remaining freight port in Detroit, about 10 years ago later reached an agreement with the port authority which, according to some interpretations, could give him first right of refusal to control a passenger ferry service.

That notion was dismissed by Steven Olinek, deputy director of the Detroit/Wayne County Port Authority. The public agency has no concerns "whatsoever" Moroun would be in control if a passenger ferry becomes reality.

"They are partners in a terminal operation in Detroit and have nothing to do with the (new dock) building or operations of this facility," Olinek said.

Detroit's port authority believes the time is right for a passenger ferry and could prove economically viable, but is concerned running the service across an international border poses major challenges, he said.

"This is not the Hudson River (where Imperatore operates ferries), it's an international border crossing and fraught with difficulty from that standpoint," Olinek said. “We have this new terminal so on this side already a big piece of the puzzle is solved from a facility standpoint."

The Detroit port authority has also secured a US$2.4-million federal grant to purchase a ferry should the service become a reality.

The Windsor Star


Updates -  August 21

News Photo Gallery
New Video on our YouTube Channel


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.


Port Reports -  August 20

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Friday morning at the Lower Harbor, Herbert C. Jackson unloaded stone at the Shiras Dock.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
Saginaw crossed the pier heads about 12:30 p.m. Friday, new paint gleaming in the sunshine of a beautiful August day. It was still unloading at 4:45 p.m. at the D & M Dock on Harbor Island in Grand Haven. The tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 came in later with a load for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Friday afternoon the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived at Lafarge to load cement for Detroit. Later in the evening the Alpena came into port, but will likely take a delay to wait for product.

Detroit River - Denny Dushane
Algoma Mariner was upbound, passing through Detroit and Belle Isle Friday morning on her way to Superior, Wis., on her first trip to the upper Great Lakes. She is due to load coal in Superior, Wis., at the Midwest Energy Terminal on Sunday for Sydney, Nova Scotia. Algoma Mariner departed Pier 22 in Hamilton, Ont., on August 18 after spending 11 days in port with repair work. Her first cargo was iron ore loaded from Port Cartier, Que., and delivered to Hamilton, where she arrived on August 7 to unload at Dofasco.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Rebecca Lynn headed in with her barge Friday morning. They departed around 2:45 p.m.

Rochester, N.Y. - Tom Brewer
Barge Metis with the tug Evans McKeil were in Rochester Friday at the Essroc Dock unloading cement.


St. Clair River Float Down to close river Sunday

8/20 - Port Huron, Mich. - Thousands of people with inner tubes, rafts and other flotation devices will enter the river at Port Huron's Lighthouse Park and drift downstream on the St. Clair River Sunday.

The Float Down was banned for 20 years. When organizer Mark Bills revived it in 2008, the event acquired a grass-roots quality and a forbidden feel.

The river will close between noon and 8 p.m. Sunday to all traffic.


Proposals in hand for Lake Erie car ferry

8/20 - London, Ont. - Port officials in Cleveland and those responsible for Port Stanley, Ont., harbor have begun reviewing plans submitted by proponents of a Lake Erie ferry service. Two formal proposal packages were received by the Aug. 15 deadline for submissions from interested parties and a third operator is also interested but is still nailing down a few details.

“I’m comfortable with it,” Brian Lynch, vice-president of planning and development for the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority, said Thursday.

He was referring to the number of submissions and the nature of the submitters. One of the formal packages came from an American operator, the other from a Canadian. The third, which is missing some information, has a Canadian address.

“I’m pleasantly surprised there are as many proposals as there are,” said Dan McNeil, a councillor for Central Elgin, which is looking at the future of Port Stanley harbor. He said he’s looking forward to developing an evaluation process and reviewing the proposals and the business cases they make.

The Cleveland authority and Central Elgin have teamed up to work toward pilot ferry service between the two ports.

Now that the harbor is in local hands following protracted divestiture talks with the federal government, the Elgin County municipality is looking at future options for the port. Given the opposition expressed to a truck-oriented operation in Port Stanley, the test will focus on a tourism link with only minor transport traffic.

Initially, eight parties expressed interest and some asked questions during the six-week-long request for expressions of interest.

Lynch said officials from Central Elgin will be invited to Cleveland in the next several weeks to review the submissions, agree on ways to assess them and discuss next steps. In Port Stanley, McNeil noted, the ferry would be a trial operation and trucks would not be a factor.

“It’s important to reinforce this is a trial program,” he said. “This is not a transport truck ferry,” said the retired rear-admiral from the Canadian navy. “I am not finding anybody against it.”

London Free Press


Severstal says $450M cold steel mill up and running

8/20 - Dearborn, Mich. - The Russian steelmaker Severstal says it's launched a new $450 million cold rolling mill at its production complex in Dearborn. Severstal said Thursday that it will take about six months for the mill to reach full capacity of 2.1 million net tons per year.

The company says it's planning to start up a $285-million hot-dipped galvanizing line at the Dearborn complex. The company says that should launch in December. The site used to be part of Ford Motor Co.'s Rouge complex. Severstal bought the facility in 2004.



Cruise ship plans return to Saugatuck for first time in more than 5 years

8/20 - Saugatuck, Mich. - After nearly a six-year absence, a cruise company has added Saugatuck to its destinations for next summer’s Great Lakes cruises.

The 138-passenger cruise ship Yorktown will visit Saugatuck and Kalamazoo Harbor on more than a dozen trips starting in June 2012. The city hasn’t had a cruise ship stop there since the ship Le Levant stopped in port from 2001 to 2006.

“It’s wonderful once again to have a ship of this size visit our resort community,” said Felicia Fairchild, executive director of the Saugatuck-Douglas Convention and Visitors Bureau, who noted Great Lakes cruises dropped off with the economy in the past five years.

But, Yorktown passengers will likely only get a chance to see the Saugatuck part of the local twin city resorts during their visits unless they take a boat across Lake Kalamazoo or catch a bus.

“Lake Kalamazoo is way too shallow for a cruise ship to get to Douglas. In most spots it’s only 3 to 5 feet deep,” said Tom O’Bryan, of the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers who oversaw the dredging of the Kalamazoo River channel last year.

O’Bryan said the Yorktown, with a draft of 8 feet, will be able to get up the 15-foot deep river to a berth at the Wicks Park pier and turn around in Lake Kalamazoo where it is dredged.

Saugatuck-Douglas Chamber of Commerce President R.J. Peterson said an answer might be on the way to bring cruise ships to Douglas.

“The Chamber is working on a way to get a 15-foot-deep channel through the lake for next summer and are looking to identify the money sources for the $250,000 needed,” said Peterson, owner of Tower Marina in Douglas.

The two cities are also in the process of forming a harbor authority that would oversee the inland waters of Lake Kalamazoo, which are important to tourist trade in both communities. A proposal for the new authority will be given to the two City Councils at 7 p.m. Aug. 30 at Saugatuck High School.

Fairchild right now is working with the New York City-based cruise operators Travel Dynamics International to line up fun things for passengers to do during their six-to-seven hour stops here.

“We’re looking at things that won’t occupy a whole day like dune rides, a walking tour of galleries, a culinary tour with food sampling,” said Fairchild, noting previous cruise passengers commented they enjoyed planned ground excursions but wanted more free time to explore the city on their own.

Inbound trips to Saugatuck will dock usually from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from noon to 7 p.m. on return stops. Cruises will run between Detroit and Chicago with stops at Mackinac Island and Sturgeon Bay, Wis. and other locations.

“Because of the short time they are here, passengers don’t usually spend a lot of money during their visits, but the exposure for the area is what’s most important,” she said.

Some of the past groups that have booked on Great Lakes cruises include alumni associations from Harvard, Princeton, Yale and Michigan State University, as well as Smithsonian and National Geographic tours.

Grand Rapids Press


Port of Indiana wins award for growth in Great Lakes

8/20 - Collister “Terry” Johnson Jr., administrator of the S. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp. of the U.S. Department of Transportation, was on hand at the Ports of Indiana Commission meeting at Port of Indiana Burns Harbor on Thursday to present the prestigious Robert J. Lewis Pacesetter Award to Port Director Peter Laman.

The Port of Indiana Burns Harbor received the award for having posted the largest increase in international cargo of all the Great Lakes ports during the 2010 navigation season. Port tonnage in 2010 increased 73 percent over 2009 tonnage. The port handled 351,600 metric tons of international cargo in 2010, comprised primarily of wind turbine components, steel and construction equipment.

“The health of the system depends on the health of our ports,” said Johnson in making the presentation of the award.

In a prepared statement Laman said, “This port enjoyed one of its best years on record in 2010.” He noted that 2011 shipments through July are over 20 percent ahead of last year’s record-setting pace.

Johnson discussed briefly ballast regulations recently enacted by the state of New York that could cripple international traffic on the Seaway and Port of Indiana Burns Harbor. All traffic on the St. Lawrence Seaway must first travel through New York, hence is subject to New York shipping regulations.

New York has established stringent ballast discharge standards that, according to Johnson, are “100 times more stringent than international standards and are equivalent to drinking water standards.”

To achieve stability, an unloaded or partially loaded vessel will take on water as ballast. This water ballast has the potential to transport invasive species that could disrupt local ecosystems.

Johnson said that according to a report of the National Academy of Sciences, there is, “no existing technology to achieve the 100 times standard.”

Post Tribune


Lower Lakes hiring marine engineers

8/20 - We are looking for competent, practically skilled Marine Engineers with 2nd, 3rd or 4th Class Motor TCMS certification to join our team. Canadian Great Lakes dry bulk experience or related experience , a good work ethic and the ability to work in a fast paced environment are considered prerequisites for this position. Strong interpersonal and communication skills are a must, as is a leadership style based on mutual respect of all officers and crew within a proactive, team oriented work environment. Candidates must be bondable, possess a valid passport and will have all applicable certificates and Transport Canada medical in good order.

If you are a leader or potential leader that is looking for a change, we offer a very competitive wage and benefit package, positive work environment and an industry-leading leave system with a Month On- Month Off work rotation on a year round basis.

Applicants who meet the job requirements for this position are encouraged to send a resume and cover letter to: Personnel Manager, Lower Lakes Towing Ltd. PO Box 1149 517 Main Street, Port Dover, ON Ph: (519) 583-0982 Fx: (519) 583-1946, email:


Updates -  August 20

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Data from: Joe Barr, David Swayze, Randy Johnson, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Seaway cargo shipments up 21 percent In July

8/19 - Washington, D.C. - The St. Lawrence Seaway statistics for the month of July indicate steady traffic with cautious optimism as the economy continues to rebound. Year-to-date total cargo shipments through July were 17 million metric tons, up 7.3 percent over the same period in 2010 due primarily to demand for bulk materials used in construction, salt, petroleum products, and Canadian grain.

Year-to-date salt tonnage increased 46 percent over the same period last year to 1.2 million metric tons as Nort h American cities continued to replenish their reserves for road salting next winter. Year-to-date stone shipments continued strongly at 286,000 metric tons. Iron ore saw a 7.7 percent increase in the month of July to just over one million metric tons. Canadian grain increased by 60 percent in July compared to the same month in 2010, pushing the year-to-date total to 2.7 million metric tons. U.S. grain shipments dropped in July to 85,000 metric tons.

Petroleum products saw a surge of 141 percent to 1.5 million metric tons, more than double the 624,000 metric tons transported in 2010. One port that has benefitted from this surge is the Port of Green Bay.

A long-term strategy of the Port of Green Bay has been the diversification of cargo to allow us to more evenly weather changing economic conditions, said Port of Green Bay Manager Dean Haen. Since 2006, the port has opened two terminals moving completely new commodities through each. One facility moves forest products and heavy lift cargo, and the other is moving petroleum products.

“An increase in our July numbers reflects domestic and foreign exports of petroleum products. We have shipped ethanol, diesel and gasoline to Canada and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The shipments to Montreal and the Sarnia region of Canada have helped them to meet their supply needs caused by scheduled plant maintenance,” explained Haen. “In July we shipped 30,473 metric tons north of the border, and 14,606 metric tons to Michigan.”

He further stated, “As fuel and land based transportation costs continue to rise, along with increased road congestion, Wisconsin’s ports are well-positioned to keep our economy growing by providing a low cost transportation alternative that today’s businesses are looking for.”

One Green Bay tenant agrees. “The Port of Green Bay has provided our U.S. Oil division an excellent distribution opportunity,” states John Schmidt, CEO of U.S. Venture. “With the construction of a new dock at our Green Bay bulk petroleum terminal, marine shipping has enabled us to pursue growth of our fuel distribution business beyond our traditional modes of pipeline, truck and rail.”

The St. Lawrence Seaway plays a critical role in moving North American products to local customers and those around the world, said Terry Johnson, Administrator of The Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation. “Not only does the Seaway provide a cost-effective, efficient and safe route for cargo to be transported globally, it allows the ports to have the ability to be nimble when responding to changing customer needs due to crop disasters, plant closures, or fluctuations in world markets. The flexibility of the Seaway, as shown over the past 50 years, is a testament to its continuing viability to support businesses, and jobs, throughout the Great Lakes.”

Marine Delivers


Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor earns award

8/19 - The Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor posted the largest increase in international cargo of all the Great Lakes ports during the 2010 navigation season, earning it the prestigious Robert J. Lewis Pacesetter Award from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Saint Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation (SLSDC). SLSDC Administrator Terry Johnson presented the award Thursday to Port Director, Peter Laman of the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor.

In 2010, the port registered an increase in tonnage of 73 percent over the 2009 navigation season. The port handled 351,600 metric tons of international cargo, primarily comprised of wind components, steel and construction equipment. In addition to the international tonnage, the port shipped 14 times more project cargo in 2010 than the previous year, resulting in a 43 percent increase in overall shipments and a total tonnage of 1.8 million metric tons.

“President Obama has set a goal of doubling U.S. exports and it is this kind of strong performance by the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor that is going to help do this,” said Administrator Johnson. “With the attainment of its ninth Pacesetter Award, the port continues to validate its critical importance to the region and the entire Seaway System.”

“This port enjoyed one of its best years on record in 2010,” said Port Director Laman. “We were fortunate to grow our business for the second consecutive year and are also very encouraged that 2011 shipments are more than 20 percent ahead of last year’s pace through July. Indiana’s economy depends heavily upon our Lake Michigan connections to ocean vessels via the St. Lawrence Seaway, lake carriers transiting the Soo Locks and river barges moving through the Chicago Area Waterway System. These waterways move vital goods to and from businesses throughout the Midwest and generate more than 100,000 jobs for Indiana.”

The largest shipment of project cargo in the port’s history occurred during the 2010 season as 134 complete wind turbine units arrived on 11 different ships from various Great Lakes locations. Last year, the port also handled its first outgoing shipment of windmill components as two ships loaded with wind turbines were exported through the port to New Brunswick, Canada.

The Pacesetter Award is presented annually to U.S. Great Lakes Seaway ports that register increases in international overseas cargo tonnage shipped through the Seaway during the navigation season. Originally known simply as the Pacesetter Award, the name change honors long-time Seaway trade analyst Bob Lewis who passed away in 2001.


Port Reports -  August 19

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
English River and Metis departed Toronto on Wednesday.


New research vessel enters service in Ontario

8/19 - Owen Sound, Ont. - A vital tool for understanding how invasive species are changing Great Lakes fish communities was formally put into service in Owen Sound Tuesday. Huron Explorer 1 is a fully equipped $2.5-million, provincial Natural Resources ministry research vessel for Georgian Bay, Lake Huron and the North Channel.

Along with Ontario Explorer, a sister ship for Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, the vessel has been at work on the water since April, replacing fishing tugs more than 50 years old that the MNR has been using to monitor the fishery.

The new vessels do everything the old tugs did and much more, ministry officials said Tuesday.

Huron Explorer carries highly sophisticated acoustic monitoring equipment which, in conjunction with the ability to trawl for fish in deep waters, will give researchers more rounded and accurate species data. The earlier vessels could not do that, said David McLeish, who manages the MNR's Upper Great Lakes management unit.

The new vessel joins some 25 others in the Great Lakes scientific community's fleet, including American research vessels, which works cooperatively to share data and set a resource management agenda.

"Without them, we would be managing the $7 billion fishery in the dark," McLeish told an invited crowd of government officials and politicians at the formal launch ceremony Tuesday at the city's Rainbow Boat Club launch.

The event included plenty of pomp, circumstance, prayer and dedications. Flower girls presented bouquets to the master of the vessel and sea cadets helped dignitaries present flags, later raised by the captain and crew before inviting visitors aboard.

Able to carry as many as 12,000 young fish at a time in three tanks, Huron Explorer will stock fish from mid-April until the end of May. From then until October it will roam the lakes gathering data for a variety of lake and fisheries assessment programs, McLeish said.

McLeish and other ministry officials at the event said invasive species like zebra and quagga mussels and the round goby fish are causing major shifts in the Great Lakes ecosystem. Understanding those changes and managing the consequences for the fishery is the biggest challenge resource managers face, and this vessel will be a vital tool, they said.

"With all the changes that have taken place, the whole energy of the system has changed and become more bottom related, with a lot of the nutrients tied up on the bottom," said John Brookham, captain of the vessel and a senior technician with the ministry.

"The whole dynamics of the Lakes has been changing. This gives us the capability of going out and assessing what's happening."

Construction on both new vessels, the first large vessels to be built to MNR specifications, began in 2009, by Hike Metal Products in Wheatley. Each is 20 metres long.

The vessels provide better safety and working conditions for the crews, including a washroom and kitchen (galley), up-to-date navigation equipment and digital/wireless technology for operating fishing gear, according to information distributed at the event.

Crews of eight can now travel long distances and stay on the lake for extended periods without having to come ashore. Gill netting, trawling and nighttime hydroacoustic work are among tasks they can do as they conduct fisheries assessment work on species such as salmon, lake trout, walleye and whitefish.

Lloyd Mohr, the Owen Sound-based MNR assessment team leader who will plan research projects for the vessel, said long-term, index-style monitoring projects are the vessel's primary function.

Data gathered by the vessel will help manage both the commercial and sport fisheries, he said. Huron Explorer 1 is equipped to monitor, and using gill nets, study commercial fish species in their first three years, so scientists see them before the commercial fishermen start to harvest. That means they know what's there and can set appropriate limits and controls, Mohr said.

"I think the biggest pressure (on the Great Lakes fishery) is probably people's expectations," Mohr said. "The lake is going through a change and a very significant change. We're seeing a resurgence of some of the native species and a slow resurgence. The expectations of having lots of fish all at the same time like we had back in the mid and late 90s is probably our biggest challenge. We won't have that for some time, as the lake finds it's new form and the fish communities find their new balance. That's going to take awhile."

Owen Sounds Sun Times


Makeover complete for Buffalo's 1833 lighthouse

8/19 - Buffalo, N.Y. — Restoration work is finished on a historic lighthouse erected on Buffalo's Lake Erie waterfront during the early years of the Erie Canal.

Buffalo's 1833 lighthouse has undergone about a half million dollars in renovations in recent years. The 44-foot-tall, octagon-shaped structure is located on a point of land next to a U.S. Coast Guard station, but has been leased to the Buffalo Lighthouse Association for nearly 20 years. The group has raised most of the funds used to maintain and restore the lighthouse.

Tours of the lighthouse were halted after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but the Coast Guard announced last October that the lighthouse would reopen to the public this fall.

A ceremony marking the completion of renovation work will be held early Thursday afternoon at the lighthouse.

Associated Press


Deadline approaching for Duluth Seaway Port Authority 2012 calendar

8/19 - Duluth, Minn. - The Duluth Seaway Port Authority is seeking a striking photo, painting or illustration to feature on its 2012 wall calendar. Needed are captivating images of vessels or vistas that highlight the working Port of Duluth-Superior – salties or lakers moving cargo in any season – from unique perspectives that tell a story at a single glance.

The winning image will be featured prominently on over 10,000 calendars, distributed in the Duluth area and around the world. A prize of $250 will be awarded. Photographs, paintings and/or illustrations are eligible for consideration. You may submit up to three hi-res images on a CD/DVD. Entries must be received by August 31, 2011.

Please label images and disc with titles and your name. Due to file sizes, do not send images via email; they will not be considered. The winning image will be printed approx. 19” wide x 14” high on a calendar measuring 22” x 34”.

All photos/artwork must be original in design and execution – taken/created within the past two years and not published elsewhere prior to submission.

The Port Authority will want exclusive rights to the winning image until Dec. 31, 2012. Submit entries to Adele Yorde, PR Manager, Duluth Seaway Port Authority, 1200 Port Terminal Drive, Duluth, MN 55802


Updates -  August 19

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 19

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

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

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

The ROBERT S. PIERSON (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.


Port Reports -  August 18

Green Bay, Wis. – Scott Best and Jeff Goodlet
Algorail arrived in Green Bay Wednesday to unload a cargo of salt from Goderich at the Fox River dock. The unload was slowed by the fact they were unloading into a dockside hopper which was stacking the salt in a location out of reach of the Algorail's boom. Alpena arrived at sunset from Alpena, Mich. with a load of cement for LaFage Corporation. After she passed the Algorail, the latter departed Fox River Dock. Mississagi is expected with a load of salt for the Fox River dock from Morton.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The tug Gregory J. Busch and her barge were inbound Tuesday morning, calling on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. Wednesday morning saw the American Century stopping at the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville to unload coal. She was expected to back from the dock and head for the lake early in the evening. Manitowoc was inbound Wednesday afternoon headed for the GM dock in Saginaw to unload. She was expected to be outbound late in the evening or early Thursday morning.

Stoneport and Cedarville - Daniel McNeil
Loading at Stoneport Wednesday was the Great Lakes Trader. Due Thursday the 18th is the Manistee followed by the Philip R. Clarke and the Pathfinder. Due Friday the 19th is Lewis J. Kuber. Due Saturday is the Joseph H. Thompson, followed by the Phillip R. Clarke. Due Sunday the 21st is the Lewis J. Kuber. Loading at Cedarville on the 17th was the Wilfred Sykes. Due on Thursday the 18th is the American Courage. The next boat won’t be till Aug. 23, when the Wilfred Sykes loads


St. Lawrence Seaway likely won't face expansion, report suggests

8/18 - Toronto, Ont. - A proposal to expand the St. Lawrence Seaway to make way for more cargo ships is likely dead in the water after authorities in Canada and the United States voiced environmental concerns about the project, according to a U.S. military document.

A U.S. media report published Tuesday suggested the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had officially quashed discussions of expanding the seaway, a 600-kilometre long stretch of water spanning Montreal to where the Welland Canal connects with Lake Eerie.

A Corps spokeswoman says the news story was premature, citing previously released reports that have not been officially approved. Those reports, however, suggest the seaway and the broader system it belongs to have not been targeted for expansion.

In February 2010, the Corps released a document outlining the challenges facing the Great Lakes Navigation System, a complex 3,700-kilometre waterway that moves about 200,000 tons of cargo per year. About a fifth of that cargo travels through the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The army Corps report identifies the navigation system as a key economic driver, but says it's subject to environmental concerns including shoreline erosion and the growing number of invasive species brought over on foreign ships.

The water system may be better served by maintaining the status quo, the report suggests.

"The future viability of the GLNS will come directly from maintaining the value and function of the existing infrastructure," the report reads.

Corps spokeswoman Lynn Duerod says the report is under review until the end of August and does not represent the Corp’s official position on seaway expansion. It represents the latest stage in a nearly decade-long dialog about the Great Lakes Navigation System and may not lead to any definitive conclusions, she said.

Canadian officials vetoed the idea of expanding the waterway "some years ago," said Andrew Bogora of the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corp.

Environmental concerns played a roll in the Canadian decision, he said, adding sustainability has become an even more important focus in recent years.

Economic realities also made it clear that expansion was not necessary, he said.

"The present-day seaway is operating at 50 per cent capacity, and so we could double the flow of cargo within our existing locks and channels," he said.

The growing focus on the environmental issues plaguing the seaway comes as welcome news to the David Suzuki Foundation, which has long opposed expansion of the fragile system.

Science project manager Jean-Patrick Toussaint says increased dredging in the seaway would redistribute the water flow in the area, leaving some pockets deprived of oxygen and doing irreparable damage to the ecosystem.

Expansion could also lower water levels, which are already threatened by climate change, he said.

"There are a lot of concerns, especially with what we're already seeing happening here," Toussaint said. "This is a very important ecosystem in terms of wetlands, and we've seen a decline in the biodiversity there. I can understand why this whole expansion of the seaway was quite a worry for a lot of people."

CTV News


Updates -  August 18

News Photo Gallery


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.


Great Lakes iron ore trade up 18 percent in July

8/17 - Cleveland, Ohio - Iron ore shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 7,046,156 tons in July, an increase of 12.2 percent over June, and an increase of 18 percent compared to a year ago. July loadings also were up 12-plus percent compared to the month’s five-year average.

Shipments from U.S. ports totaled 6.3 million tons, an increase of nearly 21 percent compared to a year ago. However, loadings at Canadian ports were virtually unchanged 746,887 tons.

Through July the iron ore trade stands at 30.1 million tons, an increase of 9.1 percent compared to a year ago, and nearly 10 percent better than the five-year average for the January-July timeframe.

Shipments from U.S. ports are up 8.4 percent compared to a year ago and 12.2 percent ahead of their five-year average. Loadings at Canadian ports are 8.7 percent ahead of last year’s pace, but 16 percent below the five-year average for the first seven months of the year.

Lake Carriers Association


Port Reports -  August 17

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
After a delay, Kaye E. Barker loaded ore and departed the Upper Harbor Tuesday afternoon. Algocape arrived at the ore dock late Monday night, and Michipicoten arrived Tuesday afternoon. Each vessel was also delayed in loading.


Green Bay cargo industry more than doubles from last year

8/17 - Green Bay, Wis. - Like the Great Lakes as a whole, the Port of Green Bay also saw tonnage increases last month, with a total of 265,503 tons of cargo passing through the port.

That figured helped buoy the year-to-date figure of 839,917 tons, about 17 percent more than at the same time last year when the figure was pegged at 716,784 tons.

Increases in the shipments of coal, cement, limestone, liquid asphalt and petroleum coke played into the July numbers. Also adding to the total are domestic and foreign exports of petroleum products, according to a monthly report from the Brown County Port and Solid Waste Department.

The Port of Duluth-Superior has seen variations in cargoes in the year. "It pretty much parallels what the Lake Carriers Association is saying, coal is down and iron ore is up," said Ron Johnson, trade development director for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. "When iron ore was in the dumps, coal was doing well and everybody thought coal would keep doing well, but that's not always going to be the case."

Through July, American freighters on the Great Lakes carried a total of 44.8 million tons of cargo, 3 percent more than at the same time last year — but that number is still 2.1 percent less than the five-year average.

Shipping is seen as one of the indicators of the overall condition of the economy.

This week has been proclaimed Wisconsin Port Week, recognizing the 20 ports in the state that handle 40 million tons of cargo valued at more than $8 billion annually.

In 2010, Wisconsin's commercial ports generated more than $1.5 billion in economic activity, which supported almost 10,000 jobs, according to the state.

"The Port of Green Bay has provided our U.S. Oil division an excellent distribution opportunity" John Schmidt, CEO of U.S. Venture in Appleton said in a news release issued Monday about Wisconsin Port Week. "With the construction of a new dock at our Green Bay bulk petroleum terminal, marine shipping has enabled us to pursue growth of our fuel distribution

Green Bay Press Gazette


New cruise ship heading for the lakes in 2012

8/17 - The 138-berth 2,354-ton Yorktown has been acquired by Travel Dynamics International of New York, which offered its first season of Great Lakes cruises in 2009 using the 4,077-ton Clelia II. As in 2010, a full season of Great Lakes cruises will be offered between June and September 2012 while US coastal waterways cruises will be offered at other times of the year.

Completed by First Coast Shipbuilding in Coral Springs, Florida, in 1988, as the Yorktown Clipper, this ship is the largest of the U.S.-flag coastal cruise ships. She was operated for many years by Clipper Cruise Line of St. Louis, Missouri, and first came into the Great Lakes in 1992, when she operated a series of cruises between Charlottetown P.E.I. and Rochester N.Y. and Rochester and Quebec City, before being replaced in the Great Lakes by the smaller 108-berth Nantucket Clipper. In 2006, the Yorktown Clipper was acquired by Cruise West of Seattle and became the Spirit of Yorktown, under which name she operated in Alaska and on the West Coast until Cruise West closed in September 2010.

With a 257-foot length and 43-foot beam, on a draft of 8 feet, she has the same dimensions as the old St Lawrence canallers, the maximum size ship that could reach the Atlantic Ocean from the Great Lakes before the opening of the St Lawrence Seaway in 1959.

By comparison to the Yorktown, the Georgian Bay Lines 2,317-ton North American, which operated Great Lakes cruises for 50 years, had a slightly lower tonnage but slightly larger dimensions, at 280 x 47 feet, and carried 400 passengers. Her near sister ship, the 2,662-ton South American, was slightly larger again.

With her compact size, the Yorktown is able to manoeuver in secluded waterways and to visit small ports that are inaccessible to larger vessels. And Yorktown’s American registry makes it possible to operate domestic itineraries unavailable to foreign-flag ships. Like the Georgian Bay Line ships, the Yorktown features a walk-around promenade deck and all-outside cabins, but unlike the older ships, which were retired in the 1960s, the Yorktown is air conditioned and every cabin is en suite, in addition to which all the passengers dine at one seating.

Sample fares for 7-night cruises range from $3,995 to $6,995 in a private balcony cabin and 10-night cruises from $4,995 to $8,695. Fares are per person in double occupancy but single supplements are only $895 for 7-night and $995 or $1,095 for 10-night cruises.

Full details are now available from Travel Dynamics International, the Great Lakes Cruise Company, and in Europe from The Cruise People Ltd.


Help wanted at McKeil Marine

8/17 - Deckhands - preferably with Bridge Watch Certificates
Cooks - with MED A1, B1 & B2 (Cook;s papers not required, but a premium is paid if papers are available)
Engineers – 2nd, 3rd and 4th-Class Engineers

Please send resumes to or fax to HR Department (905) 528-8332


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.


Lower Lakes reports positive first quarter results

8/16 - New York, N.Y. - Rand Logistics, parent company of Lower Lakes Towing, announced Monday their financial and operating results for the first quarter ended June 30.

Marine freight revenue (excluding fuel and other surcharges, and outside charter revenue) was $30.7 million, an increase of 8.1 percent from $28.4 million. The increase in marine freight revenue was attributable to a 4.1 percent increase in the number of days sailed, contractual price increases, new business and an increase in the average size of our vessels operating due to our February 2011 acquisition of two vessels. The increase in revenues was somewhat offset by inefficiencies in matching fleet configurations with trade patterns as a result of the late sailing of several of our vessels due to delays in completing winter work, and the Michipicoten being out of service for 61 days in the quarter ended June 30, 2011 due to its repowering.

- Marine freight revenue per sailing day increased by $1,054, or 3.8 percent, to $28,821.
- Vessel operating expenses per sailing day increased by $3,736, or 16.2 percent, to $26,832. This increase was primarily attributable to higher fuel costs, which the Company contractually passes through to customers, and a stronger Canadian dollar.
- Winter repairs and maintenance expenses equaled approximately $0.8 million in the three month period ended June 30, 2011 compared to a negligible amount in the three month period ended June 30, 2010 due to the timing of completing winter work.
- Operating income plus depreciation and amortization increased 10.4% to $9.7 million for the quarter compared to $8.8 million for the comparable quarter last year.

"We are pleased with our first quarter results,” said Scott Bravener, President of Lower Lakes. “Our customer demand is the best that it has been since 2008. We are fully booked for the remainder of the sailing season and based on current market demand we expect to again operate certain of our vessels into January."

"Several vessels experienced start up delays during the quarter ended June 2011 due to winter repair work not being completed on schedule. This resulted in 42 lost sailing days in April 2011, in addition to 30 lost days related to the Michipicoten repowering. These lost sailing days caused inefficiencies in matching fleet configuration with trade patterns. In addition, the late sailings resulted in approximately $0.8 million of winter repairs and maintenance expenses in the three month period ended June 30, 2011 compared to a negligible amount in the three month period ended June 30, 2010."

"The Michipicoten repowering project, which began in December 2010, was successfully completed in May 2011. The benefits of the conversion include increased revenues from higher speeds and lower costs from reduced fuel consumption, labor efficiencies and reduced maintenance and other operating expenses. This was our last steam-powered vessel to be converted to diesel power and we believe that our fleet has among the newest and most efficient propulsion systems on the Great Lakes. Since introducing the vessel back into service, we have been satisfied with both its financial and operating results. Additionally, the vessels which we acquired in February 2011 are performing well and we believe that there is an opportunity for these vessels to exceed the performance expectations that the transaction was based on. Finally, our newly acquired vessel, the Manitoba, formerly known as the Maritime Trader, went into service on August 6, 2011 and is already helping to balance our capacity and customer demand more effectively."

Laurence S. Levy, Chairman and CEO of Rand, said: "We continue to believe that the long term fundamentals of our business and the end markets that we serve remain strong. Our outlook for fiscal year 2012 remains positive given the contractual nature of our business that is providing excellent visibility for the remainder of the sailing season, the high barriers to entry into our markets and our financial performance to date. We have now completed half of the 2011 sailing season, which typically accounts for approximately two-thirds of our annual operating income plus depreciation and amortization. Based on results to date, we are reaffirming our guidance that assuming a full sailing season of the Michipicoten, operating income plus depreciation and amortization will be between $34 and $36 million and that free cash flow per common share will be between $1.15 and $1.30."

"Over the next 24 months, we remain highly confident that we will have the opportunity to accelerate our free cash flow growth as we improve the profitability of our fleet through existing contractual price increases and by better aligning our assets to the trade patterns that they are best suited for. Continued improvement in vessel utilization resulting from increased customer demand reinforces our confidence in a positive future for Rand, our customers, employees and shareholders."

Lower Lakes


Port Reports -  August 16

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Algocape arrived Monday morning off the Upper Harbor and went to anchor as John J. Boland and Kaye E. Barker waited to load at the ore dock. Algocape's visit was her second of the season.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
Algorail was outbound Monday morning after unloading salt overnight at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. Inbound on Monday was the tug Olive L. Moore, with the barge Lewis J. Kuber. The pair traveled upriver to unload at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee. The tug Zeus and her tank barge, Robert F. Deegan, were inbound Monday night for the Dow Chemical Oxy dock in Bay City. The tug Tenacious was downbound Monday night, moving from the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee to the Essroc dock in Essexville.


Split Rock Lighthouse designated a National Historic Landmark

8/16 - Duluth, Minn. - The National Park Service has designated Split Rock Lighthouse on the North Shore of Lake Superior as a National Historic Landmark.

Split Rock Lighthouse was built in 1910, a few years after a massive November storm wrecked nearly 30 ships.

"The Great Lakes shipping industry and the government knew that something had to be done to warn shippers away from the North Shore, which is a dangerous piece of water, a very rocky shore," said Lee Radzak, with the Minnesota Historical Society. Radzak said it went on to play a critical role in the nation's economy.

"When you look at Great Lakes shipping, the importance of the iron ore industry to Minnesota and the country, this lighthouse was here through two world wars and all the iron that came off the Minnesota iron ranges and passed by this light," Radzak said. The Coast Guard decommissioned the lighthouse in 1969 and deeded it to Minnesota two years later.

MPR News


Educational sailing vessel in Racine this weekend

8/16 - Racine, Wis. - The educational sailing vessel Denis Sullivan will head to Racine Thursday for the weekend from its home port at Discovery World in downtown Milwaukee. It will be at the Reefpoint Marina, 2 Christopher Columbus Causeway, this weekend and open to the public Friday through Sunday for day sails and deck tours.

Tickets for the Thursday transit sail from Milwaukee to Racine are also available, $50 for children and $75 for adults including lunch. Reservations are preferred; space is limited.

On Friday morning Racine-area students will be able to board the ship for its freshwater science program targeting middle school-aged children, sponsored by SC Johnson. Education programs will address ecological issues facing the Great Lakes like sustainability, the threat of invasive species, pollution and water purification. Participants will take back home ways they can help the Great Lakes, such as using rain barrels and low-volume flush toilets or not doing laundry when it's raining.

There are two-hour day sails planned throughout the weekend, where participants can become a part of the crew, mingle with the seasoned sailors and learn about the history of the ship and the Great Lakes for $35 for children and $40 for adults. Deck tours will also be available for the public Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for $5.

Discovery World boasts the 137-foot replica is the world's only recreation of a 19th century three-masted Great Lakes schooner. Event organizers hope the Sullivan will become an annual summer tradition in Racine.

The Journal Times


Coast Guard, Detroit to host multi-agency security response exercise

8/16 - Detroit, Mich. - More than 65 U. S. and Canadian federal, state, and local emergency response partner agencies are scheduled to take part in a full-scale, cross-border security, mass rescue, and oil spill response exercise, “Detroit River Readiness 2011," on Aug. 23 and 24 along the Detroit River Corridor from Trenton north in the river to Detroit and Windsor.

At about 9 a.m. on Aug. 23, an actual controlled explosion may be heard associated with smoke coming from aboard the passenger vessel Detroit Princess anchored in the river near the Detroit Port Authority Complex along Jefferson Avenue. There should be no cause for alarm as this will be part of the exercise. Anybody with questions or concerns is asked to call 313-567-3007.

This exercise promotes unity of effort for participant agencies. It will test and validate the Area Maritime Security Plan and contingency plans of all responding agencies.

The exercise is designed to challenge participants to make difficult decisions, carry out essential functions and maintain a common operating picture during an incident of international significance. Interagency coordination and communication will play key roles in the exercise’s success, as well as enhance readiness for future incidents. This exercise culminates from three years of planning to prepare the area maritime security committee members and surrounding communities to respond to all threats and hazards that may arise at anytime.


Updates -  August 16

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery


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
Marquette's harbors were busy Sunday morning. At the Upper Harbor, Lee A. Tregurtha waited to load ore while fleet mate Kaye E. Barker unloaded stone into the hopper. At the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock, John J. Boland waited for a clear dock at the Upper Harbor after unloading coal during the night.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Algorail arrived on the Saginaw River on a very windy, rainy Sunday morning. She tied up at the North Star dock in Essexville to wait for more favorable weather conditions before making the trip up the Saginaw River to the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. Algorail got underway Sunday evening and was expected to unload overnight.


Updates -  August 15 

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
New Video on our YouTube Channel


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 cutter’s 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

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Algosoo arrived Saturday morning at the Upper Harbor to load ore. The visit was her third of the season.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
The new-build fisheries research vessel Coregonus arrived at her homeport dock in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., this past Tuesday. She is a 60-foot vessel recently completed by Burger Boat Co., Manitowoc, Wis. The new state-of-the-art vessel will be replacing the Barney Devine, which was also built by Burger Boat Company in 1937.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
Manitowoc arrived at Lafarge on Friday morning to unload coal. It departed by late afternoon. Also in port on Friday was the G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity, taking on cement. Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation tied up under the silos on Saturday, but are not expected to load until Sunday.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
English River arrived in Toronto during the day Friday. Metis and her tug were also in port.


Ship-turned-museum ownership to transfer from state to museum founders

8/14 - Mackinaw City, Mich. - A group that turned an icebreaking ship into a museum is finally getting ownership at a ceremony at the tip of the Lower Peninsula. The Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum in Mackinaw City is to receive the title Saturday.

The museum has met several benchmarks required by the state. The Icebreaker Mackinaw was turned into a museum after it ended its Coast Guard service in Cheboygan in 2006.

The ship was built to keep shipping lanes open and ensure delivery of iron ore, limestone and coal during World War II. It was finished in 1944 and spent decades on the water.

Museum board president Bill Shepler says the Icebreaker Mackinaw is known as the "queen of the Great Lakes." The museum gets more than 20,000 visitors a year.

Detroit Free Press


Boats, motorcycles, and trailers at Port Sanilac next weekend

8/14 - Port Sanilac, Mich. - Port Sanilac’s Harbor and Park will be a flurry of motorized activity on Friday and Saturday, August 19 and 20, as the 3rd Annual Antique Boat Show revs up with more than just boats. Accompanying the beautiful lines of mahogany runabouts and luxury cruisers built before 1976, will be vintage motorcycles from Japan, Europe, and the United States.

“We saw this boat show last year, and thought that our bikes would be a nice fit for an additional exhibit,” noted vintage motorcycle coordinator, Dick Roth of Essexville, Michigan. A village of fully-functional vintage recreational travel trailers will also be set up for touring.

“These travel trailers were a huge hit with the folks last year, so we have set up an area just for them,” noted Bill Thomas, boat show co-chairman.

Also new this year is the Miss America X, the 1932 world speed record breaker. “The Miss America X has 4 giant 12-cylinder Packard engines and a beautiful sleek hull that went over 124 miles per hour, streaking over the waters of the St. Clair River, and all over the world,” Thomas added.

Vintage Fishing Boat rides are also available to those that would like to experience a lake cruise but are without a vessel. The Miss Port Sanilac, a 60-year-old commercial fishing boat, built and serviced out of Port Sanilac since its launch, is available for boat rides.

The boat leaves on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m as part of the Poker Run, then Saturday at 1 p.m. Rides are just $10 per person with a limit of 25 people per trip. All proceeds go to the 2012 Antique Boat Show.

“We have the Pride of Michigan coming in providing tours of their vessel used to train the next generation of SCUBA divers and Sea Cadets,” noted Thomas. A former US Navy training ship, the Pride is an 81 foot-long Yard Patrol vessel. Wooden-hulled with aluminum superstructure, it is powered by twin Detroit Diesel engines and has been used as a minesweeper throughout the world.

Many other displays will include hand-crafted model boats from the Great Lakes Maritime Society, some motorized and remotely controlled and cruising in the water.

For more information on the 3rd Annual Port Sanilac Antique Boat Show, go to


Updates -  August 14

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 14

On this day in 1962, the ARTHUR M. ANDERSON departed Conneaut and headed downbound 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.


U.S.-flag lakers' cargo up five-plus percent in July

8/13 - Cleveland, Ohio - U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters carried 11.1 million tons of dry-bulk cargo in July, an increase of 10.9 percent compared to June, and an increase of 5.2 percent compared to a year ago. The July float was also 2.1 percent above the month’s five-year average.

Iron ore cargos for the steel industry increased 17 percent compared to a year ago, but coal for power generation and steel production fell by 11.4 percent. Aggregate and fluxstone for the construction and steel industries slipped by 3.8 percent.

Through July U.S.-flag cargos stand at 44.8 million tons, an increase of three percent compared to the same point in 2010. Iron ore has increased 9.6 percent, but coal and limestone are down by 5.1 percent and 4.6 percent respectively. Compared to the five-year average for the first seven months of the year, U.S.-flag cargos are down 2.1 percent.

Lake Carriers Association


Port Reports -  August 13

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Great Republic was back at the Upper Harbor Friday evening to load ore.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber called on the Saginaw River Friday evening. With a split cargo, the pair stopped at the Lafarge Stone Dock in Essexville to lighter, before heading upriver to finish unloading at the Lafarge Stone Dock in Saginaw. The Moore - Kuber were expected to be outbound for the lake Saturday morning.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
Algomarine departed Toronto on August 11. James Norris remains docked in Toronto.


Vessel strike ends, disruption minimal

8/13 - Superior, Wis. - Most of the 13 ships of the American Steamship Company sailing on the Great Lakes are back hauling cargo again, after a strike of ship officers ended last Friday. That includes six of seven ships laid up in the Twin Ports.

The last time ship officers struck on the Great Lakes, Jimmy Carter was still president. On Aug. 1, ship engineers, stewards, deck officers and captains walked off the job when their contract with American Steamship Company expired and talks collapsed. American Maritime Officers Union President Tommy Bethel says it’s hard for shipmasters to walk. “Because he sort of wears two hats he’s the company’s representative on the vessel and he’s the guy in charge of the whole crew. And then he’s still a member of the union, so it’s tougher on the master probably more so than anybody.”

Bethel says they’ve agreed to work indefinitely under the old contract until they can hammer out a new one. “As soon as we get things back into order and the emotions die down, we’ll start the process of trying to negotiate an agreement. But it takes the pressure off us. So we’re doing a pretty good job about getting the guys all back and getting them aboard the ships and getting loaded with cargo and restoring operations.”

Since the ships were laid up for a little more than a week, Bethel thinks it’ll only be a hiccup on iron ore, coal and limestone cargo totals. Seaway Port Authority of Duluth Director Adolph Ojard agrees. He says there’s still time to catch up for lost trips. Mostly he’s relieved the strike didn’t last long. “We did not need nor we just did not need a strike or a disruption to maritime service at this time.” In a news release, American Steamship Company says the disruption will be minimal.

Wisconsin Public Radio


A close call: Canadian boaters survive run-in with tug and barge

8/13 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - Tragedy was averted by the narrowest of margins Thursday evening when a 16-foot Starcraft found itself in the path of a downbound tug and barge on the St. Marys River.

According to reports from the Chippewa County Sheriff Office, the captain of the Starcraft was well ahead of the tug and barge combo when he attempted to cut across the river, running out of gas directly in their path. The operators of Zeus, pushing the Robert F. Deegan, were unaware of the smaller boat’s situation and continued to bear down on the little Starcraft.

The Starcraft’s crew was successful in its attempts to hook up a second gas tank, but could not get the motor to fire. With seconds to spare, all three occupants — Kyle Wilson, Ashley Lamon and Julien Farve — abandoned ship just before impact in front of numerous witnesses at the Aune-Osborn Campground. None of the swimming occupants had time to put on lifejackets before the accident.

Chippewa County Undersheriff Mike Bitnar said the U.S. Coast Guard scrambled an emergency response boat within a minute or two of the accident, while the Department of Homeland Security also had a boat quickly on the scene.

Rescue operations, however, were well underway by that point in time in the form of a passing fishing boat. Jason Doyon, Alfred Caruso and David Portelance plucked the three swimmers and the dog from the water almost immediately after the incident.

Those aboard the tug and barge were unaware that they had struck anything, according to official reports, and expressed some disbelief upon seeing people swimming in the river channel. Bitnar added in the follow-up interviews, those on the larger vessel “we’re just sick about it,” reflecting on the close call.

Sault Ambulance was also called to the scene, but none of the occupants required any medical treatment. The Starcraft was subsequently retrieved a good three miles downstream, according to the best estimates, and was hauled by the U.S. Coast Guard up to the Harvey Marina where it was pulled from the water.

Bitnar credited all of the aforementioned agencies for working very well together during the rescue operation. He was also quick to point out the incident might not have had a happy ending had Doyon’s boat not been in the immediate vicinity at the time of the accident.

Chippewa County Sheriff Robert Savoie added this is the second serious boating incident this week on the St. Marys River and urged boaters to wear life jackets or at least have them readily accessible when enjoying their time on their water.

No citations were issued as a result of the Thursday evening mishap. Investigators determined it was essentially just bad luck which caused the Starcraft to run out of gas in front of the working vessels, and that the tug and barge crew would have been unable to avoid the collision even if they had seen boat in their path.

Soo Evening News


Toledo Port Authority to dedicate rail line, unveil future plans

8/13 - Toledo, Ohio - On Monday, Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority President and CEO Paul Toth and Midwest Terminals of Toledo will join together with state and local officials to dedicate the Port Authority-owned rail line currently under construction at Ironville Terminal. Golden Rail Spikes will be pounded into the rail line by the officials in honor of the dedication.

The Port Authority and Midwest Terminals will also share their joint future plans, which include three phases of development focused on using the 71 acres of waterfront property for material delivery and handling to support a new manufacturing base located on the 110 acre balance of the property.

Ironville Terminal is currently in Phase One - Rail Installation - of the three-phased project. In November 2008, the state of Ohio awarded Lucas County $5 million in Job Ready Sites Grant (JRS) funding - the highest amount allowed - to facilitate the rail infrastructure improvements at Ironville. The grant funding reduced the development window by seven years and this was the first time that Lucas County received a JRS award.

The Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority purchased the former Chevron property for $3.4 million in 2008. The Port Authority formed a private-public partnership with Midwest Terminals of Toledo through a long-term lease for the property. That acquisition made the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority the largest land mass seaport on the Great Lakes.

The 181 acres of land was used as an oil refinery from 1890 to 1987 and successfully completed the State of Ohio's Voluntary Action Program when Gulf Oil Company spent $19 million on site remediation, $6 million more than the VAP required.


Updates -  August 13

New Video on our YouTube Channel Manitoba on her first downbound trip through the Rock Cut.


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


Boaters escape injury after encounter with barge in Soo Harbor

8/12 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - Three boaters and their dog escaped serious injury late Thursday afternoon after their aluminum pleasure craft, which had run out of gas, was allegedly hit by the downbound barge Robert F. Deegan, which was being pushed by the tug Zeus. The incident occurred in Soo Harbor. The boaters were rescued by another small craft that was in the vicinity, and the tug/barge turned around and moored at the Carbide Dock pending an investigation (she was underway downbound around 11 p.m.). The small craft was recovered by law enforcement agencies. The upbound Mesabi Miner was delayed for nearly two hours while the small boat was recovered.


Port Reports -  August 12

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Bob Kalal
American Century left Bayship Thursday at 9 a.m.

South Chicago, Ill. - Matt M.
At 6 p.m. Wednesday, Lower Lakes Transportation's Manitowoc was under the loader at KCBX and Ojibway was headed down the Calumet River. Just inside the breakwall, Wilfred Sykes looked headed to Indiana Harbor. Later, around 10 p.m., with Manitowoc still under the loader, Interlake's Lee A. Tregurtha, assisted by a G tug, docked at the KCBX north slip to wait her turn.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Alpena arrived in port around 5 p.m. on Thursday. It tied up under the silos to load cement for South Chicago, Ill. Also working out in the bay was the tug General, pushing a barge loaded with stone next to another barge with a crane on it. They may be working on building an artificial reef for fish habitat. G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity are expected at Lafarge on Friday.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Barbara Andrie - Barge A-390 departed the Bit-Mat dock on Tuesday and was outbound for the lake. Inbound on Tuesday was the Saginaw, making her first visit of the season to her namesake river. She called on the Bay Aggregates dock to unload and was then outbound for the lake later in the day.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
Algomarine arrived in Toronto on August 10 with a load of gravel for one of the concrete plants at the East end of the shipping channel.

Aliaga, Turkey – Kent Malo
The Algontario scrap tow arrived at Aliaga on August 5.


Diver injured on Roy A. Jodrey wreck dies

8/12 - Kingston, Ont. - A 39 year-old Kingston, Ontario, man has died in an apparent scuba diving accident. Another diver suffered 'the bends' and was taken to a Syracuse hospital for treatment. A third was treated at River Hospital and released.

State police say the three were diving in about 200 feet of water when Michael K. Roberts "began to display signs of distress," according to a press release. Roberts died.

A second man, Blair C. Mott, 42, of Landsdown Komoka, Ontario, was taken to Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse for decompression treatment. The third diver, Christopher D. Monk, 33, Aurora, Ontario was treated and released. Police won't know exactly why Roberts died until an autopsy is completed.

The divers were using a vessel chartered out of Rockport, Ontario, and were diving the wreck of the Roy A. Jodrey, a 700 foot freighter that sank in 1974. The web site '' describes the Jodrey this way:

"The Roy A. Jodery is for technical divers only. The depth, location and current all combine to create hazardous to treacherous conditions."

A spokesman for the Coast Guard in Buffalo said the divers were in the water at the American Narrows, which is by the Coast Guard station on Wellesley Island. Coincidentally, the Coast Guard was training in the area and had two boats near-by.

The crews spotted Mott in the water, waving at them. The other boat took Roberts, who was unconscious, to River Hospital as well. That boat had an emergency medical technician on board who was able to administer CPR.



Whitefish Point anniversary celebration slated for Saturday

8/12 - Whitefish Point, Mich. - The year was 1861 Abraham Lincoln was President, the United States was plunging into Civil War and a new lighthouse was being constructed at Whitefish Point. Today, as historic sites and museums all over the nation commemorate the U.S. Civil War sesquicentennial, a celebration closer to home will recognize the 150 year-old iron pile lighthouse.

Beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday, August 13, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society (GLSHS) will celebrate the Whitefish Point lighthouse with an afternoon of special programs, tours and music at the Shipwreck Museum. The event will begin with a ceremonial 1861, 34-star American flag raising. The Northwind Brass, a Civil War Brass band from Traverse City, will play the national anthem while the United States Coast Guard will provide a color guard to do the honors.

The Whitefish Point Lighthouse was critical to the U.S. war effort during the Civil War, and this will be a fitting salute to a beacon that has guided navigators past the Shipwreck Coast for 150 years," said Sean Ley, Shipwreck Society Development Officer.

Soo Evening News


Replicas of Columbus’ ships docked in Sturgeon Bay

8/12 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Sailing ships out of the 15th century will blend with the yachts and modern sailboats in Sturgeon Bay harbor this weekend.

Replicas of the Columbus ships Nina and Pinta docked at Great Lakes Yacht Services, 61 Michigan St., on Wednesday to start a five-day visit to Door County. The two ships are scheduled to leave early Tuesday morning.

The public is invited to tour the ships from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Monday. The self-guided tour costs $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $6 for students ages 5-16. Children 4 and younger are admitted free.

The Nina, built by hand and without power tools, is considered the most historically correct Columbus replica ever built. The Pinta was recently built in Brazil and is a larger version of the archetypal caravel ships used by explorers like Christopher Columbus, who landed in the Western Hempishere in 1492.

For more information about the ships, visit


1812 gunboat makes overland voyage to Fort Wellington

8/12 - Mallorytown Landing, Ont. - On Aug. 4, after weeks of careful preparation and packing, the St. Lawrence Islands National Park in Mallorytown Landing bid a fond farewell to the gunboat which had been housed at the facility for more than 40 years.

In 1967, the remains of an 1812 British gunboat were raised by the Parks Canada Underwater Archaeology team. With extreme care and respect, the boat was placed in a cool, dark boathouse at the St. Lawrence Islands National Park, Mallorytown Landing, Ontario, where it has remained to be observed and admired by those who come to visit the Park throughout its season.

But time takes its toll. The old boathouse was suffering, the piers below it rotting away and endangering the overall structure.

Parks Canada took a long hard look, and decided that instead of trying to do a patchwork repair to the old building, it would be better to create a new exhibit and facility for the gunboat at Fort Wellington in Prescott.

"Fort Wellington National Historic Site, located in the historic town of Prescott, is a British fort built during the War of 1812 to protect the St. Lawrence River, the main shipping and communication line between Montreal and Upper Canada during the 19th century," said Bruce MacMillan, Partnering Engagement and Communications Officer for the Eastern Ontario Field Unit of Parks Canada.

"In addition to being home to Fort Wellington, Prescott Ontario was an important British gunboat station during the conflict. It was also the home port for three British gunboats used on the river to aid in battle, as well as to protect and escort convoys of bateaux loaded with valuable military equipment and supplies. A new visitor centre at Fort Wellington is being constructed to accommodate this significant artifact, increase exhibit space and better orient visitors to foster greater public understanding, appreciation, and enjoyment of the fort and its history.

"The gunboat was raised from the river in 1967, during the centennial for Canada. It only seems appropriate that we would conduct this project now, during the 100th anniversary of parks Canada, and that the unveiling ceremonies are to take place in May, 2012, in time for the bicentennial of the War of 1812."

Originally abandoned and submerged between the 1850s and 1870s, the boat was found to be in remarkably good condition where it sat on the bottom. Prior to sinking, it is believed she may have been converted from her original use to be employed as a merchant vessel carrying goods along the river. Historic documents indicate that a boat matching her dimensions, the HMS Radcliffe, was built in Kingston in 1817, but there is no way of knowing whether this is she.

"We have to stabilize it," said Thierry Boyer, underwater archaeologist assigned to the project. "We are forever responsible for the artifacts connected with it."

In order to preserve such a fragile find, the boat was soaked in carbowax to replace the water that had seeped into the cells over time. Without the wax, it would have crumbled to dust as the water evaporated and the cells collapsed. At the time the work was done, the vessel was steeped in the wax for 18 months, using heat and outboard motors to keep it from freezing over the winter. Although primitive by today's standards, the method worked well and the gunboat is holding up well.

Pieces that were raised with the gunboat will now be able to be properly put back into position at the new exhibit, and original film footage and stills from 1967 as well as those of the current work will be part of the new display.

The Laurie McCulloch building movers out of Whitby, Ontario, were hired for the job due to their expertise in handling large delicate projects.

Resting in a specially designed cradle, cocooned against the elements and anything else that might happen, the gunboat was jacked up using airbags to raise her into position before being gently eased by hand onto a large flatbed truck. Many of the tools for doing the job had to be fashioned on site from whatever was on hand, as there was nothing available for this specialized form of work. Moving at a rate of about ten feet (three metres) per hour, it was possible to stop and make any minor adjustments that might be necessary to guarantee her safety. Once loaded, she was left for twenty-four hours to guarantee her position as well as weather and traffic conditions before starting on her long, slow way to Fort Wellington.

With mixed emotions, Parks Canada staff cheered the gunboat along as she left the Park at 9 a.m. on her final voyage overland to her new, brightly lit and easily accessible home in Prescott

St. Lawrence Local Community News


Manitowoc historian Robert J. Peppard passes

8/12 - Robert J. Peppard, age 72, of Manitowoc, died unexpectedly Wednesday evening, August 3, 2011, at his residence. He was born January 7, 1939 in Manitowoc, and was employed at Manitowoc Shipyards. He also worked for the Army Corp of Engineers until retirement. He was a member of the Manitowoc County Civil War Roundtable, Manitowoc Chiefs Youth Football, Pinecrest Historical Village, Ledgeview Nature Centers as well as the Washington House for the Two Rivers Historical Society and volunteered and was life member at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum. Robert was a member of St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, August 16 at St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 2601 South 10th Street, Manitowoc, WI. Rev. Brian Staude will officiate. Relatives and friends may call from 9:30 a.m. until the services. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Wisconsin Maritime Museum, Manitowoc Chiefs Youth Football, Pinecrest Historical Village or Woodland Dunes.

Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter


Help Wanted - Marine Engineers

8/12 - We are looking for competent, practically skilled Marine Engineers with 2nd, 3rd or 4th Class Motor TCMS certification to join our team. Canadian Great Lakes dry bulk experience or related experience , a good work ethic and the ability to work in a fast paced environment are considered prerequisites for this position . Strong interpersonal and communication skills are a must, as is a leadership style based on mutual respect of all Officers and Crew within a proactive, team oriented work environment. Candidates must be bondable, possess a valid passport and will have all applicable certificates and Transport Canada medical in good order.

If you are a leader or potential leader that is looking for a change we offer a very competitive wage and benefit package, positive work environment and an industry leading leave system with a Month On, Month Off work rotation on a year round basis for Engineers with 2nd.

Applicants who meet the job requirements for this position are encouraged to send a resume and cover letter to: Personnel Manager, Lower Lakes Towing Ltd. PO Box 1149 – 517 Main Street, Port Dover, ON Ph: (519) 583-0982 Fx: (519) 583-1946, email:


Updates -  August 12

News Photo Gallery


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.


Coast Guard rescues three divers on Roy A. Jodrey wreck

8/11 - Cleveland, Ohio – Rescue boat crews from Coast Guard Station Alexandria Bay, N.Y., rescued three Canadian citizens after a scuba diving incident near Wellesley Island, N.Y., Wednesday afternoon.

A boat crew aboard a 25-foot Response Boat-Small, underway conducting training, heard the master of the Canadian vessel Shaleka J, a charter vessel based in Rockport, Ont., call for help on VHF-FM channel 16 at about 11:45 a.m.

The three men were reportedly diving on the wreck of the Roy A. Jodrey, a freighter that sank in the St. Lawrence River in 1974, when one diver reportedly surfaced unconscious. The names of the individuals are not being released.

The boat crew was able to recover the man immediately and transferred him to River Hospital, where he is reportedly in critical condition. The two other divers were transferred to a second RB-S from Station Alexandria Bay and taken to River Hospital in stable condition.

The cause of the accident is unknown. Coast Guardsmen from Marine Safety Detachment, Massena, N.Y., will be investigating the incident.


Port Reports -  August 11

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Robert S. Pierson loaded ore Wednesday afternoon at the Upper Harbor.

Stoneport - Dan McNeil
Due Thursday are Lewis J. Kuber, Joseph H. Thompson and Arthur M. Anderson. Manistee is due Friday. Due Saturday is the John G.Munson. No boats are due Sunday. Great Lakes Trader is due Monday.

Holland, Mich. – Bob VandeVusse
Tuesday evening the Manitowoc arrived in Holland, tying up at the James DeYoung power plant at about 8 to deliver a cargo of Western coal.

Hamilton, Ont. – Eric Holmes
Tuesday, Algoma Mariner arrived at 6 a.m. after sitting for almost 24 hours out in Lake Ontario. Mariner went to Dofasco. The tug Wilf Seymour and barge Niagara Spirit arrived 1 p.m. Montrealais arrived at 2:30 p.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco. Algoma Navigator departed 7:30 p.m. from Dofasco. The tug William J Moore and barge McLeary's Spirit arrived at 9:30 p.m.


Woodward's Coastal tanker buys vessel

8/11 - Coastal Shipping Ltd., a subsidiary of the Woodward group of Newfoundland, purchased the Rigel tanker Alsterstern in July for a reported $6,7 million (US). The vessel was registered in Canada early August but hasn’t been renamed yet. She is in now in Lewisporte. Built in Germany in 1994, the tanker is 17,080 dwt which makes it the biggest unit of the fleet so far. It is unknown at the present if she is slated to replace the older Tuvaq of 1977.

Bruno Boissonneault


Port Authority receives EPA grant to capture floating debris in river

8/11 - Cleveland, Ohio - The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, has awarded the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority a $425,610 grant to capture and remove floating debris in the North Coast Harbor and the Cuyahoga Ship Channel. The grant allows the port to move forward with one element of a broader plan for river infrastructure renewal as outlined in its recently released Strategic Action Plan.

The port is in a unique position to be a steward of the Cuyahoga River, said Port President and CEO Will Friedman. The river is essential to industry, jobs, and is a magnet for local residents and development. These grant dollars help us contribute to river restoration and will promote jobs, commerce and recreational activities. To apply for the grant the Port Authority worked closely with the Cuyahoga River Remedial Action Plan, which promotes restoration of environmental quality and seeks to eliminate environmental concerns that impair the quality of the River, to determine appropriate remedial action to eliminate river debris.

The grant funds allow the Port Authority to acquire a specialized vessel – a debris harvester that removes litter and tree refuse from the river using a loading bucket on a hydraulic lift along with a floating boom system and companion barge. Debris is a federally-listed impairment to the river, and by constructing and operating the harvesting vessel, the port will help to eliminate a problematic issue from the EPAs watch list.

The 10 to 12 month project to produce and deploy the debris management system will provide approximately 20 construction jobs and three to five seasonal jobs. Clean-up is anticipated to begin in spring of 2012.

Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority


Historic lighthouse lens to return to Lorain

8/11 - Lorain, Ohio - The lighthouse lens that once helped guide ships into the Port of Lorain is closer to getting a permanent home. The Lorain Port Authority has approved paperwork for a display case for the lens when the new Ferry Terminal Building is built at the Black River Landing.

The display case is in the planning stages, but the lighthouse’s Fresnel lens could be placed in a glass case that would be visible inside and outside the building, said Rick Novak, port authority executive director.

“It’s part of the history of Lorain and the lighthouse,” Novak said. “You realize how light refracts from it — it’s unique. Based on that it shines out for miles in the harbor.”

Some people may look at the lens as little more than a fancy piece of glass, but many Lorainites will realize it is special, Novak said. “I think it’s fantastic,” he said.

The port authority approved resolutions to establish a lease with the Port of Lorain Foundation, which owns the lighthouse and has leased the lens from the U.S. Coast Guard.

The lens previously was at Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse Museum in Rochester, N.Y. Now it is in a privately owned storage facility in Cleveland until it goes on display, Luca said.

“There will not be a possibility of touching the lens,” Luca added. “It will be secured. The goal of the Coast Guard is to have it displayed for public viewing.”

The oval-shaped lens, known as a fourth-order Fresnel lens, features glass prisms placed in a brass framework and measures about 3 feet tall and 2 feet in diameter. It is named for French inventor Jean Augustin Fresnel.

The 50,000 candle-power beacon sat 58 feet above Lake Erie and was visible for 15 miles, according to

Lorain Morning Journal


Greener fleet coming to St. Lawrence Seaway

8/11 - On a clear day, flying west out of Pearson International Airport over Lake Ontario reveals a constellation of cargo ships crisscrossing the water to busy ports in Toronto, Hamilton and Detroit.

Although they look like toys from this height, these vessels can measure more than 200 metres long and carry upward of 25,000 tonnes of wheat, corn or iron ore. At full speed, with their cargo holds full, these massive ships can burn through one tonne of freighter fuel an hour.

But not for long. A new generation of greener vessels is setting sail on the St. Lawrence Seaway. Shippers have started to revitalize their aging fleets and will outfit vessels with more efficient, eco-friendly engines and advanced ballast technologies. And they stand to improve their margins, too.

The MV Federal Yukina is the first of these ships. Twelve per cent more efficient than its predecessors, it saves 770 tonnes of fuel a year and releases 2,500 fewer tonnes of carbon dioxide.

“If you’re saving fuel, you’re saving money, and you’re limiting the environmental costs at the same time,” says Paul Pathy, president and co-CEO of Montreal-based Fednav Group, owners of the Hong Kong-built Yukina and one of the largest ocean-going users of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

“Regulations are coming in to push the industry to be more environmentally friendly. We think that’s a good thing,” Mr. Pathy adds. “We love to operate at a higher level because it drives out the bargain basement guys.” In 2012 and 2013, the Yukina’s two sister ships will be let loose on the Seaway.

Fednav isn’t the only player in the push to make Great Lakes shipping greener and more efficient. Fleet renewal must start now to maintain a thriving shipping industry in Canada, Gerald Carter, president of Canada Steamship Lines (CSL), has said.

CSL plans to introduce five environmentally friendly ships to Canadian waters in the next few years. Two lake freighters, or lakers, for CSL’s domestic fleet and one Panamax vessel for CSL International are being built at the Chengxi Shipyard on China’s Yangtze River.

Equipped with EPA-certified Tier II engines like the Yukina’s, these ships share customized hull designs that increase fuel efficiency and manoeuverability. They also boast reinforced, double-hulled fuel tanks to fortify against spills – an important feature after up to 200 tonnes of diesel leaked from one vessel after it ran aground last summer in Quebec.

Nevertheless, when these new ships first set out, they will be missing one important strand of their green DNA. Inside their ballast wells, which fill with water to keep the vessels stable during ocean voyages, is extra space waiting to be fitted with an advanced water treatment system.

It’s estimated that as many as 3,000 aquatic alien species are transported around the globe trapped in ballast tanks every day. Since 1959, 57 of these unwelcome species have been introduced to the Great Lakes when oceangoing ships released their ballast.

Starting in 2008, Canadian and American regulations have compelled international ships to empty their tanks and fill them with saltwater 320 kilometres offshore, to kill any freshwater organisms lurking inside.

“We know that these regulations are an improvement, but we know that the risk still remains,” says Jen Nalbone, director of invasive species for the environmental watchdog group Great Lakes United. “We’re dealing with a compromised ecosystem and any new invader could cause serious problems.”

The bloody-red mysid, a shrimp-like creature detected in 2006, is the most recent invader. But zebra mussels are the poster child of invasive species. When they were introduced to the Great Lakes in the late 1980s, they wreaked economic and environmental havoc. Capable of growing in communities of several hundred thousand per square metre, the mussels clogged water-intake pipes for municipalities, power stations and the steel industry.

In spite of this risk, water treatment technologies – such as heating ballast water or using ultraviolet light to kill remaining creatures after saltwater flushing – haven’t been installed on the Yukina because of regulatory delays south of the border, says Mr. Pathy.

“Canada has ratified the International Maritime Organization’s standard for filtered ballast water,” he says. But the slow pace of federal regulation on the U.S. side is causing problems. No shipping company can spend $1-million to $2-million on a ballast system that may become unusable or need to be replaced in the next five years, says Mr. Pathy.

Great Lakes United is optimistic that they’re seeing progress, with shipping companies updating their fleets and complying with new regulations, says Ms. Nalbone. “However, we’re not going to celebrate until there’s actually technology working to clean the ballast water and remove the threat of invasive species.”

Despite the financial lumps the industry has taken in the past decade, Mr. Pathy sees a bright future for Great Lakes shipping, citing the growing demand for wind turbines in the U.S. and Canada.

“The seaway, of course, is perfectly positioned and equipped to transport these massive things,” he says. “Shipping on the Great Lakes is bouncing back. The heartland of North America is not dead yet.”

The Globe and Mail


St. Marys River drowning victim identified

8/11 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - The body of Philip Vanluven, 57, of the Sault was recovered in the St. Marys River following a large search and rescue operation Tuesday morning, according to the Chippewa County Sheriff Office. Vanluven, according to reports, had gone out fishing Monday evening, but had not returned Tuesday morning — prompting the search. His empty boat was subsequently found anchored just south of the Sugar Island Ferry.

While the search and rescue operation was underway, a call came in from someone aboard the passing freighter Canadian Olympic regarding something floating in shallow water several miles south of the anchored boat. A crew aboard a U.S. Coast Guard Helicopter confirmed a body was floating at that location, coordinating the recovery effort as a small boat was dispatched to the scene.

Soo Evening News


Marine historian Gareth McNabb passes away

8/11 - Port Huron, Mich. - Gareth McNabb, 69, marine historian and long time member of the Board of Directors of Lake Huron Lore Marine Historical Society, died suddenly of injuries sustained in an accident at his farm near Lexington, Mich. on Sunday, August 7. He had been a very active, hard-working, member of Lake Huron Lore and had served on the board for more than 30 years. He was also a member of the Port Huron Power Squadron and served as narrator for the "Whistles On The Water" steam whistle event the past two years and was a primary organizer and contributor. He was a well-known collector of many types of antique machinery.

Visitation will be from 2 to 9 p.m. Thursday, August 11 at the Pomeroy Funeral Home, 5635 Main Street, Lexington, MI 48450. The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Friday, August 12, at the Trinity Episcopal Church, 5646 Main Street, Lexington, MI. Burial will be at the Elmwood Cemetery in Yale, Mich.

David Michelson


Updates -  August 11

News Photo Gallery


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.


Great Lakes coal trade down almost 25 percent in July

8/10 - Cleveland, Ohio - Shipments of coal on the Great Lakes totaled 3.1 million tons in July, an increase of 58,000 tons over June, but a decrease of approximately 25 percent compared to a year ago and the month’s five-year average.

Loadings at Lake Superior ports fell almost 31 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments from Lake Michigan terminals increased marginally. Loadings at Lake Erie docks slumped almost 20 percent.

Year-to-date, the coal trade stands at 12.7 million tons, a decrease of 14 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments are nearly 29 percent off the five-year average for the January-July timeframe.

Lake Carriers Association


Little change in Lakes limestone trade in July

8/10 - Cleveland, Ohio - Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 3,650,392 tons in July, an increase of 55,000 tons over June, but a decrease of 32,000 tons compared to a year ago. Shipments trailed the month’s five-year average by 8.8 percent

Shipments from U.S. quarries fell 4.5 percent compared to a year ago and were 8.5 percent off July’s five-year average. Loadings at Canadian quarries increased by nearly 20 percent compared to a year ago, but were 10 percent below the month’s five-year average.

Through July the limestone trade stands at 12.3 million tons, a decrease of 10 percent compared to the same point in 2010, and a drop of 18.4 percent compared to the five-year average for the January-July timeframe.

Lake Carriers Association


Port Reports -  August 10

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Indiana Harbor departed its layup berth in Superior early Tuesday following the brief strike by licensed personnel. The boat proceeded to Two Harbors to load iron ore pellets. American Mariner departed Duluth later in the day for Silver Bay. In port, the salty Miedwie continued loading at the Peavey elevator.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The tug Barbara Andrie and her tank barge called on the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City on Monday. The pair remained there early Tuesday morning.

Detroit, Mich.
Boatwatchers who use our AIS reporting system were startled Tuesday when the retired motor vessel Maumee, which has been laid up in Cleveland since last December, popped up in the Detroit River display. The AIS equipment had been removed from the Maumee and installed on the McKee Sons, however the vessel name had not been changed on the output.


Port Stanley ferry draws proposals

8/10 - Port Stanley, Ont. - With a deadline looming, there is no shortage of interest in operating a ferry across Lake Erie from Cleveland to Port Stanley. The Ohio city is interested; so is Central Elgin. So, too, are private operators. Several potential providers have already responded before an Aug. 15 deadline for expressions of interest.

"We'll see what we get on Monday," Brian Lynch, vice-president of planning and development for the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority told The Free Press Tuesday.

So far, he said, interest has met expectations and he expects to see a number of formal responses by deadline day.

The port authority has partnered with Central Elgin with which it signed a memorandum of understanding to conduct a pilot ferry service. The project would focus on tourist travel with only minimal truck traffic because of opposition to potential congestion in Port Stanley.

"Information went directly to about 20 providers," he said. The process was also advertised with the American Association of Port Authorities.

"We have had response from four or five (parties) directly, but I think we are going to get more," Lynch said. He said oftentimes respondents step forward with their proposals without having asked questions.

Once the deadline passes, Lynch said the port authority will share the results with Central Elgin and next steps, including evaluation and clarification will be taken together. He could not predict when a suitable proponent might be selected.

Bill Walters, mayor of Central Elgin, said decisions about how to proceed will be taken in concert with Cleveland port officials "I look forward to seeing what level of interest they have," Walters conceded. He said he expects his council won't be able to make any firm decision until its first meeting in September. Central Elgin acquired the harbour at Port Stanley from the federal government nearly a year ago and has begun to plan for its future. The protracted divestiture talks were a disincentive to proceed with ferry talks in recent years despite no shortage of suggestions from the south shore of Lake Erie.

Russell Blais, a Quebec-based ferry captain who has championed a Lake Erie ferry since 2009, said he is among those who have responded with a plan to operate a service.

He said he has spent about $2 million obtaining a boat, developing a business plan, research and development, travel and promotion.

"I am not there to lose money," he said of his expression of interest.

Blais has promoted a shorter crossing from Ashtabula, Ohio, east of Cleveland, to Port Burwell, in eastern Elgin County. He said the Cleveland crossing is 75 nautical miles while the Ashtabula run is 41, a difference that saves about $15,000 to $20,000 in fuel each day.

The skipper said he can adjust his plan but some things he was prepared to provide in Port Burwell, would have to be funded by others at Port Stanley.

"I am prepared to go anywhere as long as I don't lose money," Blais reiterated.

London Free Press


Body recovered in St. Marys River

8/10 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - The body of a missing fisherman was recovered in the St. Marys River early Tuesday morning just hours after search and rescue operations were launched.

Chippewa County Undersheriff Mike Bitnar said the name of the individual was not being released pending a positive identification and notification of family members. While foul play is not suspected, an autopsy will be conducted to determine the cause of death.

According to the most preliminary reports, the fisherman went out Monday evening and failed to return. An empty boat — believed to be the one operated by the missing fisherman — was found anchored near the Sugar Island ferry dock during the initial search, allowing emergency personnel to focus their efforts down river from that location.

Chippewa County Sheriff deputies were the first called to the scene and were joined by the U.S. Coast Guard and representatives from the Sault Police Department and Sault Tribal Police. The Michigan State Police Dive Team, according to reports, had also been called to the scene.

Soo Evening News


Dangerous conditions expected on Lake Michigan, National Weather Service says

8/10 - Holland, Mich. - Strong rip currents and waves building to 5 to 9 feet are the likely conditions on Lake Michigan through Wednesday, the National Weather Service is predicting.

Conditions are also ripe for formation of waterspouts, the weather service said in a new item release "Dangerous conditions expected on Lake Michigan. Mariners will need to pay special attention to changing weather conditions out on the lake Wednesday morning especially," the forecast said.

Water spouts occur only during certain points of the year - usually late summer, said meteorologist Brandon Hoving of the Grand Rapids NWS office. "That when the first push of cool air comes in. And the lake reaches its warmest point around this time of year," Hoving said today. That temperature difference creates unstable air. And north winds will kick up waves, he said.

There is little chance of a change in this forecast, Hoving said.

"It's well agreed upon that we have this cold front coming through," he said. "The winds coming behind it will be picking up and coming down the lake, giving those waves a chance to build up. This a no-brainer," for a red flag day, he said.

For boaters, the nearshore forecast (within five miles of shore) is predicting 5 to 8 foot waves by daybreak Wednesday.

The Grand Rapids Press


Coast Guard, Illinois DNR Conservation Police combat illegal charter boat operations

8/10 - Cleveland, Ohio - Personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources wrapped up a joint operation Friday intended to deter illegal charter boat operations occurring in the downtown-Chicago area.

Coast Guardsmen and Conservation Police from IDNR teamed up in response to multiple reports by local licensed charter captains that recreational vessels appeared to be operating illegal charters in the Chicago area.

One of those reports prompted Coast Guard and IDNR personnel to investigate a vessel reportedly carrying passengers for hire on the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. Upon return from a trip, personnel from both agencies boarded the vessel. During the course of the boarding, it was determined 15 passengers paid the captain of the unlicensed and uninspected vessel for a three-hour tour on Lake Michigan.

As in most cases, the illegal charter had been arranged through an online buy-and-sell advertisement website. Coast Guard investigators issued the owner of the vessel a Notice of Violations with a total proposed penalty of $2,350. The maximum penalty the Coast Guard can issue depends on the specific violation and can range from $110 to $32,500. Since the captain of the vessel was not a U.S. Coast Guard licensed captain, conservation police issued separate citations for violations of state laws to both the captain and the owner of the vessel.

The operation of a charter vessel without the required vessel documents and operator license is a violation of federal law, and if caught, the captain could be subject to criminal or civil liability. The regulations are in place to help ensure the safety of passengers. Illegal charter boats are typically recreational vessels and are generally operated by a person without the required Coast Guard-issued captain’s license.

Coast Guard-issued captain’s licenses demonstrate that the captain of a commercial vessel has met minimum proficiency requirements in navigation and seamanship rules. A paying passenger cannot be assured of the captain’s competency when the captain does not possess a valid captain’s license. The Coast Guard advises the public to ask the boat’s captain to show them his or her original Coast Guard license.

If the boat is carrying more than six passengers, it is required to be inspected by the Coast Guard, and the Certificate of Inspection should be displayed in an area accessible to passengers. The Certificate of Inspection shows a vessel has met the minimum Coast Guard safety standards in regard to fire-extinguishing systems, manning, vessel de-watering capabilities, and life saving and navigation equipment requirements. It also sets the maximum number of passengers the vessel can carry.

If the public wants to verify a captain’s license or the inspected status of a vessel carrying more than six passengers, or to report an illegal charter operation, they can call Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan at 414-747-7182.

The joint operation was an extension of the partnership developed during this year’s Chicago Public Safety Campaign.


Updates -  August 10

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Port Reports -  August 9

Twin Ports – Al Miller
American Spirit, laid up in Duluth for several days because of the licensed personnel strike, departed Duluth Sunday evening to load pellets in Two Harbors. Indiana Harbor was expected to depart its layup berth on Monday to go to Two Harbors to load. Elsewhere Monday, John G. Munson was loading pellets at the CN ore dock while salty Miedwe arrived at the Peavey elevator to load.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Upper Harbor regulars Great Republic and Michipicoten loaded ore Monday afternoon.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Dick Lund
All five ASC ships were still at their temporary lay-up docks as of noon on Monday. The Walter J. McCarthy, Jr. was alongside the graving dock. American Integrity was alongside the McCarthy, and the American Century (with the ballast tanks apparently emptied) was rafted outside the Integrity. On the other side of the yard the H. Lee White was rafted to the St. Clair. Also in the yard were the tug Michigan and the barge Great Lakes.

Marinette, Wis. – Dick Lund
Pere Marquette 41 and Undaunted arrived at Marinette Fuel & Dock on Monday to deliver another load of pig iron. The tug and barge have been Marinette's most frequent visitor so far this year. Later that afternoon, the tug Donald C, along with two empty barges, arrived to pick up another load of rock from KK Integrated Logistics for a Lower Lake Michigan marina project. This vessel has been Menominee's most frequent visitor this year.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Rebecca Lynn and barge A-397 departed the Noco dock in Tonawanda around 8 a.m. Monday. English River departed about 9:30 p.m. Sunday.

Hamilton, Ont. - Eric Holmes
Algoma Mariner departed at 9:30 a.m. but has been sitting in Lake Ontario about 25 nautical miles east of the Burlington Piers with what is believed to be engine problems. Tug Sea Eagle II and barge St. Mary's Cement II arrived in Hamilton at 10 a.m. for Pier 8 awaiting further orders. Federal Fuji arrived at 11:30 a.m. with steel products from the U.K.


Updates -  August 9

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery


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

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Arthur M. Anderson departed Duluth about 4:35 p.m. Sunday, passing inbound fleetmate John G. Munson which was bound for the C. Reiss dock to unload stone. As of late Sunday afternoon, all seven American Steamship Co. boats that were docked in the Twin Ports remained at the layup berths. The only sign of action was American Spirit, which appeared to be ballasted down.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Algowood and Cason J. Callaway loaded ore Sunday morning at the Upper Harbor.

Green Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
Sunday the tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber were inbound Green Bay at 1:30 p.m. with stone for Western Lime.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
The steamer Alpena was inbound the Saginaw River late Saturday morning, headed upriver to the Lafarge Cement Terminal in Carrollton to unload. She was outbound through Bay City early Sunday morning.

Hamilton, Ont. - Frank Hood
Algoma Mariner sailed into Burlington Bay around 5:50 p.m. Sunday on her first trip to the lakes since delivery from the builder’s yard in China. Saturday, the Manitoba (former Maritime Trader ) departed Pier 10 at 11 a.m. for the canal. Transport Canada was conducting engine drills on the Manitoba while on their way from Hamilton to the Welland Canal.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Saturday English River arrived with a load for the Lafarge cement plant on Ganson Street. She was still unloading Sunday morning.


Little can be done to affect lake levels, public told

8/8 - Collingwood, Ont. — The study group examining new regulations that will dictate water levels in the Upper Great Lakes came to Collingwood, Wednesday, to get public input.

However, whether levels in lakes Michigan and Huron — which, by extension, includes Georgian Bay — will be dramatically affected through this process is unlikely.

Ted Yuzky, co-director for the International Upper Great Lakes Study, cautioned the 170 in attendance at the Collingwood Legion that there's not a lot of leeway available to regulate water flow from Lake Superior into the two lakes to the south, given the need to balance the interests of recreational boaters and commercial shipping, and the environment in the upper Great Lake.

Water flow from Superior into Michigan and Huron is controlled in the St. Marys River running between Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario and the state of Michigan.

Yuzky said the Upper Great Lakes Study has only been mandated by the International Joint Commission — the body that monitors water quality and quantity issues in the five Great Lakes and Lake St. Clair — to review regulations governing the control structures in the St. Marys River.

The study is also examining two other approaches to deal with future water levels beyond what can be influenced through Lake Superior regulation, including the creation of a multi-lake advisory board on water quantity, and putting in place an adaptive management plan to enhance monitoring and modeling of precipitation and evaporation over the lakes, and improved tracking of physical changes in the lakes and connecting channels.

He also tackled one of the overriding concerns of several in the audience about adding control structures in the St. Clair River to minimize increased flows that resulted from dredging in the 1960s, noting that wasn't within the charge the IJC gave to the study committee.

Adding control structures to the St. Clair River could be prohibitively expensive — in the range of $70 million to $200 million, or more — and could negatively affect spawning areas for Lake Sturgeon, which is considered a Species at Risk on both sides of the border.

"What you could do to help out Georgian Bay could have offsetting implications elsewhere," he said. "It's not a win-win situation.

"You would be pitting different eco-systems against each other."

Yuzyk also reviewed other issues related to lake levels, including isostatic adjustment — the gradual 'rebounding' of the planet's surface once covered by ice sheets during the last glacial period. He noted the land appears to be rebounding faster on the Canadian side than the American side, adding, as an example, the land under Parry Sound is expected to rebound by as much as 24 centimetres over the next 100 years.

There are also issues of climate change, where the upper Great Lakes are expected to experience more precipitation with more frequent, intense storms, and increased evaporation.

The current regulation for the St. Mary's control structures has been in place since 1990.

Yuzyk explained maintaining a constant level in Michigan and Huron would have a dramatic, negative affect on Superior.

"We can make small changes, but there is very little that we can actually do," he said. "There are so many interests we have to factor in, and balancing between the environmental needs and economic needs for Lake Superior levels.

"We could bankrupt Lake Superior to compress the range (of high and low water levels) of Michigan-Huron," said Yuzyk. "A regulation plan can only take us so far."

The final report will be presented to the IJC next March.

Collingwood Enterprise-Bulletin


Former Benson Ford featured on MTV

8/8 - Put-In-Bay, Ohio — The Benson Ford Shiphouse, a Lake Erie landmark on South Bass Island, will be featured on MTV’s “Extreme Cribs” television show.

The home, owned by Bryan and Emily Kasper since 1999, already has been featured in media around the world, including Home & Garden TV’s Extreme Homes, the Travel Channel, The British Daily Mirror, Ohio Magazine, the National Enquirer and area publications. The new MTV show features unique homes from around the world.

“When I purchased the home in 1999, I never thought it would become a media and television darling,” said Bryan Kasper, co-owner of Kasper Auto Group of Sandusky. “It’s an amazing place and has really taken on a life of its own.”

The Shiphouse is the retrofitted front end of the Ford Motor Co.’s former Benson Ford (I), a freighter that transported iron ore and related materials across the Great Lakes from 1924 through 1981. The home has walnut paneled staterooms, dining room, galley and passenger lounge designed by Henry Ford for his own pleasure while traversing the Great Lakes on business, according to Kasper.

After the freighter was decommissioned, the four-story, forecastle was removed and placed on the island as a summer cottage. The structure includes a garage and 1,200-square-foot barroom, complete with pool table, slot machine, arcade games and wide-screen TV. There are also six bedrooms, five full baths and pilot house that offers views of sunsets off the western shore of Put-in-Bay, he said.

“I was surprised when MTV contacted me,” Bryan Kasper said, “I’m excited to be part of a well-known program with national and mainstream exposure.”

The television show will feature a tour of the home with the Kasper family’s 17-year-old baby-sitter, Taylor Linden. “MTV said Emily and I didn’t necessarily fit their demographic,” said Kasper, who has two young sons. “They featured the whole family, but Taylor is the real star.”

The Benson Ford Shiphouse episode of “Extreme Cribs” airs at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 12 on the MTV Network. For more information on the Benson Ford ship house, go to

Lorain Morning Journal


City of Milwaukee/USCGC Acacia event next weekend

8/8 - Manistee, Mich. - The weekend of August 12-14 will be an open-house weekend to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the launch of the City of Milwaukee, and also to dedicate the USCGC Acacia as a museum ship. Dennis Hale and Art Chavez will be the featured speakers.


Updates -  August 8

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery
New Video on our YouTube Channel


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.


Port Reports -  August 7

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Wendell Wilke
Vessels remaining at Bay Ship Building Saturday included: American Century, American Integrity, Walter J. McCarthy, Jr., St. Clair, H. Lee White and the tug Michigan with barge Great Lakes.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
Stephen B. Roman left Toronto Saturday early evening, she had arrived on Friday.


Updates -  August 7

New Videos on our YouTube Channel ride along with Saturday's BoatNerd Detroit River Cruise through time-lapse video


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.


American Steamship, AMO agree to restart operations

8/6 - American Steamship Company announced Friday that it will restart vessel operation as the American Maritime Officers union employees return to work. The AMO employees went on strike following the expiration of their labor contract on August 1. ASC and the AMO have agreed to extend the recently expired contract, during which time the two parties will negotiate a new long-term labor agreement.

David W. Foster, president of ASC, said, "We are pleased that ASC and the AMO have agreed on a path forward. We will commence operations on the Great Lakes as soon as possible. ASC is committed to minimizing disruption for our customers, and the AMO has agreed to work with us to ensure a prompt and efficient restart of operations. It remains our goal to reach a fair and equitable long-term agreement with our licensed crew members that allows ASC to become more competitive on the Great Lakes."

AMO National President Tom Bethel thanked the AMO officers and stewards for their patience and support, adding “The first order of business will be for AMO members to prepare to get back to doing what they do better than any other maritime officers in the world - their jobs. When the boats are operating and service has been restored to ASC customers, AMO will schedule meetings with the company and resume our work on a successor agreement,” Bethel said.


Port Reports -  August 6

Holland, Mich. - Bob VandeVusse
The tug John Spence and barge Niagara Spirit arrived in Holland Friday morning to deliver a load of millscale to the Louis Padnos Iron & Metal dock.

Saginaw River –Todd Shorkey
Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber were back on the Saginaw River again Thursday morning. The pair delivered a split load, stopping first at the Bay City Wirt Stone Dock, then finishing at the Saginaw Wirt Stone Dock. After turning at Sixth Street, the Moore-Kuber were outbound for the lake, passing through Bay City around 9:30 Thursday night. Calumet also unloaded at the Bay City Wirt dock, arriving during the late afternoon. She finished her unload early Friday morning, turned in the Wirt turning basin at the end of the dock, and was outbound for the lake. The tug Gregory J. Busch and barge STC 2004 departed the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City during the afternoon on Thursday. They turned and headed for the lake. On Friday, Manitowoc was inbound, heading upriver to unload at the GM dock in Saginaw. She was expected to be outbound Friday evening.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
Peter R. Cresswell was in Toronto Thursday with a load of salt.

Rochester, N.Y. – Tom Brewer
The tug Evans McKeil arrived in Rochester, N.Y. Friday morning, went up the river, hooked up in the notch of the barge Metis, and pushed her out of Rochester in the early afternoon bound for Picton, Ont.


Sunken barge found in Grand Traverse Bay

8/6 - Traverse City, Mich. — David Bearrs and Ryan Deering studied sonar images of an ancient river’s smooth, featureless floodplain along the bottom of Grand Traverse Bay.

The pair, collecting images for Northwestern Michigan College’s Great Lakes Water Studies Institute on July 27, suddenly came across a shape that broke the pattern. Sonar imaging is at times hard to decipher, so their research vessel made four more passes to confirm the find.

It soon became obvious they were looking at a ship more than 100 feet long and about 25 feet wide. It sits in about 110 feet of water where the bay meets Lake Michigan, not far from Leelanau Peninsula's tip.

Authorities believe the wreck could be that of a barge built in 1905 that sank in 1952, based on a record of ships believed to have been lost in the bay. Records didn't indicate if anyone went down with the ship or why it sank, said Hans VanSumeren, director of the Great Lakes Water Studies Institute.

Traverse City Record-Eagle


Coast Guard uses new technology to quickly locate flooding vessel

8/6 - Cleveland, Ohio – U.S. Coast Guard personnel in Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., used Rescue 21, new technology currently being installed in the sector's command center, to locate a sailboat taking on water with one person aboard near Drummond Island, Mich., Thursday, ending in a safe trip home for the man.

Search and Rescue controllers in the command center at Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie heard a man hail the Coast Guard on a VHF-FM marine radio at 11:48 a.m., stating his boat, the sailing vessel Tringa, was sinking, but due to other radio transmissions immediately following his call, the SAR controllers were never able to establish communication with him to ask his location.

Two radio towers picked up the distress transmission, one in Goetzville, Mich., and the other in Norwood, Mich., providing the SAR controllers with an overlapping area to direct search assets.

An aircrew in an MH-65 Dolphin rescue helicopter from Air Station Traverse City, Mich., and a boat crew in a 25-foot Response Boat from Station St. Ignace, Mich., began searching the area, continuing through the afternoon.

Rescue 21, the Coast Guard’s advanced command, control and communications system, is currently being installed in the Sector Sault Ste. Marie command center, but the project is not yet complete. But as the marine version of 9-1-1, Rescue 21 facilitates better communication and interoperability in emergency situations, and provides communications coverage out to a minimum of 20 nautical miles off the coastal zone. With its advanced direction-finding capabilities and increased range, Rescue 21 helps the Coast Guard better “hear the call,” pinpoint the location and quickly direct rescue assets to boaters in distress.

The oncoming watch of SAR controllers came in Thursday afternoon to relieve the SAR controllers who had been orchestrating the search for the sailboat since it began. Among the oncoming controllers was Chief Petty Officer John Brinkman, who completed the first class of Rescue 21 training offered to Sector Sault Ste. Marie SAR controllers just prior to coming on duty in the command center Thursday afternoon. Brinkman suggested trying to use the system to obtain a better location, despite it not yet being fully implemented.

Within five minutes of powering up Rescue 21, SAR controllers were able to obtain a precise location to redirect the helicopter and boat crew. Roughly 15 minutes later, at 5:05 p.m., the helicopter pilots radioed in to report they found the sailboat about 10 miles south of Drummond Island, Mich. It was 43 miles east of the center of the original search area, which was determined by traditional methods of triangulating position based on the positions of the radio towers that captured the call.

“Everyone in the command center got really excited when we realized how well Rescue 21 worked,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Babcock, a SAR controller in the command center during the response. “Some of us were wondering how effective it would be, but it definitely proved it’s worth during this search.”

By communicating with the sailboat operator over the radio, the pilots learned the Madison Heights, Mich., man’s vessel stuck a submerged object, puncturing the hull. His vessel was taking on water at about five gallons per minute. The 66-year-old man said he had two dewatering pumps on board but one had stopped working. He reported the other was keeping up with the flooding. He was the only person aboard the vessel. Once the boat crew arrived on scene, a Coast Guardsman went aboard the Tringa to ensure the man’s safety and stayed aboard while the RB-S crew escorted the sailboat to Walstrom’s Marine on the Cheboygan River.


Updates -  August 6

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 6

On this day in 1953, a record 176 vessels passed through the Soo Locks.

Early in the morning of 06 August 1899, the WILLIAM B. MORLEY (steel propeller freighter, 277 foot, 1,846 gross tons, built in 1888, at Marine City, Michigan) and the LANSDOWNE (iron side-wheel carferry, 294 foot, 1,571 gross tons, built in 1884, at Wyandotte, Michigan) collided head on in the Detroit River. Both vessels sank. The LANSDOWNE settled on the bottom in her slip at Windsor, Ontario and was raised four days later and repaired. The MORLEY was also repaired and lasted until 1918, when she stranded on Lake Superior.

The BELLE RIVER’s bottom was damaged at the fit-out dock and required dry docking on August 6, 1977, for repairs prior to her maiden voyage. Renamed b.) WALTER J MC CARTHY JR in 1990. On 6 August 1871, the 3-mast wooden schooner GOLDEN FLEECE was down bound on Lake Huron laden with iron ore. The crew mistook the light at Port Austin for the light at Pointe Aux barques and steered directly for the Port Austin Reef where the vessel grounded. After 200 tons of ore were removed, GOLDEN FLEECE was pulled off the reef then towed to Detroit by the tug GEORGE B MC CLELLAN and repaired.

On 6 August 1900, the Mc Morran Wrecking Company secured the contract for raising the 203-foot 3-mast wooden schooner H W SAGE which sank at Harsen's Island on 29 July 1900. The SAGE had been rammed by the steel steamer CHICAGO. Two lives had been lost; they were crushed in her forecastle.

August 6, 1929 - The CITY OF SAGINAW 31 (Hull#246) was launched at Manitowoc, Wisconsin by Manitowoc Shipbuilding Co. for the Pere Marquette Railway. She was christened by Miss Ann Bur Townsend, daughter of the mayor of Saginaw.

On 6 August 1870, the wooden propeller tug TORNADO had her boiler explode without warning four miles northwest of Oswego, New York. The tug sank quickly in deep water. Three of the six onboard lost their lives. Apparently the tug had a new boiler and it had been allowed to run almost dry. When cold water was let in to replenish the supply, the boiler exploded.

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


Strike Over, Workers to Return to Vessels

8/5 - Noon Update - Members of the American Maritime Officers union are heading back to work.They had been on strike since Monday, after they and their employer American Steamship Company failed to reach a labor deal.

On Friday, workers got the call that they will be returning to work either Friday or Saturday and stopped picketing.

This is good news for the shipping industry, as American Steamship had laid up 13 vessels because of the strike. Seven of those vessels are in the Twin Ports.

Workers told Eyewitness News that they are going to work under their old contract, while a new deal is worked out.



Port Reports -  August 5

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Kaye E. Barker departed the Upper Harbor at sunrise on Thursday after loading ore. Fleet mate James R. Barker was unloading coal into the hopper.

Alpena, Mich. - Ben & Chanda McClain
The G.L. Ostrander and barge Integrity were in port at Lafarge early Thursday morning taking on cement. Also calling at Lafarge Thursday was the Robert S. Pierson. The Pierson is not a regular visitor. It unloaded cargo into the storage hopper. The tug General along with equipment on barges were tied up at the old dock between DPI and Lafarge.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
Canadian Coast Guard ship Griffon arrived in Toronto on August 3. There is also a smaller coast guard boat docked by the Toronto Fire boat.


Updates -  August 5

News Photo Gallery


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.


New self-unloader Algoma Mariner arrives in Canada

8/4 - Toronto, Ont. - Algoma Central Corporation announced Wednesday the arrival in Canada of its new maximum Seaway size, Coastal Class self-unloader Algoma Mariner. The vessel was constructed at Chengxi Shipyard in China and was delivered to Algoma on May 31. The vessel sailed across the Pacific Ocean, through the Panama Canal and arrived at its first Canadian port of call, Port Cartier, Quebec, on August 2. The vessel made its maiden voyage with a Canadian crew under the command of Captain Ken McKenzie and Chief Engineer Dave Cooke.

This latest addition to the Algoma fleet follows the delivery of another new Seaway-max Coastal Class self-unloader, the M.V. Algobay, which arrived in Canada in April 2010. Both vessels are 740' (225.564 mtrs) long and 78' (23.7 mtrs) wide, have six cargo holds and a maximum deadweight of about 38,000 tonnes. Both vessels are classed by Lloyds Register for Great Lakes, St. Lawrence and coastal (North and South America) service and built under Canadian flag and to full SOLAS standards.

While Algoma Mariner and Algobay are sisterships with respect to cargo carrying and discharge capabilities, and have identical vessel forebodies, the Algoma Mariner has a very different aft section and machinery and accommodation areas. The stern hull form of Algoma Mariner is a completely new design for the vessel by DeltaMarin, designers of Algoma's new Equinox Class dry-bulk cargo vessels. This new vessel is powered by a single slow-speed engine which provides excellent fuel efficiency. This, combined with the controllable pitch propeller and a modern advanced control system that interprets the power demand from the bridge and responds with the most efficient combination of engine speed and propeller pitch at any given load, giving a significant improvement in performance compared to other vessels currently in the bulk carrier fleet. The engine room has been designed as an Unmanned Machinery Space (UMS), which provides for remote and redundant alarm and monitoring systems.

The electric power generation and distribution system also takes full advantage of electronic control and monitoring from the same platform as the propulsion control system. A power management system (PMS) monitors vessel power demand and ensures that sufficient generating capacity is available at all times. It starts and stops generators automatically based on the power demand as well as having various operating modes to accommodate specific operating conditions such as unloading and transiting the St. Lawrence Seaway locks, ensuring sufficient capacity is available at all times.

The living areas on the Algoma Mariner are well equipped and comfortable. Individual crew cabins feature specially designed private washrooms, sleep, work and sitting areas and each cabin is equipped with connections to broadband internet and satellite TV. The accommodations also include comfortable dayrooms and a full gymnasium.

All self-unloading equipment within the tunnel, loop and boom will be certified for carriage of hazardous materials in accordance with the latest Transport Canada requirements. Dust control and cargo handling enhancements which have been developed over the years have been included in the system design.

Algoma has announced an investment of approximately $300 million to construct six new state-of-the-art Equinox Class vessels consisting of four full-size self-unloading vessels and two full-size gearless bulkers. The first new Equinox Class vessel is expected to be available for service in 2013, with additional ships following later that year and in 2014. Also, as previously announced, the Canadian Wheat Board will purchase two additional Equinox Class gearless bulk vessels that will be operated and crewed by Algoma. These vessels will be pooled with Algoma's other gearless bulk cargo vessels.

These investments in Algoma's dry-bulk fleet follow the nearly $190 million spent by Algoma since 2002 to renew its fleet of Canadian flag double-hull product tankers, including the addition of the new product tankers, M.T. Algonova (2008) and M.T. AlgoCanada (2009).

Algoma Central Corp.


Port Reports -  August 4

Twin Ports – Al Miller
Three more American Steamship Co. vessels arrived in Duluth Wednesday to lay up during the strike by the company’s licensed personnel. American Courage and John J. Boland entered Fraser Shipyards while Adam E. Cornelius tied up at Garfield D in Duluth. Elsewhere, Cedarglen was loading at the CN ore dock and Canadian Olympic was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal.

Marquette, Mich.
James R. Barker was unloading coal Wednesday afternoon. Kaye E. Barker was expected in the early morning Thursday to load taconite.

St. Marys River
Wednesday traffic included the upbound Gordon C. Leitch, Kaye E. Barker, Edwin H. Gott, Miedwie, Joseph L. Block and Hon. James L. Oberstar. Lee A. Tregurtha and Cason J. Callaway were downbound.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Jim Conlon
The following ASC ships have tied up at Bay Shipbuilding Corp. since Monday morning due to the strike: Walter J. McCarthy Jr., American Integrity, American Century, St. Clair, and H. Lee White. All have their anchors dropped. AMO pickets are on Florida Street, on the north side of Bay Ship.

Green Bay, Wis. - Matt Ludvigson
Arthur M. Anderson departed the Fox River Dock in Green Bay, Wis., Thursday.

South Chicago - Lou Gerard
Wednesday was quite a day on the Calumet River. CSL Assiniboine was loading at Beemsterboer's at 106th Street. CSL Niagara was at KCBX but didn't start loading until early afternoon. About 12:30 p.m. Frontenac came into Calumet Harbor with a load of salt for the Morton Dock at 100th Street. She turned and came up the river stern first with the assistance of two G tugs. At mid afternoon the steamer Alpena entered the river and, after a brief delay at NS5 for rail traffic, she proceeded past the three Canadian boats enroute to the Lafarge dock at 130th Street.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Dorothy Ann - Pathfinder departed the Bay Aggregates dock Tuesday morning, after unloading overnight. The tug Barbara Andrie and her tank barge departed the Bit Mat Dock later in the morning, then waited just off the dock at Consumers Energy in Essexville for the inbound Olive L. Moore - Lewis J Kuber to pass, before continuing on to the lake. The Moore - Kuber called on the Bay Aggregates dock to unload, and were back outbound for the lake late in the day on Tuesday.

Lorain, Ohio - L. Seabold and Phil Leon
Algorail departed Lorain at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday after unloading stone at Jonick Dock. She had arrived that morning at 10.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
English River was in and out of Toronto on Tuesday.


Cargo vessels dock in Sturgeon Bay as American Steamship strike begins

8/4 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Five cargo ships in the American Steamship Co. Great Lakes fleet are laid up in Sturgeon Bay after a strike that began at midnight Sunday.

Licensed deck and engineering officers and stewards represented by American Maritime Officers went on strike against American Steamship Co. Monday after their contract with the company expired.

All of ASC’s operating vessels were either tied up or headed for layup on Monday. Five of the vessels were allowed to dock next to Bay Shipbuilding Co. in Sturgeon Bay, according to Gene Caldwell, general manager of Bay Ship/Fincantieri in Sturgeon Bay.

“This has nothing to do with Bay Ship,” Caldwell said. “It should have no effect on us.”

The five vessels docked in Sturgeon Bay are the St. Clair, the H. Lee White, the Walter J. McCarthy Jr., American Century and American Integrity. All may leave at a moment’s notice when the strike is resolved, he said.

Caldwell said he is aware there currently is "some scrambling" going on to find replacement vessels to carry cargo. The cargo vessels deliver coal, cement and other material deliver to ports on the Great Lakes, including the port of Green Bay.

Picketers with American Maritime Officers walked outside Bay Ship earlier this week.

Door County Advocate


Port cities marshal support for S.S. Badger

8/4 - Manitowoc, Wis. - Lake Michigan Carferry executive Don Clingan hopes the residents of the S.S. Badger's two port cities can "hold hands across the pond" and lobby government officials for more time.

"Not everybody gets as emotional about the Badger as I do," Clingan, LMC executive vice president, told the first meeting of the Save Our Ship Committee created by the Manitowoc City Council.

A similar group has been established in Ludington, Mich., with the car ferry crossing 60 miles between the two ports twice daily bringing passengers, automobiles, commercial trucks and their economic impact.

Manitowoc Mayor Justin Nickels has said the Badger's economic impact on the two cities is about $25 million and is responsible for 250 direct and 500 indirect jobs.

The federal Environmental Protection Agency has indicated that the Badger may not discharge coal ash from its boilers after Dec. 19, 2012, putting at risk the car ferry service between the two cities.

Clingan told civic officials and interested citizens the LMC will be asking the EPA for a five-year extension as the company further explores the viability of using compressed natural gas, instead of coal, as the fuel source for the 410-foot ship that went into service in 1953.

Clingan said liquid natural gas has been used in diesel-powered vessels in Europe but compressed natural gas is more economically viable for use by the Badger. "But it has not been used to repower a coal-fired steam vessel," Clingan said of the company's "novel concept" design that will be reviewed later this month by American Bureau of Shipping experts in Houston.

Clingan said the five-year extension is necessary "because this kind of technology aboard a ship hasn't been developed … and engineering takes a long time."

The Badger's website indicates the car ferry burns about 55 tons of coal per day during its five-month sailing season and generates an estimated 3.8 tons of ash per day, which is dumped during its trips across the lake.

Clingan said LMC has paid for tests of the ash slurry showing it is not toxic, with hazardous chemical levels below EPA allowable standards. "These tests are helpful in supporting the idea that we are not creating a terrible, imminent danger" to Lake Michigan ecology, Clingan said.

He said the possible use of compressed natural gas would take "the air emission issue off the table" and turn the Badger into "one of the greenest ships on the Great Lakes."

Clingan recalled as a child in Ludington playing by its port with seven coal-fired ships coming and going on a regular basis, black smoke clouds billowing into the air. As the last coal-fired ship on the Great Lakes, Clingan said, "We have put on new equipment that controls the combustion process, reduces smoke and increases efficiency."

Several in the meeting room at City Hall answered Clingan's requests for help.

Connie Loden, executive director of the Economic Development Corporation of Manitowoc County, said she would explore making another try at obtaining a TIGER — Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery — grant.

Council President Chris Able said he might prod Manitowoc Public Utilities officials to consider exploring partnering on any development of natural gas options for powering the big ship. "They (MPU) can't burn coal forever," Able said.

Norma Bishop, executive director of the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, offered the exhibit design services of her curator that could raise awareness of the historic role of the Badger by visitors to her museum.

Clingan gladly accepted all offers. He said having the local citizenry well informed could be valuable in potentially influencing the political process.

Specifically, he is hoping the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources could be influenced to be supportive of Badger ownership's long-term willingness to spend somewhere between $8 million and $15 million to keep the car ferry in operation with a clean fuel source.

Clingan recalled how LMC founder Charles Conrad more than 20 years ago spent millions of dollars on the Badger before he even owned it out of bankruptcy. Conrad lived long enough to see the Badger going back and forth between Ludington and Manitowoc before dying in 1995.

Clingan said Conrad had the strategy and resources to keep the Badger going.

"Now, we have another milestone that is no less challenging," Clingan said before leaving City Hall to get on the Badger for its 1:55 p.m. eastbound crossing.


HTR News


Lake Express navigates rough water

8/4 - Things have not gone as scheduled for the Lake Express this season. The car ferry resumed service Wednesday, after more than a week out of commission, and it plans to continue its round trips across Lake Michigan through the fall.

But two prolonged service stoppages because of engine problems have made this season challenging. The president of the company, Ken Szallai, knows that along with the engines, it has to repair some good will.

"We know we've disappointed some people by canceling on them," Szallai said. "This is a tough season, for obvious reasons. You never want to have a mechanical failure at the high point of the season."

The April start of the season was delayed for more than two weeks by engine problems. The Lake Express went out of service again on July 23 when, already without one of its four engines, a fuel pump problem occurred on another engine en route to Muskegon, Mich. For safety reasons, it used tug boats to guide it to dock.

At that point, Szallai had a decision to make: spend the rest of the season running on less power - which would make the trips longer and eliminate one of its three daily trips - or shut the vessel down temporarily for repairs. Szallai chose the latter. The Lake Express went out of service for 10 days while a new engine was installed.

The ferry completed a successful test run Monday to Muskegon and back.

"We have established a high standard of service as a corporation and want to maintain" it, Szallai wrote in two-page apology and explanation to affected customers. The company said passengers who purchased tickets for travel during the affected dates were contacted and will receive a full refund.

The chief competitor of the Lake Express, the S.S. Badger, said it took hundreds of calls last week from passengers looking for another route across Lake Michigan. The coal-fired Badger makes two round trips a day from Manitowoc to Ludington, Mich.

A spokeswoman for the Badger, Lyndon Matson, said she couldn't specify how many extra bookings were because of halted Lake Express service, because her company doesn't track people's reasons for travel.

"Our reservation agents have mentioned that there were hundreds of calls received last week that mentioned that they were stuck in either Michigan or Wisconsin," Matson said. "We also have many positive comment cards from our passengers that tell us how much they appreciate our reliability."

Szallai said he's proud of the Lake Express' reliability, too. Before this season, he said the operation had a nearly flawless record of mechanical operation. (He won't take the blame for trips canceled because of bad weather.)

The Lake Express is configured with four engines, but it actually has a fifth, which serves as a spare and rotates among the others on a scheduled maintenance program.

Over the winter, two of the engines were rebuilt. One of those showed problems during the spring, which is what delayed the start of the season by a few weeks. That engine was replaced by the other rebuilt engine.

That second engine first acted up on July 20, when a high temperature alarm went off. The ship was taken out of service for a day, then resumed travel until problems worsened the following Saturday. Szallai said he's not certain what caused the two engines to fail, but he suspects some bad bearings were used to rebuild the two engines around the same time. "This is not a coincidence," he said.

His company is working with its vendor to pinpoint the problem. In the meantime, he's proud of employees for working hard to get the ship back in service, and to handle questions from passengers.

"Nobody has gotten much sleep or time off during this," he said.

And although the service stoppages have hurt the company financially, Szallai said they have not been crippling. The company already is making marketing plans for next season.

Szallai spent 18 years as Milwaukee's port director before joining Lake Express five years ago, so he knows something about the service and its importance to the region. He said the company is determined to continue providing travel that is safe, reliable and enjoyable.

"We always believe it's better to deliver the product that you say you're going to deliver," he said.

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel


Coast Guard to celebrate 221st birthday

8/4 - Cleveland, Ohio - Coast Guard men and women nationwide are making plans to celebrate the service’s 221st birthday Thursday in a variety of ways. This includes the 6,000 active-duty, reserve, auxiliary and civilian members of the 9th Coast Guard District’s 75 units throughout the Great Lakes region.

The U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, predecessor of the modern-day U.S. Coast Guard, was established at the urging of Alexander Hamilton, the first secretary of the treasury. Hamilton’s Revenue Cutter Act authorized construction of the original 10 cutters of the Revenue Marine on Aug. 4, 1790.

Coast Guard roots on the Great Lakes run as far back as 1819, when the first Great Lakes lighthouse was established at Presque Isle on Lake Erie. Since then, Coast Guard men and women assigned here have responded to maritime threats and emergencies with bravery and dedication.

That includes the evening of Nov. 10, 1975, when the Coast Guard coordinated the search for the SS Edmund Fitzgerald, which sank in Lake Superior during a storm. More recently, the Coast Guard led the multi-agency response to rescue 134 fishermen from an ice floe in Lake Erie after it broke free and began drifting offshore in February 2009.

Additionally, during the winter months, Coast Guard crews are hard at work keeping shipping channels open and facilitating the flow of commerce. On an average year, Coast Guard icebreakers, cooperating seamlessly with their Canadian counterparts, allow for the movement of $2 billion in commerce by clearing ice-choked waterways.

Coast Guard buoy tenders and aids-to-navigation teams also contribute to ensuring that maritime navigational aids are on station, marking mariners‚ safe passage throughout the Great Lakes maritime transportation system.

On the Great Lakes today, more than 6,000 active-duty, reserve, civilian and auxiliary members work closely with their Canadian counterparts to keep mariners safe, maintain border security, place and retrieve thousands of aids to navigation every year, and protect against pollution.

“From Lake of the Woods, Minn., to Massena, N.Y., the Guardians of the Great Lakes are proud to serve a region with such a distinct maritime heritage,”said Rear Adm. Mike Parks, the 9th Coast Guard District commander. “We are your friends and neighbors who protect you on the lakes, protect you from the lakes and protect the lakes themselves. That‚s why there‚s no better place to celebrate our service’s birthday than here on the Great Lakes.”

U.S. Coast Guard


Forum discusses water levels

8/4 - Sarnia, Ontario - Representatives from the International Upper Great Lakes Study heard concerns Tuesday about the effects of placing structures in the headwaters of the St. Clair River to raise water levels in lakes Huron and Michigan.

About 60 people attended a public meeting Tuesday night at Lambton College in Sarnia during a mandatory update on the multiyear, multimillion-dollar investigation of Great Lakes water levels.

The study is sponsored by the International Joint Commission -- which advises the U.S. and Canadian governments on lake policies -- and was initiated in 2007 as a scheduled update to regulatory practices for Lake Superior, specifically regarding control structures at Sault Ste. Marie.

Added to the study's directives was an evaluation of whether structures in the headwaters of the St. Clair River would raise water levels in lakes Huron and Michigan.

The study -- which has involved hundreds of scientists throughout the United States and Canada -- is nearing the end of its second phase and is expected to be submitted to the International Joint Commission in March. Ted Yuzyk, Canadian co-chairman for the study, addressed research methods and stressed the study's role is to provide an objective analysis of options to the International Joint Commission, not to make recommendations or proposals.

Numerous concerns were raised by those in attendance regarding the ecological ramifications of placing structures in the St. Clair River. The structures -- such as gates, dikes or inflatable barriers -- would disrupt sturgeon spawning habitat, could potentially stir mercury-contaminated sediments and would temporarily lower water levels in Lake St. Clair "significantly," environmental consultant Scudder Mackey said.

A drop in the level of Lake St. Clair by 6 to 8 inches would result in a loss of up to 40 percent of the fish spawning sites and allow invasive phragmites to take over, Mackey said.

Major changes to Great Lakes waterways historically have been initiated by economic concerns, but aren't a factor when it comes to the St. Clair River. "There are no economic drivers for structures in the St. Clair River," Yuzyk said.

Preliminary reports from the study indicated remedial measures in the St. Clair River are not immediately needed.

The public's strong concerns about placing structures in the river will be noted in the final report to the commission, said John Nevin, public affairs advisor for the commission's Great Lake office.

Port Huron Times Herald


Blue Water Bridge jumper lives

8/4 - Port Huron, Mich. - A 32-year-old Warren, Mich., man survived Tuesday after jumping from the Blue Water Bridge. He was rescued quickly by firefighters. Rescue crews went to the bridge after the man's brother called and reported his intentions to St. Clair County Central Dispatch.

Along with the Port Huron Fire Department, the Port Huron Police Department, St. Clair County Sheriff Marine Division, U.S. Coast Guard, Border Patrol and Ontario Provincial Police responded to the scene.

The man was moved into the fire department boat and brought to shore near the Huron Light Ship, where the boat was met by paramedics. He was strapped to a back board and taken by ambulance to Port Huron Hospital.

Fire Battalion Chief Dan Mainguy said it was the first time he's seen a jumper survive in his 20-year career. "I'm amazed," he said, adding the man was talking when rescuers reached him.

The man's vehicle was parked on the eastbound span of the bridge and was towed by officials. Traffic was slowed during the incident that resulted in a crowd of people witnessing the rescue.

Lesa Stacy was among the crowd of onlookers and watched as the man was treated at the scene by paramedics and firefighters.

Port Huron Times Herald


Updates -  August 4

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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.


Grounded Federal St. Laurent refloated

8/3 - Buffalo, N.Y. - Personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard and the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corporation responded to the grounding of the 670-foot motor vessel Federal St. Laurent, which ran aground near Massena, N.Y., along the St. Lawrence Seaway, at about 8 p.m. Monday.

No pollution or injuries were reported, and it has been determined to be safe for maritime traffic to pass the location where the vessel grounded.

After the Coast Guard was notified, investigators from Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Massena, N.Y., and SLSDC arrived on scene and verified the crew performed soundings and draft checks of the Barbados-flagged bulk carrier. The MSD Massena investigator found the vessel grounded near the bow well away from the vessel’s fuel tanks, eliminating any potential for pollution.

Federal St. Laurent, carrying titanium slag, was aground south of the channel 0.1 nautical mile east of Buoy 51 and 4.4 nautical miles west of Eisenhower Lock. The vessel has since gotten underway and is safely at anchorage where an underwater hull survey will be conducted.

The grounding of the Federal St. Laurent is under investigation and the cause will not be known until the investigation is complete.


Port Reports -  August 3

Twin Ports – Al Miller
More American Steamship vessels arrived in port to wait out the strike by licensed personnel. Burns Harbor tied up at Elevator M in Superior and Indiana Harbor docked at Quebec Pier in Superior. On Tuesday both vessels had crane alongside to secure the vessels anchors, a procedure that’s usually performed when the vessel is likely to be in place for a while. The two 1,000-footers join American Mariner and American Spirit, which docked in the Twin Ports on Monday. ASC boats are frequent callers at Midwest Energy Terminal, but the names of all vessels from that fleet have been removed from terminal’s August loading listing on its website. Interlake’s Paul R. Tregurtha and James R. Barker are prominent on the list, with many of their deliveries scheduled for Detroit Edison plants. Elsewhere on Tuesday, James R. Barker was loading at Midwest Energy Terminal and John D. Leitch was loading at BNSF.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Barbara Andrie and her tank barge arrived on the Saginaw River Monday morning, calling on the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City. Later in the afternoon, the tug Dorothy Ann, with the barge Pathfinder, called on the Bay Aggregates dock, which shares the slip with Bit-Mat. Both vessels worked it out so they could share the slip and unload their cargos. For the month of July, there were 16 commercial vessel passages on the Saginaw River. This is up from 14 passages in 2010. For the year, the total number of passages stands at 52. This is 11 behind the total of 63 from 2010, over the same time period.

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
James Norris docked in Toronto over the weekend.


Busch malt plant sold to grain storage company

8/3 - Manitowoc, Wis. - Riverland Ag Corp. has purchased the Manitowoc malting plant, formerly operated by Busch Agricultural Resources, for $4 million. Malting was halted earlier this year at the mammoth manufacturing facility downtown that includes 40 buildings on 23 acres near Lake Michigan.

Riverland Ag Corp. is a subsidiary of Toronto-based Ceres Global Ag Corp.

The Manitowoc plant features 176 concrete silos, including three at the east end of Washington Street featuring oversized vinyl banners depicting Budweiser beer bottles and proclaiming it "The King of Beer."

According to a July news release announcing an executive appointment, the subsidiary owns and operates 14 grain storage and handling facilities in Minnesota, North Dakota, Wyoming, New York and Ontario, with a total storage capacity of 50 million bushels.

When it was in full operation, the malt plant was the largest water and electrical power user of Manitowoc Public Utilities, using about 1 million gallons of water daily as part of the process converting barley to malt for use at one of five Anheuser-Busch breweries.

Before ceasing production, the Manitowoc malt plant would turn out about 13 million bushels 221,000 tons of malt each year in the facility that operated 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year with about 75 production and management employees. Anheuser-Busch invested nearly $3.3 million in 2007 to rebuild its marine tower flanking the Manitowoc River, to enable the plant to receive barley by boat, not just train.

Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter.


Lake Superior water level expected to rise

8/3 - The International Lake Superior Board of Control has increased the Lake Superior outflow for the month of August starting on Wednesday. This is an increase from the July outflow.

The August outflow will be released by discharging about 1,640 m3/s (57.9 tcfs) through the three hydropower plants and passing most of the remaining flow through the control structure at the head of the St. Marys rapids.

This past month the water supplies to the Lake Superior basin were above normal while those to the Lakes Michigan-Huron basin were near normal.

Lake Superior is currently 8 cm (3 inches) above chart datum level. The level of Lake Superior is expected to rise in August. Currently, the Lake Superior level is about 25 cm (10 inches) below its long-term average beginning-of-August level, and is 10 cm (4 inches) higher than the level recorded a year ago. This past month the level of Lake Superior rose 8 cm (3 inches), while on average it rises 5 cm (2 inches) in July.

The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron remained steady this July, which is typical during July. The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron is now about 31 cm (12 inches) below its long-term average beginning-of-August level, and is at the same level is was a year ago. Currently Lakes Michigan-Huron is 26 cm (10 inches) above its chart datum level. The level of Lakes Michigan-Huron is expected to drop in August.


Cutter Mobile Bay opening for public tours at Sturgeon Bay

8/3 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mobile Bay will open for public tours Thursday, August 4 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. This opportunity is a late addition to the “Sturgeon Bay Maritime Week” festivities. Tours are free and are timed to celebrate and honor the Coast Guard’s 221st birthday. Mobile Bay is moored adjacent to Sawyer Park at the corner of S. Neenah Ave. and W. Maple St. in Sturgeon Bay.

“Sturgeon Bay Maritime Week: A Salute to the United States Coast Guard” is a new festival bringing together many long-standing annual events along with new and exciting activities to celebrate the area’s rich maritime heritage and honor local Coast Guard units.

Mobile Bay is the one of nine cutters in the Coast Guard’s “Bay” Class of icebreaking tugs. She is one of two Bay Class ships equipped with a 120-foot Aids-to-Navigation barge operating on the Great Lakes.

Homeported in Sturgeon Bay, the ship was constructed by the Tacoma Boatbuilding Co. Mobile Bay was launched on Veteran’s Day, November 11, 1978 and was commissioned on September 2, 1979. The barge was built by Marinette Marine Corporation in Marinette in 1992.


Landmark lighthouse to get badly-needed facelift

8/3 - Point Clark, Ont. – It has stood on the Lake Huron shoreline for more than 150 years, steering sailors away from a treacherous shoal. And it’s showing its age.

The limestone lighthouse at Point Clark has been closed to the public for two seasons now, after deteriorating stone on the face of the 26-metre tower became a safety hazard.

Following an extensive assessment of the condition of the National Historic Site, its owner, Parks Canada, has awarded a $622,000 contract to restore the lighthouse over the next few months.

The work is great news for the Township of Huron-Kinloss, which operates the site as an attraction. “Pardon the pun, but we call it the beacon for tourism,” said Mike Fair, the township’s director of facilities and recreation.

Point Clark is one of the stops on the Bruce Coast Lighthouse Tour, and Fair said visitors from around the world have come to climb to the top of the tower and to explore the exhibits in the keeper’s house below.

Located about 35 kilometres north of Goderich, the Point Clark lighthouse was one of six Imperial towers built on Lake Huron and Georgian Bay between 1855 and 1859. The original light at Point Clark, powered by coal oil, was first lit on April 1, 1859. In 1962, an automated electrical light was installed.

The work will be completed by Heritage Restoration Inc. of Uxbridge and will include complete repair and refinishing of the tower’s stone exterior, repairs and repainting of the glazed lantern and metal roof, and some interior and below-ground repairs.

The work is expected to be completed by early November, and officials plan to have the site open to the public for the 2012 summer season.

The Record


Updates -  August 3

News Photo Gallery


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.


Federal St. Laurent grounds in Seaway; traffic continues to move

8/2 - 3 p.m. update The Federal St. Laurent was pulled free and is safely at anchorage where an underwater hull survey will be conducted. The grounding of the Federal St. Laurent is under investigation and the cause will not be known until the investigation is complete.

7 a.m. update - Tuesday morning the tug Evans McKeil was alongside the Federal St Laurent. The Robinson Bay is expected to be brought to the grounded ship to assist in pulling her off. The Evans left her tow, the HM Dock I, nearby last night.

Original report - Just before 8 p.m. Monday, Federal St. Laurent lost power and grounded south of the channel 0.1 nautical mile east of Buoy 51 or 4.4 nautical miles west of Eisenhower Lock. Reports on the marine radio stated that a valve in the fuel line to the generator "blew up" and diesel oil spilled into the bilges. She is completely out of the channel and shipping was not delayed.

Ron Beaupre


Strike by AMO members against ASC enters second day; boats head to layup

8/2 - Licensed deck and engineering officers and stewards represented by American Maritime Officers went on strike against American Steamship Company Monday after AMO's contract with the company expired at midnight July 31.

All of ASC’s operating vessels were either tied up or headed for layup on Monday. Both sides made their positions known in news releases Monday.

"This strike is the result of American Steamship's Company refusal to negotiate in good faith, or even present a proposal that recognizes the professionalism of the AMO officers and stewards and their value to a company that operates very profitably with AMO onboard its ships," charged AMO National President Tom Bethel.

"When asked for a final offer, ASC presented AMO members with a proposal that would cut 14 jobs arbitrarily, give the company the ability to eliminate a total of 56 jobs, and would fail to fund the medical, retirement and training benefits of AMO officers," Bethel said.

David W. Foster, president of ASC, said, "ASC made every effort to engage in constructive negotiations with the AMO, but the AMO refused to participate in this process. As a result, the existing AMO contract expired and ASC has temporarily ceased operations.

"Our goal has been to reach a fair and equitable agreement with our licensed crew members that allows ASC to become more competitive on the Great Lakes. While this remains our goal, we will enact our contingent operating plan and make every effort to serve our customers as effectively as possible."

"If the labor situation continues unresolved, we will work towards being able to operate our full contingent of vessels in 2012 with other qualified crew members," Foster added.

According to Bethel, "ASC wanted to cut jobs, have contractual permission to cut many more jobs at their discretion, refuse to fund AMO medical, retirement and training benefits, and replace established AMO benefit plans with inferior company benefits.

"When the ASC proposal was given to AMO members for a ratification vote, it was no surprise that nearly everyone voted it down," he said. "The company's Ameri-Force help wanted ads started popping up on the Internet and in newspapers in the Great Lakes region trying to bring in scab mates and engineers. … "This strike is not what we want. But, we are standing together and we are committed to securing fair treatment and a reasonable contract from ASC.”

"In all, 99 percent of AMO members working for the company voted to reject ASC's proposal," Bethel said.


Vanguard Shipping purchases saltwater vessel

8/2 - Vanguard Shipping Great Lakes Ltd. purchased, in mid-July, the 1987-built bulk carrier Bestar for a reported $5,5 million (US) according to brokerage firm Optima Shipbrokers. Built by Fincantieri yard of Ancona in Italy as Sagittarius, she was renamed Bestar in 2009. The vessel is a gearless four-hold bulk carrier measuring 186.01 meters long, with a 23.11 meter beam. She is propelled by an 8,640 hp Sulzer engine built under license in Italy. It is unknown when, or if, the vessel will enter service on the Great Lakes/Seaway. Vanguard also operates the J.W. Shelley in the Seaway grain trade.

Bruno Boissonneault


Port Reports -  August 2

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Several vessels from American Steamship Co. arrived in the Twin Ports on Monday to tie up after licensed officers went on strike. American Spirit docked at Garfield C in Duluth during the day and American Mariner entered Fraser Shipyards. Burns Harbor was expected to arrive later in the day. Elsewhere, Michipicoten arrived in Duluth late in the day bound for the BNSF ore dock in Superior. It was a frequent caller here as the Elton Hoyt II but its visits now are less common.

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Great Republic finished loading ore Monday night after arriving Sunday night. Manitowoc arrived and appeared to have a delay with loading.

St. Marys River
A very slow day for traffic improved some as evening arrived. The only two vessels in the system for much of the day were Paul R. Tregurtha downbound and Pineglen upbound. As night fell, the John J. Boland, CSL Tadoussac, Adam E. Cornelius, Roger Blough and Canadian Olympic were all upbound in the lower river. The Boland and Cornelius were headed for layup due to the AMO/ASC strike.

Grand Haven, Mich. - Dick Fox
The US Coast Guard vessels Mackinaw, Alder, Katmai Bay and Biscayne Bay arrived Monday and made up the Coast Guard Festival's Parade of Ships as they came into port for the week. They are tied up bow to stern along the seawall at Government Basin opposite Escanaba Park and USCG Station Grand Haven. They are open for tours all week. There will be a change of command ceremony for the Mackinaw Wednesday afternoon.

Stoneport, Mich. - Dan McNeil
Pathfinder is due Tuesday. On Wednesday, Lewis J. Kuber and the Great Republic are due. Due Aug. 5 is the John G. Munson

Toronto, Ont. - Frank Hood
The railway spur out to the terminal at Unwin and Cherry streets Is being upgraded with the rail being leveled, some ties and the gravel being replaced. This may be a sign that the Port of Toronto is going to try and attract more ships. There are also signs of work being done on the rail line in the middle of Villier Street at the north end of Cherry Street.

St. Clair, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Through July 31, 2011 the total amount of vessels delivering coal to the St. Clair Power Plant totaled 65 visits for the season. Leading the way is Paul R. Tregurtha with 20 visits, 10 of which were "split" loads for both St. Clair & Monroe power plants. Following the Tregurtha is American Century 11, American Integrity 9, Indiana Harbor 8, James R. Barker 8, Mesabi Miner 6, Walter J. McCarthy Jr. 2 and American Spirit 1. The American Spirit's visit was her first and only visit to the St. Clair Power Plant back on April 12. While the McCarthy has made two visits this year, she was been noticeably absent due to ASC using her more in the iron ore trades this season. Her ASC fleetmate St. Clair, which unloads a few cargoes each year, has yet to make any visits.


2011 Salty Report

8/2 - Through July 31, the total number of saltwater vessels entering the Eisenhower Lock totaled 140, which equaled 185 transits for the 2011 season. Of the 140 vessels, 37 have never visited the lakes-seaway system prior to 2011. The 185 transits also are up 14 transits from the 5-year average during the March-April through the end of July. Also, two vessels were also renamed during the 2011 season. Beluga Fusion was renamed BBC Steinhoeft while at Toronto on March 28 and now flies the Liberian flag, while the Alaskaborg and a newcomer to the Seaway in 2011 has been renamed Jose Maria Espana and now flies the Panamanian flag.

Denny Dushane


Test Monday for new Lake Express engine

8/2 - Muskegon, Mich. - The Lake Express is scheduled to make a test crossing of Lake Michigan from Milwaukee to Muskegon to see if a new engine is working well.

Lake Express officials twice suspended service after one engine on the four-engine ferry failed. The Muskegon Chronicle says the test run is planned Monday morning. It's unclear whether scheduled service will resume any sooner than Thursday, the previously announce restart date.

The high-speed Lake Express Ferry makes two to three trips daily between Milwaukee and Muskegon. Its four engines produce a total of 12,000 horsepower, allowing it to reach a speed of 40 miles per hour.

Muskegon Chronicle


Four honored with Mariner Award at Sturgeon Bay ceremony

8/2 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. - Four iconic figures in the maritime history of Door County were honored with the annual Mariner Award during ceremonies at the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club on Sunday evening.

John Asher, president of Roen Salvage Company, received the award recognizing a living nominee. Posthumous honors went to local maritime legends Arnold Petersen, Gordon K. Weber, and Joseph Wolter. Mr. Asher was presented the Mariner Award trophy, a hand-crafted original work by wood carver David Frykman. The deceased recipients names were added to the Mariner Award plaque that is prominently displayed on the second floor of the Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay.

For the first time, this year’s award dinner also honored the Sturgeon Bay area Coast Guard Person of the Year. Sponsored by the Fox Valley Council of the Navy League of the United States, City of Sturgeon Coast Guard Committee, Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club and Door County Maritime Museum, this award recognizes a local active duty Coast Guardsman who exemplifies the Coast Guards core values of Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty. The nominees for this year’s award were Chief Warrant Officer Jim Condra from Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Sturgeon Bay, Petty Officer First Class Justin David from the Coast Guard cutter Mobile Bay and Petty Officer First Class Rush Evans from Coast Guard Station Sturgeon Bay. Petty Officer Evans, who heads the engineering department at Station Sturgeon Bay, was this year’s award recipient.

A joint effort by the Door County Maritime Museum and Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club, the Mariner Award is presented annually to recognize individuals who have had significant, positive and lasting impact on the Door County maritime community. One living and at least one deceased recipient will be honored each year. The selection committee chose to present three posthumous awards in 2011.

Door County Maritime Museum


9th annual Twin Ports Lighthouse Days August 4-7

8/2 - Duluth, Minn. - The Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Centers Twin Ports Lighthouse Days Thursday, August 4 - Sunday, August 7 will feature lighthouse films and history walks. Events take place inside the museum and outside in the park from noon to 5 p.m. each day. All programs are free and open to the public. There is no admission charge to the Visitor Center operated by the Corps of Engineers in Canal Park, Duluth.

Twin Ports Lighthouse Days is a celebration of the five distinctive lighthouses of the Twin Ports and the lighthouses of Lake Superior. This annual event is held around the anniversary of August 7, 1789 - the date President George Washington signed the Ninth Act of Congress federalizing our nation’s lighthouses.

For those with a Lighthouse Passport Book, we will have available six different lighthouse rubber stamps to make entries for the Twin Ports lights -- an excellent opportunity to add to your collection.

Pier History Tours: Aug 4 - 7 (Thurs-Sun) at 1:00, 2:00 & 3:00
Outside in the Park: Lighthouse & Pier History Program - A walking tour on the canal with Park Rangers. Rediscover the history of Duluth’s three lighthouses, Aerial Bridge and piers

Demonstration: Aug 4-7 (Thurs-Sun) 12:00 5:00
Lighthouses in Rubber Art Stamps Demonstration - Visitors are invited to join in the fun of rubber stamping and take away their own piece of lighthouse history - lighthouses of Lake Superior, Aerial Bridge and North Shore stamps by stamp designer Gwen Nordenstrom.

Films on Lighthouses in Museum Upper Level: Aug 4 7 (Mon-Sun)
12:30-4:30. Call for schedule

As a reminder, the lighthouses in Canal Park are not open to the public, although they are each available for exterior viewing and photographs. Use caution, particularly at the Superior Entry where access is on the rubble mound breakwater - and be aware of poison ivy near the Minnesota Point Lighthouse.


Great Lakes water levels subject of Superior meeting

8/2 - Duluth, Minn. - The International Upper Great Lakes Study will hold a public meeting Aug. 9 in Superior regarding the group’s recent study and report on Great Lakes water levels.

The meeting is set for 7-9 p.m. at the University of Wisconsin-Superior’s Yellowjacket Union, 1605 Catlin Ave., and will include presentations and opportunities for public comment.

Water levels have been a huge issue in recent years during especially dry periods, especially on Lakes Huron and Michigan, which had been far below normal levels until recent months.

The meeting, which will include a presentation and a public comment period, will discuss the new regulation plan for Lake Superior outflows at Sault Ste. Marie; changes in lake-level monitoring to allow for adaptive management; restoration scenarios for Lake Michigan-Huron water levels; new data on potential climate-change impacts for the Great Lakes; ongoing impacts of long-term movement in the lake beds still responding after glaciers left the region; and more.

A final report and accompanying recommendations will be submitted to the International Joint Commission by March 2012 by the study’s board. After that, the International Joint Commission will conduct public hearings and put forward a new Great Lakes water levels regulation plan to the governments of Canada and the United States.

The report is available here and attached to the story. A meeting also is set for Aug. 10 in Thunder Bay.

Shoreline property owners, boaters, anglers, local governments and environmental and shipping organizations are encouraged to attend the public meetings and offer comments. Comments will be recorded at the public meeting and also can be submitted here through Aug. 31.

Duluth News Tribune


Updates -  August 2

Weekly Website Updates
News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 2

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

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


American Steamship Company Comments on Status of Labor Contract

8/1 - Chicago, Ill.  - Noon update - American Steamship Company announced its employees who are members of the American Maritime Officers union (AMO) went on strike following the expiration of the AMO labor contract on August 1, 2011. The AMO agreement covered the licensed crew members employed aboard ASC's vessels.

David W. Foster, president of ASC, said, "ASC made every effort to engage in constructive negotiations with the AMO, but the AMO refused to participate in this process. As a result, the existing AMO contract expired and ASC has temporarily ceased operations.

"Our goal has been to reach a fair and equitable agreement with our licensed crew members that allows ASC to become more competitive on the Great Lakes. While this remains our goal, we will enact our contingent operating plan and make every effort to serve our customers as effectively as possible."

Mr. Foster concluded, "If the labor situation continues unresolved, we will work towards being able to operate our full contingent of vessels in 2012 with other qualified crew members."


Contract expires, American Steamship Co. vessels idled

8/1 - 10 a.m. update - The 1,004-foot American Spirit sat uncharacteristically still, anchored off the Duluth shore this past weekend as the crew tensely waited for events to unfold.

A collective bargaining agreement between the laker’s owner, American Steamship Co., and the American Maritime Officers was to expire at midnight Sunday, setting up a possible work stoppage.

“If the contract expires without a successor agreement or extension in place, the licensed deck and engineering officers and stewards represented by AMO will go on strike,” said Matt Burke, a publication editor for the union, which represents about 140 deck and engine officers at American Steamship, which operates 17 vessels on the Great Lakes, including six 1,000-footers.

When reached at company headquarters in Williamsville, N.Y., Sunday afternoon, David Foster, president of American Steamship, declined to discuss the situation. “We’re probably a little ahead of ourselves right now. I should be in a better position to talk in a couple days or so.”

Foster also shunned questions about the decision Friday to transfer taconite pellets from the American Spirit to the Edwin H. Gott, a member of the Great Lakes Fleet. He said, however, that only a portion of the laker’s load had been shifted. The American Spirit has remained at anchor outside of Duluth since that time.

AMO National President Tom Bethel said American Steamship has assembled about 30 deck and engine officers with the help of a recruiting firm called Ameriforce. Those prospective replacement workers were being housed Sunday at a Holiday Inn near the Detroit Airport, according to Bethel.

He said the union loyalty of ship captains is being put to the test.

“The captains are the key to American Steamship Co.’s ability to move the boats. ASC has and will do just about anything to get the captains not to support their fellow officers, shipmates and their union,” Bethel said.

“The latest ploy with the Spirit and several other boats is to anchor the boats to give ASC one last opportunity to call the captains to discuss, as they put it, ‘their economic future with ASC,’ ” he said.

The main points of contention are plans to cut work force and to reduce medical and retirement benefits. Burke said workers overwhelmingly voted to reject American Steamship’s “best and final offer.”

“A strike is the last resort. However, AMO members refuse to accept this kind of treatment from ASC and GATX (American Steamship’s parent company),” he said. Burke noted that the AMO seeks a contract that would be consistent with what other fleet operators on the Great Lakes already have approved.

As of Sunday evening, no talks between the AMO and ASC were in progress, although Bethel said: “My phone is on.” Still, he didn’t hold out much hope of a last-minute deal, saying: “I don’t anticipate a call and I don’t plan on making one.”

Duluth News Tribune


ASC vessels head to layup as strike begins

8/1 - Vessels of the American Steamship Co. were reported headed for layup Sunday evening as the fleet’s contract with AMO (American Maritime Officers) union expired at midnight. Sources say key issues are are manning cuts and benefits. Details will be added as they become available.


Port Reports -  August 1

Marquette, Mich. - Rod Burdick
Just before a brilliant summer sunset, Capt. Henry Jackman and Great Republic arrived at the Upper Harbor to load ore. Jackman's visit was her second of the season.

St. Marys River
Upbound traffic Sunday included Burns Harbor, John D. Leitch, Indiana Harbor and Manitowoc. Downbounders included Birchglen, Great Lakes Trader, Edwin H. Gott, Canadian Enterprise, Algosteel, Algoway, Kaministiqua, Kaye E. Barker and Stewart J. Cort.

Lorain, Ohio - Thomas Seiler
Algoma Transfer arrived at Lorain, Ohio on Saturday with a cargo of stone.

Hamilton, Ont. – Brian Coleman
Tug Evans McKeil and Heddle Marine floating Dry Dock 1 is headed for Halifax to get another submarine for eventual scraping. There is a steel frame in the middle of the dock to hold the sub upright. The first one is on a dock in Hamilton and will be loaded on a smaller barge to get to Port Maitland for scrapping.


Help Wanted

8/1 - Marine Engineers
We are looking for competent, practically skilled Marine Engineers with 2nd, 3rd or 4th Class Motor TCMS certification to join our team. Canadian Great Lakes dry bulk experience or related experience , a good work ethic and the ability to work in a fast paced environment are considered prerequisites for this position . Strong interpersonal and communication skills are a must, as is a leadership style based on mutual respect of all Officers and Crew within a proactive, team oriented work environment. Candidates must be bondable, possess a valid passport and will have all applicable certificates and Transport Canada medical in good order. If you are a leader or potential leader that is looking for a change we offer a very competitive wage and benefit package, positive work environment and an industry leading leave system with a Month On, Month Off work rotation on a year round basis for Engineers with 2nd. Applicants who meet the job requirements for this position are encouraged to send a resume and cover letter to: Personnel Manager, Lower Lakes Towing Ltd. PO Box 1149 – 517 Main Street, Port Dover, ON Ph: (519) 583-0982 Fx: (519) 583-1946, email:

Great Lakes Ship Masters
We are looking for competent, practically skilled Ships Masters with a minimum certification of Master Local Voyage for Inland waters Class 1 to join our team. Thorough knowledge of the Great Lakes system of harbours, rivers and pilotage requirements west of St. Lambert is a must. Applicants must possess a good work ethic and the ability to work in a fast paced environment. Strong interpersonal and communication skills are a prerequisite, as is a leadership style based on mutual respect of all Officers and Crew within a proactive, team oriented work environment. Candidates must be bondable, possess a valid passport and will have all applicable certificates and Transport Canada medical in good order. The candidate will demonstrate strong managerial and leadership skills. If you are a leader that is looking for a change we offer a very competitive wage and benefit package, positive work environment and an industry leading leave system . Consideration will also be given to candidates that are looking for part time or training work. Applicants who meet the job requirements for this position are encouraged to send a resume and cover letter to: Personnel Manager, Lower Lakes Towing Ltd. PO Box 1149 – 517 Main Street, Port Dover, ON Ph: (519) 583-0982 Fx: (519) 583-1946, email both: &


Updates -  August 1

Weekly Website Updates


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

August 1957 - The PERE MARQUETTE 18 of 1911, was sold to Luria Brothers, Chicago scrap merchants, along with the PERE MARQUETTE 14.

On 1 August 1871, the construction of the canal through the St. Clair Flats was finished at a cost of $365,000. It was the first real channel built to help ships through the shallow waters where the St. Clair River empties into Lake St. Clair and where there are seven mouths or passes. It took the Canadian contractor John Brown three years to dig the channel that measures 300 feet wide and 8,421 feet long. The water was 18 feet deep. It was protected on most of its sides by piers and dikes. The new channel was considered too small even as it was being dug. At only 300 feet wide, tows of log rafts were encouraged to sue the old shallower channels. Within 20 years, plans were made to deepen the channel to 20 feet.

On 1 August 1849, CHICAGO (wooden passenger/package freight vessel, 95 foot, 151 tons, built in 1842, at Oswego, New York) burned in Buffalo harbor. No lives were lost.

Data from: Jody Aho, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. Marine Historical Society of Detroit.


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