Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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Port Reports -  August 31

St. Marys River
Sunday was Interlake Steamship Co. day at the Soo. Among the fleet’s vessels represented on the river were Lee A. Tregurtha, Paul R. Tregurtha, Mesabi Miner, Hon. James L. Oberstar and James R. Barker. Other traffic included Algoma Equinox, upbound in the evening.

Oshawa, Ont. – Andre Blanchard
Orsula left Oshawa Saturday evening with a load of reinforcing bars for Duluth. Pacific Huron was waiting at the Port Weller Anchorage. Pacific Huron is scheduled to arrive in Oshawa.


Lookback #287 – Algocen aground in St. Lawrence on August 31, 1975

The second Algocen went aground on South McNair Shoal in the St. Lawrence off Ogdensburg, NY, 39 years ago today. The accident resulted in significant damage to the hull of the ship. Both the bottom and side tanks were flooded.

Algocen was pumped out and received temporary repairs at Prescott before being cleared to sail to Port Cartier, Que., to unload its cargo of grain. The vessel then returned to Port Weller Dry Docks for full repairs. The ship was on the shelf from Sept. 14 to Oct. 10, and 750 tons of steel were required to repair the damaged 600-foot-long section of the hull.

This 730-foot-long bulk carrier was launched at Collingwood on June 18, 1968, and joined the Algoma Central fleet in September. It set an early cargo record for barley loading 1,061,300 bushels at Superior, Wis., on May 6, 1970, and then established a corn record for loading at Milwaukee in 1971.

The ship also had its difficulties during its career. These included hitting a bridge abutment in the Welland Canal on Nov. 27, 1970, and a collision with the tug Tusker at Port Colborne in September 1981.

Algocen tied up at Montreal on Jan. 1, 2005. It left as Valgocen on July 25, 2005, for a new career storing dredged materials in the New York City area. It was back on the lakes as J.W. Shelley in 2008 for Vanguard Shipping and spent 2012, its last active season, as Phoenix Star.

The ship was broken up for scrap at Toledo, Ohio, in the summer of 2013.

Skip Gillham


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 1990.

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.

In 1975, ALGOCEN stranded on South McNair Shoal in the St. Lawrence off Ogdensburg, N.Y. The ship was released and, after unloading at Port Cartier, sailed to Port Weller Dry Dock to spend from September 14 to October 10 on the shelf while a 600-foot section of the bottom of the hull was repaired.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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

Grand Haven, Mich. – Dick Fox
The Olive L. Moore and Lewis Kuber came in to Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg around noon Friday. It was still unloading when seen in a driving thunderstorm about 2 p.m.

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Pere Marquette 41/Undaunted were expected to arrive at Port Inland in the early afternoon on Friday. Due in on Saturday is the Joseph L. Block in the morning. The Lewis J. Kuber is also due in on Saturday in the early afternoon. Three vessels are due on Sunday, with the Mississagi and American Mariner both in the early morning, followed by the Joseph H. Thompson, also due in on Sunday at noon. Rounding out the schedule is the Lewis J. Kuber returning to load on Labor Day in the evening.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
The Pere Marquette 41 and tug Undaunted were expected to arrive at Cedarville in the early morning hours on Friday. Also expected to arrive on Friday in the early evening was the Joseph L. Block. Wilfred Sykes is expected to arrive on Saturday in the early morning. Calumet is expected to arrive on Sunday in the early morning. Expected to arrive on Labor Day is the Manitowoc in the early morning.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
No vessels loaded on Friday and none were scheduled for arrival. Due on Saturday is the Philip R. Clarke in the early morning followed by the Herbert C. Jackson in the early afternoon. Algoway is due on Sunday in the late morning. Due on Labor Day is the Kaye E. Barker in the late morning, followed by Manistee in the late evening.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
H. Lee White was expected to arrive in the mid-afternoon to load at the South Dock on Friday. Due on Saturday is the Arthur M. Anderson in the early afternoon for the South Dock. Rounding out the schedule will be three vessels for Sunday. H. Lee White returns in the early morning on Sunday for the South Dock followed by the American Courage on Sunday in the morning for the North Dock. Great Republic is also due on Sunday in the early evening for the North Dock.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Manitowoc was expected to arrive at the Torco Dock to unload a cargo of iron ore pellets on Friday evening. Two vessels are due on Saturday at the Torco Dock, with the Lakes Contender and Ken Boothe Sr. first in the morning followed by the Atlantic Erie arriving at noon. James L. Kuber is due to arrive at Torco on September 2 in the late afternoon and the Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin is due to arrive at the Torco Dock on September 3 just after midnight. Vessels scheduled to load at the CSX Coal Dock include the Manitowoc on Saturday in the early morning followed by the John J. Boland also due Saturday in the late afternoon. Saginaw is due on Labor Day in the early evening. Both Algowood and the James L. Kuber are due on September 2, with the Algowood arriving in the early morning, followed by the James L. Kuber in the late evening. The Walter J. McCarthy Jr. making a rare appearance will load at the CSX Coal Dock on Thursday, September 4 in the late evening. Three vessels are due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock, with the Michipicoten arriving on September 3 in the early afternoon and the Algomarine on September 4 in the evening hours. CSL Tadoussac is due on September 27 in the late afternoon. Seven other vessels were also in port at the time of this report. Among them were the tugs Pioneerland, Wilf Seymour and barge Alouette Spirit along with the tug Huron Service and a barge. The saltwater vessel Fritz of Liberia remains detained in port. Manistee was unloading a salt cargo upriver. The saltwater vessel Charlotte C was departing the port of Toledo after it had loaded a cargo at one of the grain elevators. Walter J. McCarthy Jr. also remained tied-up at the CSX #2 Dock getting some sort of repair work done. Adam E. Cornelius along with the American Fortitude and American Valor remain laid-up.


Tall ship Peacemaker sails into Erie

8/30 - Erie, Pa. – Larry Clinton, captain of the tall ship Peacemaker, remembers the long lines of people who waited to board his vessel at the 2013 Tall Ships Erie festival. It was part of the first Great Lakes tour for Clinton and his crew aboard their three-masted, 150-foot-long, barquentine vessel.

"Our experience in Erie was great,'' Clinton said. "We've never been treated better in any port we've ever been in. The folks at (the U.S. Brig) Niagara rolled out the red carpet and we really enjoyed sailing with them last year.''

When Clinton scheduled the Peacemaker's summer sailing season, he wanted to make a return trip to Erie a priority. Clinton guided the Peacemaker into Presque Isle Bay on Thursday morning and docked at Dobbins Landing, where it will offer public tours today through Monday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

"When our schedule allowed, I got in touch with the Dobbins Landing folks and the (Erie-Western Pennsylvania) Port Authority, and they were just tickled to have us come in and open up,'' Clinton said.

Tour prices are $6 for adults and $3 for children ages 7 to 12.

"We really wanted to stop in Erie,'' Clinton said. "Last year, Tall Ships Erie was a fantastic event. It was so well-attended that people had to stand in line for two and a half to three hours to get on our ship. I know that kept a lot of people from being able to come on and enjoy it. There's not going to be thousands of people here this weekend, so folks can really take their time and look inside and outside the ship.''

Clinton has a crew of 15, but expects an additional 10 crew members to bolster ship staff this weekend. He said his crew will play music on the deck each day during the ship's Erie stay.

The Peacemaker was built with tropical hardwoods in 1989 in South America and purchased in 2000 by the Twelve Tribes, a religious group that has about 50 communities in North America and South America.

It was originally christened the Avany, but began sailing as the Peacemaker in 2007 after crews spent several years replacing all of the ship's mechanical and electrical systems, and rigging it as a barquentine. The ship's home port is Savannah, Ga.

Peacemaker began its summer sailing season in June. The vessel has sailed more than 3,000 miles this summer and has visited ports in Lakes Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario, Clinton said.

The ship has appeared in tall ships festivals this summer at Alpena, Mich.; Chicago; and Windsor, Ontario. The ship has also visited Midland, Ontario; Ludington, Mich.; St. Ignace, Mich.; Mackinac Island, Mich.; Green Bay, Wis.; Port Washington, Wis.; and Goderich, Ontario

Clinton said the Peacemaker plans to depart Erie either Monday night or Tuesday morning for a trip to Brockville, Ontario.

Looking from the ship's pilothouse at Dobbins Landing, the U.S. Brig Niagara could be seen docked nearby in its berth behind the Erie Maritime Museum. The Niagara arrived in Erie on Tuesday after spending the past month sailing the Great Lakes.

The ship made stops at Mackinac Island, Mich.; Algonac, Mich; Collingwood, Ontario; and Toledo, Ohio.

"The season was challenging but rewarding,'' Niagara Capt. Billy Sabatini said. "We dealt with thick fog, big seas and heavy winds. The crew did incredibly well. I'm happy with the way the summer season went.''

Sabatini and Niagara's crew will remain busy for the next six weeks offering two or three school sails weekly and public days sails nearly every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Oct. 18.

For information on school or day sails, call Joe Lengieza, the Flagship Niagara League's director of marine operations, day sails and trainee information at 452-2744, Ext. 214.


Tim S. Dool named chair of St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation board

8/30 - Cornwall, Ont. – The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation (SLSMC) has announced that Tim S. Dool has been named as Chair of the Board of Directors, effective September 1.

Dool was appointed to the board in November of 2012, and represents domestic carriers. As the former president and CEO of Algoma Central Corporation, he brings an extensive range of marine industry experience to the boardroom table.

He succeeds Jonathan Bamberger, who has completed a two-year term. Bamberger, president of Redpath Sugar, will continue to serve as a member of the board.



New names listed for saltwater vessels

8/30 - The following saltwater vessels have been renamed, with each having made at least one visit to the Great Lakes/Seaway system.

• BBC Arizona, which made its first and only visit in 2011, is now the Industrial Sailor of Antigua/Barbuda registry.

• The tanker Clipper Aki, which visited for the first and only time in 2012, is now the Nordic Aki of Bahamas registry.

• Eships Nahyan, a tanker that made its first and only appearance in 2011, has been renamed and is now the Doola Star of South Korean registry.

• Flinterrebecca, which made her first and only visit during the 2010 navigation season, is now the Crs Rebecca of the Netherlands.

• Marida Mimosa, another tanker that made her first and only appearance in 2011, is now the Desert Oak of the Marshall Islands flag.

• Sakarya, a tanker which first came inland in 2008 for the first and only time, is now the Ternvind of Denmark.

• Xenia, which first came inland in 2005 and last visited in 2008, is now the Thorco Cassiopeia of Antigua/Barbuda registry.

• Asian Grace, which may be more familiar to many as the Kent Timber, which first visited with that name during the 2006 season, is now the London Spirit of Hong Kong. This vessel also held the name Antoine Oldendorff from 1999-05 but never came inland with that name.

• Finex, which first visited in 2006 and last visited during the 2007 season, is now the Fitburg of St. Kitts & Nevis registry. This vessel also visited in 2002 under the name of Volmeborg, in which it held from 2001-06.

• Pochard which first visited during 2003 and a regular visitor since then having last visited in 2013, is now the Pochard S of the Cook Islands.

• Rosario, which may be familiar to many as the BBC Rosario, has taken back her original name.

• The tanker MCT Altair, which first visited in 2009 and last visited in 2013, is now the Success Altair XLII of Liberia. The vessel also visited as Altair in 2001, a name she carried from 1999-03.

• Rickmers Chittagong, which visited as Beluga Energy in 2007, is now the Nordana Emma of Antigua/Barbuda. This vessel also carried the name of Linde from 2011-13, however it never came inland with this name nor did it ever visit as the Rickmers Chittagong.

Denny Dushane


Lookback #286 – Hamiltonian burned at Hamilton on Aug. 30, 1952

8/30 - Eighty-five members of a building trades union chartered the passenger steamer Hamiltonian for a late summer cruise 62 years ago today. They enjoyed the leisurely outing on Hamilton Bay and traveling into Lake Ontario before returning to the dock.

Everyone was off safely before a fire broke out and spread throughout the ship. The vessel, which normally operated as a harbor ferry around Hamilton, was a total loss. The tug Judge McCombs made a valiant attempt to save the ship and eventually succeeded in putting out the flames.

The loss was set at $300,000 and the reported cause was a cigarette left burning in a woman’s washroom. The only alternative was to scrap the 55-year old vessel.

Hamiltonian was built at Quebec City as Champion and originally served as a ferry across the St. Lawrence. It later moved from Quebec City to the St. Lawrence and operated between Clayton, NY and Gananoque, Ont. It was retired on this run in 1939, but following a sale to the Hamilton Harbour Commission in 1944, came west for local service on their behalf. It resumed operation on their account as Hamiltonian in 1945 but became a total loss in the August 30, 1952, fire.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  August 30

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the BBC Austria, HR Maria and Pacific Dawn.


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. Marys 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.

1892: The two-year-old steel bulk carrier WESTERN RESERVE foundered about 60 miles above Whitefish Point with the loss of 26 lives. There was only one survivor.

1903: PITTSBURGH burned at the dock in Sandwich, Ontario. The oak-hulled passenger and freight paddle-wheeler had been built in 1871 as MANITOBA. The hull was towed to Port Dalhousie for scrapping later in 1904.

1942: NEEBING (i), a former bulk canaller that dated from 1903, left the lakes for war service about 1915. It survived the initial conflict and continued in saltwater service into the Second World War. The ship was torpedoed and sunk as c) JAN TOMP in the eastern Black Sea enroute from Poti, Georgia, to Novorossiysk, Russia.

1952: The iron-hulled paddle-wheeler HAMILTONIAN burned at Hamilton. The cause was believed to have been a carelessly discarded cigarette butt in the women’s washroom. The remains were scrapped at Hamilton in 1953.

1975: B.A. CANADA came to the Great Lakes beginning in 1966 after early work for British-American tankers between Venezuela and North America. The ship was sold and returned inland under Liberian registry as b) DIMITRIOS D.M. in 1969 and ran aground in the Panama Canal on this date in 1975. The damaged hull was laid up at Jacksonville, FL and arrived at Panama City, FL. for scrapping on March 10, 1976.

2001: MARLY, a Seaway caller in 1981, began flooding in #2 hold as d) BISMIHITA'LA and developed a severe list. The crew abandoned ship and 25 sailors were picked up by the MURIEL YORK. Three were lost when their lifeboat drifted into the propeller. The ship was 500 miles off Capetown, South Africa. It was taken in tow by the tug SUHAILI but the 25-year old freighter had to be scuttled at sea on September 17, 2001.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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


Two Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers reach North Pole

8/29 - Twenty years after Canadian icebreakers first reached the North Pole, two Canadian Coast Guard ships have recreated the feat.

The CCGS Louis S. St-Laurent and the CCGS Terry Fox arrived at the North Pole at 7:26 p.m. Wednesday night.

When a fog lifted, the ships were surrounded by blue sky and second year ice, a senior officer on board the St-Laurent said in an email to the CBC.

"A visit from Santa preceded a hockey game and an ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’ in support of ALS."

The ships will spend another nine days in the work area, then head back to Kugluktuk, Nunavut, for a crew change September 18.

The coast guard vessels left earlier this month to gather scientific data in support of Canada's territorial claim on the Arctic sea floor, including the area under and beyond the North Pole.

The six-week journey will take them to the eastern side of the Lomonosov Ridge, a long undersea feature that runs from near Ellesmere Island in Nunavut northward over the pole.

The move comes seven years after a Russian submarine planted a Russian flag on the seabed beneath the pole.

During his annual northern tour earlier this month, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Canada cannot be complacent in the face of growing Russian aggression.

CBC News


Port Reports -  August 29

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
The bulker Wigeon completed discharging and departed from Redpath early Thursday morning. The restaurant ship Jadran will remain in its present mooring for another week or more. The Federal Court ordered the sale of the vessel and the now must review and OK all the terms and conditions of the sale. The luxury charter yacht Majestic (ex Secret) is alongside at historic Pier 4. The 200-foot Feadship was built in the Netherlands by Royal Van Lent and Zonen back in 2007. The unique feature of this yacht is the "Zero Speed" stabilizing system that steadies the vessel while on the hook in a windy anchorage. The Majestic is manned by a crew of 17 and is available for a weekly hire rate starting at US $455,000.

According to radio traffic, the BBC Austria was boarded by the US Coast Guard Wednesday night. They asked all crew members except those who met them on boarding to be assembled on the bridge. They also asked if any of the crew had cold or flu like symptoms.


Lookback #285 – Charles A. Eddy caught fire in Lake Huron on Aug. 29, 1906

8/29 - The Detroit Drydock Co. built the Charles A. Eddy at Wyandotte, MI and this wooden bulk freighter was completed in 1889. The 295 foot, 10 inch long steamer was too large for the Welland Canal of that era and spent its entire career operating on the upper four Great Lakes.

Charles A. Eddy was part of the Eddy-Shaw fleet until it caught fire 108 years ago today. The ship was down bound on Lake Huron with a cargo of iron ore consigned to Cleveland when the blaze broke out. The crew took to the life boats and were picked up by the steamer City of Mackinac.

Their departure might have been a bit premature as a salvage crew boarded the ship and took it to Port Huron arriving there under the ship's own power.

The Charles A. Eddy was cut down about 1918 for service as a drydock at Sturgeon Bay but, being constructed of wood, it did not have a long life in this capacity and was eventually scrapped.

Skip Gillham


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 they got close to the harbor. Then the schooner shortened sail and the tug finished the job of towing her into port.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1906: The wooden bulk carrier CHARLES A. EDDY caught fire in Lake Huron enroute to Cleveland with iron ore. The ship later arrived at Port Huron, under her own power, with a salvage crew.

1967: LINDE, a Norwegian flag freighter, first entered the Seaway in 1965. Two years later, on this date, it sank the ARISTOS in dense fog in the English Channel 17 miles off Beachy Head. All on board were rescued. LINDE later stranded as d) ZEPHYR outside of Dunkirk, France, on January 13, 1981, after anchoring due to bad weather. The hull was broken up for scrap where she lay.

1984: A fire in the cargo hold of NANTICOKE broke out while the ship was unloading in Quebec City and damaged the self-unloading belts and electronic components.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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


Tug Bonnie G. Selvick capsizes on Calumet River

8/28 - Chicago - The Coast Guard is responding to the capsizing of a tug on the Calumet River near the 106th St. Bridge in Chicago in which two crew members were able to escape and swim to shore.

Shortly after 7 p.m., two crew members on board the 57-foot tug, Bonnie G. Selvick, attempted to turn the vessel around while transiting south on the Calumet River. During the process, the vessel rolled over, began taking on water and sank within minutes. The two crew members escaped and swam to shore.

One of the crew member contacted watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan with a marine band radio on channel 16. Watchstanders directed the launch of a crew on board 25-foot response boat from Coast Guard Station Calumet Harbor.

Personnel from Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Chicago are determining if there is any pollution in the water from the vessel, and beginning an investigation into the cause of the incident.

Initial reports indicate that the vessel is not blocking other vessel traffic on the river. The Coast Guard will determine if a safety zone is needed around the vessel until a salvage crew arrives Thursday.


Port Reports -  August 28

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
The Jadran (Captain John's Restaurant) is tentatively scheduled to be moved to another, more remote, spot in the harbor this Friday. The new owner plans to remove all valuable nautical artifacts and then scrap the vessel. Toronto Brigantine has dibs on the salvageable teakwood. One of the first items to come off the ship were the life boat oars. Checking on the internet, there appears to be quite a brisk trade in "antique life boat oars.” At Redpath, a Seawaymax bulker was in the final stage of discharging sugar out holds five and six on Wednesday.

BBC Austria has been anchored off Carlton Island since approximately 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. This is a common location to stop during bad weather and to wait out Seaway issues.


Lookback #284 – Richelieu arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, on Aug. 28, 2013

It was a year ago today that the Canada Steamship Lines bulk carrier Richelieu arrived off Aliaga, Turkey, and went to anchor. The ship had sailed from Canada under her own power for the 18-day journey to the scrapyard. The vessel was beached on Sept. 1, 2013, and scrapping was soon underway.

For most of its life, Richelieu had been a deep-sea bulk carrier. It was launched at Hoboken, Belgium, on Oct. 20, 1980, and joined Belcan N.V., part of Federal Commerce & Navigation of Montreal as Federal Ottawa in December.

Beginning in 1981, the 730 foot long by 76 foot, 3 inch wide Federal Ottawa was a regular caller through the Seaway and around the Great Lakes. Steel and grain were the main cargoes but it also took the first tunnel cars for the English Channel tunnel, in December 1990.

In 1995, this ship was sold to Lake Erie Inc. and registered in the Marshall Islands at Lake Erie. It was chartered back to Fednav and made a total of 40 trips into the Great Lakes on their account despite missing inland trading in 2006 and 2007.

It was sold to Canada Steamship Lines late in 2008 but remained on Fednav charter to the end of the year. CSL renamed it Richelieu in 2009 and the ship was painted in company colors in 2010. It operated on their account to the end of the 2012 season before tying up at Montreal. The ship remained there until departing for the scrapyard on Aug. 10, 2013.

Skip Gillham


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 that 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.

2002: FRASER, the former SELKIRK SETTLER, went aground in fog at Duluth-Superior and was released without damage with the aid of four tugs. The ship now sails as SPRUCEGLEN of Canada Steamship Lines.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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

Toledo, Ohio – Jim Hoffman
There is no activity going on around the American Fortitude, which is expected to be towed out for scrap some time soon. All of her lines are still out, anchors are down and there is no towing stripe painted at the base of the bow. Also there is no shoreside equipment around her. Adam E. Cornelius, expected to sail in September, still has work crews doing steel work on the hull and miscellaneous repairs. Walter J. McCarthy Jr. is in for repair work and is tied up at CSX # 2 Dock. The saltwater vessel Fritz is still under arrest at the Midwest Terminals Overseas Dock. It is unknown when she will be able to sail again. No vessels are in drydock at the shipyard.


Boat show attracts 2,000 plus to Toledo

8/27 - Toledo, Ohio – The National Museum of the Great Lakes grounds buzzed last weekend as more than 2,000 visitors attended the Toledo Antique and Classic Boat Show there Saturday and Sunday.

This was the first time the museum, which opened in late April, has been the venue for the show, now in its eighth year.

Anna Kolin, the museum’s development director, said the Great Lakes Historical Society, which owns the museum, has been involved in past shows, and she had high hopes the museum would become its permanent home.

“People I’ve talked to said this is as good as the East Coast shows. It’s the perfect location,” she said of the East Toledo Marina District site.

The museum was open along with the Col. James M. Schoonmaker, the 103-year-old ore carrier on permanent display, and the U.S. Brig Niagara, the reconstructed relief flagship of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry, which was visiting from its Erie, Pa., home port.

The museum held the show with Ramsey Brothers Restorations, a Toledo firm that restores classic and antique boats.

Chris Ramsey, who is involved with the company along with his two brothers and father, said 105 boat owners brought vessels in, by land or water, for display.

National Museum of the Great Lakes


Lookback #283 – A fire in cargo of sugar occurred aboard City of Kingston on Aug. 27, 1952

8/27 - For parts of four decades, the City of Kingston sailed as one of the five “City Class” package freight carriers in the Canada Steamship Lines fleet. The vessel had been built at the Davie shipyard, Lauzon, Quebec, and it entered service in April 1926.

The ship was 250 feet long and operated through the Third Welland and old Pre-Seaway canals connecting the Great Lakes to Montreal and other St. Lawrence destinations. It was the first caller at the new freight dock at Homer along the Fourth Welland Canal when it arrived to load Niagara grown fruit on Oct. 25, 1932.

It was 62-years ago today that a fire broke out in the cargo hold of City of Kingston while moored at Montreal. An estimated ten tons of sugar was consumed in a blaze that lasted about an hour. The ship was not seriously damaged and was soon back to work.

City of Kingston had a pair of groundings in the St. Lawrence with one off Gooseneck Shoal in Nov. 1952 and the other near Iroquois on June 17, 1953.

The ship was laid up at its namesake port of Kingston in 1958, moved to the area west of the Kingston grain elevator in November 1959, and returned to Lauzon, where it was built in 1961. The final trip was under tow and the vessel was broken up for scrap not far from where it had been built 35-years earlier.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  August 27

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Charlotte C, Finnborg and Selandia Swan


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.

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

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 27.

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.

1909: PRESCOTT, a wooden sidewheel passenger ship used on the Toronto to Montreal run, was destroyed by a fire at Montreal. It burned to the waterline and sank at Victoria Pier.

1940: BOLIVAR, built at Wyandotte as LAKE FACKLER, had returned to the Great Lakes in 1933. The ship foundered in the Bay of Bengal again known as d) BOLIVAR.

1952: Ten tons of sugar aboard the CITY OF KINGSTON burned in a one-hour fire at Montreal.

1965: The Swedish freighter EVA JEANETTE ran up over the stern of the tug VEGCO in Lock 4 of the Welland Canal, sinking the latter vessel. There were no injuries and the tug was salvaged. EVA JEANETTE arrived at Chittagong, Bangladesh, for scrapping as d) SKOPELOS STAR on January 21, 1984. The tug later sailed as d) NORWICH and became e) SEAGULL in 1998.

2008: GERTJE, a Seaway trader in 1991, sent out a distress call as h) LADY F. with water entering the holds. A tug arrived and removed the six crew members. The vessel was towed into Bougas, Bulgaria, the next day. The ship was repaired and became i) SAMER F. in 2010.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, David Swayze, Al Miller, Jody Aho, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Lookback #282 – Avondale set on fire by vandals near Port Colborne on Aug. 26, 1978

8/26 - Vandals climbed aboard the idle freighter Avondale by night as the ship lay berthed along the channel of the old Welland Canal south of Port Colborne 36 years ago today. They set fire to the pilothouse of the old self-unloader and, due to the remote location of the ship, the forward cabins were gutted before help could arrive.

The vessel was towed to Ramey's Bend later in the year and then resold to Spanish shipbreakers. The tugs G.W. Rogers and Cathy McAllister towed Avondale down the Welland Canal on June 22-23, 1979, and the Polish tug Jantar took it across the Atlantic, in tandem with Ferndale, departing Quebec City on July 6. They arrived at Castellon, Spain, on August 3, 1979, for scrapping.

Avondale had previously sailed in the American Steamship Co. fleet. It was built at St. Clair, Mich., and launched as the first Adam E. Cornelius on May 2, 1908. It was rebuilt as a self-unloader in 1942 and became the first Detroit Edison in 1948, the second George F. Rand in 1954 and the second Avondale when sold to Leadale Shipping, one of the Reoch fleets, in 1962.

Avondale had been retired and laid up along the old canal bank since Nov. 30, 1975. It was still there when vandals struck on August 26, 1978.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  August 26

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the HR Maria, Wigeon, and Zhuang Yuan Ao


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.

1911 CITY OF GENOA, downbound in the St. Clair River with 125,000 bushels of corn, collided with the W.H. GILBERT and sank 100 yards offshore. The crew was rescued and the hull salvaged by Reid on September 20, 1911, but was irreparable and a total loss.

1955 JOHANNA, a West German freighter, went aground at Point Iroquois and received damage to bottom plates. The tugs SALVAGE PRINCE, RIVAL, CAPT. M.B. DONNELLY and lighter COBOURG helped release the vessel on September 3 and it went to Kingston for repairs. JOHANNA was later a Seaway trader and made 18 inland voyages from 1959 to 1965.

1978 The second AVONDALE was damaged by an arson fire in the pilothouse while laid up along the Welland Canal below Lock 8.

1979 QUEBECOIS went aground on a mud bank near the entrance to Lake St. Clair after an electronic malfunction but was released in 9 hours.

1988 A challenging fire in the bowthruster tunnel aboard ALGOMARINE at Port Weller Dry Docks in St. Catharines sent two firemen to hospital. Some plates were buckled. The ship was being converted to a self-unloader at the time.

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


Port Reports -  August 25

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
There has been some vessel activity in the area the past two weeks. On Aug. 15 the tug Undaunted and barge PM 41 tied up at Lafarge and unloaded some type of cargo onto the dock. Manitowoc brought a load of coal to Lafarge on Aug. 18. The cement carriers have been coming in to load throughout the week. Buffalo arrived in port on Sunday morning, the 24th. It tied up in the river at the DPI Plant and unloaded coal. By 1 p.m., Buffalo had finished unloading and backed out of the river.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Algorail left the Jonick dock and heading out, clearing the harbor and outer light at 5:37 p.m. Saturday.

Oswego N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
On Sunday, the tug Salvor and barge Lambert Spirit unloaded aluminum bars.


Boat’s 90th birthday bash a chance to reunite friends and family on Lime Island

8/25 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – It’s pretty unusual for a boat to have a 90th birthday party, but then the Gerald D. Neville is a pretty unusual boat.

The party – hosted by Dennis Dougherty and his wife Mary Ann of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan – was held dockside at Lime Island on August 1, and was attended by around 30 people, including representatives of all three major eras of the boat’s history. There was even a birthday cake.

A homemade banner on the boat displayed the two other names the vessel has had over the years – Tobermory II and Champion.

“As the 90th year of the ship approached, I thought it would be nice to get the people together, especially, the senior generation, who have had a connection with the ship's history, explained Dougherty. “Lime Island seemed like the place where most had a direct or indirect connection.”

Besides Dougherty and his family (the current era), the guest list included Audrey (Chown) LeLievre and her brother John (Jack) Chown, who grew up on Lime Island as the daughter and son of island settlers William and Margaret (McLeod) Chown in the 1920s. Also on board were descendants of 1930s Champion skipper Ed Putzke (his granddaughters Barb Scholz and Doris Keating and her 10-year-old grandson, David) and several members of the Osmar family, who visited the area in summers gone by.

Finally, Fred Miller, great-great grandson of Commodore Frederick William Wakefield, the Ohio industrialist who had the boat built in 1924, was present, completing the link back to the vessel’s original owner.

“I never thought I’d see the boat. I’ve only seen photos,” Miller said, as he stood on the dock with Dougherty and recalled the vessel’s early history.

Wakefield spent his summers in Tobermory, Ontario, said Miller, and lived during the year in a lakefront mansion at Vermilion, Ohio, which until recently was the home of the Great Lakes Historical Society.

Knowing that the two worst enemies of a boat were fire and rot, Miller said his great-great grandfather – an accomplished yachtsman and founder of the Wakefield Electric Company – set out to construct a vessel that would withstand both.

On May 21, 1924, the 50 by 13-foot-long, galvanized steel yacht Tobermory II was launched at Erie, Pennsylvania, by a boatbuilder named Ed Crossley. That summer, the vessel sailed Lake Huron and Georgian Bay with Wakefield at the helm and his family on board.

In September 1924, Wakefield steered his yacht south to Florida, where it was based for the next decade. In June 1935, after Wakefield’s death and as the country was reeling from the effects of the Great Depression, the Tobermory II – with Wakefield’s son George at the helm – returned to the Great Lakes and to its Vermilion, Ohio, home port.

In 1935, the Wakefield’s yacht was sold to the Pittsburgh Coal Co, which operated a vessel refueling dock at Lime Island, Michigan. Renamed Champion, it served as a tug and ferry among the river islands of Lake Huron, including Lime Island, first with Ed Putzke and later with Jerry Neville, a seasoned pilot and survivor of the 1939 Badger State shipwreck, at the helm. It was the island residents’ only link to the mainland.

In 1952 Neville invited his four-year-old grandson Denny Dougherty to ride with him on the three-mile-run from Raber, Michigan, to Lime Island. Dougherty would play an important part in the vessel’s future in the years to come.

In September 1953, the Champion was sold to Soo Locks-area contractor Herb Peterman. In the late 1950s, the vessel was abandoned on Peterman’s property, on the mainland side of the St. Marys River just west of what is now Sault Ste. Marie’s Harvey Marina. Forgotten, she lay on her side, half submerged and rusting away, until 1978.

“Over the years, it sank and slid into the drop off in about six or seven feet of water,” Dougherty said. “I saw it there, and I though it could be saved.”

Dougherty, who had returned to Sault Ste. Marie after a stint in the U.S. Army and was teaching school, bought the Champion on July 24, 1978 from Terry Haviland and Steve Hillman for $800. They bought it from Peterman for $1,500 a few years earlier. He also bought the property and an old shack that was on the site.

“When I inspected the partially submerged hull with my scuba gear inside and out I was amazed – all the ribs and majority of the galvanized lower plated hull were in good shape,” said Dougherty. “Two decades of ice action created pinholes near the water line – those plates were replaced. The iron window frames were rusting and the effect looked worse than it was – it kinda gave it that shipwreck look.”

Dougherty refloated the boat, and spent the next three years hoisting it onto the riverbank, replating the hull with ¼-inch steel and otherwise refurbishing the vessel. The old diesel was removed and the engine from the fish tug W.R. Busch was installed. While he was working on the boat, Dougherty also took and passed the U.S. Coast Guard exam to pilot a vessel of the Champion’s size, married Mary Ann and built a home on the property.

The vessel was rechristened Gerald D. Neville on Aug. 15, 1981, in honor of the grandfather who had given young Dougherty a ride so many years earlier. Sadly, Jerry Neville passed two years before the rechristening. At first, Dougherty recalled, his “Gramps” thought his grandson was crazy for taking on the project, but soon came around to the idea.

“He never did see it go back in the water, but he knew I was saving it,” he said.

Dougherty ran shipwreck diving and island cruise charters for about 12 years with the Neville before he decided to focus on using it as his family camping boat among the islands and bays of the St. Marys River and Whitefish Bay. More sturdy than stylish, painted a workmanlike black and white to define it’s no-nonsense lines, the Neville still holds its own next to the fancy new yachts near which she often moors.

In September 1983, Commodore Wakefield’s son George paid a visit to the vessel his dad had built. “He took the helm and steered her. He’s the one at 18 years old who had to bring it up from Florida when his dad died. He’s the only one who could run the engine,” Dougherty recalled.

In June 2014, the Neville – now boasting a fourth diesel – was hoisted ashore for inspection. Only minor hull work was required, a testament to Dougherty’s work 30 years earlier and the achievements of the original builders nearly a century ago.

And what does Dougherty have planned for his boat’s centennial celebration 10 years hence? He has at least one idea. “Maybe, we can do a ride through the locks to celebrate,” he said.

Soo Evening News


Lookback #281 – Black Bay struck by the ore carrier Epic at Sept-Iles on August 25, 1965

8/25 - The Canada Steamship Lines bulk carrier Black Bay was T-boned by the Liberian freighter Epic soon after loading iron ore at Sept-Iles, Que., for Ashtabula, Ohio, on Aug. 25, 1965. The big saltwater vessel hit the laker on the port side, ripped up the rail, dented the hull and damaged the 4th hatch 49-years ago today.

Black Bay was able to continue its trip and, after unloading, headed to Port Arthur for repairs.

The ship was Hull 172 from the Collingwood shipyard and it entered service in April 1963. Black Bay set early cargo records for carrying iron ore and and for oats.

A later grounding in the Brockville Narrows on April 5, 1988, and another in the St. Mary's River on Aug. 11, 1989, also required repairs. This work took place at Thunder Bay, ON for the former accident and at Superior, WI for the latter.

Following a sale to Upper Lakes Shipping in 1994, the vessel was renamed Canadian Voyager but did not re-enter service as such until Sept. 1995. It continued in ULS service until tying up at Montreal on Dec. 23, 2001.

Following a sale to shipbreakers in Turkey, Canadian Voyager left Montreal under tow on Aug. 15, 2002, and arrived at Aliaga on Sept. 18. It was beached two days later, exactly 40-years to the day the ship had been launched at Collingwood.

Epic was a bulk carrier that was 744 feet long by 100 feet, 11 inches wide. This ship was built at Kobe, Japan, in 1958 and scrapped at Busan, South Korea, beginning on May 2, 1979.

Skip Gillham


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, 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.

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.

1917: The wooden tow barge MAGNETIC, downbound and under tow of the steamer EDWARD N. BREITUNG, broke loose when the steering failed and eventually foundered in Lake Erie. The captain and crew of 7 were rescued.

1965: BLACK BAY was T-boned on the port side by the Liberian freighter EPIC while leaving Sept Iles with ore for Ashtabula. The hull of the C.S.L. bulk carrier was dented, the rail was ripped and there was damage to the 4th hatch. The ship was repaired at Port Arthur.

1974: STEELTON collideed with Bridge 12 of the Welland Canal at Port Robinson, knocking the structure into the water. The accident tied up all navigation through the Welland Canal and the bridge was never replaced. The ship was repaired at Port Colborne and returned to service.

1977: IRISH ALDER, a Great Lakes caller with 4 trips in 1966, was gutted by a fire as c) ATTICAN UNITY while enroute from Antwerp, Belgium, to Durban, South Africa. The ship was beached at Flushing Roads and taken over by the Dutch government. The hull was later refloated, sold to West German shipbreakers and arrived at Bremen on March 22, 1978, for dismantling.

1984: The French freighter MONT LOUIS first came to the Great Lakes in 1975. It sank on this day in 1984 following a collision with the OLAU BRITTANIA while enroute from Le Havre to Riga, Latvia. The hull broke in two due to bad weather on September 11 and it was finally raised and taken to Zeebrugge in sections in September 1985 and broken up.

1985: MELA ran aground in the St. Lawrence about 40 miles east of Quebec City after losing power. Two tugs refloated the ship and it received temporary repairs at Thunder Bay. The vessel first came inland as a) PAMELA in 1976, returned as b) MELA in 1983, c) LA FRENAIS in 1990, d) PRAXITELIS in 1995 and e) AXION in 1999. The ship was beached for scrapping at Chittagong, Bangladesh, on March 15, 2006.

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


Port Reports -  August 24

St. Marys River
Saturday traffic included the passenger vessel Pearl Mist and the rare visitor Esta Desgagnes, both downbound in the early evening. The steamer Alpena was upbound in the early morning with a cargo of cement. The salties HHL Congo and Three Rivers were in the lower river headed for Duluth as night fell.

Port Huron, Mich. – Frank Frisk
Malcolm Marine’s tug Manitou towed the former USCG cutter Bramble, which is now privately owned, downriver to Detroit on Saturday. They arrived at Nicholson’s dock that afternoon.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Herbert C. Jackson arrived at the ADM Standard elevator around 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon. She's heading back out around 7 a.m. Sunday.

Oshawa, Ont. – Andre Blanchard
The tug Everlast and barge left Oshawa Saturday afternoon. The bulk carrier Orsula arrived in Oshawa shortly after. The tugs La Prairie and Omni-Richelieu were station to assist.

Peterborough, Ont. – Andre Blanchard
The passenger vessel Kawartha Voyageur arrived in Peterborough Friday morning . She departed Saturday morning, heading along the Trent-Severn waterway towards Big Chute.


Lookback #280 – Canadian Leader went aground near Detour on August 24, 1998

8/24 - The 730-foot-long Canadian Leader had been built for the Papachristidis fleet. It was Hull 188 from Collingwood Shipyard and was the last laker ever built to be powered by steam.

Originally the Feux-Follets, the vessel had an early problem, losing power while down bound at Sault Ste. Marie on its maiden voyage and almost entered the new, and still dry, Poe Lock on Oct. 17, 1967.

Renamed Canadian Leader following a sale to Upper Lakes Shipping in 1972, the ship had a fine career in their colors. It was the first ULS ship to use the new Welland By-Pass in March 1973, the first down bound in the Welland Canal for the 1976 season, carried a record one million bushels of grain out of Huron, Ohio, on Nov. 18, 1982, and opened the Welland Canal up bound for the 1998 season on March 24.

After going aground in the St. Marys River near Detour on Aug. 24, 1998, 16 years ago today, Canadian Leader had to be lightered to be refloated. The ship was cleared to go to Montreal to unload and then sailed back to Port Weller Dry Docks arriving for repairs on Aug. 31.

Canadian Leader last sailed in 2009. It was towed to Port Colborne, arriving at International Marine Salvage, in the outer harbor, on Nov. 7, 2010, and was dismantled in 2011.

Skip Gillham


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 the 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.

1901: The wooden barge H.A. BARR of the Algoma Central Railway was lost in Lake Erie 30 miles from Port Stanley after breaking the towline in a storm. The vessel was enroute from Michipicoten to Buffalo with a cargo of iron ore. All on board were rescued by the towing steamer THEANO.

1979: The retired steamer KINSMAN ENTERPRISE (i), sold for $145,000, arrived at Port Huron from Toledo, under tow of the tug MALCOLM, for use as the storage barge HULL NO. 1.

1998: CANADIAN LEADER went aground near DeTour, Mich., and had to be lightered. The ship was able to proceed to Montreal for unloading her cargo of grain and then arrived at Port Weller Dry Docks August 31 for repairs.

2005: The Dutch salty VLIEBORG lost power and failed to complete a turn departing Duluth, striking the north pier, toppling a light standard and damaging the steel piling. The vessel had begun Seaway service in 2001. In 2012, it was renamed c) ANTARCTIC SEA and placed under Norwegian registry.

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


Menpas Shipping says Phoenix Sun sailors' allegations false

8/23 - Sorey-Tracy, Que. – Allegations that 12 Turkish sailors stranded in Sorel-Tracy, Que., haven't been paid in two months and are starving are false, a shipping company representative says.

The Turkish sailors say they haven't been paid for two months and are now out of food, a situation called "barbaric and beyond comprehension" by a union representing seafarers.

Menpas Shipping and Trading's logo, as seen on director Mengu Pasinli's business card, is also on the ship's smokestack. Even so, Pasinli said he does not own the ship and that the logo itself is very common.

The crew arrived in Sorel-Tracy in April to help ready the Panamanian-flagged Phoenix Sun to be moved for dismantling overseas.

The sailors showed CBC News signed contracts with a company called Menpas Shipping and Trading in Burlington, Ont. The company's logo also appears on the ship's smokestack.

CBC News spoke with a representative of the company, Mengu Pasinli, whose name appears on business cards attached to the contracts.

Pasinli said his logo is a very common one, and that there is no connection between Menpas and the owners of the ship.

Late on Friday afternoon, Transport Canada issued a statement saying one its inspectors had boarded the Pheonix Sun based on a complaint from one of the crew members and decided to detain the ship.

Transport Canada said the detention order compels the owner to act quickly to clean up the situation by paying and repatriating the crew members aboard the Phoenix Sun.

Earlier Friday, Pasinli told CBC that he had nothing to do with the ship. When CBC contacted him again later in the day, he said he did not own the ship but did have a contract to manage the ship's crew.

Pasinli said he hadn't paid the 12 sailors for two months because he was waiting for their repatriation. He told CBC News his plan was to pay them after they were repatriated to Turkey.

The contracts he signed with the sailors stipulates that he pay them once a month between the first and the fifth of the month.

Pasinli called the sailors' allegations of not being sent food false.

"There is no such suffering," he said, adding food shipments he has sent to the crew were being intercepted and cancelled by the union.

Pasinli said he believed such allegations were being made by competitors looking to "spoil" his business.

Semih Ozkan, the ship's captain, told CBC News that being stuck on the ship feels like "prison," and not being paid is affecting the crew's families as well.

The sailors about the Phoenix Sun have been passing the time by playing cards and ping-pong, but told CBC News they'd rather be on a plane heading home to Turkey.

"It's very stressful," he said. "Our families also depend on our wages. We're broke."

The rusted 186-metre freighter has been docked at Sorel-Tracy since Nov. 2012, and residents had recently initiated a petition to have it removed.

Radio-Canada reports that Sorel-Tracy officials aren't sure who owns it because of the number of times it has been sold and resold by numbered companies. Whoever owns the ship owes the city $60,000 in docking fees.

The men are being assisted by the Seafarers’ International Union of Canada (SIU), which donated funds and is now supplying the sailors with food.

"Our brother sailors from Turkey came on board this Flag of Convenience vessel to work and earn a living. To be left without food is barbaric and beyond comprehension," James Given, president, SIU of Canada, said in a news release.

Vince Giannopoulos, an inspector with the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), told Radio-Canada the men were glad to receive the food.

“They were very hungry,” he said.

The ITF is working with Transport Canada to ensure the sailors get their monthly wages, estimated at between $500 and $800, and flights home as soon as possible.

“Imagine, you’re stuck in a foreign country without a salary, without money for buying a plane ticket to return to your country, and your food is running out,” Giannopoulos said.

He said sailors are often reluctant to lodge complaints against shipowners, and the fact they did is proof of their desperation.

“I admire their perseverance in a very trying situation,” he said.

On Friday, Sorel-Tracy Mayor Serge Péloquin pledged the city's help for the stranded sailors, and community organizations offered to provide the men with meals and showers.



Port Reports -  August 23

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
American Courage arrived Friday morning at the Upper Harbor to load ore on her first visit of the shipping season.

St. Marys River
For the third morning in a row, fog closed a portion of the St. Marys River on Friday. The downbound Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was anchored at Nine Mile Point, while the upbound Edwin H. Gott, Sam Laud and St. Clair were stopped at the locks. After the fog lifted, the upbound Lee A. Tregurtha got under way above Lime Island, followed by Pineglen and John G. Munson. CSL Niagara, Algoma Discovery and Spruceglen were downbound in the afternoon.

Muskegon, Mich. – Tyler Fairfield
The Port of Muskegon has been busy in the past two weeks. First, on 8-7, Michipicoten brought stone for Verplank’s Lakeside, then proceeded to Grand Haven to finish unloading. On 8-11, Samuel De Champlain and its barge, Innovation, arrived to unload cement. That same day, HR Constitution, second of four salties for the port, arrived to discharge windmill parts at Mart Dock. The next day, 8-12, American Century made her first appearance of the year to unload coal at Cobb. On 8-15 the John J. Boland brought a load of stone to Verplank’s Lakeside dock, a rare occurrence for her to unload stone there. On 8-14, the 1004-foot-long James R. Barker brought another load of coal for the Cobb plant and the Algorail brought salt later that same day to Verplank’s. On 8-18, the third of four salties, the HHL Congo, arrived at Mart Dock to discharge windmill parts. 8-20 brought the Sam Laud to town to unload stone at Verplank’s Lakeside; she departed and went to Grand Haven to unload the rest of the cargo. Finally, on 8-21, Algoway arrived at Verplank’s to unload salt.

Grand Haven, Mich. – Sam Hankinson & Dick Fox
Friday morning the Olive L. Moore pushed the barge Lewis J. Kuber into port. It was the pair's first visit of the season. They quickly unloaded at Verplank’s and departed around noon. Later, the Mississagi came in and unloaded a stone cargo at Meekoff's D&M. It was their fourth visit of the season. They left later in the evening.

St. Clair, Mich. – Bob Markus
Mesabi Miner arrived Thursday evening with a load of coal for the DTE power plant. She was still unloading Friday morning.

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
The Cayman Islands-flagged, 164-foot luxury yacht Seaquest is presently alongside at Toronto HTO Park West at the foot of Spadina Street. The Westport 164 was built in 2008 for Richard DeVos, the co-founder of the Amway corporation.


Lookback #279 – Canadian Progress sets out for maiden voyage on August 23, 1968

8/23 - The self-unloader Canadian Progress was built by Port Weller Dry Docks of St. Catharines, Ont. The ship had several new features including aluminum hatch covers to reduce weight and a single cargo hold for easier cleaning. These modifications made it the largest deadweight self-unloader on the Great Lakes when it was launched.

The 730-foot-long vessel departed the shipyard and headed up the Welland Canal 46 years ago today. The destination was Conneaut, Ohio, and the first of millions of tons of coal to come aboard over the years.

Canadian Progress served Upper Lakes Shipping until they sold their vessels to the Algoma Central Corp. in 2011. The ship set cargo records for coal, iron ore and barley in the early years.

It also suffered groundings in the St. Lawrence east of Ogdensburg, N.Y. on April 23, 1985, and on Ballard's Reef, after dodging a tug/barge combination, on Dec. 11, 1988.

The ship has been upgraded over the years and remains an active member of the Algoma Central fleet as Algoma Progress.

Skip Gillham


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.

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 - 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.

1898: The three-year old I. WATSON STEPHENSON, a wooden lumber hooker, went aground in Sturgeon Bay and was hit by her barge and holed. The vessel was repaired and returned to service. It last operated for the Saginaw Lumber Co. perhaps as late as 1933. The hull was sunk as a breakwall for small craft at Cleveland on July 11, 1935, and burned to the waterline in the spring of 1946.

1963: During a tugboat race in Toronto harbor, the TERRY S. sank after being in a collision with the ARGUE MARTIN. The sunken ship belonged to Waterman's Services and had been used as a pilot boat. The hull was salvaged and returned to service. It joined Nadro Marine in 1989 and saw brief work as a pilot boat at Port Weller harbor in 1992 before being sold and going to Bomanville, ON for harbor service in 1993. ARGUE MARTIN, later part of the McKeil fleet, was broken up at Hamilton in 2003.

1984: ROGER M. KYES went aground in the Trenton Channel of the Detroit River and had to be lightered to the RICHARD REISS before being released and going to Sturgeon Bay for extensive repairs.

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


Union contributes funds to feed hungry Phoenix Sun sailors in Sorel

8/22 - Montreal, Q.C. – Seafarers' International Union of Canada (S.I.U), representing the majority of unlicensed sailors working aboard vessels across Canada, has announced that it has donated funds to the crew via the SIU/ITF Inspector to aid the 12 Turkish sailors aboard the Panamanian-flagged vessel, the Phoenix Sun.

Phoenix Sun – a saltwater vessel that briefly operated in the Seaway grain trade recently for the T.F. Warren Group – has been docked in Sorel, Que., for the last two years. It has become such an eyesore for residents that they recently signed a petition for its removal.

The Turkish crew was flown in to Sorel to help restore the vessel to sailing condition so that its owners could remove it. Since arriving in Sorel, the sailors have been left without wages. To worsen matters, they are now without food.

ITF Inspector Vince Giannopoulos and Transport Canada are currently working to ensure that these sailors are paid their wages and that they are given flights home as soon as possible.

"I have had the honor to meet these men on a few occasions now, and I commend them for their perseverance during this challenging time," said Vince Giannopoulos, ITF Inspector.

In the meantime, the S.I.U. of Canada has donated money for food via the ITF/SIU Inspector so that these men can eat.

"Our brother sailors from Turkey came onboard this flag-of-convenience vessel to work and earn a living. To be left without food is barbaric and beyond comprehension," said James Given, President, S.I.U. of Canada.

Seafarers' International Union of Canada, Michel St.-Denis


Port Reports -  August 22

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
John G. Munson loaded on Thursday and was expected to depart around 11 p.m. Two other vessels were also expected to arrive on Thursday, with the Pathfinder in the early evening followed later by the Philip R. Clarke. Algoway is due to arrive in the early evening on Friday. Rounding out the schedule are two vessels due for Saturday, with the Manitowoc arriving late afternoon followed by the Cason J. Callaway in the early evening.

Lorain, Ohio
Algosoo passed the Charles Berry Bridge at 5:20 p.m. Thursday, headed for the Jonick Dock.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Herbert C. Jackson should be in port on the morning of the 24th for the ADM Standard Elevator.


World-class wooden boats in Toledo Aug. 23-24

8/22 - Toledo, Ohio – The Toledo Antique and Classic Boat Show in Toledo this weekend features not only the USS Niagara, but some of the most significant recreational boats on the Great Lakes.

"Our museum is not big enough to display recreational boats on a permanent basis, so the boat show is our way to teach this history," said Christopher Gillcrist, Executive Director of the National Museum of the Great Lakes where the boat show takes place.

One of the boats, Simba a 43-foot-long 1958 Sparkman & Stephens yawl is owned by Bob and Jane Cairl of Toledo. Simba has raced the Bermuda race six times, raced in the Mediterranean, has sailed in South America. It has won numerous awards including best sailboat at the prestigious Newport Wood Boat Show.

Another boat, Wetpet, a 43-foot long, 1967 Chris-Craft Constellation, is owned by Bob and Ann Guldemond of Algonac Mich. She is docked in Algonac and is regularly used on the Great Lakes including lake St. Clair. Wetpet has won numerous awards and has been a part of the Toledo boat show since its inception.

Lenore, a 26-foot-long 1931 Dart Runabout will also make an appearance at the show. This boat is representative of many Darts that were built in Toledo in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Due to their distinctive styling and high-powered motors, they were a favorite of the pleasure boaters as well as the run runners of the era. This boat has never been fully restored but has been maintained in a functional preserved state. It is powered by its original 779 cubic inch 200 horsepower six-cylinder Sterling Petrel.

The Toledo Antique and Classic Boat Show is sponsored by Ramsey Brothers Restoration and the National Museum of the Great Lakes. Admission to the show is $5 per person and $15 per person for admission to the show, the museum, the museum ship and a deck tour of the USS Niagara.

Members of the museum are admitted free of charge.

National Museum of the Great Lakes


BoatNerd Welland Gathering Sept. 12-14

8/22 - The annual Welland Canal BoatNerd Gathering is scheduled for Sept. 12-14. Once again, Boatnerds will gather at the Welland Canal for socializing, sharing pictures, slides and videos, plus watching the passing traffic.

Friday and Saturday evenings the group will gather at the Canadian Corps building in Thorold to share pictures, slides and videos. There is no admission charge. There will also be a few vendor tables available.

Details on the Gatherings page.


Lookback #278 – Norman B. Ream in a collision with Senator on August 22, 1909

8/22 - For many years, the large iron ore carrier Norman B. Ream was an integral part of the Pittsburgh Steamship Co. The 601-foot-long vessel was built at Chicago and launched on Aug. 18, 1906. Just over three years later, on Aug. 22, 1909, it collided with the Senator above Pipe Island in the St. Marys River. The latter sank with its masts above water.

Both ships were repaired and the Norman B. Ream worked as a “Tinstacker” until tying up at Duluth on Nov. 9, 1960. When it left there in 1965, it was part of the Kinsman Marine Transit Co. and sailing as Kinsman Enterprise. It served the new owner well and lasted until tying up at Toledo at the end of the 1978 season.

But this was not the end. The ship was sold to the Port Huron Seaway Terminal Co. and arrived at Port Huron, under tow of the tug Malcolm, on Aug. 24, 1979, just past her 70th birthday.

Unofficially known as Hull No. 1, the ship was used to store sugar beet pellets, sunflower seeds and corn gluten. It served there for 10 years before being sold, via Marine Salvage, to shipbreakers in Turkey. The tug Malcolm took the vessel away from Port Huron in August 1989. It headed down the Welland Canal on Aug. 28, 1989, between the tugs Salvage Monarch and Elmore M. Misner and left Sorel Sept. 6, 1989, behind the Polish tug Jantar.

The destination was Aliaga, Turkey, and the old laker arrived safely on Oct. 9, 1989, and was broken up by Ege Celik Endustrisi T.A.S.

Senator, the other combatant of 105 years ago today, was also refloated but had a much shorter life. It sank, via collision with the Marquette, off Port Washington, Wis., on Oct. 31, 1929.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  August 22

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the BBC Austria, Charlotte-C, and Federal Leda.


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.

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.

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 10 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.

1890: The wooden barge TASMANIA, upbound with coal under tow of the steamer CALEDONIA, sank in the Lake George Channel of the St. Marys River after a collision with the J.H. WADE. TASMANIA was later refloated and repaired only to be lost in Lake Erie on October 18, 1905.

1909: NORMAN B. REAM and SENATOR collided in the St. Marys River above Pipe Island and the latter sank with her masts above water. She was later salvaged but was lost in Lake Michigan, off Kenosha, after a collision with the MARQUETTE on October 31, 1929.

1917: The wooden steamer JOHN S. THOM, enroute to Erie with coal, went aground on a shoal 22 miles west of Charlotte, NY. The vessel was later refloated and taken to Ogdensburg, NY for repairs.

1940: The second THOROLD, sent overseas to assist in the war effort, was attacked and sunk by three German aircraft as she was carrying coal from Cardiff to London. There were 9 lives lost while another 3 crew members were injured. The vessel was under attack for 3 hours before it went down and became the third Canadian merchant ship lost in this, the early stages, of the war.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, David Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample.


Great Lakes Shipyard awarded drydocking contract

8/21 - Cleveland, Ohio – Great Lakes Shipyard has been awarded a contract for the United States Environmental Protection Agency's R/V Lake Explorer II.

The research vessel was hauled out using the 770-ton capacity Marine Travelift at Great Lakes Shipyard. The repair contract, that started Aug. 14, includes drydocking, routine repairs and maintenance, upgrades, and design, fabrication and installation of a new bulbous bow.

The 90-foot research vessel has been stationed in its homeport of Duluth, Minnesota, since 2009 and is the newest addition to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's fleet on the Great Lakes.

The Lake Explorer II is used for Great Lakes research, and specializes in developing a comprehensive environmental assessment of coastal conditions. This research is conducted using technologies for sampling aquatic life, water quality and sediments, including environmental sensing systems.

For more information, visit


Seaway Notice # 15 – Hands-free mooring commissioning at Lower Beauharnois Lock

8/21 - The installation and commissioning of the hands-free mooring equipment is currently underway at the lower Beauharnois Lock. Vessels will be advised on the use of the HFM units, Vessel Self Spotting and their final mooring position during the initial communication, once the vessel is at the inbound limit of approach (L/A 2 upbound and L/A 1 downbound). Masters/pilots are asked to follow the instructions of lock personnel.

St. Lawrence Seaway


Port Reports -  August 21

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Joseph H. Thompson loaded on Tuesday and was expected to depart around 6:30 p.m. There was nothing scheduled for Wednesday. Four vessels are scheduled for Thursday with the Manistee and the John G. Munson due in the early morning. The Pathfinder is expected in the late afternoon and the Philip R. Clarke is due in the late evening. Algoway is due on Friday in the mid-afternoon. Manitowoc is due on Saturday in the late afternoon.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
Rebecca Lynn departed with her barge around 5 p.m. Wednesday.

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
Wednesday morning the Toronto Island Ferry Sam McBride conducted emergency response exercises with units from Metro Marine Police and the R.C.M.P marine unit. The Federal court-ordered removal of Captain John's waterfront restaurant by this Friday is not going to happen. According to an article in the National Post, entrepreneur James Sbrolla failed to make the August 7 deadline of the $30,500 final payment. Apparently numerous "unforeseen issues" have tossed a wrench into the deal. The one big item of contention is a large electrical transformer. Is it included in the sale or does it have to be removed? It is probably the vessel's isolation transformer and as such it should stay on the ship, as it will be required to hook up the shore power in a new location. Electrical utility companies will not hardwire a ship of this size in to the local power grid.


BoatNerd Welland Gathering Sept. 12-14

8/21 - The annual Welland Canal BoatNerd Gathering is scheduled for Sept. 12-14. Once again, Boatnerds will gather at the Welland Canal for socializing, sharing pictures, slides and videos, plus watching the passing traffic.

Friday and Saturday evenings the group will gather at the Canadian Corps building in Thorold to share pictures, slides and videos. There is no admission charge. There will also be a few vendor tables available.

The scrapyard tour at Marine Recycling Corp. on Saturday morning has been canceled due to the yard's large workload.

Details on the Gatherings page.


Updates -  August 21

New Video on our YouTube Channel A new video, “Cruise On the RMS Segwun,” has been uploaded.
We hope to have a new News Gallery up tomorrow, please continue to send in your pictures.


Lookback #277 – First B.F. Jones a total loss after collision on August 21, 1955

8/21 - The first B.F. Jones was up bound and light when it was in a collision above Lime Island in the St. Mary's River. The accident of Aug. 21, 1955, also included the Cason J. Callaway.

The 49-year-old B.F. Jones, part of the Wilson Transit Co. fleet, was not worth repairing. The ship was sold to Fraser-Nelson in 1955 and taken to Superior, Wis., where most of the hull was scrapped. A section of the bottom was saved and converted to a shipyard lighter named SSC-1. The pilothouse and after cabins were salvaged for installation on the Sparkman D. Foster. The hatches, hatch lifter and funnel were removed and placed aboard the Lyman C. Smith.

B.F. Jones was built at Ecorse, Mich., in 1906 and was mainly used in the ore trade by the Interstate Steamship Co. The 552-foot-long vessel was a good carrier and moved to Jones & Laughlin steel in 1949 and to Wilson in 1952.

Cason J. Callaway is still sailing 59 years after the collision. It was only three years old at the time of the accident. The ship was lengthened in 1974 and rebuilt as a self-unloader in 1981-1982. Cason J. Callaway remains active as part of the Great Lakes Fleet Inc.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 21

August 21, 1996 - The former U. S. Army Corps of Engineers tug MARQUETTE was downbound 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.

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.

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, 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.

1954 - The British freighter PERTH, enroute from Toronto to St. John's, N.F., with general cargo, was damaged in a collision with an unidentified vessel off the south coast of Newfoundland. The pre-Seaway trader to the Great Lakes had been built as LOCHEE in 1937 and had also made a total of 3 inland voyages in 1959 and 1960.

1955 - A collision between the CASON J. CALLAWAY and the B.F. JONES occurred above Lime Island in the St. Marys River. The latter, upbound and light, was declared a total loss and taken to Superior. Part of the bottom of the hull was saved for use as the shipyard lighter SCC 1, the cabins were transplanted to the SPARKMAN D. FOSTER and the hatches, hatch lifter and funnel become part of the LYMAN C. SMITH. The three-year-old CASON J. CALLAWAY was repaired, outlasts all of the other ships and remains in service under the same name.

1973 - The first KINSMAN INDEPENDENT lost steering in the Neebish Rock Cut and went aground with heavy bottom damage. After being refloated, the ship was laid up at Lorain and, in 1974, sold to Marine Salvage for scrap. She arrived at Santander, Spain, for dismantling under tow of the Polish tug JANTAR, and in tandem with the JAMES DAVIDSON, on July 21, 1974.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Joe Barr, David Swayze, Lake Huron Lore Society, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


Round Island lighthouse near Mackinac Island is on the market

8/20 - Mackinac Island, Mich. – A familiar landmark for visitors heading to Mackinac Island is for sale. The current bid for Round Island Passage Lighthouse near the resort island is $20,000, according to

The U.S. General Services Administration auction is open only to not-for-profit organizations that must register to bid. Tours will be available for those groups that are registered, the website said. Bids will increase by increments of $500; the sale began on Monday at 9 a.m. with an opening bid of $10,000.

Once purchased, the lighthouse could be converted to a commercial bed and breakfast or a home, or to any other feasible use, said administration spokeswoman Cat Langel.

The steel plate building with a 71-foot tower on a concrete base is on state-owned Great Lakes Public Trust bottomland that isn’t being sold. The lighthouse opened in 1948 to mark a passage between Mackinac Island and Round Island in Lake Huron.

The lighthouse is owned by the Coast Guard and has a modern automated beacon, a red flashing light that’s visible for 11 miles in clear weather, a RACON radar beacon and an automated fog signal, all of which operate on solar-charged batteries, according to the National Park Service. The white and red lighthouse, built on a crib and pier foundation in 26 feet of water, looks almost precisely how it did originally.

The automated light on the passage lighthouse replaced the Round Island Lighthouse, also a familiar site for Mackinac Island visitors. The Round Island Lighthouse still stands but was decommissioned by the Coast Guard.

“GSA is working with federal agencies to dispose of unneeded properties and make more efficient use of the government’s real estate assets. This includes historic lighthouses such as the Round Island Passage,” Langel said.

The GSA has sold or transferred 213 facilities across the country, generating $97.7 million.

After the U.S. Coast Guard reports that a historic lighthouse is no longer critical to its mission, the administration tries to drum up interest from federal, state and local government agencies and certified nonprofit organizations. If no qualified applications are received, the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act authorizes GSA to sell the property through a public auction, according to Langel.

Previous GSA light station sales have ranged from $10,000 to more than $933,000, based on numerous factors, such as location, condition of the property and fluctuations in the real estate market.

The Coast Guard will continue to operate and maintain the lighthouse, according to the Invitation for Bids.

The sale will have little impact on visitors and the businesses that rely on them.

“We spoke with several sources on the island, including the State Parks Director and don’t see this affecting tourism at all, as they have been auctioning off lighthouses for years,” said Mackinac Island tourism assistant director Alison Silk.

Yet lighthouses remain a poignant part of Michigan’s maritime past.

“Within the history of the Great Lakes, lighthouses have been an important tool for navigators. Anywhere they were traveling, they got them there safely. With the advent of [radio navigation] and then GPS, lighthouses have been increasingly less important,” said Joel Stone, senior curator for the Detroit Historical Society.

“GPS is now so efficient, it’ll put you within 10 feet. Especially the commercial vessels don’t need lighthouses.”

Facts about the beacon
According to the Great Lake Lighthouse Keepers Association, the 120-foot tall Round Island Passage Lighthouse was one of the last large lighthouses built on the Great Lakes. Here’s some interesting information for prospective buyers.
■ It started operating on April 15, 1948 as a replacement for the nearby Round Island Lighthouse. The old Round Island Lighthouse was built in 1894 and nearly collapsed in 1972. The Round Island Preservation Society maintains it.
■ The 8-sided lighthouse was designed as a fully automated station. The light was powered by a cable from Mackinac Island, but is solar powered now.
■ The light and foghorn in the structure will remain as aids to navigation, and the Coast Guard will retain access.
■ The two lighthouses may be viewed from a Shepler’s ferry cruise.

Detroit Free Press


Isle Royale vessel Ranger III used for testing prototype of system to cleanse ballast tanks

8/20 - Houghton, Michigan - Technicians have used a vessel that hauls passengers to Isle Royale National Park for testing a refined treatment method to rid ships' ballast water of invasive species.

Isle Royale Superintendent Phyllis Green says a marine engineering firm used the M/V Ranger III last weekend to try out prototype equipment for mixing chemicals that can kill organisms in ballast tanks. The equipment shortens the time needed to treat a ship.

Ballast water is a leading pathway for aquatic invaders to reach the Great Lakes. Oceangoing ships scoop up water with living organisms in foreign ports and release them into the lakes when taking on cargo.

Companies are trying to develop systems for sterilizing ballast water. The Ranger is equipped with an ultraviolet light and filtration system for the purpose.

Associated Press


Chief engineer’s book dives into fish tug history

8/20 - Port Dover, Ont. – Shaun Vary is immersed in the Great Lakes. Seven generations of his family dating back to the mid-1800s have worked on the water, mainly as commercial fishermen.

As a child growing up in Port Stanley, Ont., Vary wanted to play with fish tugs like the ones his family worked on while other kids in other towns were picking up toy cars or trucks.

But because there weren’t any, he built his own using discarded cigarette packages.

In adulthood, he continued to build boat models on a grander, detailed scale (five of his are in the Port Dover Harbour Museum, including one of the doomed passenger steamship Atlantic) and collected photos of the boats that ply the waters of Lake Erie’s north shore.

That collection has now formed the basis of a book that was launched at the Harbour Museum on Saturday.

“The Vessels of Erieau, Shipbuilding & Drydock” details the history of the shipyard in that lakeside village at the far west end of the lake from the 1930s to the 1970s.

The site is now a marina, but the boats that were born there still sail across the lakes and into ports. Unlike ocean-going vessels that are eaten away by saltwater, freshwater boats can be rebuilt and will last forever.

It may sound kind of odd to publish a dry inventory of boats (fish tugs, working tugs and small ferries) but for people who live along the lakeshore, this is important, Vary, 44, explained.

It’s part of the culture of living on the lake to make note of the vessels you see all the time and to know their names the same way you know the names of most of the people in your community. What the St. Catharines resident is doing is providing the background history to those familiar boats: when they were built and where and how they were used.

“My hobby is keeping track of fish tugs. I have boxes of files. I decided to do this as my way of sharing some of my information,” explained Vary, who works as a chief engineer on the Saginaw, a freighter hauling cargo around the Great Lakes.

Port Dover residents will be familiar with some of the Erieau-built ships. Some of them have passed through Port Dover or called Port Dover home.

“The book is very accurate, well-written document about vessels that relate back here to Port Dover,” said museum curator Angela Wallace. “Anything to do with shipbuilding along Lake Erie, we want to promote.”

“The Vessels of Erieau, Shipbuilding & Drydock,” by Shaun R. Vary, is available at the Port Dover Harbour Museum.

Simcoe Reformer


Lookback #276 – Texaco Warrior settled on the bottom of the Welland Canal on August 20, 1964

8/20 - The first Texaco Warrior ran into trouble while transiting the Welland Canal 50 years ago today. The vessel hit bottom in the Thorold South region near Bridge 10, punctured a tank, and settled on the bottom.

Fortunately, there was no pollution from the accident of Aug. 20, 1964, and the ship was soon pumped out and repaired.

Fourteen years earlier, on Oct. 29, 1950, this ship rammed the entrance to the Toronto ship channel and severely crumpled the bow. The 258-foot-long tanker was inbound through dense fog and turned to soon hitting the concrete wall. Repairs at Port Weller Dry Docks cost in the range of $60,000.

This liquid cargo carrier was launched at Haverton Hill-on-Tees, England, on May 14, 1930. It came to Canada for the McColl-Frontenac Oil Co. as Cyclo-Warrior and was often used to carry crude oil between Chicago and Toronto.

After a sale to the Texaco Oil Co., the vessel was renamed Texaco Warrior on Oct. 7, 1947. It remained in their service until being resold to the Hall Corporation of Canada on Dec. 1, 1969.

Renamed as their second Lake Transport, the ship operated into the summer of 1974 before laying up at Sorel, QC. It was scrapped there by Union Pipe & Machinery beginning in July 1978.

Skip Gillham


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.

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

R. BRUCE ANGUS in tandem tow with the ULS steamer GORDON C. LEITCH (i) 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, upbound 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.

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.

1874 – The CITY OF LONDON, built by Louis Shickluna at St. Catharines in 1865, was destroyed by a fire at Collins Inlet. The engine was later removed for installation in the CITY OF OWEN SOUND.

1900 – CAPTAIN THOMAS WILSON was launched at Port Huron for the Wilson Transit Co.

1903 – QUEEN OF THE WEST sank in a Lake Erie storm off Fairport, Ohio but the crew was rescued by the CODORUS. One sailor perished in the transfer between the two ships.

1919 – MOHEGAN was built as a wooden steam barge at Marine City in 1894. It left the lakes for ocean service in 1917. The ship was anchored at Rio de Janiero, Brazil, on this date in 1919 when an explosion and fire destroyed the vessel. All on board survived.

1964 – TEXACO WARRIOR hit bottom and settled in the Welland Canal with a punctured tank at Thorold South near Bridge 10. The ship was refloated and resumed service. It was scrapped at Sorel, QC, in 1978 as LAKE TRANSPORT (i).

1969 – PETER ROBERTSON, sold for scrap and anchored in western Lake Ontario, dragged her anchors in a storm and landed on the beach near Jordan Harbour, Ontario. The vessel was released August 24 and headed down the Seaway August 27 between the tugs SALVAGE MONARCH and HELEN M. McALLISTER on the next leg of the journey to Spain for scrapping.

1972 – VILLE DE QUEBEC was a pre-Seaway trader to the Great Lakes from 1955 to 1958 and returned inland, for three trips, in 1959. The ship sank off the coast of Albania, due to heavy weather, on this date as c) SUZY in 1972. It was enroute from Durres, Albania, to Patras, Greece. Eleven members of the crew were lost while only 7 survived.

1975 – The coastal freighter AIGLE D'OCEAN struck an iceberg off Port Burwell, Labrador, and sank. Only five crew were rescued. The ship had been inland on several occasions.

1977 – CAPO MELE first came through the Seaway as a) PIERRE L.D. in 1959 and again, for 3 trips, in 1960. It was sold and renamed b) CAPO MELE in 1961 and made 22 voyages to the Great Lakes from then through 1967. The ship sustained heavy damage from an engine room fire as e) PAULINA at Banjul, Gambia, and was sold for scrap. The vessel arrived at Santander, Spain, on October 17, 1977, for dismantling.

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


Firefighters battle blaze on vessel being scrapped

8/19 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. – It took crews from two fire departments five hours to extinguish a blaze aboard a decommissioned 730-foot-long bulk cargo ship today.

The ship, believed to be the former Algonorth, is being cut apart for scrap at the Purvis Marine slip in the Sault's west end.

Prince Township Fire Service joined Sault Ste. Marie Fire Service in the complicated process of extinguishing a blaze started when welders were cutting the ship apart to reclaim the steel of which it is comprised.

"It was complicated to get water to the fire because it was inside the hold," said Sault Ste. Marie Fire Service Platoon Chief Damon Ferris. "There was also an issue of some oil remaining in that area so we had to bring in foam as well."

Soo Today


Duluth-Superior port hums with activity

8/19 - Duluth, Minn. – The speed of industry often is illustrated in a rapid montage of images intended to show in a hurry just how much it takes to make the world go round. The speed of industry eight stories above Interstate 35 is a lot more deliberate than that.

Hundreds of feet out on the Canadian National Railway Co.’s Dock 6 that extends half a mile out into Lake Superior, the train wheels turn slowly enough to track the individual revolutions. The workers step cautiously over taconite pellets spilt everywhere like so many marbles. Up here, everything is coated in fine dust. It makes for a nostalgic, almost sepia-toned view of the world.

Even if — when the bomb bay doors fly open under an ore car — it takes only 10 seconds for the hulk of ore pellets to freefall out, it’s just one in a lineup of 140 cars dumping their payloads one at a time.

Up here, in the rust-colored steel matrix where ore meets water, Mark Erickson spends some of his family’s last days in industry. The Duluth port manager for CN, Erickson is within a year of his impending retirement. But this day, he’s got to oversee the stockpiling onto shore of some 100,000 tons of iron ore. This before instantly changing over the operation to reclaim ore for loading onto the next ship into dock, a vessel called the American Integrity that already is waiting in port.

“I call it ‘calling audibles,’” Erickson said. “We juggle a lot.” Had he worked aboard a ship as opposed to loading them, they’d have said Erickson “worked his way up the hawse pipe,” a phrase used to describe a merchant seaman who climbs the ladder to become a ship’s officer without requiring any traditional maritime schooling.

As it is, Erickson rode the rails all the way to becoming the boss at the end of the rail line.

“I was a third generation DM&IR locomotive operator,” Erickson said. “My family’s bloodlines with the railroad go back to 1906, and we’ll have stayed till June 2015.”

That’s 109 years of industrial know-how coming to an end. There’s a lot of value in that sort of knowledge.

“We’ve got a whole group in their mid-50s who will be retiring in the next 10 years,” said Adele Yorde, spokeswoman for the Duluth Seaway Port Authority. “It’s a lot different industry than it once was. It’s more high tech.”

The Great Lakes Maritime Academy in Michigan and the University of Wisconsin-Superior’s Transportation & Logistics Management program are producing the next wave of local industry leaders. And even if it’s not so easy to work up the hawse pipe anymore, there’s still work, and plenty of it.

The Duluth-Superior port appears to be humming with activity in the wake of a spring slowed by stubborn weather. Thick formations of ice lingered deep into spring and stalled shipping on Lake Superior’s ports. But by summer, shipping was back and better, in some respects, than it has been in years. In July, iron ore shipments totaled 7.2 million tons through the Soo Locks that link Lake Superior with the other Great Lakes. It was the highest iron ore tonnage shipped for that month since 2008. Steel mills in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio are stockpiling iron ore in an effort to outlast another potentially lingering winter.

“Higher water levels have helped the trade rebound after suffering endless delays in March and April, when heavy ice formations covered the lakes,” reported Glen Nekvasil of the Lake Carriers’ Association based in Ohio.

Higher water allows for increased load capacities.

Thousand-foot lake vessels like the American Integrity, which was in port through Aug. 9, wear the wounds of the early season, with hulls that are marked with paint scrapes from battling the ice.

During a shipping tour Aug. 8 with Yorde, News Tribune staff walked by the Canadian ship Algoma Spirit as it was being weighed down with wheat at the CHS dock in Superior.

Unlike the openly exposed iron ore piles or the coal stockpiles at the Superior Midwest Energy Terminal that get turned over by bulldozers working constantly to prevent spontaneous combustion, the wheat and grain industry is flagging in the port. The United States taught the Ukraine how to grow its own grains, and Australia is coming on as an international supplier, hurting demand for U.S. grains, Yorde explained.

Still, durum wheat with some of the highest manufacture specs continues to leave America’s heartlands and make its way out of Duluth-Superior to the Mediterranean region. There, it remains a staple of international pasta and couscous makers.

“They’re very particular about it,” Yorde said. “The specs are very important.”

Bulgur wheat, too, for flour, bread baking and cereal still leaves the Duluth-Superior port. But 2012’s grain total of 1.065 million tons shipped was the lowest since the St. Lawrence Seaway opened modern shipping traffic between the Great Lakes and the Atlantic Ocean in 1959. Compare that to 1978, when 10.2 million tons of grain left the port.

Just as a longshoreman wouldn’t mix bulgur and durum wheats, an ore docker doesn’t mix Minntac and UTAC iron ores. Despite looking similar, the products, from mines in Mountain Iron and Forbes/Eveleth, respectively, are unique.

“They cannot mix,” Erickson said from the dock high above the ore piles. “There’s a chemistry to them and the blast furnace needs to know what pellet they’re using.”

The Duluth-Superior port shipped a record 64 million tons of ore to domestic steel factories in 1953, during the height of the Korean War. Ore shipments may never see those levels again. But there are heydays, and there’s today.

Today, the shipping industry remains vital.

More than 15 million metric tons of international cargo moved in July through the Canadian and American waters of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

“The month of July was extremely busy for our ports on the Great Lakes-Seaway System as they handled high-value cargoes like steel, wind components and machinery that arrived from 13 different countries,” said Rebecca Spruill, director of trade development for the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp.

Some of that cargo reached Duluth, where the Duluth Seaway Port Authority operates the only general cargo terminal on its Clure Public Marine Terminal. Ironically, the terminal sees renewable wind energy components coming and going from its dock, which features the only gantry crane in the Twin Ports.

That the wind energy industry moves parts both easterly and westerly across the globe might seem appropriate considering the nature of wind itself.

But there’s nothing so fickle about the present-day shipping trade. Just as long-depleted red magnetite ore gave way to present-day taconite, and grains give way to cargo, the shipping trade adjusts and moves forward — at the steady speed of industry.

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports -  August 19

Holland, Mich. – Marc Vander Meulen, Justin Olsen
Manistee arrived in Holland Sunday evening with a load of stone. The appreciative spectators at Kollen Park received two salutes as she passed.


Brig Niagara day sail sells out, deck tours still available

8/19 - Toledo, Ohio – All 52 seats aboard the USS Brig Niagara for its day sail from Monroe Mich., to Toledo, Ohio, have sold out, one week ahead of the sailing.

“We are so pleased that people want to experience history first hand by investing in experiences like the USS Niagara day sail,” Christopher Gillcrist, Executive Director of the National Museum of the Great Lakes, said. “Not only does the proceeds from the day sail support the new museum in Toledo, it also supports the USS Brig Niagara, which is critical to preserving War of 1812 history on the Great Lakes.”

The Niagara will arrive in Toledo at the National Museum of the Great Lakes between 2-4 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 22. Gillcrist urged photographers interested in good shots to find their spots early and make sure they are not on private property. The USS Brig Niagara is part of the Toledo Antique and Classic Boat Show as a restored historic vessel. The show opens to the public on Saturday at 9 a.m. and runs through Sunday till 3 p.m.

Attendees to the show can view the Niagara from the upper dock at the museum with a Boat Show Ticket purchase or by taking a deck tour of the Niagara by purchasing an Explorer ticket. Boat Show tickets are $5 per person. Explorer Pass tickets are $15 per person. This ticket entitles the bearer to see the boat show, get a deck tour of the Niagara, visit the National Museum of the Great Lakes and the Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship. Kids six and under are free and there are discounts for seniors, military and AAA.

Members of the National Museum of the Great Lakes/Great Lakes Historical Society are admitted free of charge. People who join the museum prior to the show will get to attend a Members’ Only Private Deck Tour and Reception on the Niagara on Friday, Aug. 22 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Call 419-214-5000 or e-email for more information, or to join.


Lookback #275 – City of Green Bay destroyed by a fire on August 19, 1909

8/19 - It was 105 years ago that fire broke out aboard the wooden steamer City of Green Bay. The believed cause was an exploding lantern some time after the vessel had departed Saginaw, Mich.

The 140-foot-ship began life as a passenger and freight carrier, but in its twilight years had been rebuilt as a steam barge for carrying lumber and pickets.

The location of the fire on Saginaw Bay has been variously reported as off White Sandstone Point as well as off Whistler's Point. But what is certain is that the City of Green Bay was a total loss in the blaze of Aug. 19, 1909. Thankfully, all on board were picked up the City of New Baltimore and taken to safety.

Originally the M.C. Howley, the burnt vessel dated from 1880. It became City of Green Bay in 1887 and had operated on a variety of routes.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 19

On this day in 1865, the PEWABIC, Captain George P. McKay, 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 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.

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.

1906 – GOVERNOR SMITH, a wooden package freight carrier, sank in Lake Huron, about 8 miles off Pointe aux Barques, after a collision with the URANUS. All 20 on board were rescued.

1915 – The wooden passenger and freight carrier HENRY PEDWELL burned at Wiarton, ON but was salvaged and rebuilt at Owen Sound in 1916.

1960 – BELLE ISLE II caught fire and sank after a collision with the HOLMSIDE on Lac St. Pierre in the St. Lawrence near Trois Rivieres. The ship had originally been the “Castle Class” corvette H.M.S. WOLVESEY CASTLE and later H.M.C.S. HUNTSVILLE for the Canadian Navy. It was rebuilt for cargo service as c) WELLINGTON KENT in 1947 becoming d) BELLE ISLE II in 1951. The hull was salvaged and towed up the Seaway to Portsmouth, ON on November 2, 1960, and broken up at Whitby, ON during the winter of 1965-1966. HOLMSIDE was later a casualty as b) CABINDA after hitting a jetty while inbound at Casablanca on December 28, 1980, with the loss of 9 lives.

1966 – JOHN E.F. MISENER went aground on Hard Island in the St. Lawrence and had to be lightered before being released on August 21.

1967 – The retired Paterson steamer SASKADOC, which last operated in 1966, was downbound at the Iroquois Lock under tow of GRAEME STEWART and SALVAGE MONARCH enroute to the scrapyard. It arrived at Santander, Spain, on September 24, 1967, along with the AUGUSTUS B. WOLVIN, behind the Polish tug JANTAR.

1988 – The Greek owned, Cypriot flag, freighter BLUESTONE arrived at Halifax to load flour, but the crew reported “hull cracks” and the Coast Guard said repairs must be made. The vessel first visited the Great Lakes as a) ASIA SWALLOW in 1980 and returned as b) BLUESTONE for the first time in 1985. The work was carried out. The ship finally cleared September 13 and operated until arriving at Chittagong, Bangladesh, for scrapping as e) VRITA N. about August 31, 1998.

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


Algoma Hansa and Algosea both due in Montreal

8/18 - In an unusual meeting, Algoma Hansa and Algosea are both expected to arrive in Montreal on Aug. 18.

What makes this meeting so unique is that the two sisterships are owned by Algoma Central Corp. and operated by its subsidiary, Algoma Tankers Ltd. Both are now Canadian flagged after previously being flagged overseas. Also, both vessels were built in 1998 at the Bae Systems Southeast Alabama Shipyard in Mobile, Ala.

Algoma Hansa, which was recently reflagged from Bahamas to Canada on July 31 at Halifax, will be making her first trip through the Seaway since being reflagged. She will be heading to Oakville, Ont. Algosea is expected to arrive in Montreal from Nanticoke, Ont., and will be heading to Sarnia next.

Denny Dushane


Port Reports -  August 18

Manistee, Mich. – Kevin Hirdes
Manistee arrived at the Verplank dock Sunday at 6:40 p.m.

Port Huron, Mich. – Times Herald
Vessel traffic on the St. Clair Rover was delayed Sunday between noon and 8 p.m. as locals participated in the annual inflatable boat Port Huron Float Down between Port Huron and Marysville. Meanwhile, the search for a man last seen during the event was postponed for the night. The search for Brady Morton, 19, will resume in the morning.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
American Mariner departed General Mills via the North Entrance at 1:00 p.m. Sunday after unloading grain.

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
The bulker Chestnut shifted from terminal 52 over to the Redpath sugar refinery where it completed unloading Sunday. It was awaiting the arrival of the pilot prior to sailing. The assist tug Omni-Richelieu was on standby at Sugar beach.

Oshawa, Ont. – Andre Blanchard
The bulk carrier Three Rivers (registered in Antigua and Barbuda) left Oshawa Saturday night. The Greek-flagged Apollon, arrived in Oshawa on Sunday after waiting at the Port Weller Anchorage since August 10. Assisting both ships were the tugs La Prairie and Omni-Richelieu. Omni-Richelieu has left Oshawa since assisting Apollon, returning to Hamilton.


Lighthouse keeper's legacy preserved at New York museum

8/18 - Staten Island, N.Y. – Mike Bauchan brimmed with pride as he looked at a miniature replica of the Point Betsie Lighthouse in Michigan, where he lived with his family as a child.

"That top left corner room on the second story was my bedroom," he pointed out. "It was a beautiful view." Right underneath the replica, a plaque reads his father's name - "Louis Bauchan."

Louis is finally being recognized for his years of service as the last known light keeper in the United States Lighthouse Service. "It's just a sense of pride that somebody like my father, who is not promoting himself in any way, shape, or form, was recognized in some small way," said Mike.

And it's all part of a display at the new National Lighthouse Museum in Staten Island, New York, which officially opened earlier this month on the 225th anniversary of President George Washington signing the Lighthouse Act of 1789.

The U.S. Lighthouse Service was consolidated into the United States Coast Guard in 1939 and Louis continued with his work until he retired in 1957. He worked day and night, rain or shine, summer or winter - often enduring sub-freezing temperatures and thick ice.

"There is no way of knowing how many lives have been saved by lighthouse keepers," Mike said. "Yet, they just go about their tasks, in all kinds of weather, all kinds of seasons."

His father was a man of many talents - he knew how to repair fog signals without disrupting them. He knew how to polish light lenses to perfection, and he even knew how to build cars. In fact, he built one of the family's first cars and often took Mike, his brother, and his mother for rides.

Mike and Louis loved the family-oriented lifestyle that came with living in lighthouses, despite the constant shuffling from station to station. "When we were at the lighthouse, we had more togetherness as a family," Louis remembered in a voice recording he made to preserve his memories. "It was a good time to teach them the better things in life."

The better things in life, according to Mike, included his dad walking him to school, fishing by the lighthouse, and he and his brother playing in the yard tethered to trees to keep them from running into the water.

All of this was documented heavily throughout the years. Louis said he took photographs so he could "use these pictures to get people interested in lighthouses."

Now, nine years after Louis Bauchan passed away, there is an entire museum dedicated to just that.

CBS News


Lookback # 274 – Herceg Novi sank after collision off Singapore on August 18, 1996

8/18 - Herceg Novi, a Yugoslavian vessel, was carrying paper to Detroit on its first trip up the Seaway on Sept. 25, 1989. This was the 514 foot, 7 inch long general cargo carrier's only visit to the Great Lakes.

The ship had been built at Warnemunde, East Germany, in 1981 and spent the rest of its life in saltwater service. Registry was later changed to Malta before the ship went down off Singapore 18-years ago today.

Herceg Novi had just left Singapore for Chittagong, Bangladesh, when it collided with the Taiwanese container ship Ming Galaxy. It sank in the separation zone between the deep water route and westbound lane.

The hull was ordered removed and salvage efforts began on Sept. 21, 1996. The ship had to be cut apart and pulled up in sections with lifting to a barge to be ferried ashore. The Captain was fined in Singapore Court for not observing collision regulations.

Ming Galaxy, at 689 feet by 106 feet, was not a candidate for Seaway trading. It arrived at the scrapping beach, Chittagong, Bangladesh, on Nov. 21, 2008, after 28 years of trading.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  August 18

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the The saltwater gallery has been updated with these vessels: Fairchem Yuka, Federal Asahi, HHL Congo, Lita, MCT Stockhorn, Nordic Mari, Nilufer Sultan, Pearl Mist, and Sten Bergen


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.

1919 – The former wooden bulk carrier NEOSHO was sold for off lakes service in 1917 and was operating as a barge, under tow of the tug NORFOLK, when she broke loose in a storm on Delaware Bay, got caught in the trough, struck a reef and broke up.

1927 – The first HENNEPIN foundered in Lake Michigan, 18 miles west of South Haven, enroute to Grand Haven to load. The hull was discovered in 2006 and is upright in 230 feet of water.

1966 – BAYGEORGE knocked off a lock fender in the downbound section of the Welland Canal Flight Locks and delayed navigation. Only the upbound side remained in use to handle traffic pending repairs.

1972 – The ocean going general cargo carrier FELTO caught fire at Bata, Equatorial Guinea, while discharging cement. The blaze broke out in the engineroom and spread to the accommodation area before the ship settled on the bottom as a total loss. The vessel had been a Great Lakes trader in 1968 and had previously come inland as a) FERDIA in 1953 and b) FAIRWAY in 1963.

1985 – CHI-CHEEMAUN went aground due to fog while departing South Baymouth and was released the following day. The Georgian Bay ferry went to Collingwood for repairs.

1996 – HERCEG NOVI, a Yugoslavian freighter dating from 1981, first came through the Seaway in 1989 bringing a cargo of newsprint to Detroit. It sank following a collision with the containership MING GALAXY off Singapore on this date in 1996. Local officials ordered the removal of the hull and this was done, in pieces, later in the year.

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


Port Reports -  August 17

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
American Mariner was docked and unloading at General Mills on Saturday.

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
On Saturday, Stephen B. Roman unloaded cement. The tug Everlast and tanker Norman McLeod unloaded at the Oswego Steam Station.


Empire Sandy cruise Tuesday in memory of late captain

8/17 - The 200-foot-long tall ship Empire Sandy will host a two-hour cruise in memory of Capt. Robert James McClelland on Tuesday, Aug. 19, departing her dock at the foot of Spadina Avenue in Toronto at 6 p.m. All friends, co-workers and colleagues are welcome to attend this event, which is being provided out of the kindness of the Rogers Family. A dockside gathering will be at 4 p.m.


Lookback #273 – Former Amazonas sank after Mediterranean collision on Aug. 17, 1973

8/17 - Amazonas had been built at Lubeck, West Germany, and launched on April 5, 1952. The 349-foot, 3-inch-long freighter was completed in June and had four cargo holds.

The West German freighter operated on saltwater until coming into the Great Lakes for three trips in 1965. It was back again in 1966. The vessel was sold and registered in Cyprus as Viki in 1972 but was lost the following year.

Viki had taken on a cargo of cement at Chekka, Lebanon, and was bound for Lagos, Nigeria, when it was in a collision with the two-year-old Greek vessel Grebbestroom on Aug. 17, 1973. The accident occurred in the Western Mediterranean 41 years ago today and the ship went down in position of about 37.50 N / 8.00 E.

Despite sailing under four different names, the 346-foot, 6-inch-long Grebbestroom never made it through the Seaway. It only had a 15-year career before being broken up for scrap at Vigo, Spain, in 1986.

Skip Gillham


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 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.

1905 – The wooden steamer CALEDONIA sank in Lake Superior while towing the barge JOHN M. HUTCHINSON. It was later refloated and returned to service.

1913 – The whaleback steamer ATIKOKAN went ashore in a spectacular grounding at Marine City but was released and returned to service.

1994 – INDIANA HARBOR went to Sturgeon Bay for repairs after going aground at Muskegon, Mich.

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


Port Reports -  August 16

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
On Friday at the harbors in Marquette, Herbert C. Jackson, sporting a freshly painted pilothouse, loaded ore at the Upper Harbor and H. Lee White unloaded coal at the Lower Harbor in the evening.

Port Inland – Denny Dushane
John J. Boland is expected to arrive Saturday in the early morning to load. Also due on Saturday is the Manistee in the late morning. Joseph L. Block is due on Sunday during the early afternoon. Both Calumet and Sam Laud are due on Monday, with the Calumet arriving in the early morning followed by the Sam Laud in the late evening.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Buffalo was due to arrive Friday in the mid-afternoon however it was still at Calcite as of noon Friday. Following the Buffalo will be Wilfred Sykes, due on Friday during the late evening. Joseph L. Block is due on Saturday just before midnight. There are no vessels scheduled on Sunday. Rounding out the schedule will be the Wilfred Sykes returning on Monday in the late evening.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane – Denny Dushane
Both Buffalo and the Cason J. Callaway loaded on Friday, with the Buffalo loading from the North Dock and the Callaway loading from the South Dock. The Buffalo was expected to depart at 1:30 a.m. on Friday, however they were still loading at noon. Callaway was due to depart around 5:30 p.m. Friday. There are no vessels scheduled for Saturday.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Lewis J. Kuber loaded on Friday and was expected to depart between 11 a.m. and noon. Also due in on Friday in the early evening was the Great Republic. There are three vessels scheduled to load on Saturday, with the Joseph H. Thompson and Great Lakes Trader due in the early morning followed by the Pathfinder during the late evening. Another three vessels are scheduled to load on Sunday, with the Arthur M. Anderson arriving first in the early morning followed by the Algomarine at noon and the John G. Munson due in the late evening on Sunday.

Ferrysburg Mich. – Dick Fox
At 3 p.m. on Friday, the tug Bradshaw McKee and barge St. Mary's Challenger paid their first visit to the St. Marys Cement Terminal in Ferrysburg. Reportedly it had a light load, and was expected to be gone by early evening.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Algoma Progress and Sam Laud are due to load coal from the CSX Coal Dock on Saturday in the early afternoon. The James L. Kuber is also due to load at CSX on Saturday in the early evening. American Mariner is due on Monday in the early morning. Algoma Progress is due back at the CSX Coal Dock to load on Wednesday, August 20 in the early evening. There is nothing due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. Vessels arriving at the Torco Dock to unload iron ore include the James L. Kuber in the late morning on Saturday along with the Hon. James L. Oberstar also on Saturday in the early afternoon. H. Lee White is due on Monday in the early morning followed by the Whitefish Bay on Wednesday, August 20 in the early evening. Rounding out the schedule is the James L. Kuber, which is due back at the Torco Dock on Friday, August 22 in the early afternoon. There were five other vessels in port at the time of this report. Among them were the tug Pioneerland along with the Huron Service and barge and the Barbara Andrie and a barge. The saltwater vessel Fritz of Liberian registry remains detained. The Thunder Bay of CSL was loading upriver at one of the grain elevators.


Lookback #272 – The third George Hindman aground off Clayton, N.Y., on August 16, 1967

8/16 - A grounding off Clayton, New York, 47 years ago today ended the sailing career of the third George Hindman. The ship hit bottom in the St. Lawrence and was severely damaged. A trip to the Collingwood shipyard for inspection confirmed that repair costs could not be justified.

A 53-year-old ship at the time, George Hindman had been built at Lorain, Ohio, as a replacement for the Isaac M. Scott, a victim of the Great Storm of November 1913. The 524-foot-long bulk carrier joined Hanna operations in 1914, under their Virginia Steamship Co., as William D. Crawford.

The vessel was sold to the Midland Steamship Co. in 1953 and sailed for them as Baird Tewksbury. It was resold to Marine Salvage for scrap in October 1961 and moved to Hindman Transportation before Marine Salvage could take the vessel to the scrapyard.

Renamed George Hindman, this bulk carrier was a good addition to the Hindman fleet and carried important ore and grain cargoes during the early years of the Seaway. It would have lasted a few years longer had it not been for the grounding of August 16, 1967.

George Hindman arrived at Duluth, Minn., on Oct. 13, 1967, and was cut up for scrap over 1967 – 1969. The pilothouse, which was new in 1952, was removed and has served as a gift shop near Canal Park.

Skip Gillham


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.

1921 – The wooden steamer H.N. JEX foundered off Long Point, Lake Ontario, while carrying coal between Sodus and Kingston. All on board were rescued.

1927 – NORTHERN LIGHT, a steel package freighter, left the Great Lakes for saltwater service in two sections in 1917. The vessel was ravaged by a fire that began in the coal bunker, at Mobile, AL. on this date in 1927. The engine was removed in 1928 and the hull converted to a barge. It foundered off the Florida Keys on November 8, 1930.

1966 – The PEAVEY PIONEER, laid up with damage from a May 31, 1966, grounding at Ashland, was traded to the U.S. Maritime Administration by Sea-Land Services for the C-4 transport GENERAL H.G. FREEMAN.

1967 – The third GEORGE HINDMAN went aground and sustained heavy damage in the St. Lawrence off Clayton, N.Y. The ship was inspected at Collingwood and considered beyond economical repair. It was sold to Marine Salvage for scrap and resold to Hyman-Michaels for dismantling at Duluth, arriving there on October 13, 1967.

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


Lakes’ July ore float best in 6 years

8/15 - Cleveland, Ohio – Iron ore shipments on the Great Lakes totaled 7,231,506 tons in July, the highest level since July 2008 when 7,318,961 tons were loaded at U.S. and Canadian ports. This July’s total also represents an increase of 8.6 percent over June and 10.2 percent over a year ago.

U.S. Great Lakes ports accounted for the upturn. Loadings totaled 6,681,796 tons, an increase of nearly 18 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments from Canadian ports in the Seaway decreased nearly 30 percent, in part because of the closure of Wabush Mines.

Higher water levels have helped the trade rebound after suffering endless delays in March and April when heavy ice formations covered the Lakes. The largest iron ore cargo loaded in the Head-of-the-Lakes trade in July totaled 69,859 tons. Even so, that cargo was 2,441 tons less than the record for the ore trade through the Soo Locks, and year-to-date, iron ore shipments are still more than 10 percent off last year’s pace.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Bank hopes for quick sale of Yorktown following arrest, auction

8/15 - KfW IPEX-Bank confirmed the arrest and auction of the 138-passenger Yorktown, which had sailed for New York-based Travel Dynamics International until the spring.

Claiming it is owed a reported $9.85m by Explorer Maritime Cruises, controlled by Vasos Papagapitos, co-president of Travel Dynamics, KfW had the vessel seized in Florida and auctioned July 30 in Jacksonville, where it was acquired by KfW through credit bid.

The vessel visited the Great Lakes several times last season but has not been inland in 2014.

“The bank does not have the intention to hold the vessel and is actively marketing the vessel,” a KfW spokeswoman told Seatrade Insider. Yorktown is available for inspection at Green Cove Springs, near Jacksonville.

TradeWinds reported KfW, a German government export credit agency, originally issued the loan to Explorer Maritime Cruises so it could order the 120-berth Orion at Cassens Werft. The ship was later swapped for Yorktown in a $10m loan deal, according to TradeWinds, citing legal filings. (The 2003-built Orion is currently sailing as National Geographic Orion.)

Travel Dynamics had acquired the 2,354gt Yorktown from General Electric Capital Corp. in autumn 2011 and deployed it on coastal voyages in the US, Canada and the Great Lakes starting the following spring.

The ship had previously sailed as Spirit of Yorktown for Cruise West. It was built as Yorktown Clipper in 1988 at First Coast Shipbuilding Co. in Green Cove Springs, and operated for Clipper Cruise Line before being acquired by Cruise West.

TradeWinds said Yorktown had been idled in March due to cash issues at Explorer Maritime Cruises.

That same month Boston-based Grand Circle Cruise Line converted its charter of Travel Dynamics' Corinthian into an acquisition. The price was undisclosed. The 98-passenger ship was built as Renaissance IV in 1990.

Travel Dynamics is continuing to operate Corinthian throughout 2014 with Grand Circle assuming operational control when the ship returns to Antarctica in the fall. In addition, Grand Circle said it had entered into a long-term agreement with Travel Dynamics to provide itineraries on Corinthian and its other small ships for Travel Dynamics' educational programs.

Those ships include the 50-passenger Artemis and Arethusa, built in 2007, for which Travel Dynamics is promoting Mediterranean cruises in July and August next year.

Seatrade Insider


Lake Superior research ship snags sunken century-old barge

8/15 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – Lake Superior has turned up a new wreck not far from Thunder Bay. An American fisheries research vessel accidentally snagged an old barge that may have sunk in the Cloud Bay area more than 100 years ago.

Superior Underwater Exploration Society members like Richard Harvey hope to clean up the century-old barge sitting at the bottom of Lake Superior to make it safe for divers to explore.

Nipigon Mayor Richard Harvey said the research vessel Kiyi caught something in its net around the beginning of July, and had to cut itself loose. Harvey was part of a local dive team that went down with sonar apparatus last weekend to take a closer look.

“We just hovered around the bottom of the lake bed. And Chris Berner, the fellow I was diving with, simply pointed behind me,” he said.

“I turned around and there she was. There’s nothing like coming on to something that has been sitting in its watery grave for over a 100 years. And no one has seen it.”

Harvey said there are stories of a schooner pulling a barge that sank in that area more than a century ago. The wreckage needs to cleared of netting and rigging to make it safe for divers to explore in future, he said.

"We want to obviously get back out there. We've located the barge. We'd like to see what else is out there,” Harvey continued. “The big issue [is] … there's very heavy-duty nets that were hung up on that wreck.”

Harvey is vice-president of the Superior Underwater Exploration Society.



Port Reports -  August 15

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Saginaw arrived at about 10 p.m. Thursday.

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
Redpath has commenced laying in the winter stockpile of sugar at Terminal 52 and where the geared bulker Chestnut is alongside discharging a cargo of sugar. The bulker is using its deck cranes equipped with clamshell grab buckets to unload the sugar.


Twin Ports host historic lakers, abundant construction activity

8/15 - Duluth, Minn. – Duluth-Superior hosted two of the lakes' most venerable ships on Aug. 13 Both delivered cargoes of powdered cement. Algoma Montrealais was berthed at the Holcim terminal in Duluth on the last day of her typical multi-day unload. Alpena arrived at sunrise and made briefer-than-usual stop at the Lafarge terminal in Superior. Both vessels cleared very early on Thursday morning headed for ports on the Ontario side of Lake Superior. Montrealais departed through the Duluth ship canal and slow-belled up the north shore, cleaning her holds along the way before loading grain at Thunder Bay. Alpena cleared using the Superior ship canal with a partial cargo still aboard destined for delivery to the remote cement terminal at Heron Bay, near Marathon, Ont.

Two other ships with inbound cargo Wednesday included Algolake, which cleared light after delivering rock salt to Hallett 8 and headed for Two Harbors to load taconite pellets, and American Courage, which delivered limestone to the Graymont plant before sailing light to Silver Bay, also to load taconite pellets.

CSL Laurentien loaded taconite pellets at CN in Duluth overnight Wednesday, clearing Thursday morning just after sunrise. James R. Barker arrived just after the Laurentien cleared and stopped at Calumet fuel before loading coal at Midwest Energy. Edgar B. Speer arrived Thursday afternoon to a big crowd at the Duluth ship canal. The Speer also made a stop at Calumet, and was then scheduled to load taconite pellets at Burlington Northern in Superior.

Several work barges and tugs could be seen around the port Thursday as numerous projects are underway. What appeared to be a maintenance dredge was working the channel just to the north of Hallett 8 in Superior. Roen Salvage equipment was stationed in the area of the old 21st Avenue Channel on the west side of Rice's Point, as progress continues on a habitat restoration pilot project.

A spate of dock face renovation work has been underway recently. Thursday evening a spud barge was stationed east side of CN Dock 6 in Duluth. That side of the ore dock has been idled for a decade or so in relation to concerns about the stability of the underlying structure. In recent years CN has done major reinforcement work to the dock faces on the active west side of Dock 6, along both the gravity chutes at the outer end and the shuttle conveyor shiploader nearer to shore. It appears that similar reinforcing work is now nearing completion East of 6.

Another work barge was alongside at General Mills S in Superior. New steel and concrete mooring stations were installed there a decade ago at strategic places along the elevator, in the midst of a century-old timber dock face. Last year General Mills commenced a much more comprehensive renovation of the facility which included work throughout the elevator complex. The most visible part of this major work included the removal of four of the nine towers that crowned the "S" elevator, the oldest and tallest part of the terminal. This renovation also included what appears to be a full rebuild of the portions of the dock not renewed previously. General Mills S resumed shipments back in June, so presumably any remaining work on the dock face involves finishing touches.

A shore based crane and a raft of smaller work platforms has also appeared at the outer end of the slip at the Duluth Storage grain terminal's Berth 1. It appears that work on the dock face there has begun as well. This facility is the former Cargill "B" complex and is now owned by the Canadian firm Ceres Global Ag.

Work has temporarily waned at Fraser Shipyard in Superior, where work on two phases of major dock face reconstruction appears to have finished up earlier this summer. Activity is expected to resume in Howard's Pocket at some point in the near future, as funding has been secured for Fraser's third phase of upgrades, which include construction of a section of completely new pier and dock face where a bay of shallow water exists today.

Refurbishment and dock face construction is also on the horizon at Duluth Port Authority - owned Garfield Pier on Rice's Point, which is slated for major infrastructure upgrades to prepare it for future use as a general cargo terminal.


NY manufacturing boosts aluminum shipments to Port of Oswego

8/15 - Oswego, N.Y. – Shipments of aluminum products through the St. Lawrence Seaway to the Port of Oswego are expected to increase by 30 percent this year due to strong demand from aluminum sheet manufacturers catering to the automotive industry.

The Port of Oswego is experiencing record levels of aluminum shipments and is forecasting that more than 120,000 metric tons will be delivered to the port in 2014. The aluminum is shipped by barge from the Aluminerie Alouette facility in Sept-Iles, Quebec – the largest aluminum smelter in the Americas.

The ingots are being used by the aluminum sheet manufacturer Novelis, which has recently added two new automotive finishing production lines in Oswego and is currently constructing a third line to meet rapidly growing demand by auto manufacturers such as Ford. The Port of Oswego expects aluminum shipments to increase even more in 2015 as this new line begins production.

Aluminerie Alouette expects to ship close to 500,000 metric tons of primary aluminum to U.S. ports including Oswego, New York, Toledo, Ohio and Detroit, Michigan the next three years.

Port of Oswego


Illinois company is latest to test market for carp

8/15 - Grafton, Ill. – When they arrive at the processing plant, the fish that have been cursed as a menace to American lakes and rivers are raked onto a conveyer belt, some of them still flopping.

Brought by the boatload to this facility north of St. Louis, the Asian carp quickly meet a gruesome fate: They are ground to a bloody pulp in a maze of machines that churn their bony bodies into dehydrated meal and fish oil.

A company called American Heartland Fish Products is the latest to venture into the small but growing business of carp-rendering, and their experiment offers another test of whether private enterprise can help reduce invasive species by turning them into food, be it for humans or more likely livestock.

For plant workers, purging the nation's waterways of carp that muscle out native fish for food and habitat isn't about balancing nature. It's strictly about making money.

"The government wants this fish removed in large volumes, and this is the way to do it," said Gray Magee, chief executive of the company, which began processing the carp in April atop a bluff near Grafton, a tiny tourist hamlet perched along the banks where the Mississippi and Illinois rivers meet.

Heartland joins Schafer Fisheries, which more than a decade ago expanded its northern Illinois operations near the Mississippi to include carp after focusing entirely on catfish. A similar venture was launched recently in Kentucky, and yet another carp-processing site has been proposed for a site along the Illinois River near Peoria.

The idea of eliminating carp by eating them, much promoted only a few years ago, has been fairly slow to take hold in the business world.

Partly because they're so bony, Asian carp have drawn little interest among U.S. consumers. The few Americans who make a living exporting carp face big challenges: Profit margins are thin because of freight and fishing costs. And the carp have soft flesh that can spoil quickly if not processed rapidly and packed in ice.

American Heartland originally targeted exports to China but turned to the domestic market when a contract fizzled. Now some experts say a recent fall-off in the world's anchovy supplies could open a new market for carp as a replacement in animal feed.

Still, the industry has grown to a point where some fish experts have begun to worry about what happens to carp businesses if they actually succeed in helping to wipe the species out.

"In an odd way, I wonder about the overall supply," said Carol Engle, director of the aquaculture fisheries center at the University of Arkansas in Pine Bluff. "In this case, we want to overfish them. But if we accomplish this, what are these companies going to do?"

Exactly how many Asian carp clog U.S. rivers and to what extent those fish are processed and exported is murky, though global consumption appears to be rising.

According to Engle, 7.8 million tons of farm-raised silver and bighead carp -- a delicacy in China -- were sold worldwide in 2012, up roughly 1.4 million tons from five years earlier. Some 28 percent more Asian carp is consumed worldwide than pollock, the variety commonly found in fresh and frozen fillets, fish sticks and other breaded and battered products.

Bighead and silver carp, which have migrated up the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, are a particularly serious threat because they eat plankton -- microscopic plants and animals that are essential components of aquatic food webs. If they reach the Great Lakes, scientists say, carp could out-compete other fish for food and decimate the $7 billion-a-year fishing industry.

Developing new markets is difficult, as American Heartland learned since it made a ballyhooed announcement two years ago that it would partner with a contingent of Chinese investors to ship the fish to Asia. Without elaborating, Magee said that deal ultimately imploded, leading American Heartland to focus instead on animal feed markets.

That was sensible, Engle said, especially with the recent overfishing of anchovies, a key ingredient in animal feed.

“No one is getting rich on (carp processing) -- not yet anyway," said Duane Chapman, a fish biologist for the U.S. Geological Survey in Columbia, Missouri. "But you might as well make lemonade from lemons."

Associated Press


Final Bells

Obituary: Captain Robert James McClelland
Captain Robert (Bob) James McClelland, a veteran of Canada Steamship Lines, the C.W. Cadwell and the tall ship Empire Sandy, died August 3 at Kingston, Ont., in his 85th year.

Obituary: Author George W. Hilton
George W. Hilton, 89, a retired UCLA professor, author and transportation economist known for his study of railroads and shipping, died Aug. 4 of heart failure in Columbia, Md.

In 1962 Hilton joined the faculty of UCLA, where he taught economics and transportation regulation until retiring in 1992. He was the author of 15 books. He was honored in 2005 by the Marine Historical Society of Detroit with its Historian of the Year Award.

"George was a great historian for lost causes and great failures," said Herbert H. Harwood Jr., a retired CSX Corp. executive, and a nationally known railroad historian and author. "That resulted in the definitive histories of the American narrow-gauge railroads, the electric interurban railway industry, cable-powered street railways, overnight steamships along the coasts and in the Great Lakes.

Among his books were "The Great Lakes Car Ferries" (1962), "The Ma & Pa: A History of the Maryland & Pennsylvania Railroad" (1963), "Eastland: Legacy of the Titanic" (1995) and a book on baseball, "The Annotated Baseball Stories of Ring Lardner" (1995).

Los Angeles Times


Lookback #271 – Crew of former Rocky River rescued in Hudson Bay on Aug. 15, 1961

8/15 - The wooden-hulled tug known on the Great Lakes as Satinleaf and Rocky River had a diverse career serving different owners in a variety of capacities.

This was mainly a saltwater tug that had been built at Everett, Wash. in 1944. It was armed and operated on the South Pacific setting navigational aids. The ship received two battle stars for its war service.

Satinleaf came to the freshwater lakes in 1947 for the Great Lakes Lumber and Shipping Co. It was used to tow pulpwood barges from Lake Superior to Wisconsin ports but joined the Quebec & Ontario Transportation Co. in 1949 becoming Rocky River.

Under Q. & O., the tug towed the barges Black River and Pic River and their loads of pulpwood, coal or newsprint until the ships were rebuilt as powered freighters.

Rocky River then went to the Atlantic as Foundation Josephine II in 1952 working as a salvage tug.

It was sold and renamed North Star IV in 1960 and was lost in James Bay while doing hydrological survey work. The vessel struck an uncharted rock pinnacle on Aug. 14, 1961, forcing the crew and surveyors to abandon ship. They were picked up by the coastal freighter Fort Severn 55-years ago today and taken to safety. The ship lasted 2-3 more days on the rock and then slid back into deep water as a total loss. The location is now called North Star Shoal.

Skip Gillham


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 sank. 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.

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.

In 1991, ALGOSTEEL was outbound at Superior when a small, smoky fire broke out in the electrical panel. The ship went to anchor and then returned to port for repairs. The trip resumed on August 24.

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. Catharines, 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, Skip Gillham, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series.


July best month for U.S.-flag lakers in two years

8/14 - Cleveland, Ohio – U.S.-flag Great Lakes freighters moved 11,365,550 tons of cargo in July, their highest monthly total in two years. The industry’s July total also represented increases of 8.6 percent compared to June and 10.2 percent compared to a year ago.

Iron ore for steel production totaled 5.3 million tons, an increase of nearly 15 percent compared to a year ago. Higher water levels did allow for some cargos to approach 70,000 tons, but even so, the vessels were still less than full. With 18 million cubic yards of sediment clogging ports and waterways, only dredging will fully restore the Great Lakes Navigation System.

Coal cargos totaled 2.1 million tons, a slight increase compared to a year ago. Loadings on Lake Superior were virtually unchanged from a year ago. Shipments from Lake Erie ports soared 65 percent, but loadings on Lake Michigan fell 50 percent.

Shipments of limestone reached their highest level in two years, 3.4 million tons, an increase of more than 10 percent compared to a year ago.

Year-to-date, U.S.-flag cargo movement stands at 38.4 million tons, a decrease of 10.8 percent compared to a year ago. Even though 55 U.S.-flag lakers were in service in July, an increase of five hulls compared to a year ago, the fleet has yet to overcome the thousands of hours lost to heavy ice formations in March and April. Iron ore cargos are down by 14 percent. Coal trails last year by 5.8 percent. Loadings of limestone are 8.7 percent off last year’s pace.

Decreases in cargo totals are not the only impact of the brutal winter. Repairing the damage that ice did to U.S.-flag lakers has cost LCA’s members more than $5.7 million.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Port Reports -  August 14

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Wilfred Sykes was expected to arrive at Port Inland during the early morning on Wednesday. Also due on Wednesday was the John J. Boland in the late afternoon. The Boland is expected to return again on Friday in the late afternoon to load.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
The barge Ashtabula and tug Defiance were expected to arrive during the early evening on Wednesday to load. Also expected to arrive in the early evening on Wednesday was the Philip R. Clarke. Wilfred Sykes is due at Cedarville on Friday in the late evening.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
There are no vessels scheduled for arrival on Wednesday and Thursday. The next vessel will be the Cason J. Callaway on Friday in the early morning, loading at the South Dock.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
John G. Munson was expected to arrive early evening on Wednesday. Also due on Wednesday was the Pathfinder in the late evening. Pathfinder will be going to anchor and is expected to get a dock following the Munson's departure around midnight-1 a.m. on Thursday. Due on Thursday is the Lewis J. Kuber in the morning. Great Republic is due on Friday during the early evening. Four vessels are expected to arrive on Saturday to load, with the Joseph H. Thompson arriving first in the early morning, followed by the Great Lakes Trader. John G. Munson is due back in the late morning, and the Pathfinder returns to load in the early afternoon. Algomarine is expected to arrive on Sunday in the early morning.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Algoma Progress is due at the CSX Coal Dock on Friday during the early afternoon. Sam Laud and James L. Kuber are due to load on Saturday, with the Laud loading in the morning followed by the Kuber in the early evening. American Mariner is due on Monday, August 18 in the early morning, and Algoma Progress is due back on Wednesday, August 20 in the early morning. There is nothing due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. Both Hon. James L. Oberstar and H. Lee White are due at the Torco Dock on Saturday to unload iron ore in the early morning. James L. Kuber is also due on Saturday in the late morning. Whitefish Bay is due on Tuesday, August 19 in the late morning and the James L. Kuber is due back on Friday, August 22 in the early afternoon. The tug Huron Service and barge were in port at the time of this report, as was the detained saltwater vessel Fritz of Liberian registry. Adam E. Cornelius, American Fortitude and American Valor remain in lay-up.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
Neah Bay came in Wednesday around 6 p.m. for the Visiting Ship's Dock at the North Pier.

Oshawa, Ont. – Andre Blanchard
The Marshall Islands-flagged bulker Federal Satsuki departed Oshawa Wednesday evening on its way to Montreal. The Antigua & Barbuda-flagged bulker Three Rivers arrived in Oshawa. Tugs La Prairie and Omni-Richelieu were on station to assist.

Bowmanville, Ont. – Andre Blanchard
The tug Petite Forte arrived at the St. Mary's Cement Dock Wednesday.


Lookback #270 – Federal Maas had wing clipped at Iroquois on Aug. 14, 2004

8/14 - It was 10 years ago today that the second Federal Maas had an accident at the Iroquois Lock. As the ship was departing the lock downbound, the port wing of the pilothouse clipped the bascule bridge, which no one had noticed had not been fully raised. The ship was damaged but cleared to proceed.

The 646-foot, 2-inch-long bulk carrier had been built at Shanghai, China, in 1997 and joined the Fednav fleet early in the year. It came through the Seaway for the first time on June 7, 1997, with a cargo of steel for Hamilton.

To the end of the 2013 season, Federal Maas had made 41 trips to the Great Lakes and, save for the incident of August 14, 2004, they have been generally without any trouble.

The vessel has carried steel, wheat, soybeans, grain, sugar, manganese ore, flax and canola while on the freshwater seas. Among the inland ports the ship has visited are Toronto, Hamilton, Detroit, Chicago, Duluth, Milwaukee, Toledo, Goderich, Oshawa, Thunder Bay, Ashtabula, Sault Ste. Marie, Indiana Harbor, Burns Harbor and Windsor.

Federal Maas remains an active member of the Montreal-based Fednav fleet. An earlier Federal Maas is still sailing as Mapleglen (iii) in the Canada Steamship Lines fleet.

Skip Gillham


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 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.

After 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 logjam, 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.

1936: Registration for the wooden steamer MARY H. BOYCE was closed. The ship, which had burned at Fort William in 1928, was scuttled in deep water off Isle Royale in 1936.The vessel had been an early member of the Paterson fleet.

1950: The Canada Steamship Lines passenger carrier QUEBEC caught fire near Tadoussac, Quebec, and was able to reach the dock. Of the 426 passengers on board, 3 lives were lost. The blaze was considered suspicious as it began in a linen closet. The vessel was a total loss.

1961: The wooden diesel-powered tug NORTH STAR IV had visited the Great Lakes as b) ROCKY RIVER and had been used to handle the barges BLACK RIVER and PIC RIVER for the Quebec & Ontario Transportation Co. The vessel was serving under her fourth name when she stranded on a rock in James Bay while doing hydrographic survey work. The crew was rescued but the vessel was a total loss. The rocky area is now called North Star Shoal.

1986: GABRIELLA came through the Seaway in 1975 when only a year old. The ship capsized at Port Kembla, Australia, while discharging a 227-ton heavy lift on this date. The vessel was turned upside down, refloated in November 1986 and towed 30 miles out to sea and scuttled on December 9, 1986.

2004: FEDERAL MAAS was damaged at the Iroquois Lock when the wing of the pilothouse struck the edge of the bascule bridge.

2005: The Cypriot freighter ULLA visited the Seaway in September 1995 with cocoa beans for Valleyfield, QC and returned, in ballast, in November 1996 for Port Robinson. It was in a collision as f) REEF PEMBA with the GAS VISION and sank off Oman on this date in 2005. The crew was saved.

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


Port Reports -  August 13

Duluth, Minn.
Canada’s last steam-powered vessel, Algoma Montrealais, was discharging cement Tuesday in Duluth.

St. Marys River
After passing through the locks downbound Tuesday afternoon, the Edwin H. Gott turned around above the Mud Lake Junction Light and headed back upstream to the Nine Mile anchorage. The reason is unknown. She was still there Tuesday in the late evening. The saltie Gadwall was at the Essar Export Dock Tuesday and Federal Margaree was anchored above DeTour.

Muskegon, Mich.
The saltwater vessel HR Constitution arrived Monday to unload windmill towers from Europe. The Andrie tug Meredith Ashton helped them to the dock.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Manitowoc was heading to the Jonick dock Tuesday evening.

Cobourg, Ont. – Andre Blanchard
Over the last few weeks, AIS has been showing the SAR vessel CCGS Cape Dundas at Cobourg, Ont. For the last several years, CCGS Cape Mercy has been at this station. It appears there has been a change of vessels on station

Seaway – Ron Beaupre
Monday at about 10 p.m. the Federal Mackinac hit the ship arrestor in Lock 3. This event delayed the upbound Cedarglen and the downbound ships John B Aird, Everlast with her barge Norman McLeod, Puffin, and Manitoba. As of 5 p.m. Tuesday, a new ship arrestor boom had been installed.


Buffalo area partners to conduct full-scale international security exercise

8/13 - Buffalo, N.Y. – An upcoming exercise on the Niagara River, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, scheduled for Thursday and Friday, will bring together federal, state, local and Canadian law enforcement partners in a multi-agency exercise designed to prepare for and prevent cross-border terrorist and criminal activity.

There are no known threats against the area but boaters may notice an increased presence of law enforcement assets on the water.

The Monroe County Emergency Management Office organized and Department of Homeland Security sponsored the full-scale, multi-jurisdictional exercise. The exercise coordinates a response to a possible waterborne threat in Lake Ontario and will include activities in Buffalo, Niagara, Oswego, and Rochester.

“This drill exemplifies the long-standing relationships that exist among our local, State, Federal, and International partners,” said Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks. “Monroe County is home to some of the best trained and best equipped first-responders in the nation. While we certainly hope this scenario never becomes a reality, we can rest assured knowing that our local first-responders are prepared to protect our families, friends, and neighbors in the unfortunate event it does.”

This scenario calls for a multi-agency response based on intelligence gathered from U.S. and Canadian officials.

“The Great Lakes are a shared bi-national treasure, and threats on either side of the border impact both countries,” said Rear Adm. Fred Midgette, commander of the Coast Guard 9th District.

“U.S. and Canadian forces work seamlessly to protect life and the environment on the Great Lakes, so bi-national security is an important collaboration, too. The objective of the exercise is to protect the region in collaboration with our Canadian partners, and learn invaluable lessons about defense and how to leverage each other’s efforts for the benefit of all.”

“This exercise a great example of how our two countries’ law enforcement agencies work together to stop criminals from exploiting our shared border,” said Superintendent Robert Kempf, Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

A variety of security challenges require collaboration and partnership among the participating governing agencies on both sides of the border.

“Not only does this exercise give us an opportunity to integrate operations with our state and local partners, it also is a useful opportunity to work alongside the agencies in the Department of Homeland Security,” said Dan Hiebert, Deputy Chief Patrol Agent, Buffalo Sector Border Patrol.

“The U.S. and Canada are significant trading partners and it’s critical that we can ensure an unimpeded flow of legal goods and commerce across our shared secure border.”


Lookback #269 – Howard Hindman departed Quebec City for scrapyard on Aug. 13, 1969

8/13 - After 59 years of plying the Great Lakes, the second Howard Hindman was sold to Spanish shipbreakers and departed Quebec City, under tow of the tug Mississippi, on this date in 1969. Along for the ride was the Humberdoc, another retired laker, consigned to the same fate.

The former ship had spent most of its career sailing under the banner of the Pioneer Steamship Co. as A.A. Augustus. It had been built at Lorain, Ohio, in 1910, and concentrated in the ore, coal and grain trades on the upper four Great Lakes.

It had already been sold for scrap once passing to Marine Salvage in May 1961 but the 524-foot-long ship still had some life left and proved to be a fine fit in the Hindman fleet during the early years of the St. Lawrence Seaway. They purchased the bulk carrier later in 1961 and, after a refit, it resumed sailing as Howard Hindman while registered in London, England.

Registry was moved to Canada in 1965 and the Howard Hindman was generally busy. It was idle at Owen Sound, however, in 1968 but came back out in 1969. The return proved to be brief as the vessel ran aground in the Little Rapids Cut of the St. Mary's River on April 29, 1969, after the steering cables parted. Howard Hindman temporarily returned to service, but the damage was too severe to warrant repairs so it was resold to Marine Salvage. This time they sold it to Spanish shipbreakers.

The vessel came down the Welland Canal under its own power, carrying a cargo of salt, on June 6, 1969, and after unloading tied up at Quebec City. It left for overseas 45-years ago today and arrived at Bilbao on Sept. 6, 1969, for dismantling.

Skip Gillham


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.

1986 INDIANA HARBOR set a Toledo and Lake Erie record, loading 55,047 tons of coal at Toledo for Marquette.

1917: The barge MIDDLESEX of the Ontario Transportation and Pulp Company broke loose and stranded at Rapide Plat in the St. Lawrence. The ship was abandoned to the insurers but salvaged and returned to service as b) WOODLANDS in 1918.

1979: IRISH OAK first came to the Great Lakes in 1960 for Irish Shipping Ltd. The vessel went aground near Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, as c) VEGAS on this date in 1979, while enroute from Piraeus, Greece, to Vietnam. The hull was refloated on October 28, 1979, and reached Jeddah on November 16, 1979. It was sold for scrapping at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, and arrived there on January 29, 1980.

1982: EUTHALIA visited the Seaway for the first time in 1972. It caught fire in the engine room as d) FORUM SPIRIT enroute from Port Said, Egypt, to Piraeus, Greece, and was abandoned by most of the crew. While it was towed into Piraeus on August 14, the vessel was declared a total loss. The ship arrived at Split, Yugoslavia, again under tow, for scrapping on March 6, 1984.

1993: The second CORFU ISLAND to visit the Great Lakes came inland in 1970. This SD14 cargo carrier had been built the previous year and returned as b) LOYALTY in 1980. Later that fall, the ship arrived at Basrah, Iraq, from Duluth with severe missile damage resulting from the Iraq-Iran War. The ship was declared a total loss but remained idle there until being towed away on August 13, 1993. LOYALTY arrived at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, for scrapping on September 22, 1993.

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


Saltwater vessel Fritz impounded at Toledo

8/12 - Toledo, Ohio – A freighter delivering steel to the Port of Toledo has been impounded by the U.S. Marshals Service because of an unpaid fuel bill, a marshals service representative said.

It’s still up in the air whether the current or previous owner of the motor vessel Fritz, registered in Liberia, owes the unpaid $900,000 in fuel bills.

“That will have to be worked out in court,” said Steve Miller, a supervisory deputy for the marshals service in Toledo. But until legal arrangements are made to release the vessel, he said, it will remain “arrested” in Toledo.

Joe Cappel, the Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority’s director of cargo development, said the matter does not affect the port authority or Midwest Terminals of Toledo International — the stevedore that operates the port-owned international cargo docks on the Maumee River — because Midwest’s services are paid for by the steel shipper, not the ship operator.

“In 10 years, this is the first time I can recall something like this” happening to a ship at Toledo’s port, Cappel said, noting that most of the freighters that call on Toledo are owned by large fleets, while the Fritz is an independent, or “tramp,” vessel.

The Toledo impoundment is not the Fritz’s first trouble during its current Great Lakes voyage. Late last month, it was delayed in Oshawa, Ont., when Transport Canada placed a detention order on it, according to the Oshawa Express, a local newspaper. The order applied to the ship’s physical condition, and was rescinded July 23, which was long enough for the Fritz to travel to Hamilton, Ont., for repairs, the newspaper reported.

While in Oshawa, the ship’s crew protested not having been paid and being short on food and water, but the ship’s acquisition by a new management company appeared to have resolved those issues, according to the newspaper. Oshawa is a suburban city east of Toronto on Lake Ontario.

Toledo Blade


Smoother sailing as Great Lakes levels continue their rebound

8/12 - Detroit, Mich. – The story of improving Great Lakes water levels can be discerned in the things unheard this summer – like complaints.

Record snowfalls last winter, coupled with a rainier-than-usual spring and summer, have Great Lakes levels recovering faster than they have in decades. With a second straight year of rebounding from record-low lake levels, gone are the panicked harbormasters, concerned marina owners, grumbling charter fishermen and befuddled freight shippers. No longer are city officials expressing urgent need for dredging funds.

“You can get in and out of more harbors – the water’s actually up to the docks again,” said Raymond Raab of Holly, who operates Lil Red Fishing Charters on Lakes Michigan and Huron. Just two or three summers ago, “some harbors you couldn’t even get into,” he said.

All of the Great Lakes, with the exception of Lakes Michigan and Huron, are above their long-term average depths going back to 1918. And Michigan and Huron are at their highest water levels since 1998, said Keith Kompoltowicz, chief of watershed hydrology for the Army Corps of Engineers’ Detroit District.

Lakes Michigan and Huron are only 4 inches below long-term average, but have recovered more than 2½ feet since their record lows in January 2013.

“That we’re not quite back to average speaks to how low we actually were at the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013,” Kompoltowicz said.

One of the hardest-hit industries during the low levels around 2012 was Great Lakes freight shipping. Vessels had to leave iron ore, cement and the other products they ship on the docks, needing lightened loads to avoid scraping the lake bottom.

“When you can only haul 75 percent of your cargo, it affects your financial bottom line,” said Martin Cottle, manager of Soo Marine Supply Inc. in Sault Ste. Marie, which provides supplies to freighters on the Great Lakes.

“There were times when the vessels had to wait to get through the Soo Locks because of a storm or low-pressure system, waiting for the water levels to return to a sufficient level,” he said.

The rapid recovery isn’t unprecedented. Previous record-low Great Lakes levels were recorded in the 1960s. But by the 1970s, they reached their high-water marks, Kompoltowicz said.

“Over the course of a decade, we covered the range of historical fluctuation,” he said.

The Army Corps issues lake level forecasts for the next six months and predicts water levels will remain above average and above the depths of a year ago. Lakes Michigan and Huron are predicted to reach their long-term average in November. “If that were to play out, it would be the first time they were at or above average since the late ’90s,” Kompoltowicz said.

The record-setting cold, snow and Great Lakes ice cover of last winter is having another lasting effect — though it’s one that anyone taking a dip in the waters this summer could tell you: Great Lakes water temperatures are down on every lake from last year, and far below average – particularly on Lake Superior, which was at just more than 50 degrees on Aug. 1, about 7.73 degrees below its long-term average for that day, and Lake Michigan, which at 62.78 degrees was 6.49 degrees below long-term average.

Detroit Free Press


Coast Guard and Lake Carriers Association sign training agreement

8/12 - Cleveland, Ohio – The Coast Guard 9th District and the Lake Carriers’ Association jointly signed a Mutual Training Agreement, Monday, that further promotes cooperation and education opportunities between the Association’s seventeen member companies that operate cargo vessels on the Great Lakes and the Coast Guard as their primary regulatory agency.

This agreement was reached under the Coast Guard’s Merchant Marine Indoctrination Ship Rider Program, which provides for valuable professional exchange opportunities for the mutual benefit of both the Coast Guard and the merchant marine industry.

The MTA will allow Coast Guard marine inspectors to join a vessel’s crew while underway and act as a riding observer, giving the inspectors a practical knowledge of the performance and operating characteristics of the vessels, equipment, the waterways they transit and the vessel crews. Since many Coast Guard marine inspectors come to the Great Lakes after learning their trade in coastal ports, these training opportunities serve to increase and expand their knowledge of the unique Great Lakes maritime industry.

“We’re extremely pleased with this opportunity to strengthen our relationship with the Lake Carriers’ Association and their member companies," said Rear Adm. Fred Midgette, commander of the Coast Guard 9th District. "This agreement will enable Coast Guard marine inspectors develop a more comprehensive understanding of commercial vessel operations and enhance the level of marine safety and security across the entire Great Lakes region.”

The Coast Guard 9th District is headquartered in Cleveland and oversees all Coast Guard operations on the U.S. portions of the Great Lakes. The Lake Carriers’ Association represents 17 member companies that operate 57 vessels on the Great Lakes that can carry more than 115 million tons of cargo in a year.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Port Reports -  August 12

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
John J. Boland is expected to arrive on Tuesday in the late evening. Manistee is expected to arrive on Wednesday in the late evening. The John J. Boland returns to load again on Thursday in the late evening.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Wilfred Sykes is due to arrive on Tuesday in the late afternoon followed by the Philip R. Clarke due on Wednesday in the early morning. Also due on Wednesday in the early morning will be the barge Ashtabula and tug Defiance.

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
Friday evening the tug Leonard M and barge Huron Spirit arrived at Lafarge. The barge had some type of cargo that was unloaded at the dock. The tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity were at Lafarge loading cement on Sunday. On Monday the Alpena was in port taking on product for delivery to Superior, Wis.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
John G. Munson loaded at the North Dock on Monday and was due to depart around 1:30 p.m. American Courage was also expected to arrive on Monday in the late morning for the South Dock. Sam Laud is due on Tuesday in the early morning for the North Dock. There are no vessels due on Wednesday. Rounding out the schedule is the Cason J. Callaway, due on Thursday in the early evening for the South Dock.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
Algoma Olympic loaded at the CSX Coal Dock #4 on Monday. Due next at the CSX Coal Dock will be the H. Lee White on Tuesday during the early morning. The Algoma Progress is due on Thursday in the late evening. Sam Laud is due on Friday in the late afternoon along with the James L. Kuber also on Friday in the late evening. There is no activity scheduled at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. Vessels arriving at the Torco Dock with iron ore cargoes include the James L. Kuber due on Friday in the early afternoon along with the Hon. James L. Oberstar also due on Friday in the late evening. The H. Lee White is expected to arrive on Sunday, August 17 in the late morning. Whitefish Bay is due on Monday, August 18 in the early evening and the Manitowoc is due on Tuesday, August 19 in the early evening. Adam E. Cornelius along with American Fortitude and American Valor remain in lay-up.

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
Federal Nakagawa departed from Redpath at 5 pm Monday afternoon assisted by the tug Omni-Richelieu. The bulker had barely cleared the slip when it blew five shorts in order to clear a pesky sailboat out of the way. The Omni-Richelieu then went alongside at Redpath awaiting the imminent arrival of the Chestnut. Stephen B. Roman was back at the Villiers Street Essroc dock unloading cement.

Buffalo. N.Y. – Brian W.
The tug Paul Luedtke was westbound from Buffalo Monday, passing Dunkirk at 8:30 p.m.


Columbus ships Nina, Pinta return to Wyandotte Aug. 13-17

8/12 - Wyandotte, Mich. – Replica Columbus ships were such a big hit in 2012, Opportunity Grosse Ile and the city of Wyandotte have teamed up to bring them back.

The city and nonprofit organization are co-hosting the visit of two of the three ships -- the Nina and the Pinta -- that Christopher Columbus commanded when he explored the American continents starting in 1492 and set the stage for European colonization of the New World.

The ships will dock at Bishop Park, 2802 Van Alstyne, located along the Detroit River, where they’ll be open to tours by the public from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 13 through Aug. 17. The ships will arrive at the park on the afternoon of Aug. 12. Only members of the media will be allowed to tour the ship on the day of its arrival.

Craig Pilkington, president of Opportunity Grosse Ile and chief coordinator of the event, said the visit to Wyandotte will be the only stop by the ships in eastern Michigan before sailing to the Lake Michigan coast and destinations in other Great Lakes states.

The Nina and Pinta replica ships serve as floating museums operated by the Columbus Foundation, located in the British Virgin Islands. They are considered to be the most historically accurate reproductions of the famous ships ever built. During 2014, the Columbus Foundation scheduled public tours of the ships at United States ports in the East, Great Lakes region and in the South.

"A tour of the Columbus ships is educational for the entire family,” Pilkington said. “ The Nina and Pinta provide a hands-on experience representative both of early European exploration of the Americas and of those vessels that 150 years later first sailed the Great Lakes under explorers such as LaSalle and Cadillac – both of whom landed on Grosse Ile.”

“Wyandotte’s Bishop Park proved a wonderful venue for the 2012 visit attended by 6,000 plus, and is a great asset for the historically rich Downriver region,” he added.

According to Pilkington, the ships rarely return to one location year after year. He said it was difficult to persuade the organization to come every other year. However, he said that schedule works well for Opportunity Grosse Ile.

“If we did the same thing every year, it would wear thin fairly quickly,” he said. “Next year we might want to go to the War of 1812 period, which involves a different group of ships. In those off years we can have other vessels from other times in Downriver’s history.”

News Herald


US Brig Niagara to visit Toledo Boat Show Aug. 23-24

8/12 - Toledo, Ohio – The US Brig Niagara will participate in the Toledo Antique and Classic Boat Show on August 23rd and 24th 2014 at the National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo, Ohio.

“The Niagara might not be the oldest boat at the show, but it certainly represents one of the most important naval battles in American history,” Christopher Gillcrist, Executive Director of the museum said.

The Toledo Antique and Classic Boat Show is presented by Ramsey Brothers Restoration and the National Museum of the Great Lakes. Besides the Niagara, the show will feature boats by Chris Craft, Dart, Lyman, Mathews and other builders, many of whom operated in and around the Great Lakes.

“Recreational boats may not be as big as the freighters but they are spectacularly beautiful,” Gillcrist added.

The museum expects as many as 50 boats in the water and another 20 on land. In addition, vendors of all sorts will populate the grounds of the museum. Live entertainment will be offered at various times throughout both days. Visitors have two levels of admission from which to choose. Visitors can purchase a $5 ticket for the boat show only which gives access to the marina and museum grounds only. A $15 ticket gives access to the boat show, the National Museum of the Great Lakes and its Col. James M. Schoonmaker Museum Ship, and deck tours of the US Brig Niagara.

“We created the two levels so that everyone can participate in the show at some level,” said Gillcrist. “Don’t forget, children five and under are free and we discount seniors and kids 6-18.”

Members of the National Museum of the Great Lakes/Great Lakes Historical Society are admitted to the show free of charge. Members are asked to present their membership cards at the admission kiosk.

The museum will hold a special “Members Only War of 1812 Commemorative Reception” on Friday Aug. 22 from 7-9 p.m. Members of the museum will get to tour the Niagara privately. There is no charge for the reception but space is limited and RSVP is required. People wanting to join the museum to participate should contact the museum at 419-214-5000.


Lookback #268 – Ralph Misener rocked by crankcase explosion on Aug. 12, 1980

8/12 - The Canadian bulk carrier Ralph Misener was up bound in the Saguenay River 34 years ago today when the crankcase exploded. The blast left one sailor dead and four injured. One of the latter also succumbed to his burns and died. The ship was bound for Port Alfred with a cargo of coke, and had to be towed to its destination to unload.

The 730-foot-long vessel was repaired at Montreal and resumed service. It had been built at Montreal by Canadian Vickers in 1968 and first sailed as a self-unloader utilizing a deck-mounted Conflo system. It was not a success in this trade and the equipment was removed at Lauzon in 1978.

Despite not meeting the original expectations of the first self-unloader in the Misener fleet, the ship proved to be a good carrier. It set the record for loading barley at Thunder Bay on May 5, 1970, only to see it surpassed the next day by Algocen.

In addition to the usual ore and various grains, the Ralph Misener also carried tree bark from Thunder Bay to Detroit. After becoming the Gordon C. Leitch for ULS Shipping in 1994, the ship had a winter storage load of sugar at Toronto in 1997-1998.

The vessel was sold to Algoma in 2011 and tied up at Montreal at the end of that season. It was sold for scrap in 2012 and renamed Don, by painting out most of the letters of the previous name.

Don left for overseas, under tow, on Aug. 15, 2012, and arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, for dismantling on Sept. 10, 2012.

Skip Gillham


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.

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

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.

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, and is still there.

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.

1941: The first EAGLESCLIFFE HALL was attacked by a German bomber from the Luftwaffe and was struck aft. The vessel was two miles east of Sunderland, England, at the time and one member of the crew was killed. The ship reached Sunderland for repairs and, at the end of the war, resumed Great Lakes service for the Hall Corporation. It later joined the Misener fleet as DAVID BARCLAY.

1960: A collision on the Detroit River between the Finnish freighter MARIA and the ALEXANDER T. WOOD damaged both vessels and put the latter aground in the Ballard Reef Channel. After being lightered of some grain by MAITLAND NO. 1, the vessel was released with the aid of the tug JOHN PURVES. MARIA, a pre-Seaway caller to the Great Lakes as BISCAYA and TAMMERFORS, was towed to the Great Lakes Engineering Works at Ecorse for repairs. It was eventually scrapped in Yugoslavia in 1968. ALEXANDER T. WOOD sank as VAINQUER after an explosion in the Gulf of Mexico on March 15, 1969.

1980: An explosion in the crankcase of the bulk carrier RALPH MISENER left one crew member killed and another four injured. One of the injured later died. The ship was loaded with coke and on the Saguenay River bound for Port Alfred. Repairs were carried out at Montreal.

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


Port Reports -  August 11

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Traffic on the Saginaw River was reminiscent of days about 10 years ago, as there were four vessels moving in the river on Sunday. Algorail was outbound after unloading at the Sagrent dock in Zilwaukee. Robert S. Pierson was outbound after unloading at the Buena Vista dock in Saginaw. Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber were outbound after unloading at the Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee. Inbound on Sunday was American Courage, calling on that Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. The tug Zeus and her tank barge, Robert F. Deegan, were outbound late Saturday night after unloading at the Dow Chemical dock in Bay City.

Lorain, Ohio
Calumet was inbound at just after 8 p.m. Sunday, headed for the LaFarge/Jonick docks.

Erie, Pa. - Gene
Manitowoc arrived in Erie harbor at 2 p.m. to unload stone at the old ore dock, surrounded by the weekend boaters. Likely she will move to the Mountfort terminal after unloading and pick up a load of sand to take a short distance across the channel and unload it at Presque Isle State Park where it will be used on the beaches. The sand came from Lake Erie via the J.S. St John dredger but cannot unload it directly to Presque Isle. This will be the third time this summer that the Manitowoc has unloaded stone and moved sand in Erie.

Toronto, Ont. - Jens Juhl
Saturday the laker Cuyahoga delivered another cargo of salt at Cargill. English River departed late Saturday afternoon followed by the Cuyahoga. The classic steam sidewheeler ferry Trillium was pressed into service this weekend to handle the heavy day-tripper traffic to the Toronto Island parks. The cruise ship Pearl Mist departed at 6 a.m. this morning bound for the Welland Canal.


Buyer of Captain John's fails to make final payments

8/11 - Toronto, Ont. - Friday was the deadline for new buyer of Captain John's. James Sbrolla had to pay the full $33,051 for a ship that's turned out to be a much bigger project.

The Toronto Port Authority is considering its options after the winning bidder for financially troubled Captain John’s Restaurant reneged on making final payments Thursday.

“We are working with the port authority on an extension,” said Toronto entrepreneur Sbrolla on Friday, almost 24 hours after he was to have made final payments of about $30,000 for the 300-foot ship, the Jadran.

So far, he’s only put down a deposit of $3,000 and missed three deadlines — the 4 p.m. Thursday deadline set by the court, which was extended at his request until 6 p.m. and eventually to midnight by port authority officials.

“We have not delivered the money,” he confirmed Friday afternoon. “We are hoping we can still do the transaction.”

But, as has been the case with almost everything related to the years-long saga of the financially crippled ship, the deal turned out to be far more complicated than Sbrolla, an avid sailor, had anticipated.

And the August 22 deadline for having the ship removed from the foot of Yonge St. has turned out to be onerous: Even having the high-risk hydro line that powers the ship disconnected is likely to delay the move beyond Aug. 22. The process is tricky because it’s dependent on temperatures being less than 24C and requires transiting other area customers linked to the line to other power systems.

The port authority, however, really doesn’t have many options. “Captain” John Letnik, who owes close to $2 million in outstanding realty taxes, berthing fees and mortgages on the defunct floating restaurant, has tried for years to sell the ship.

It could be listed for sale, again, but it’s unlikely another buyer would be found.

And there was only one other credible bid earlier to this month, from a veteran ship recycler asking more than $303,000 to tow and scrap the ship.

A group of Boston-based investors have been closely watching the sale, anticipating that Sbrolla might have taken on more than he could handle, and haven’t counted themselves out of trying to restore and revive the ship as a possible restaurant or entertainment venue.

The condition — which waterfront officials have refused to really consider so far — is that the investors would need another waterfront slip, and a long-term lease, on Toronto’s waterfront to make the business viable.

Toronto Star


Lookback #267 – Erling Lindoe hit a mine in Kattegat Strait on August 11, 1944

8/11 - The 236.9-foot-long Erling Lindoe was a general cargo carrier from the pre-Seaway era. The ship had been built at Ablasserdam, Netherlands, and completed in June 1917 for Norwegian interests.

The vessel came to the Great Lakes in 1923 and returned on several occasions in the 1930s. Destinations included South Haven, Mich., and Menominee, Mich., in 1933 and it was noted to have departed Little Current, on Manitioulin Island, for Sharpness, England, in 1934.

A collision in the Thames River late in 1933 put the ship on the bottom but it was pumped out and repaired in time for two trips to our shores in 1934.

The ship was attacked by aircraft on the North Sea on March 20, 1940, while on a voyage from Casablanca, Morocco, to Lysaker, Norway.

The accident of Aug. 11, 1944, 70 years ago today, was caused by striking a mine in the Kattegat Strait near Varberg, Sweden, while carrying pyrites from Ballengren, Norway, to Holtenau, Germany. Accounts vary on the number of casualties by it appears there were 19 lost while only 6 on board survived when the ship went down.

The hull rests in on the bottom with a mangled bow and the wooden bridge is gone. The latter reportedly was removed by being struck by a trawler.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  August 11

News Photo Gallery - we are working to get caught up on the News Gallery, please continue to send in your pictures.


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 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.

1865: A fire broke out at Sault Ste. Marie in the cargo of lime aboard the wooden passenger and freight carrier METEOR that was involved in the sinking of the PEWABIC on August 9. METEOR was scuttled in 30 feet of water to prevent its loss. The hull was pumped out and salvaged four days later and repaired.

1919: MURIEL W. hit a sunken crib off Port Weller and was partially sunk. An August 15, 1919, storm broke up the hull.

1928: W.H. SAWYER stranded off Harbor Beach Light in a storm. Her barges, A.B. KING and PESHTIGO, were blown aground and broken up by the waves. The trip had run for shelter but the effort ended 100 yards short of safety. The cook was a casualty.

1944: The Norwegian freighter ERLING LINDOE was built in 1917 and came to the Great Lakes for the first time in 1923. The ship struck a mine in the Kattegat Strait, off Varberg, Sweden, and sank with its cargo of pyrites. The number of casualties varies with one report noting the loss at 19 members of the crew, another at 17 and, yet another, had the death toll at 13. There were 6 survivors.

1976: The Panamanian freighter WOKAN was beached off Oman with a fractured hull enroute from the Ulsan, South Korea, to Kuwait. It was declared a total loss and abandoned. The 1952-built vessel first came through the Seaway as b) DAUPHINE in 1968 and returned as d) SPACE KING in 1975.

2001: Bridge 11 of the Welland Canal was lowered prematurely striking the downbound bulk carrier WINDOC taking the top off the pilothouse, toppling the stack and igniting a fire. The massive damage to the ship was never repaired and efforts for find work for the vessel as a barge were not a success. The hull arrived at Port Colborne for dismantling on November 9, 2010.

2004: ONEGO MERCHANT came through the Seaway for the first time in May 2004. Later that summer, the vessel sustained bow damage in a grounding near Larvik, Norway, but was refloated within hours. It returned to the Great Lakes in 2005 and 2006 and has sailed as b) VRIESENDIEP since 2009.

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


3 more ships carrying wind turbine parts to arrive in Muskegon this month

8/10 - Muskegon, Mich. – Three more large cargo ships are set to arrive in the Port of Muskegon this month, according to Ed Hogan, vice president of operations for Port City Marine Services.

All three "salties" will be carrying wind turbine parts bound for the Beebe Community Wind Farm in Gratiot County, south of Mount Pleasant and north of Lansing. The first ship of the year, the Hansa Heavy Lift (HHL) Elbe, a 454-foot cargo ship, arrived at Muskegon's Mart Dock on July 8.

The next ship, the HR Constitution, is due to arrive on Aug. 13, Hogan said. The vessel is carrying wind turbine towers from Korea. As of 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 7, it was located in St. Lawrence River. Hogan said he wasn't sure what time of day the ship would arrive.

Two more ships will follow the Constitution. The HHL Congo, carrying wind turbine blades from Germany, is scheduled to arrive on Aug. 17. It will be followed by the HR Maria, which is carrying wind turbine towers, on Aug. 24.

All the arrival dates are subject to change, Hogan said. As of the 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 7, the Congo was located in the Celtic Sea while the Maria was located in the Mediterranean.

"The Constitution was originally supposed to arrive on Sunday," he said. "Dates can always fluctuate. There's a hurricane in the Atlantic right now and that seems to be slowing things down."

Those interested in seeing the ships come into the Port of Muskegon can do so at the Muskegon Channel although it's impossible to tell what time of day they will come in as of now. Still, the presence of the ships in the area is exciting, Hogan said.

"I think it's really a positive for the whole area," he said. "People are really excited; it's so nice to see all the activity from the public."

Muskegon Chronicle


Port Reports -  August 10

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
Overnight the Baie Comeau delivered a cargo of road salt at Cargill. The English River was unloading cement at Lafarge. The Pearl Mist was alongside at the International Marine Passenger Terminal at Terminal 52. The cruise ship was provisioning and embarking passengers for the next Toronto to Chicago Great Lakes Cruise. Over at Redpath, the Fednav bulker Federal Nakagawa did the end for end turn around assisted by the tugs Omni Richelieu and Ocean Golf.


Ocean freighter cruising slowly making waves

8/10 - It’s not the Queen Mary 2, but they sail the same route across the Atlantic. You won’t have a crowded pool, major production shows or a casino. You will have the run of the ship in good weather, swim in an uncrowded pool, and have lots to eat but little choice beyond what’s being served.

Your cabins are big and, yes, some are for singles. Don’t wait for an invite to the bridge because you are free to visit whenever you like, within reason. You can even drop down and see the men in the engine room.

This is the world of freighter cruising.

When you’re travelling on a freighter, you don’t have to worry about being one of 3,000. The passenger levels are typically kept at between six and 12. According to Kevin Griffin, managing director of The Cruise People, freighter cruising is growing at the same percentage as river cruising, with a much smaller number of people.

Half of the London-based Cruise People’s freighter business comes from North America and Australia (the Toronto sister company got out of freighter travel in 2013). The company doesn’t actively sell the mainstream large cruise lines because its market is freighters, small ships, expedition ships and luxury brands.

The freighter trips are long, and while retirees have the time, Griffin points out you will also find on board young people who, after finishing college, are looking for a getaway before settling down to work life.

According to Griffin, the food is good and hearty but the choice is what the captain and officers are eating that day.

What about speed?

“A good formula,” he says, “is that it takes a day to steam as far as a jet will fly in an hour. You can actually do an around-the-world trip if you fly on the portion (of the journey) from New York to Vancouver or in reverse.”

On the cruise highlighted here, are three different cabin configurations, including the single cabins.

Griffin adds that in a much bigger way, you are part of the overall scene on freighters and not just a passenger. They travel all over the world, including the Great Lakes and Europe.

One good example is a 42-day return trip from the West Coast, starting in Seattle with stops in Portland and Vancouver before crossing the Pacific. Asian ports are Pusan, Kwangyang, Ningbo and Shanghai, followed by the return trip across the ocean to Prince Rupert, B.C., before returning to Seattle.

Depending on loads, Griffin says the ports can change from time to time so you have to be flexible.

He also adds that if you board at Vancouver and depart in Prince Rupert you reduce the cruise by a week and save some money. The fare becomes $4,650 per person based on double occupancy, including fees and taxes for 35 days, or $4,410 single for the same trip.

Here is a sample of what’s on board and what’s to eat: Indoor swimming pool, sauna, fitness room, washer and dryer, lounge area, TV/VCR (TV works near ports only), steward, weekly cabin cleaning.

Three cabin types (owners — the best of the lot — double and single).

Meals with the captain and the officers. Typical menus: breakfast — sausage goulash, eggs one day, French toast the next; lunch — chicken curry with rice, next day breaded fish and ratatouille; dinner — spaghetti Bolognese and garlic bread the first night, the next evening sweet and sour pork with rice.

That’s a small sample of what to expect when travelling by freighter.

“Mostly,” adds Griffin, “our passengers want the cruise experience without the 3,000-plus passengers that come with the main line cruises.” For all the details, go to For email, use

Montreal Gazette


Lookback #266 – Jalarajan struck while docked at Kenosha on Aug. 10, 1979

8/10 - Jalarajan was one of 48 saltwater ships to trade through the Seaway with “Jala” names for the Scindia Steam Navigation Co. The vessel had been built at Port Glasgow, Scotland, and served the company for 20 years.

The 525 foot long ship first came through the Seaway in 1968 and returned inland from time to time. It was usually away from home for periods of three months and carried a crew of 68 sailors.

It was 35 years ago today that the ship was struck by the freighter Laurentic while docked at Kenosha, Wis. Fortunately, the damage was light.

Jalalrajan had another Seaway connection, as it salvaged the Liberty ship California Sun adrift on the Indian Ocean on Nov. 28, 1967. The latter had been abandoned by the crew after an engine room explosion. Sailors from the Jalarajan got a line aboard and towed the derelict vessel to Mahe, Seychelles, arriving on Dec. 5, 1967. California Sun had been a Seaway traveler in 1966.

Jalarajan was laid up at Calcutta, India, on Dec. 18, 1986, and, following a sale to local shipbreakers, the dismantling of the hull got underway on Feb. 1, 1989.

Laurentic, which provided reefer service to the Great Lakes, arrived at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, for scrapping as Spartan Reefer on Feb. 3, 1984.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  August 10

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Chestnut, Duzgit Endeavour, Erieborg, Federal Asahi, Finnborg, Heloise, HR Constitution, Lady Doris, Pearl Mist, and Puffin


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 14 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 1960s. 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, Mich.) foundered in heavy seas, 9 miles north of Oscoda, Mich.

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, Mich. Her lines were burned through and she then drifted three miles down the St. Clair River before beaching near Port Lambton, Ont. and burning out.

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

1899: The whaleback steamer JOHN B. TREVOR was rammed and sunk by her barge #131 in the St. Clair River. The accident was caused by CRESCENT CITY crossing the towline. The sunken ship was refloated and, in 1912, became the ATIKOKAN.

1967: PAUL L. TIETJEN and FORT WILLIAM were in a head-on collision on Lake Huron about 25 miles north of Port Huron. Both ships were damaged but were repaired and returned to service.

1975: CIMBRIA came through the Seaway for the first time in 1965 under West German registry. The ship was sailing as c) KOTA MENANG when it stranded on Nyali Reef, off Mombasa, Tanzania, due to a steering failure on August 10, 1975. The vessel received severe hull damage and was deemed a total loss.

1979: The Indian freighter JALARAJAN and the British flag LAURENTIC sustained minor damage in a collision at Kenosha, Wis. The former was dismantled at Calcutta, India, in 1988 while the latter was scrapped at Karachi, Pakistan, in 1984.

1992: MENASHA was set adrift and then sank in the St. Lawrence off Ogdensburg, N.Y. The former U.S. Navy tug was refloated and repaired. After some later service at Sarnia, the tug was resold and moved for Montreal for work as c) ESCORTE.

2007: NORDSTRAND came to the Great Lakes in 1990 and sank at the stern, alongside the Adriatica Shipyard at Bijela, Montenegro, as c) MEXICA, when the engine room flooded on this date. The ship was refloated on September 1, 2007, and arrived at Aliaga, Turkey, for scrapping on May 5, 2010.

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


St. Clair River traffic will be restricted Saturday for race

8/9 - Port Huron, Mich. – The U.S. Coast Guard has issued a mariner’s notice regarding the St. Clair River during the International Offshore Powerboat Race.

From noon to 4 p.m. Saturday, the Coast Guard will enforce a no-wake zone in the area of the race. On Sunday, U.S. waters of the river will be closed from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the race. Vessels will not be allowed to enter, transit through or anchor in the regulated area without Coast Guard permission. Mariners can contact the Coast Guard at channel 16 VHF-FM.

US Coast Guard


Port Reports -  August 9

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Robert S. Pierson arrived Thursday during the early evening to load. Joseph L. Block was expected to arrive on Friday in the early afternoon. Wilfred Sykes is expected to arrive Saturday in the early morning. American Mariner is also due on Saturday in the early morning to load.

Cedarville, Mich.
Cason J. Callaway arrived Thursday during the late evening to load. Manitowoc was expected to arrive on Friday during the early afternoon and the Joseph L. Block is due on Saturday in the early morning.

Calcite, Mich.
H. Lee White was expected Friday during the early morning to load at the North Dock. On Saturday two vessels are due in the early morning, with the Michipicoten arriving first followed by American Courage. Michipicoten will loading from the South Dock, while American Courage will be loading from the North Dock. For Sunday, the Great Republic is due in the morning for the North Dock and the John G. Munson is due at noon also for the North Dock.

Stoneport, Mich.
Lewis J. Kuber was expected to arrive on Friday during the early evening to load. On Saturday, the Joseph H. Thompson is due to arrive in the early morning. Three vessels are due to arrive on Sunday to load, with Great Republic and John G. Munson in the morning. They will be followed by the Pathfinder, expected at noon.

Toledo, Ohio
The Toledo Docks will be closed on Saturday from 7 a.m.-6. p.m. due to an outage. Calumet and James L. Kuber are expected to arrive Saturday at the Torco Dock to unload iron ore. James L. Kuber is also due back at the Torco Dock to unload on Friday, August 15 in the late afternoon. The Hon. James L. Oberstar is also due to arrive on Saturday, August 16 in a rare early morning visit . There is nothing due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. At the CSX Coal Dock, Algoma Olympic is due to load on Sunday during the early morning followed by the James L. Kuber also due Sunday in the morning. H. Lee White is due on Monday, August 11 during the mid-afternoon. Algoma Progress is due on Thursday, August 14 during the early morning. Two vessels are slated for arrivals on Saturday, August 16 with James L. Kuber and Sam Laud arriving that day. James L. Kuber will load in the early morning followed by the Sam Laud in the mid-afternoon. Adam E. Cornelius, American Fortitude and American Valor still remain in lay-up. Four other vessels were in port at the time of this report, with the tugs Pioneerland, Huron Service and barge and Wilf Seymour and barge Alouette Spirit. The saltie Fritz of Liberian registry was at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock.


Roerborg launched for Royal Wagenborg Shipping

8/9 - Roerborg (IMO Number 9592599) the third of a series from Royal Wagenborg Shipping B.V., was successfully launched on July 4 at the Smit Ferus Shipyard in Leer, Germany. Roerborg joins two other vessels of the series, Reestborg IMO Number 9592563 launched on January 25, 2013 and delivered on March 14, 2013 and Reggeborg IMO Number 9592575 launched on December 18, 2013 and delivered on February 14, 2014. Both the Reggeborg and Reestborg have visited the Great Lakes/Seaway system, with the Reggeborg entering June 14 and the Reestborg most recently on July 28. The Roerborg and her sisterships are ice-classed multi-purpose vessels with a cargo capacity of 23,000 tons with each vessel measuring nearly 170 meters in length and 20.40 meters in width. These three new vessels are considered to be the largest vessels that Royal Wagenborg Shipping B.V. have ever owned and are also the largest vessels ever launched at the Smit Ferus Shipyard. The R-series is equipped with a so-called eco bow and in addition to this, these vessels have a relatively low engine capacity so they can be labeled "green." The R-series is unique in combining cargo capacity, hold dimensions and fuel consumption. Delivery of Roerborg is planned for September 2014.


Updates -  August 8

News Photo Gallery - we are working to get caught up on the News Gallery, please continue to send in your pictures.


Lookback #265 – Canadian Transport lost power and stranded on Aug. 9, 1988

8/9 - While the first Canadian Transport in the Upper Lakes Shipping fleet was too large to enter the Seaway, the second has been a regular Great Lakes trader since it was built by Port Weller Dry Docks at St. Catharines, ON in 1979.

The 730 foot long self-unloader lost power and went aground in the St. Mary's River on Aug. 9, 1988. Canadian Transport was down bound with a cargo of coal at the time of the accident of 26 years ago today. About 900 tons were lightered and three tugs pulled the big laker free the next day.

There have been a number of highlights over the years. The ship delivered the 100 millionth ton of coal to the Ontario Hydro Lakeview Generating Station by a ULS vessel on June 23, 1987. It set a record loading over 29,300 tons of salt at Fairport, Ohio, on May 11, 1986, and delivered the first cargo of limestone to the Marysville, MI dock of Blue Water Aggregates on April 8, 1987. It also made the news as the first ship off Lake Erie into Port Colborne to start another season of Welland Canal navigation on March 28, 1990.

While ore, coal, stone, salt and grain are more common, Canadian Transport delivered a cargo of sugar to Toronto and discharged it into the bulk carrier Algoisle for winter storage and later unloading by Redpath Sugar.

This vessel remains an active Great Lakes traveler and has sailed as Algoma Transport since 2012.

Skip Gillham


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 p.m. As the two approached, somehow METOER sheered and struck her sister, sinking the PEWABIC within minutes in 180 feet of water. About 125 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 that 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.

1968 Labrador Steamships agreed to sell POINTE NOIRE to Upper Lakes Shipping. The vessel was operated by U.L.S. on charter until the sale was approved.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


July is best month for Lakes limestone in 2 years

8/8 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 4,090,079 tons in July, the highest total for the trade since July of 2012. Loadings that month totaled 4,083,753 tons.

Loadings out of U.S. quarries totaled 3.5 million tons in July, an increase of 17.7 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments from Canadian quarries totaled 555,000 tons, a slight increase over a year ago.

Year-to-date the Lakes limestone trade stands at 12 million tons, a decrease of 6.1 percent compared to a year ago. Much of the decrease is the result of the brutal winter of 2013/2014. Ice conditions were so formidable that the limestone trade did not resume in earnest until late April.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Lakes rising, but group warns it won't last

8/8 - Owen Sound, Ont. – Lake levels have risen more than 30 centimetres above those seen this time last year, thanks largely to a memorably cold winter which froze lakes, limited evaporation and let snow pile up.

They've continued to rise over the summer thanks to a wetter June and are now 37 cm above last year's levels in the lake Michigan/Huron/Georgian Bay basin as of Aug. 4, said Chuck Southam, an Environment Canada lake levels expert.

Now levels are within 10 cm, or about four inches, of the long-term average for this time of year. With a wet late summer and fall, they could hit or beat the average by year's end, Southam said.

Average July levels haven't been so high since July 1998, when levels were still above the long-term average, Southam said.

But Mary Muter, chair of the Great Lakes section of Sierra Club Canada, said don't be fooled by unusually high precipitation over the past 1 1/2 years and by last winter's cold stretches which froze the lakes and minimized evaporation. “This is temporary relief,” she said.

“We are about to be hit with the next cycle of warm weather,” she said, referring to an El Nino weather pattern which is setting up, causing forecasters to predict next winter will be warmer than average.

The Sierra Club is aligned with Restore Our Water International, a collection of Canadian and U.S. Groups that are concerned about lake levels and increased basin outflows caused by dredging of the St. Clair River most recently in the 1960s.

Last year, the International Joint Commission, after years of study, advised both Canada and the U.S. to investigate an old plan to install speed bumps or sills on the floor of the St. Clair River to slow the flow of water out of the Michigan/Huron/Georgian Bay basin.

The commission estimated slowing the flow could gradually increase lake levels by 13 to 25 cm. The work would cost U.S. and Canadian governments an estimated $100 million to $200 million.

The U.S. contributed $50,000 to review the plans and update them as needed. The Canadian government has been silent, Muter said. That study is expected to take three years.

IJC said the St. Clair River floor is stable but, Muter said, there's no proof of that and she fears it is unstable. If so, it would let increasing amounts of water out of the basin unless something is done.

The speed bump plan was part of an agreement in return for allowing navigation dredging of the river in 1962. The work was never done because, Muter said, Canada argued too few sills were being installed. Congress withdrew the funding but not authorization for the work, she said.

Sun Times, Owen Sound


Tall ship Niagara to visit Algonac

8/8 - Algonac, Mich. – Algonac residents will have a visitor from the 19th century this weekend. The tall ship U.S. Niagara, one of the last surviving warships from the War of 1812, will be docked along the city’s waterfront as part of a visit sponsored by the Algonac-Clay Township Historical Society Maritime Museum on Saturday and Sunday.

The Niagara is based in Erie, Pennsylvania. The ship was part of Oliver Hazard Perry’s command at the Battle of Lake Erie on Sept. 10, 1813. Nine U.S. vessels defeated and captured six British vessels, ensuring American control of the lake.

The Niagara served as Perry’s flagship after its sister ship, the Lawrence, sank during the battle.

The ship, which has been rebuilt four times, provides visitors an opportunity to see a living piece of American history, said Joe Lengieza, director of marine operations and day sail and trainee operations for the Niagara.

“It’s unusual to see an actual, functional piece of American history out moving under its own power,” Lengieza said. “This is not a museum exhibit in a glass case. You can go out on it, sailing on it for weeks at a time.”

He said the cannons are crowd favorites. “The Niagara carries two carronades,” Lengieza said. “These are large cannons that carry a 32-pound ball. It weighs as much as a Volkswagen.”

The ship is manned by 40 crew members — 20 are professionals and the remainder are trainees.

“People are always surprised to see that the trainee crew, 20 of 40, are people just like them,” Lengieza said. “Often the trainee who’s been there for a week has a better perspective that is more accessible than a professional of 15 years.”

Marilyn Genaw, the tallship coordinator for the museum, said the Niagara was a frequent visitor. “The Niagara stops here just about once a year,” Genaw said.

She said the city has a reputation as the “hospitality port,” for all the members of the museum do to aid the crew members of the ship, ranging from acting as drivers, to providing a place to take a hot shower.

“We are hosting the ship because Algonac is the hospitality port for the tall ships,” Genaw said. “They like to stop in Algonac because of the park, and the shopping.”

The Niagara will be docked along the Algonac waterfront from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.

Port Huron Times Herald


Port Reports -  August 8

Green Bay, Wis. – Jeff Rueckert
The steamer Alpena arrived on Thursday at Lafarge and was expected to depart on Friday.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Daniel Lindner
The tall ship Peacemaker departed Sturgeon Bay via the bay of Green Bay on Thursday morning, after a day in port. She turned south and headed towards Green Bay, Wis., after departing.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
Alpena was outbound from the Saginaw River on Thursday after unloading at the Lafarge Cement dock in Essexville. Manitowoc was inbound during the early afternoon, calling on the GM dock in Saginaw to unload. She was outbound later in the evening. Olive L. Moore - Lewis J. Kuber were inbound during the late afternoon, stopping at the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City to unload.


USGS research boat for Lake Ontario gets christened at Oswego Harbor

8/8 - Oswego, N.Y. – A $4.1 million research vessel being used by U.S. Geological Survey staff to study Lake Ontario and its fishery has been christened and commissioned in Oswego Harbor.

The 70-foot, R/V Kaho, which is docked at the USGS's Lake Ontario Biological Field Station in Oswego, replaced an aging vessel by the same name that's been used on the lake for research purposes since 1978.

The boat was commissioned by Pamela Dei, a mechanical engineer for the USGS. USGS Director Kimball christened the boat, breaking a champagne bottle across the bow. In addition, Henry Lickers, director of the Department of Environment for the Mohawk Council of Akswesanse, gave the vessel a tribal blessing.

According to the USGS, "the new vessel will provide a safe and reliable platform for scientists and will be equipped with state-of-the art scientific and marine instrumentation; hydro-acoustic fish detection systems; wet and dry laboratories; gear for fish, limnological and contaminant sampling, and advanced navigation and propulsion systems.

The boat's hull is made of aluminum, "allowing for lighter weight and increased speed and stability.

"The new vessel will allow USGS scientists to improve understanding of deep-water ecosystems and fishes in Lake Ontario and expand the scientific information to our partners who manage the $54 million fishery in this lake," the USGS said.

The boat, which has been in active use on Lake Ontario since last year, was one of two boats built in Cleveland, Ohio by the Great Lakes Towing Company under a American Reinvestment & Recovery Act grant. It is one of five research vessels the USGS is currently using to study the five Great Lakes.

The name Kaho was originally a shortened version of the colloquial Ojibwe word, "kahoasad," which means "searcher" or "hunter." Ojibwe, also known as Chippewa, is a North American indigenous language of the Algonquian language family.


Behind Toledo’s water crisis, a long-troubled Lake Erie

8/8 - Toledo, Ohio — It took a serendipitous slug of toxins and the loss of drinking water for a half-million residents to bring home what scientists and government officials in this part of the country have been saying for years: Lake Erie is in trouble, and getting worse by the year.

Flooded by tides of phosphorus washed from fertilized farms, cattle feedlots and leaky septic systems, the most intensely developed of the Great Lakes is increasingly being choked each summer by thick mats of algae, much of it poisonous. What plagues Toledo and, experts say, potentially all 11 million lakeside residents, is increasingly a serious problem across the United States.

But while there is talk of action — and particularly in Ohio, real action — there also is widespread agreement that efforts to address the problem have fallen woefully short. And the troubles are not restricted to the Great Lakes. Poisonous algae are found in polluted inland lakes from Minnesota to Nebraska to California, and even in the glacial-era kettle ponds of Cape Cod in Massachusetts.

Algae fed by phosphorus runoff from mid-America farms helped create an oxygen-free dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico last summer that was nearly as big as New Jersey. The Chesapeake Bay regularly struggles with a similar problem.

When Mayor D. Michael Collins told Toledo residents on Monday that it was again safe to use the city’s water, he was only replaying a scene from years past. Carroll Township, another lakefront Ohio community of 2,000 residents, suspended water use last September amid the second-largest algae bloom ever measured; the largest, which stretched 120 miles from Toledo to Cleveland, was in 2011. Summertime bans on swimming and other recreational activities are so routine that the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency maintains a website on harmful algae bloom.

Five years ago this month, the federal Environmental Protection Agency and state water authorities issued a joint report on pollution of the nation’s waterways by phosphorus and other nutrients titled “An Urgent Call to Action.”

“Unfortunately, very little action has come from that,” said Jon Devine, the senior lawyer for the water program at the Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington.

“When we bring this subject up for conversation with the regulators, everyone sort of walks out of the room,” Donald Moline, the Toledo commissioner of public utilities, said in an interview on Monday. “The whole drinking-water community has been raising these issues, and so far we haven’t seen a viable response.”

Lake Erie’s travails — and now, Toledo’s — are but the most visible manifestation of a pollution problem that has grown as easily as it has defied solution. Once the shining success of the environmental movement — Lake Erie was mocked as dead in the 1960s, then revived by clean-water rules — it has sunk into crisis again as urbanization and industrial agriculture have spawned new and potent sources of phosphorus runoff.

In Lake Erie’s case, the phosphorus feeds a poisonous algae whose toxin, called microcystin, causes diarrhea, vomiting and liver-function problems, and readily kills dogs and other small animals that drink contaminated water. Toledo was unlucky: A small bloom of toxic algae happened to form directly over the city’s water-intake pipe in Lake Erie, miles offshore.

Beyond the dangers to people and animals, the algae wreak tens of billions of dollars of damage on commercial fishing and on the recreational and vacation trades. With conservationists and utility officials like Mr. Moline, representatives of those industries have for years called for some way to limit the phosphorus flowing into waterways.

There are practical and political reasons, environmental activists and other say, why it has not happened. The biggest, perhaps, is that the government has few legal options to impose limits — and voluntary limits so far have barely dented the problem.

The federal Clean Water Act is intended to limit pollution from fixed points like industrial outfalls and sewer pipes, but most of the troublesome phosphorus carried into waterways like Lake Erie is spread over thousands of square miles. Addressing so-called nonpoint pollution is mostly left to the states, and in many cases, the states have chosen not to act.

Beyond that, the Supreme Court has questioned the scope of the Clean Water Act in recent years, limiting regulators’ ability to protect wetlands and other watery areas that are not directly connected to streams, or that do not flow year-round.

Wetlands, in particular, filter phosphorus from runoff water before it reaches rivers and lakes. A federal Environmental Protection Agency proposal to restore part of the Clean Water Act’s authority has come under fire in Congress, largely from Republicans who view it as an infringement on private rights and a threat to farmers.

Some efforts to control pollution have found powerful opponents in agriculture and the fertilizer industry, which, for example, has fought limits on lawn fertilizers in Florida towns and on overall pollution of the Chesapeake Bay. The principal industry lobby, the Fertilizer Institute, is part of a coalition of industry and agricultural interests that are opposing federal efforts to restore some coverage of the Clean Water Act.

With Lake Erie in peril, both Ohio and federal authorities have taken some steps to rein in phosphorus pollution. Some of the $1.6 billion that Congress has allotted for a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative has gone to create wetlands and teach farmers ways to reduce fertilizer use and runoff. The Ohio government runs a Lake Erie Phosphorus Task Force that brings together interests from conservation to agriculture to industry to devise solutions to rising pollution.

But as in many places, Ohio has stopped well short of actually ordering the sources of phosphorus runoff to cap their production. A hefty Nutrient Reduction Strategy paper issued last year cites sheaves of demonstration projects, voluntary phosphorus reduction goals and watershed plans, but makes no mention of enforceable limits on pollution.

A spokesman for Gov. John R. Kasich, a Republican, did not return a call seeking comment on the state’s phosphorus initiatives.

The legislature this year passed a law requiring farmers and other major fertilizer users to apply for licenses and undergo certification, but limits control of pollution to voluntary measures.

All mention of one contributor to the pollution problem — so-called confined animal feeding operations, the industrial-size feedlots that produce manure en masse — was stripped from the version that was enacted.

Environmental advocates say they agree that voluntary measures to limit phosphorus pollution, such as targeting fertilizer to precisely the locations and amounts that are needed, are a big part of any solution.

“We’ve worked with farmers, and we know it works,” said Jordan Lubetkin, a Great Lakes spokesman for the National Wildlife Federation. “Voluntary programs will take you so far. But at the end of the day, you need numeric standards. You’ve got to limit the amount of phosphorus coming into the lake. That’s why you see what we’re seeing in Toledo.”

New York Times


Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder weighs in on Muskegon river barges proposal

8/8 - Grand Haven, Mich. – Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder made his first-ever trip to the Coast Guard Festival in Grand Haven when he spoke at the U.S. Coast Guard National Memorial Service at Escanaba Park on Aug. 1.

During his speech, Snyder consistently encouraged the public to honor and remember the duties and contributions of the Coast Guard. Following the ceremony, he took a few minutes to share some of his thoughts on one of those contributions.

The U.S. Coast Guard is currently taking public comments until Aug. 25 on a proposed river barge program in Muskegon, which aims to allow barges from the Mississippi River system to travel on Lake Michigan along the western shore of Michigan.

Snyder was aware of the proposal and said the comment period is something he and his staff will be paying close attention to.

"There are some important issues and that's the good part about having the comment period," he said. "I'm actually very interested in making sure that we're reviewing those comments, too."

Snyder said there are two facets of the proposal he is most interested in: the condition of the barges and the threat of invasive species.

"Two things really stand out to me are one, how seaworthy is the barge since we're bringing barges that are made for rivers across the Great Lakes. We don't want to see challenges there," he said. "The second is the whole question of invasive species with the Asian carp and such."

The concern of whether or not the barges are seaworthy may be answered in the Coast Guard's stipulations for such a program.

If the program -- which requires the obtaining of a load-line exemption -- is approved, barges would be permitted to travel on Lake Michigan under the same stipulations presently observed by barges traveling to Wisconsin. These guidelines require barges to remain within five miles of the shoreline, transit only under favorable weather conditions, and only carry dry, non-hazardous cargoes.

The governor wasn't ready to fully support a barge program but did say he is encouraged by such ideas.

"It's not an easy question to answer and there are some challenges that need to be addressed before I think we'd want to be supportive of something like that," he said. "It's always good that people have innovative ideas; we just need to make sure we're doing it in the context of making sure that things are safe and we're protecting the Great Lakes also."

Comments on the proposed river barge system in Muskegon can be made at this link

M Live


Lookback #264 – Ellen Klautschke lost power and rammed Nordia at Toronto on Aug. 8, 1964

The West German freighter Ellen Klautschke was preparing to dock at Toronto on Aug. 8, 1964, when the engine failed. The out-of-control vessel narrowly missed the tug Terry S. and Toronto fireboat William Lyon Mackenzie. It then struck the docked Swedish vessel Nordia, which was operating on charter to the Cunard Line.

The two saltwater ships were damaged in the accident of 50 years ago today. The tug Graeme Stewart was summoned to tow the two-year old, 321 foot, 3 inch long Ellen Klautschke to Port Weller for repairs. It was back through the Seaway again in 1965.

Ellen Klautschke was sold to the Thakur Shipping Co. and registered in India as Varuna Yan in 1972. The vessel was detained at the Shatt-Al-Arab Waterway in 1980 due to the conflict between Iran and Iraq. Varuna Yan was shelled and sunk there on April 3, 1984, as a total loss.

Nordia was a regular Seaway trader and made a total of 16 inland voyages between 1964 and 1967. It dated from 1961 and became Tevega in 1974 and Dimmer in 1981. Following a sale to Pakistani shipbreakers, the former Nordia arrived at Gadani Beach on April 1, 1987, and was broken up.

Skip Gillham


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.

1941 An explosion aboard the Canadian tanker TRANSITER at River Rouge resulted in the loss of 2 lives. The ship was towed to Port Dalhousie for repairs and returned to work as b) TRANSTREAM in 1942. It was sold for off-lakes service as c) WITSUPPLY in 1969 and sank in heavy weather off Cabo de la Vela, Colombia, while apparently enroute to Cartagena, Colombia, for scrap, on February 23, 1981.

1964 ELLEN KLAUTSCHE suffered an engine failure while berthing at Toronto and rammed the docked NORDIA after just missing the tugs TERRY S. and WILLIAM LYON MACKENZIE. The West German freighter was towed to Port Weller for repairs by the GRAEME STEWART. Later, as b) VARUNA YAN, it was detained in the Shatt-Al-Arab waterway and then, on April 3, 1984, was shelled becoming a CTL.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Residents encouraged by prep work for removal of Canadian Miner

8/7 - Sydney, N.S. – Ongoing preparation work for the removal of the former motor vessel Canadian Miner is giving hope to Main-a-Dieu residents that the derelict vessel will soon be gone from the coastline of nearby Scatarie Island.

Controversy, including jurisdictional and logistical issues, has surrounded the abandoned vessel since it ran aground on the north shore of Scatarie Island almost three years ago.

The decommissioned Canadian lake freighter was being towed by a Greek tugboat from Montreal to Turkey, where it was to be scrapped, in September 2011 when the towline snapped during a gale.

Julian O’Neil of the Main-a-Dieu Coastal Discovery Centre said residents of the small fishing community are excited to finally see signs of work on the removal project.

“It’s a terrible eyesore and it has been in our backyard for almost three years now,” said O’Neil. “It will be nice to finally see it removed when that time does come.”

O’Neil said there has been recent activity on and around the island, which has been a provincially designated wildlife management area since 1976.

“We’ll be a little more excited when we see the ship being taken away,” he said.

The removal project is being overseen by Nova Scotia Lands, a Crown corporation with a mandate to remediate and redevelop government-owned properties.

In May of 2014, it was announced that Antigonish-based RJ MacIsaac Construction had been awarded the $12-million contract to remove the Miner.

Nova Scotia Lands president Gary Campbell said now that lobster season is over, preparation work necessary for the project has begun and is on schedule.

“There are a couple of minor regulatory issues to overcome yet but we don’t see anything that is a showstopper at this point,” said Campbell.

Rock and stone, intended for use on a new breakwater, is now being transported to Scatarie Island by barge from Louisbourg and a base camp that is being constructed on the island, whose last permanent residents left in 1957.

“We realized that moving people and equipment back and forth wasn’t going to work, so it made ultimate sense to build a camp out there and work right on the site,” said Campbell, who added that the camp should be completed within three weeks.

Once all the preparatory work is completed, Campbell said crews will work on removing the remaining asbestos from the ship before cutting the vessel up and transporting the scrap steel to Sydney to be sold.

A target date of mid-November has been set for the completion of the project, but Campbell admits that uncertain maritime weather may jeopardize the timeline.

“We had fog so bad last week our helicopter could only make one trip out to the island and, of course, there are predictions of another storm coming up the coast,” he said.

“It would be very costly for the contractor to have to remobilize in the spring so they are quite anxious to get out there and get at it,” said Campbell.

Cape Breton Post


Mount McKay: A tug at the heartstrings

8/7 - Duluth, Minn. – Don Bergholm remembered a time just a few summers ago when it seemed like he and the Mount McKay tugboat would never be apart. He was in the pilothouse while his trusted engineer, Bruce Lindberg, was down below, operating the unique Kahlenberg six-cylinder engine that required Lindberg to oil its moving parts by hand every hour.

Lindberg was so good at operating the converted diesel he had it bucking under the Aerial Lift Bridge in such a manner that smoke rings came out the stack. After a costly restoration of the sky-blue vessel which was built in 1908, it was a surreal time.

“I couldn’t get over it,” Bergholm said. “Everybody on the pier was clapping.”

Bergholm and Lindberg tooled around Lake Superior in the Mount McKay a half-dozen times that summer.

But never again. Cancer took Lindberg in early 2013.

“He was a genius,” Bergholm said of his late friend and colleague. “Certified machinist. Certified surveyor. Certified welder. You name it. He described himself as a ‘self-taught engineer,’ and he was.”

Standing by his father’s side, Don Bergholm Jr. echoed the sentiment, saying, “[Lindberg] was the kind of guy who was so smart he made you feel like a total idiot next to him.”

Losing Lindberg’s genius was the first blow to put the future of the Mount McKay in doubt. The 79-year-old Bergholm’s own brush with death in April 2013 struck next. A heart attack during a snowstorm left Bergholm to be rescued by his son-in-law, Barry Wain, who performed chest compressions for 10 minutes until paramedics could reach them through the snow.

Bergholm was outfitted with an internal defibrillator after the heart attack. He can’t get near an electrical field, meaning he can’t be around a working pilothouse. He’s restricted to touring the Mount McKay where she floats, in the Superior harbor, along the pier Bergholm owns as operator of Connors Point Storage on Connors Point Pier.

Up the pier is the J.B. Ford, a mildly historic steam ship scheduled for the salvage yard. There are working tugboats belonging to Heritage Marine that contrast the Mount McKay’s sky blue paint for being deep brown in color and still working vessels.

The Mount McKay will be sold either for pleasure — “if someone wants something different, other than your typical yacht,” Bergholm said — or for use as a historic museum piece.

It might be a hard sell. Today’s tugs, said Bergholm Jr., probably have a hemi engine down below that would not necessitate the presence of a skilled engineer.

The Mount McKay has known many lives.

First as a steamship that was later converted to run on diesel, she was constructed in 1907 in Buffalo, N.Y. She was first called the Walter Mattic, later the Esther S, then the Merchant and the Marinette. She finished her working days rounding up barges of floating logs for a paper mill in Thunder Bay, Ontario, where Mount McKay looked down on the work she did and provided her its latest name.

Bergholm got her after a businessman skipped town several years ago, leaving behind debts, some damage to the pier and the Mount McKay. She wasn’t much at the time. Potato-chip looking paint flakes lined the hull, said Bergholm, who funded a restoration that was manageable only through the volunteer work of several friends and ship enthusiasts. Bergholm hosted cookouts throughout the restoration, flipping burgers while others sweated to get the vessel seaworthy once again.

Once, after the Mount McKay was restored, they cooked and ate a full Thanksgiving dinner aboard her.

Don Bergholm Jr. runs the family business now, filling the pier and warehouses with corporate storage. He and his father don’t want to scrap the Mount McKay, but they might have to if a buyer is not found. She’s an insurance liability sitting there unused, they say. If she sank, she wouldn’t be visible in the 29 feet of water off the pier.

Bergholm’s options may be shrinking, but he continues to marvel at the way the Mount McKay operates — the Kahlenberg six-cylinder engine his favorite feature, what with the massive 12¼-inch cylinders impressively buffed and in a line like dedicated soldiers.

“You’ve never seen an engine like that before,” he said, recalling the way his trusted engineer used to slip her into forward and reverse so skillfully and so quickly. “They’re as rare as hen’s teeth.”

Duluth News Tribune


USCG Mackinaw crew reunion this Saturday

8/7 - Mackinaw City, Mich. – The United States Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw WAGB 83 (retired) and Queen of the Great Lakes, now a floating museum in Mackinaw City, will host a crew reunion on Saturday, Aug. 8, at St. Anthony’s Catholic Church friendship hall in Mackinaw City.

Former Coast Guardsmen from 1955 to the cutter's retirement will gather for laughter, sea stories and sharing heroic rescues of stranded lake freighters in the ice of the Great Lakes.

Tom Chastain, president of the Mackinaw Cuttermans Association, and reunion chair, said more than 200 reservations have been confirmed already, with additional reservations arriving daily.

A formal reunion dinner and dance will highlight the weekend events with guest speakers including Jeff Hingston, mayor of Mackinaw City; Bill Shepler, president Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum; Terry Pepper, director Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers’ Association; Michael LeButt, local historian; and Coast Guard personnel.

A cookout will take place at the dock of the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum and former car ferry Chief Wawatam dock on the waterfront of Mackinaw City. Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry will host a boat ride to Mackinac Island for all former crew members and families as part of Saturday’s festivities.

A wreath ceremony is planned on Saturday morning for former crew, deceased since the last reunion in 2009. Special guests include families of former captains and crew.

Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Musuem will also hold a “Mackinaw Memories Tool Sale” for former crew who would like to purchase part of Mackinaw’s history to remember their times on board. Tools, foul weather jackets, dishes, and more will be available.

The crew reunion was the original brainstorm of Ed Pyrzynski and Bob Henderson of Cheboygan, 50 years ago. They believed that a reunion of the former crew would be a tribute to all crew who served on the Mackinaw.

Pyrzynski, a retired Master Chief off the Mackinaw, went on to lead the local Veteran’s Affairs county office for more than 20 years. Pyrzynski helped many veterans of Cheboygan County in that role.

Henderson helped in Cheboygan’s growth as a general contractor, and was involved in building the Proctor and Gamble paper plant as well as the UAW Center on Black Lake.

Former sailors have confirmed reservations from as far as Hawaii, Alaska, Florida, Georgia and California.

Mackinaw reunions take place every five years. This reunion will celebrate the 10th of these reunions, spanning a time period of 50 years.

Special guests include the sons of two original Mackinaw sailors (now deceased) who brought the ship to Cheboygan in 1944.

The search for a permanent home for the Icebreaker Mackinaw, now in the hands of Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum, is progressing with the hopes that she may reside at the former car ferry loading dock on the waterfront in Mackinaw City. The dock is now a fishing pier.

Chastain says that the Cuttermans Association is in full support of the museum’s effort to secure a permanent home base. The Mackinaw City Village Council has approved a resolution of support, saying that they were willing to work with the organization and the State of Michigan to secure a permanent home at the former State Ferry Dock.

Shepler has provided the Mackinaw a safe home for the past six years until a permanent location can be secured. Shepler rescued the Mackinaw from the scrap yard destiny with only two weeks to spare by promising a safe home in Mackinaw City. The Mackinaw is open for tours from mid-May to October.

Visit for Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum details. For additional Mackinaw reunion information, see or contact president Tom Chastain, (231) 436-4047.


Port Reports -  August 7

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Daniel Lindner
The tall ship Peacemaker arrived Sturgeon Bay on Wednesday morning and docked just next to the Oregon Street Bridge, across the channel from the U.S. Coast Guard Station where the 140-foot Mobile Bay is docked. It is unknown how long the tall ship is expected to be in port.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Algorail was inbound on the Saginaw River on Monday, traveling upriver to the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee to unload. She was outbound later in the day. Alpena arrived on Wednesday and was unloading at the Lafarge Cement dock in Essexville.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Cuyahoga was entering Lorain harbor shortly before 9 p.m. Wednesday night.

Oshawa, Ont. – Andre Blanchard
The Zealand Juliana departed Oshawa Wednesday afternoon. Destination on AIS shows Istanbul, but it is heading towards the Welland Canal.


$2 million committed towards Georgian College's MED expansion plan

8/7 - Owen Sound, Ont. – Grey County council approved Tuesday a request from Georgian College to contribute $2 million over 10 years towards a planned expansion of its Owen Sound campus and Great Lakes international marine centre.

County officials say the funding, which is to help pay for construction of a marine emergency duties (MED) training and research facility, is council’s largest-ever commitment to economic development.

Owen Sound Mayor Deb Haswell said the centre would be the only one of its kind in central Canada, so people will be travelling to the city from far and wide to take the mandatory training and, while here, will stay in local hotels, eat at local restaurants and buy from local stores.

“There’s a huge economic impact that this program will have both regionally and for the City of Owen Sound,” she said in an interview, following county council’s monthly meeting.

Several councillors said ideally the county would not have to help finance this type of project at Georgian since post-secondary education is a provincial responsibility and the training is mandated by a federal ministry.

But they said without significant county dollars, they do not believe the project will proceed. Haswell said she hopes the county’s pledge will prompt Queen’s Park to also commit soon to a $2 million share.

“I think it sends a signal to the province that this region is supportive of the college and this project,” she said.

Georgian College says it will cost $7 million to build a 6,500-square-foot addition for the new MED facility.

The county, Ottawa and Queen’s Park have each been asked to contribute $2 million towards the project. The marine industry has been asked for $1 million.

The county’s $200,000 a year payments are to be funded through its annual general budgets and begin in 2015. A bylaw is expected to be tabled in September to formally approve the $2-million commitment.

Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound Conservative MP Larry Miller has indicated to Owen Sound that the feds are supportive of the project, Haswell said.

MED training, which prepares mariners for possible emergencies onboard ships, is now compulsory for marine students. Transport Canada has proposed regulatory changes — which are expected to be in place soon — that will require refresher emergency response training every five years for existing mariners. That would mean another 750 students will require four days of MED training each year, according to Georgian College.

Transport Canada closed in 2013 the only approved English-language MED training site in central Canada, which was operated by Georgian College in Port Colborne.

Sun Times Owen Sound


Great Lakes steel production rises by 18,000 tons

8/7 - Indiana Harbor, Ind. – Raw steel production in the country's Great Lakes region shot up to 693,000 last week. Overall U.S. output slipped by 0.9 percent in the week that ended Saturday, according to an American Iron and Steel Institute estimate. But local production surged by 18,000 tons, or about 2.7 percent.

Most of the raw steel production in the Great Lakes region takes place in Indiana and the Chicago area.

ArcelorMittal projects local production should increase by 1,000 tons a day once the No. 7 blast furnace at its Indiana Harbor steel mill is ramped back up after a $70 million reline project. The furnace, the nation's largest, had been offline for about two months.

Production in the Southern District, typically the country's second biggest steel-producing region, free-falled to 640,000 tons, down from 681,000 tons a week earlier.

Total domestic raw steel production last week was about 1.9 million tons, down from 1.92 million tons a week earlier.

Nationally, domestic steel mills had a capacity utilization rate of 79 percent last week, down from 79.8 percent a week earlier. The capacity utilization rate had been 77.4 percent a year earlier.

U.S. mills have produced 56.4 million tons of steel so far this year, or about 0.4 percent more than at the same point in 2013.

Steel imports fell by 11.1 percent in June, dropping to 3.6 million tons in a possible reflection of economic uncertainty after the U.S. Gross Domestic Product fell by 3 percent in the first quarter. Most of the imports came from the European Union, which shipped 639,000 net tons to the United States.

Imports from South Korea, which faces potential duties as part of pending trade case over oil country tubular goods, dropped by about 22 percent to 534,000 net tons.

Despite the overall month-to-month decline, imports from most trading partners were much higher than in June 2013, according to the American Institute of International Steel.

Year-to-date imports are up 34 percent over last year. Semi-finished product imports have skyrocketed by 64.4 percent during the first six months of the year.

NWI Times


Wisconsin-built Staten Island ferries to be retrofitted

8/7 - The Elliot Bay Design Group of Seattle has been awarded a contract by the New York City Department of Transportation to design a new class of ferries to service Staten Island.

The new ferry design is intended to replace the one remaining 1965-built Kennedy class boat in service and the two existing Barberi class boats, built in 1981 and 1982. The construction estimate for the vessels is $309 million, which is apparently for three vessels. They are expected to each have a capacity of 4500 passengers.

The design contract also calls for retrofitting the three existing Molinari class boats with new propulsion systems, likely Voith Schneider cycloidal drives. The Molinari- class boats were built by Marinette Marine Corp. of Marinette, Wis., and were delivered in 2005. They have a diesel-electric drive system with three EMD ME 16-710G7B diesel engines driving Ansaldo Sistemi Industriali direct current propulsion motors which turn a single fixed-pitch propeller on each end of the double-ended ferries.

The Molinari class ferries have been plagued with problems since delivery, most of which have been related to the propulsion system. The City of New York has spent almost $16 million on repairs and upgrades to the vessels, including contracting with another electrical propulsion manufacturer, Siemens, in an attempt to make the propulsion system more reliable.

Cycloidal drives are common on double ended ferries, and the New York City Department of Transportation has over 30 years’ experience with them on the Barberi class boats.

Compiled by Tom Hynes


Lookback #263 – Hurlbut W. Smith aground at Little Current on Aug. 7, 1958

8/7 - The American bulk carrier Hurlbut W. Smith was declared at total loss after running aground, mid-channel, after departing the Manitoulin Island community of Little Current 56 years ago today. The ship had just delivered at cargo of coal when it got stuck off Picnic Island on Aug. 7, 1958.

The 434-foot-long steamer had been built as Hull 322 at Lorain, Ohio. It was launched on Feb. 14, 1903, and joined the United States Transportation Co. later in the year. The 7,000-deadweight ton capacity vessel was active in the ore, coal and grain trades.

It was spending the winter of 1906-1907 at Buffalo when a bad storm flooded the river pulling this ship and the William Nottingham from their moorings. When the water returned to its normal level, both ships were high and dry about 400 yards from the river. A channel had to be dug to salvage the pair.

Hurlbut W. Smith joined the Great Lakes Steamship Co. in 1911 and operated on their behalf through two World Wars and the Korean War. It was sold to Wilson Marine Transit on April 9, 1957, and resold to the T.J. McCarthy Steamship Co. three days later. It operated for two seasons on their behalf before going aground.

An inspection at Silver Bay, Minn., where Hurlbut W. Smith had gone to load ore after the grounding, revealed too much damage and the ship was condemned. It was sold for scrap and broken up at Superior, WI in 1958-1959.

Skip Gillham


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 1,000 footer and the flagship 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 1,000-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.

1912 – A collision in heavy fog with the RENSSELAER sank the JAMES GAYLEY 43 miles east of Manitou Light, Lake Superior. The upbound coal-laden vessel was hit on the starboard side, about 65 feet from the bow, and went down in about 16 minutes. The two ships were held together long enough for the crew to cross over to RENSSELAER.

1921 – RUSSELL SAGE caught fire and burned on Lake Ontario while downbound with a load of wire. The ship sank off South Bay Point, about 30 miles west of Kingston. The crew took to the lifeboat and were saved. About 600 tons of wire were later salvaged. The hull has been found and is upright in 43 feet of water and numerous coils of wire remain on the bottom.

1958 – HURLBUT W. SMITH hit bottom off Picnic Island, near Little Current, Manitoulin Island, while outbound. The ship was inspected at Silver Bay and condemned. It was sold to Knudsen SB & DD of Superior and scrapped in 1958-1959.

1958 – The T-3 tanker GULFOIL caught fire following a collision with the S.E. GRAHAM off Newport, Rhode Island while carrying about 5 million gallons of gasoline. Both ships were a total loss and 17 lives were lost with another 36 sailors injured. The GULFOIL was rebuilt with a new mid-body and came to the Great Lakes as c) PIONEER CHALLENGER in 1961 and was renamed MIDDLETOWN in 1962 and e) AMERICAN VICTORY in 2006.

1964 – CARL LEVERS, a pre-Seaway visitor as a) HARPEFJELL and b) PRINS MAURITS, had come to the Great Lakes in 1957-1958. It had been an early Great Lakes trader for both the Fjell Line from Norway and the Dutch flag Oranje Lijn. The ship was cast adrift in a cyclone at Bombay, India, going aground on a pylon carrying electric wires off Mahul Creek and caught fire on August 24, 1964. The vessel was released and scrapped at Bombay later in the year.

1970 – ORIENT TRANSPORTER first came through the Seaway in 1966. It arrived at Beaumont, Texas, on this day in 1970, following an engine breakdown. The 1949 vintage ship was not considered worth repairing and was broken up at Darica, Turkey, in 1971.

1972 – The small Canadian tanker barge TRANSBAY, loaded with liquid asphalt and under tow of the JAMES WHALEN for Sept Iles, sank in a storm on the Gulf of St. Lawrence. There were no casualties.

1989 – CLARENVILLE, a former East Coast wooden passenger and freight carrier, came to the Great Lakes in 1981 for conversion to a floating restaurant at Owen Sound. The restaurant declared bankruptcy in May 1989 and a fire, of suspicious origin, broke out on this date. It was a long and difficult blaze to control and the ship sank. It broke apart during salvage in September 1989. The bow was clammed out in December 1989 and the stern removed in April 1990 and taken to the city dump.

1991 – FINNPOLARIS first came through the Seaway in 1985. It struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic off Greenland and sank in deep water the next day. All 17 on board were saved.

1994 – GUNDULIC came inland under Yugoslavian registry for the first time in 1971. The ship caught fire as c) PAVLINA ONE while loading at Mongla, Bangladesh, on this date and was abandoned by the crew on August 8. The blaze was extinguished August 9 but the gutted and listing freighter was beached and settled in shallow water. The hull was auctioned to a local demolition contractor in 1996 but was still listed as a hazard to navigation in 1999.

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


Cruise ship makes stop in Cleveland, shows what city has to offer

8/6 - Cleveland, Ohio - People in Cleveland are used to seeing ships along the lake, but now they’re seeing a different kind of ship, a cruise ship.

“This is our first time in the city. We wanted to be in the city where LeBron James was winding up,” said Michael Harris. He and his wife are visiting from Dallas, Texas. They’re traveling around the Great Lakes aboard the Grande Mariner.

“We’ve never been to the Great Lakes so this is like an ocean to us. It’s just great,” said Harris.

The ship can carry 88 passengers and is on a 16-day excursion. Some of the stops include Mackinac Island in Erie, Pa., and Buffalo, New York. The cruise altogether costs about $5,000.

“A lot of people think of cruise ships of only going to Alaska and the Caribbean for example, but there are so many places to discover in the United States,” said Director of Destination Management Lynde Vespoli of Discover My Cleveland. “Especially along the Great Lakes and what a terrific waterway to be able to get to easily from port to port to see all these different places.”

Her group is taking the passengers on a town and country tour. The day will start off downtown and then end in Amish country.

The Grande Mariner isn’t the only one docking here this summer; others are coming through, too, and that’s good news for the economy.

“A 100-passenger ship can result in as much as a four million dollar boost to the economy so we really want to get them in here and show them what Cleveland has to offer,” said Betty Sutton of Great Lakes St. Lawrence Seaway.



Port Reports -  August 6

St. Marys River
Late Tuesday, Federal Katsura reported that it was around off the Export Dock at Essar Steel. The tugs Adanac III and W.I. Scott Purvis were assisting. No other details were immediately available. Other saltie traffic Tuesday included the Fortunagracht downbound and Lady Doris upbound.

Marquette, Mich. – Bruce Lolmaugh
On a beautiful sunny Tuesday, the Joseph H. Thompson unloaded into the hopper at LSI at the south end and Herbert C. Jackson at the north waited to load.

Midland, Ont. - Andre Blanchard
The cruise ship Pearl Mis departed Tuesday afternoon. According to the cruise schedule, the ship is due in Windsor, then Niagara Falls, and will end the voyage in Toronto.

Toledo, Ohio
The Cyprus-flagged Bulker Mandarin was loading grain at Andersons K in Toledo Tuesday morning.

Toronto, Ont.
After 10 days on the hook in the Port Weller anchorage the Federal Nakagawa arrived at Redpath Sugar early Tuesday morning. The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has released the investigation report on the Lyubov Orlova incident, and the report raises more questions than answers. The report can be viewed at this link

Oshawa, Ont. – Andre Blanchard
The tug Spartan and barge departed Oshawa Tuesday morning enroute to Ludington. Tug Victorious and barge arrived shortly after Spartan departed. Other vessels currently in port are the bulk carrier Zealand Juliana, and the tugs Omni-Richelieu and La Prairie.


Q&A with Toronto Harbormaster Angus Armstrong: Whalebones and porsches

8/6 - Toronto, Ont. – Whale bones, stolen cars, and trains in the lake: if anyone knows the mysteries of Toronto Harbor, it’s harbor master Angus Armstrong.

Born and raised in Toronto, Armstrong has spent the majority of his life working in the city’s harbor. At 17, he was a lifeguard at the eastern beaches, and became head lifeguard of Toronto Island in 1970. He worked for the Toronto Police Service Marine Unit in the summers of 1970-76, becoming an officer before moving into his current role as Harbour Master and Chief of Security for the Toronto Port Authority.

Armstrong recently sat down with the Star and revealed some of the little-known secrets of Toronto Harbor.

The original harbor used to be much larger, right?

Almost all of Front St. used to be the front of the harbor, if you can imagine. Most of that is land created by the Toronto Harbour Commission over the last 100 years, pushed all the way down to Queens Quay. You find a lot of things that are old in the harbour, just because of its history. There are also lots of weird and mysterious findings here, since the port has been around since the late 1700s.

What kind of strange things have you found?

I’ll give you an example. This used to be a landfill created by the Toronto Harbour Commission in about 1918. When they were digging the LRT tracks for Queens Quay, they dug up whale bones. They brought people from the Royal Ontario Museum down, and they said, “There should be no whale bones in Lake Ontario — but these are whale bones!” We found out that a little private zoo that was up on Front St. had gone bankrupt, and took all their exhibits — including a whale in formaldehyde — and dumped it into the landfill. For a while, people thought the whale that was dug up might be the one from the zoo, but it’s never been conclusively proven where the bones came from.

When was the zoo running?

I think about 1880 or so. We’ve also found parts of ships that had run aground. All they used to do was put dirt over top of them and use them as part of the landfill. When they put the landfill in, the citizens of Toronto would come down and use it as a garbage dump.

In your time working with the Port Authority, what incidents really stand out in your mind?

We do a lot of dredging to make sure the navigable channels stay clear. We were dredging the Keating Channel (which connects the Don River to the inner Toronto Harbour) using a big bucket that goes in, brings soil up and then puts it into a barge. They pulled up the bucket, and at the end of it was a Porsche! Just before we could take it over to the barge, the Porsche fell back into the water. We had to call the Toronto Police Marine Unit to pick it up.

Many years ago, when I was a senior diver with the police department, we ran across what looked like a miniature locomotive. And we realized it was one of those trackless trains from the CNE, do you remember those ones when you were a kid? The little train you could jump on for free and go around the CNE? Well, somebody had stolen it in the mid-1960s in the middle of the night, got it all the way down to the east end of Toronto, and then shot it into the water.

In the old days in the ’60s and the ’70s before all this waterfront development happened, a lot of stolen cars would be brought down here and put into the water. But nowadays that doesn’t really happen. The area is pretty populated and there’s lots of fencing, and so the access is kind of gone. But when it was the old port area we used to try and get rid of criminal activity.

Do you ever find bodies in the water?

Occasionally. Certainly that is not an issue now. There are, unfortunately, drownings, but that’s very rare nowadays because of the amount of condominiums and people we have around the area. I would say in the last 15 years, with the improvement in vessels, life jackets and safety equipment, certainly it has taken a huge plunge.

Is there anything going on in the harbour that you think is really unique or important?

Well, last year we moved almost 1.6 million tonnes of goods into Toronto Harbour. That is the equivalent of taking 37,540 semi trucks off the road. So we’re an industrial port that really does a lot of the work on the building industry in Toronto.

We also remove about 150 million pounds of debris from the harbour each year. And that’s stuff we have to get out of the harbour, because it would impede navigation. This harbour has about 7,000 pleasure boats that use it every year — it’s the most popular pleasure-boat harbour within the Great Lakes.

How clean is the water in the harbor today?

Boy, it’s cleaned up in the last 20 years! When I started diving in the ’70s you could never see anything on the bottom. It was like the moon — there was nothing alive. And now there are all sorts of fish down there, and there are all sorts of habitats. It really has improved.

Toronto Star


Lookback #262 – Vandoc aground in St. Lawrence on Aug. 6, 1985

8/6 - The second Vandoc joined the N.M. Paterson & Sons fleet in 1979 after years of service for Algoma as Sir Denys Lowson.

The 605-foot-long bulk carrier had been Hull 179 from the Collingwood shipyard and it was launched on Nov. 27, 1963. Despite a devastating fire in the forward cabin on Jan. 13, 1964, the ship was ready on schedule and up bound in the Soo Locks on April 2, 1964, to begin what was only a 27 year sailing career.

It was on Aug. 6, 1985, 29 years ago today, that Vandoc went aground in the St. Lawrence. The ship had loaded iron ore at Quebec City and was en route to Burns Harbor when it got stuck near St. Zotique after straying out of the shipping channel. The vessel was released August 7 and continued the voyage.

Vandoc had also survived a previous grounding in the Brockville Narrows, due to a steering failure, on Nov. 13, 1979, and landed on Harvey Island. This time the ship had to be lightered before being released and then spent time on Port Weller Dry Docks, undergoing repairs.

The vessel arrived at Thunder Bay for lay-up on Dec. 21, 1991, and never sailed again. It remained idle until sold to Purvis Marine in 2002. The tug Reliance took Vandoc in tow and they arrived at Sault Ste. Marie on June 10, 2002, where the 38-year old laker was gradually broken up for scrap.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  August 6

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Fritz, Lady Doris, Mandarin and Puffin.


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.

1907 – A building fire at the Toronto Island ferry terminal spread to the ferry SHAMROCK and it was badly burned and sank. Running mate MAYFLOWER also caught fire but was pulled from the dock by TURBINIA and this blaze was extinguished. SHAMROCK, however, was a total loss and was towed to Hanlan's Point. The latter ship was replaced by the still-active TRILLIUM in 1910.

1924 – The Lake Ontario rail car ferry ONTARIO NO. 2 went aground in fog on the beach at Cobourg, Ont., but was refloated the next day.

1928 – HURONIC went aground at Lucille Island and needed hull repairs after being released.

1985 – VANDOC, enroute from Quebec to Burns Harbor, went aground in the St. Lawrence outside the channel near St. Zotique, but was released the following day.

1994 – CATHERINE DESGAGNES, outbound at Lorain, struck about 30 pleasure boats when a bridge failed to open.

2000 – ANANGEL ENDEAVOUR was in a collision with the IVAN SUSANIN in the South-West Pass and was holed in the #2 cargo hold and began listing. The ship was anchored for examination, then docked at Violet, La., and declared a total loss. It was subsequently repaired as b) BOLMAR I and was operating as c) DORSET when it arrived at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, for scrapping on April 24, 2009. The ship first came through the Seaway in 1983.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


2 Dead, 3 hospitalized after boating accident on Lake St. Clair

8/5 - Harsens Island, Mich. – While a woman fights for her life after being injured in a boating accident that killed her husband and another person, police said Monday they are releasing a man connected to the accident Sunday evening on Lake St. Clair.

Authorities said Monday they expected to release a 32-year-old Chesterfield Township man, whose name is being withheld because he has not been charged. He did submit to a blood test to determine alcohol levels given that police say drinking and high speed may have been factors in the collision.

Sgt. Tim Donnellon, a spokesman for the St. Clair County Sheriff’s office investigating the accident, said the release is something common that gives investigators the proper time to interview witnesses, reconstruct the crash and await the blood results.

“We’re still piecing together the accident,” Donnellon said. “It’s a tedious process. We’re working with the prosecutor’s office. At this point we’re looking at witness statements. It’s tricky on the water.”

The St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office has identified the victims as Nancy Axford of Winnipeg, Manitoba, and Robert Koontz, who was in his 50s, of Chesterfield Township. Axford’s husband was uninjured but Koontz’s wife, who is in her 60s, was critically injured. A third unmarried couple on the cabin cruiser received minor injuries.

Marie T. Koontz, 78, who is the mother of the victim and lives in Phoenix, said her son was on the boat with his wife of 20 years, Marlene, in what was supposed to be one of their final trips of the summer on the water with friends. She said her son became a father figure to his wife’s children.

“He was a good guy,” she said. “I could always depend on him. I’m just trying to stay strong. I’m almost 79, but this is very difficult.”

There were no injuries on the 25-foot Baja boat that slammed into the cabin cruiser authorities say was carrying six people.

The crash occurred about 6:15 p.m. in the south shipping channel near Harsens Island, about 50 miles northeast of Detroit at the south end of the St. Clair River.

Algonac resident Alan Block, who is a local sailboat racer and senior reporter for Sailing Anarchy, was sailing in the southbound channel and was about 200 feet from the collision when it occurred.

“I came to a stop because I knew something was going to happen,” Block said. “There were two large boats — perhaps 40 footers — headed southbound and they were leaving large wakes. One of the boats looked like a fishing vessel and the other was a cabin cruiser with an upper deck. A third boat, a 25-foot Baja, which is a very fast speed boat, was headed northbound in the shipping channel doing about 45 to 50 mph.”

According to Block, the Baja failed to slow down for the large wakes caused by the bigger boats.

“I watched as the speed boat tried to go around the two boats, moving toward the Canadian side,” Block said. “He hit the wake of the second boat, flew into the air and came down on the second wake. People on his boat were being thrown around and he lost control of the boat.”

Block said he watched in disbelief as the Baja hit a third wake and was launched about 10 feet into the air.

“It was completely clear of the water,” Block said. “It crashed into the top deck of the cabin cruiser and basically smashed through to the other side. It actually knocked off the upper deck, which collapsed onto the hull of the boat. I’ve lived and worked on the water my entire life, and I’ve never seen anything like this.

According to Block, the impact threw a woman into the water.

“Myself and some other boats were looking for her,” Block said. “The body was picked up about 20 minutes later by a couple on a pontoon boat. They did CPR but to no avail.”

Another man on the cabin cruiser received a severe head injury.

Shipping traffic on the south channel was stopped for a period of time while rescue operations were underway.

The Detroit News


Port Reports -  August 5

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
On Monday, the tug Wilf Seymour and barge Alouette Spirit unloaded aluminum. The tug Everlast and tank barge Norman McLeod unloaded fuel oil.


Report: Littoral combat ships too heavy

8/5 - Green Bay, Mich. – Four out of six ships that are part of a new class of vessels being developed for the U.S. Navy are too heavy, and that is affecting some areas of performance, according to a newly released federal audit.

A report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office says USS Freedom can meet its sprint speed of 40 knots; it hasn't been able to reach the distance and speed requirement of 3,500 nautical mile range at 14 knots, according to the report.

The report partially attributes the range issue to "excess weight growth."

"The Freedom-class Littoral Combat Ships meet weight requirements when delivered to the U.S. Navy, and the company has submitted all weight reports to the U.S. Navy in accordance with contractual requirements," a Lockheed Martin spokeswoman said.

The USS Freedom, and similar ships, are being built for Lockheed Martin at Marinette Marine Corp. in Marinette. Another design of the ship is being built by Austal USA in Alabama.

The lead ship of the Austal-designed vessels can only sprint at 39.5 knots — under the required 40 knots — and is at a weight where it could be "prone to failure in certain weather or damage conditions," according to the report.

The Littoral Combat Ship program, designed to operate in shallower waters and coastlines, has been under scrutiny for years, and a pair of recent reports have examined topics arising from the first deployment of one of those vessels last year, the USS Freedom.

The ships are intended to provide the Navy with speedy vessels that can carry out a number of different missions. But weight has affected performance in some areas of both ship designs and could be a limiting factor for future changes to the vessels and equipment, the report states.

Two of the first three Lockheed Martin ships meet weight requirements, while the USS Freedom is 24 tons too heavy. That could limit future changes to the vessel.

This is the second GAO report released in less than a month examining Freedom's 2013 deployment to Singapore. The earlier report raised questions about the operating costs of the LCS program, contending in some cases the costs were approaching that of other types of ships already in the fleet.

The Navy is working on modifying the fuel capacity on the Austal-built ships to increase weight allowances on that variant of ships.

"The Navy's ability to accommodate alterations and growth on these ships over their expected 20-year minimum service lives will be significantly more constrained than is typical for other surface ships," the report states of both ship designs. "Navy program officials told us they expect that most future weight — and capability — growth on LCS would occur within mission packages, not (the ship's basic structure).

"However ... the Navy is considering changes to the (ships') designs that could further increase weight estimates," the report said.

Those changes could include adding crew accommodations and switching to a heavier missile system on the Lockheed Martin version of the ship, the audit said.

"Navy officials stated that the possible changes are low risk and would not affect LCS performance requirements," the report states.

The scrutiny faced by the LCS program isn't unusual, said Daniel Gouré, vice president of the Lexington Institute, a Virginia-based think tank that focuses on defense programs.

"This is typical," he said. "This is a big program in terms of money spent, duration, number of ships, it has gone through a series of evolutions, struggled with a number of problems — many of which its overcome — and has been a source of debate."

The Navy had planned to acquire more than 50 of the ships earlier this year, but Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel scaled back plans for the program by 20 ships and called for a review of the ship's design.

Gouré said the GAO is supposed to point out issues, flaws and areas for improvement. He expects to see changes made to the ships and its systems, such as the addition of different weapons.

The Navy would like to spend more than $25 billion to buy as many as 32 of the ships and modular mission systems, the GAO said.

Lockheed Martin and Marinette Marine have delivered the USS Freedom and USS Fort Worth to the Navy. Other ships are under construction at the yard, which has more than 2,000 people working at the facility. Austal USA has delivered two ships to the Navy.

Lockheed Martin said it has incorporated the lessons learned on the first ships into the production process.

Early problems are nothing unusual for large weapons programs, Gouré said.

"There are no major weapon programs that don't have these problems, and, in many cases for surface ships, you don't get to a stable configuration until you are halfway through the predicted production run," he said. "You go down the road and a new technology pops up, or something goes wrong, that they have to change out, this is typical."

Green Bay Press Gazette


Lookback #261 – Ranella, lakes visitor under two names, aground on Aug. 5, 1981

8/5 - The Norwegian freighter Ranella had been built at Copenhagen, Denmark, and completed in March 1957. It initially sailed under Swedish registry as Bellina but became Stove Waggon in 1962. Under the flag of Norway, the 518 foot, 2 inch long carrier made its first trip through the Seaway as such in 1964. It came back as Ranella, also Norwegian, with single trips in each of 1965, 1966 and 1967.

It was sold again in 1974 and renamed Ljuta while registered in the Somali Republic and then later Malta. A fourth name of Sabik was acquired in 1980 while flagged in Panama for Balsam Weed Marine Inc. It was resold in 1981 becoming Bellina again with registry in Panama, but only saw brief service before being lost.

Thirty-three years ago today, the ship was on a voyage from Tripoli to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, when it ran aground in the Red Sea on Aug. 5, 1981. While the 24-year old carrier was refloated on Aug. 7, there was very evident bottom damage and the vessel was idle at Kuwait before being sold for scrap. Bellina arrived at Gadani Beach, Pakistan, on March 19, 1982, and was subsequently dismantled.

Skip Gillham


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.

1954 – A sudden blanket of fog descended on a section of the St. Lawrence near Waddington, N.Y., resulting in the two ships SELKIRK and DUNDEE losing their way and going aground. The former, a C.S.L. package freighter, was turned part way around by the current and was stuck until September 2. The latter was a British ship and was also spun by the current. The proximity of the rapids made salvage a challenge. The newly-built DUNDEE continued Great Lakes visits to the end of 1962. It foundered in the Mediterranean as g) VLYHO on September 15, 1978, following an engine room explosion.

1955 – FALCO, a pre-Seaway trader, hit a bridge at Montreal. The vessel later visited the Great Lakes as c) LABRADOR and was scrapped at Piraeus, Greece, as f) BONANZA in 1978

1972 – MANCHESTER VENTURE was built in 1956 and was a regular Great Lakes trader from 1956 to 1961. An explosion in the cargo hold as c) BAT TIRAN on this date in 1972 resulted in a major fire. The damaged hull was refloated in September and scrapped in Turkey in 1973.

1980 – The Liberian freighter BERTIE MICHAELS had been a Seaway trader in 1971 and had returned as the Greek flag c) DIMITRIS A. in 1976. It departed Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, on August 4, 1980, for Belize City and reported her position on August 5. The vessel was never heard from again and was believed to have been a victim of Hurricane Allen that was in the area at the time. All 27 on board were lost.

1994 – The recently completed French freighter PENHIR began Great Lakes trading in 1971 and returned as b) MENHIR under Liberian registry in 1979. It arrived off Tolognaro, Madagascar, on this date in 1994 with hull cracks as d) WELLBORN and abandoned as a total loss.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Port Reports -  August 4

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
English River departed around 10 a.m. Sunday. American Mariner was still unloading at General Mills.


Lookback #260 – Midland Queen lost to enemy action on Aug. 4, 1915

8/4 - The demand for ships during World War One and World War Two led to a number of lake vessels being sold or requisitioned for deep sea duty. These vessels were either canal-sized steamers that moved easily in and out of the lakes or larger ships that had to be cut in two to exit the inland seas.

The Midland Queen had been built at Dundee, Scotland, in 1901, and served several owners beginning with the Midland Navigation Co. and ending with Canada Steamship Lines. The 255-foot-long freighter was used in the bulk trades, mainly grain, but also saw some work, on charter to the Canadian Government, as a lighthouse tender.

Midland Queen survived a grounding near Sault Ste. Marie late in 1901 and a collision with the William G. Mather (i) near Amherstburg, on May 2, 1906. Both accidents required repairs.

The ship was requisitioned for war service in 1915 and initially carried Nova Scotia coal to Montreal. In June 1915, it loaded steel bars, barbed wire and shells and headed across the Atlantic and then made a second trip in July with war materials.

The ship was intercepted by U-28 99 years ago today and sunk, by gunfire, while about 70 miles southwest of Fastnet, Ireland. It was the first canal ship to be lost in the war. The German captain issued a warning to abandon ship and when the crew were safely in the lifeboat, the Midland Queen was shelled and sent to the bottom.

A Norwegian cargo ship found the drifting sailors on August 5 and took them to safety. U-28 was later lost with all hands on Sept. 2, 1917, when a ship it had shelled blew up in a monstrous explosion wrecking their submarine.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 4

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 ringleaders, 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, Ont., where she was dismantled.

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, 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 6. 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 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.

1985 – REGENT TAMPOPO, enroute from Japan to the Great Lakes with steel, was heavily damaged in the Pacific after a collision with the MING UNIVERSE. The vessel, which first came through the Seaway in 1982, was towed to Los Angeles but declared a total loss. It recrossed the Pacific under tow in 1986 and arrived at Hong Kong for scrapping on October 26, 1986.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb,, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series from the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.


Captain John's saga may not be over: Costs could raise issues for winning bidder

8/3 - Toronto, Ont. – The winning bidder for Captain John’s Restaurant has bought himself a boatload of problems that could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix before the ship can be restored or even scrapped, marine experts say.

There was considerable surprise in the tight-knit marine community that anyone would make a positive bid for the aged Jadran, given the hefty price tag just for the approvals and insurance needed to tow it from the foot of Yonge Street.

On Thursday, Toronto entrepreneur James Sbrolla bought the boat for $33,501 at a court auction.

“It could cost them $100,000 just to move that ship one foot,” says Boston-area businessman John Scales, who decided, at the 11th hour, not to bid on the ship on behalf of five U.S. investors. They were fearful that the upfront costs would be too risky without any assurances beforehand of a new place to dock the former seafood restaurant.

Because the Jadran no longer has working engines, at least two tug boats will be needed to move it, one to steer the ship, the other to act as brakes.

That could cost anywhere from $25,000 for a short tow to at least $100,000 if it has to be taken through the Welland Canal to a scrap yard, according to experts interviewed by the Star. Insurance would add at least $25,000 more.

On top of that, the ship’s hull is stuffed full of asbestos removed from pipes and machinery, says Wayne Elliott, an experienced ship scrapper with more than 100 vessels under his belt.

Elliott, whose Marine Recycling Corp. of Port Colborne was the No. 2 bid for the Jadran, filed a three-inch binder with the Federal Court handling the complex case Thursday, outlining many of the problems. It set a price of $303,756 to tow and scrap the 300-foot ship by the Aug. 22 deadline set by the court.

Elliott estimates the costs of asbestos removal and disposal alone at $125,000.

“I mentioned to the (Toronto) port authority two years ago, when I first went on board, that people shouldn’t be wandering around the ship,” for fear of stirring up asbestos fibres, said Elliott in a telephone interview Friday.

Passenger cabins have been removed and bulkheads have been breached over the last few decades, leaving the Jadran compromised and so top heavy, “the stability of the vessel is questionable,” Elliott adds.

“That ship was once a very fine, elegant vessel, there’s no doubt about that. But here we are, 55 years later, and it’s full of mold and asbestos. Hopefully, whoever bought it knows what they are doing and understands the laws.”

“It will be quite the job to move it,” says Bill Provis, a senior marine surveyor with Mississauga-based Granite Claims Solutions, which provided the cost estimates for the court. “There is a lot of red tape involved.”

Moving a ship is much like flying a plane: You can’t just hook up a rope to a tug boat. A flight plan, of sorts, has to be filed and approved by various government bodies, including the Coast Guard, outlining the expected route and a specific destination. The whole thing has to be tightly sealed and heavily insured.

New owner Sbrolla says he’s working on all that.

“I’ve heard from dozens of people, some more credible than others,” looking to possibly partner and restore the floating restaurant to its former glory, he said a telephone interview.

“We’re cautiously optimistic. We’re looking at the logistics much more closely than we did before the bid. We’re talking to potential partners and looking, concurrently, at the potential for scrapping the ship if we can’t find a higher or better use.”

Sbrolla remains confident he can have the ship ready for towing from the prime Yonge St. slip in time, and that he will have somewhere to take it.

If not, he would most likely forfeit the $33,501 — it has to be paid in full by the end of next week — and the ship would go to the second-highest bidder.

But, under a court condition, a winning bid has to exceed the appraised value of the ship, set at negative $125,000 (the negative value is due to the fact that the $600,000 worth of metal in the ship doesn’t cover the cost of the scrapping process).

Marine Recycling’s second-place bid is, in essence, negative $303,756, because it is asking the port authority for that much to get rid of the waterfront landmark.

Those costs would be offset, somewhat, if the winning bid falls apart and Sbrolla forfeits his $33,501. But, either way, the sad saga of Captain John’s may be far from over.

Toronto Star


Port Reports -  August 3

St. Marys River
The new cruise ship Pearl Mist was docked in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., all day Saturday. She departed downbound at about 5 p.m. for Little Current.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Daniel Lindner
On July 22, Palmer Johnson launched its newest mega-yacht. The 150-foot Palmer Johnson 48M SuperSport is the first yacht of its kind. The ship is built for speed, topping out at 32 knots, or about 36 miles per hour. The ship's three decks can accommodate 12 passengers and nine crew members. About 200 workers spent the past year and a half finishing the yacht. The ship's original hull was constructed in Russia, and delivered to Sturgeon Bay by the heavy lift saltie Qamutik last spring for the remainder of the construction. The ship was moored at the CenterPointe Yacht Services dock in downtown Sturgeon Bay after launching. Workers can be seen swarming the ship, finishing up the interior. The yacht is expected to undergo sea trials before departing for the Mediterranean Sea in the coming weeks. Also, the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw remains in one of Bayship's floating drydocks, and it is currently unknown why she is in port.

Saginaw River – Todd Shorkey
Robert S. Pierson called on the Saginaw River on Thursday, traveling up to the GM Dock in Saginaw to unload. The Pierson was outbound late that evening. Manitowoc was inbound on Friday, unloading at the Wirt Stone dock in Bay City. When finished, she turned off the dock in the Wirt Basin and was outbound for the lake early Saturday morning. A pair of American Steamship Co. vessels were inbound on Saturday, with the Sam Laud unloading at the Bay Aggregates Dock in Bay City and the John J. Boland unloading at the Burroughs North dock in Essexville. Both vessels were outbound later in the day. ASC vessels rarely call on the Saginaw River these days, so it was unusual the see two at the same time.

Vessel passages for the month of July totaled 16. This is two less compared to July of 2013. For the year to date, there have been 41 commercial vessel passages on the Saginaw River, 22 less than the same time period last year. Looking at the five-year averages, July was down one from the average of 17. Year to date numbers for the 2014 season show a decrease of 11 commercial vessel passages from the five year average of 52. Where the numbers really tell a story is looking back at the 10-year average. 2014 is 24 passages down from the 10-year and 50 passages down year to date. In 2005, there were 173 commercial vessel passages on the Saginaw River by July 31st, compared to only 41 in July 2014.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Ashtabula and tug Defiance were inbound on Saturday.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
American Mariner was unloading wheat at the General Mills Frontier Elevator Saturday morning. English River came in for Lafarge on Friday.

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
A rather unusual sequence of events occurred at Redpath this past week. The bulker Mandarin finally departed Thursday morning assisted by one of the two tugs on standby. Upon arrival, both tugs would have assisted the Federal Nakagawa in docking at Redpath, but the Fednav bulker did not arrive. A check on the Marinetraffic live AIS map showed that the southbound Mandarin made an unusual maneuver when the bulker put the helm over hard to port and made a complete circle before getting back on course for the Port Weller anchorage. There are now two Redpath bound bulkers at anchor, likley incurring some hefty daily demurrage charges. A check with the Baltic Index pegs the daily hire for a handy size bulker at about $14,000 US per day give or take a thousand. The Federal Nakagawa has been on the hook at the anchorage for over a week, and this could detrimental to Redpath's bottom line.


Auction for trip on a Lower Lakes Towing vessel ends Aug. 4.

8/3 - Port Colborne Historical and Marine Museum is auctioning off two tickets for a week-long trip on a working laker, donated by Lower Lakes Towing Ltd. Destination and time to be determined by schedule and the winner of the auction must have a valid passport. Current bid: $2,600. The auction ends Aug. 4 at 5 p.m. Email your bid to:

Port Colborne Historical and Marine Museum


Lookback #259 – Former Jean L.D. began leaking on Aug. 3, 1978

8/3 - The French freighter Jean L.D. began Seaway trading with one trip inland during the opening season of 1959. The ship returned annually for a number of years and had made 33 trips to the Great Lakes by the end of 1967.

The 454-foot-long general cargo carrier had been built at Quevilly, France, and launched on April 15, 1957, for Louis Dreyfus & Cie. Service was generally routine but Jean L.D. struck the fender in the Eisenhower Lock at Massena, NY on Aug. 17, 1969, holding up marine traffic until repairs could be completed.

The ship was sold to Greek interests in 1970 and renamed Ion. It was back on the Great Lakes the next year and then became Cavo Staras, also Greek flag, in 1976.

The vessel was on a voyage from Port Harcourt, Nigeria, to Buenos Aires, Argentina, when it began leaking. This started flooding the engine room. The ship remained afloat and was towed to Dakar, Sierra Leone, for assessment on Aug. 14, 1978.

Cavo Staras was sold at auction on May 8, 1979, and resold to Spanish shipbreakers. The tug Ronnebeck towed the ship into Barcelona on June 18, 1979, and the hull was dismantled by Desguaces Cataluna beginning on July 5, 1979.

Skip Gillham


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 3

On this day in 1960, 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.

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

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.

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. GARDEN CITY was caught in the same storm as ALEXANDRIA. This ship sustained smashed windows and a hole in the hull but was able to reach safety.

1920 – The wooden steamer MAPLEGROVE sank in the Welland Canal. The vessel was salvaged and sold for further service as JED. It had been built at Marine City in 1889 as CHEROKEE.

1927 – The bulk canaller CASCO of the Lakes & St. Lawrence Transportation Co. went aground at Pipe Island in the lower St. Marys River and required lightering before floating free and proceeding for repairs.

1962 – MEDINA PRINCESS, a former “Empire ship,” first came to the Great Lakes under British registry in 1959. It made 5 trips through the Seaway but went aground on a reef near Djibouti while enroute from Bremen, Germany, to China. The hull was refloated August 31 but was laid up at Djibouti. It remained idle until breaking loose and going aground on September 4, 1964. The hull was a total loss and, at last report, the wreck was partially submerged.

1978 – The French freighter JEAN L.D. made 37 trips to the Great Lakes from 1959 to 1967. It was sailing as c) CAVO STARAS when the engine room become flooded during a voyage from Port Harcourt, Nigeria, to Buenos Aires, Argentina, in the overnight hours of August 3-4, 1978. The vessel was towed to Dakar, Sierra Leone, on August 14 and sold to Spanish shipbreakers, via auction, on May 8, 1979. It arrived at Barcelona, under tow, on June 18, 1978, and scrapping began July 5 of that year.

2010 – SIDSEL KNUTSEN lost power due to a fire in the engine room and went aground off St. Clair, Mich. It remained stuck until August 9 and was then refloated and cleared to proceed to Montreal. It was operating in Canadian service at the time under a special waiver.

Data from: Skip Gillham, Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series from the Marine Historical Society of Detroit.


Another operator to offer cruises on the Great Lakes in 2015

8/2 - River cruise operator Haimark Limited will launch a coastal cruise product in May 2015 that will initially sail in Canada, the Great Lakes and South and Central America.

It will do business under the name Haimark Line, using a 220-passenger ship that was originally built in 2001 as the Cape May Light. The vessel, which recently sailed as Sea Voyager, is undergoing a major refurbishment. It will be renamed the Saint Laurent.

In a statement, Tom Markwell, managing partner for sales and marketing at Haimark, said the initial season is 50 percent booked.

Many of Haimark’s North Atlantic itineraries are similar to those offered by Pearl Seas Cruises, which began operations in June. Pearl Seas is also affiliated with a river cruise operator, American Cruise Line.

Haimark offers luxury expedition river cruises on the Mekong, Irrawaddy, Ganges and Amazon rivers. According to its website, it was founded in Breckenridge, Colo., in 2013, and is a partnership between Marcus Leskovar, an Austrian national, Tom Markwell, a U.S. national, and Hai Giang, a Vietnamese national.

In South and Central America, the routes include travel from Nassau, Bahamas to Cartagena, Colombia; Cartagena to San Jose, Costa Rica; and San Jose to Lima, Peru.

Built at Atlantic Marine in Jacksonville, Fla., the Cape May Light was one of two coastal cruisers ordered by American Classic Voyages, which went bankrupt before it could begin operations following the New York and Washington terrorist attacks in September 2001.

Travel Weekly


High-tech Coast Guard vessel open for Canal Days tours

8/2 - St. Catharines, Ont. – It’s the nation’s most advanced crime-fighting tool on water — and it’s home to a close-knit crew that's putting out the welcome mat this weekend. It was two years ago to this day in Halifax that the Canadian Coast Guard took command of the Private Robertson V.C. from Irving Shipbuilding.

Part of Canada’s response to 9/11, it is the first of nine Hero-Class vessels built or near completion to patrol inland waterways and oceans.

Operating with a crew of nine Coast Guard officers — “Coasties” — and as many as five RCMP, OPP or local police officers, or fisheries officers, Private Robertson is responsible for patrolling southwestern Ontario, including lakes Erie, St. Clair and Huron.

“It’s the latest and greatest technology we have,” says Commanding Officer Steven Pauley, as the ship is docked along Port Colborne’s historic West St. for the Canal Days Marine Heritage Festival. “To be the first crew is an honor.”

He speaks of a similar honor when referring to the vessel’s namesake.

First World War Pte. James Peter Robertson of Nova Scotia, of the 27th Infantry Battalion, was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross for overtaking a German machine gun unit on Nov. 6, 1917, and later rescuing two wounded soldiers under fire. He died doing so when he was hit by an exploding shell. The private’s story, with his image, hangs in the ship’s dining area, or the mess.

That story will also be shared with the thousands of festivalgoers expected to step on board this holiday weekend.

Pauley looks forward to the opportunity to do just that, and point out some of the features of the spotless 42-metre-long ship. “This is our opportunity to show it off. It’s really great,” he says, but while noting that for security reasons photos will not be permitted below deck.

The Private Robertson has a top cruising speed of 25 knots (50 km/h) and its primary role, as a multi-police agency vessel — “When we work with more agencies, it’s more bang for the buck,” Pauley says — is to provide water security and border patrol to combat such things as smuggling people, drugs, weapons or alcohol. Its secondary role is in search and rescue.

It’s equipped with extensive radar and satellite systems and communications equipment. It can be found on the bridge, on deck, in the engine room and even sleeping quarters.

Chief engineer Mike Heslinga, who hails from Courtland, Ont., can control all operating functions of the vessel from a touch-screen computer beside his bunk.

There is more than 12 kilometres of computer wiring throughout the ship, Heslinga notes during a tour of its mechanical rooms Thursday.

Closed-circuit cameras monitor for safety and security throughout the $22-million vessel on which the working men and women speak in multiple acronyms. For example, the Private Robertson has two RIBs — rigid-hull inflatable boats — and its crew functions as an MSET — Marine Security Enforcement Team.

Chief Officer Ted van Gaalen of Amherstburg, Ont., a former classmate of Heslinga, both graduates of the Coast Guard college in Sydney, N.S., has been with the service for the past 31 years. He wouldn’t have it any other way.

“You have to think outside the box on these types of jobs,” van Gaalen says. “It changes the pace up really nicely.”

He says public relations opportunities, such as Canal Days, are a great way of not only introducing the tools Canada has to protect its residents, but to engage them in a way that they know they are also important for being eyes and ears of the enforcers.

Unlike in the U.S. where its coast guard falls under its armed forces, Canada’s Coast Guard is an arm of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. It is only the police on board who are armed.

The Canadian Coast Guard crew spends two weeks on 24/7 duty followed by two weeks off, while police rotate shifts weekly.

Acting petty officer and chief cook Larry White of Port Colborne has been with the Coast Guard for 13 years. “It’s given me a quality of life I like,” he says, adding he relishes being able to spend longer periods of time with his family.

At 61, White is the “senior officer” on board. He started as a steward, was eventually recruited and trained to be a chef, and has just qualified to become a logistics, or supply, officer.

“It’d have to be one of the best jobs I’ve had,” White says, putting it up there with his years of running a haberdashery.

Second Officer Elizabeth Terron, of Windsor, says the Coast Guard, too, has offered her a rewarding career “It’s not like everyday 9 to 5,” she says before dashing off on a supply run. “This is home, this is your family.”

The Private Robertson patrols the waters April to December. Work in the colder months is concentrated on ensuring its ship-shape for the next season.

Life aboard the Private Robertson is always an adventure.

“We fill every moment of the day,” says Pauley, who calls Burlington home, but for these next days looks forward to hosting strangers in his home away from home.

St. Catharines Standard


Meet Lillian Kluka, first female captain on the Great Lakes

8/2 - A woman who was raised on a Blenheim-area farm probably didn't realize she was causing a stir on the waters of the Great Lakes when she registered to become a commercial sailing apprentice in a program offered through Georgian College in 1974.

Lillian Kluka said she wasn't sure what she wanted to do when she was in high school and applied for such a variety of programs that her guidance counselor didn't really know how to help. But one thing that caught Kluka's eye was a small pamphlet from Georgian that proclaimed “You Can Be A Sailor.”

With mixed feelings from her relatives, Kluka was just a week out of high school when her family drove her to Owen Sound where she was to board a freighter for a six-month stint. The college program combined time on the water with time in class, and at the start of the program there were 58 males and just two females.

That first ship proved to be a culture shock, as the crew was from Newfoundland and Kluka had difficulty understanding their accent.

She related some of the adventures she had during a 25-year career with the merchant marine during a presentation to the Rotary Club of Chatham Sunrise this week.

Even though she was a landlubber going in, it didn't take her long to enjoy merchant marine life, which included stops in places like Thunder Bay to load grain, the south end of Lake Michigan to drop off iron ore to the steel mills and, during the summer, trips to the Arctic to supply the tiny, isolated communities and mines with all of the supplies they would need for the entire year.

Kluka said she experienced a lot of resistance during her career because she was a woman, but she gives credit to the family-owned N.M. Paterson and Sons Ltd. of Thunder Bay that took her on when she was an apprentice.

She worked her way up through the officers' ranks and, as if often the case in a career, happened to be in the right place at the right time when she first served as a captain. It was on a trip to the Arctic and when the ship's captain became incapacitated, as chief officer, that Kluka took over the duties and performed so well that she held onto the position for good.

Kluka was the first woman captain to sail the Great Lakes, which provide many challenges. Among the toughest challenges, she says, is Sarnia, where the current is strong, and the channel is shallow and narrow.

It was while heading toward Sarnia that she had one of her most memorable incidents. She was called out of bed early on a Sunday morning and told they had to shut down the engine because of trouble. But the anchors didn't hold and the current forced the bow of the ship onto the Port Huron side, where the ship damaged a jogging trail, tore out a park bench and destroyed a garbage can. The ship itself suffered only minor damage.

Kluka said the Port Huron newspaper's headline read: "Woman driver hits Thomas Edison Inn."

She said the fact she is a woman was often held against her during her career. Her company was unable to send her on a trip to Algeria when she was chief officer because officials there would not work with a woman. Instead, she got to go to Mexico, but was picked up by authorities there because 'ladies' were not allowed to be on the dock.

The captain had to explain to Mexican officials, "That's no lady, that's our chief officer," before they let her go.

Kluka said many sailors are superstitious and having a woman on board is considered by many to be bad luck, but she's never been one to let what other people say stop her from doing her job.

After about 20 years with Paterson, Kluka worked for five years for the federal government as a marine pilot – the person who would get on foreign ships and guide them through waters that the crew is not familiar with.

She was the first woman marine pilot in the service.

On one ship, the captain told her, "No woman is going to tell me what to do on my own ship."

Kluka said it was up to him, but that it would be at least another 24 hours before another pilot could board, and in the shipping industry, each day of waiting can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

He let her pilot the ship.

After a 25-year career, Kluka decided she had had enough of travelling and went to university. She currently lives with her husband, Norm, in Stratford and works as an occasional teacher for the Huron Perth Catholic District School Board.

And when she discusses careers with female students, she urges them to consider some non-traditional careers in the skilled trades.

Chatham Daily News


Port Reports -  August 2

Oshawa, Ont. – Andre Blanchard
The Netherlands’-flagged bulker Zealand Juliana arrived in Oshawa Harbour shortly after 9 a.m. Friday morning. Assisting were Ocean Group's tugs Omni-Richelieu and La Prairie.

Seaway – Mac Mackay
Algoma Central Corp.’s Bahamian-flagged product tanker Algoma Hansa has been brought under the Canadian flag. Built in 1998 by Alabama Shipyard in Mobile as Amelienborg, it operated for Dannebrog Rederi of Denmark until 2006 when Algoma purchased it and sister Aggersborg (now Algosea).


High-tech buoy in Lake Michigan near South Haven provides real-time data, images

8/2 - South Haven, Mich. – A new weather and wave-monitoring buoy in Lake Michigan near South Haven is able to provide real-time data and measurements in an effort to increase boating and swimming safety in the area.

Deployed roughly two miles off the shores of South Haven on Wednesday, the buoy can distribute improved wind and wave observations in addition to measuring wind speed, wind direction, air temperature, relative humidity, solar radiation, water temperature and wave height among other variables.

The South Haven buoy fills a previously vacant 70-mile gap in a chain of similar buoys from Ludington to Michigan City, Ind., deployed within the past few years. It was purchased with a $50,000 grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, while contributions from local organizations will cover annual deployment and retrieval expenses, according to a news release from the city of South Haven.

"Given South Haven's strong connection to Lake Michigan I am excited for the addition of this station to the regional buoy network," South Haven Mayor Robert Burr said in a statement. "The city's goal is to provide area boaters, swimmers, and water safety professionals with up-to-date lake conditions. Conditions on the big lake can change fast and we want everyone to be prepared when venturing out on the water."

To access real-time readings from the buoy or see images from its webcam, click here. The latest data also is available via text message by sending 45168 to 734-418-7299.



Lookback #258 – Rapids King smashed through the lock gates on Aug. 2, 1931

8/2 - While it was built for St. Lawrence service between Lake Ontario and Montreal, the passenger and freight steamer Rapids King never quite found her niche.

The 245-foot-long vessel was built at Toronto in 1907 and joined the Richelieu & Ontario Navigation Co. for day passenger service connecting Prescott and Montreal. It became part of Canada Steamship Lines when that company was established, via several mergers, in 1913.

Rapids King was not an ideal ship for the rapids run and was too large for this work. It ran between Toronto and Grimsby Beach in 1914 and caught fire at Toronto on Feb. 10, 1915. This was repaired and the ship was used on different routes including service between Detroit and Chatham.

In addition to the fire, the ship ran aground in the Long Sault Rapids due to a problem with the steering gear in the 1920s and smashed through the lock gates at Lock 2 of the old St. Lawrence Canals on Aug. 2, 1931. The accident of 83 years ago today left 7 ships, including fleetmate Saskatoon, high and dry on the bottom after all the water had rushed through.

Rapids King was retired at the end of the 1931 season and laid up at Sorel. It appears that the ship never sailed again. The hull was reportedly broken up for scrap at Kingston in 1949.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  August 2

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Ina, MCT Monte Rosa, and Reestborg


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 2

On August 2, 1991, Paterson's 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.

1909 – GLENELLAH of Inland Navigation struck the east breakwall at Port Colborne, damaging both the ship and the structure. The vessel joined Canada Steamship Lines in 1913 becoming b) CALGARIAN (ii) in 1926. It was broken up at Hamilton in 1960.

1915 – KENORA went aground off Flat Point, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, enroute from Montreal to Sydney. The C.S.L. canal ship was operating on saltwater due to the demands of World War One and was soon refloated.

1931 – The RAPIDS KING took out the gates of Lock 2 of the St. Lawrence Canal at Montreal and SASKATOON was one of 7 ships left on the bottom of the channel.

1967 – The West German freighter JOHANN SCHULTE and the new Canadian self-unloader CANADIAN CENTURY brushed each other in the Welland Canal near Thorold. The former hit the bank and was holed but made it to the tie-up wall before settling on the bottom. The ship was travelling from Duluth-Superior to Poland with wheat. The 4-year old vessel was refloated August 5 and went to Port Weller Dry Docks for repairs. It was scrapped in China as d) SINGAPORE CAR in 1984-1985.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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.


Captain John's restaurant ship sold for $33,501

8/1 - Toronto, Ont. – A Toronto businessman has bought Captain John’s restaurant for $33,501 on condition he have the ship moved out of its prime slip at the foot of Yonge St. by Aug. 22.

Entrepreneur James Sbrolla says he has no firm plans for the derelict ship yet, and says he’s open to partnering with anyone willing to try to restore it to its former glory as a floating restaurant.

There were two bids for the ship before federal court Thursday, one asking the Toronto Port Authority, in essence, for $303,756 to cover the cost of towing it away to a ship recycling centre. A third bid became a source of much hand-wringing because it was filed four minutes after the 9 a.m. Thursday deadline for bids.

In the end, Madame Justice Glennys McVeigh ordered that the bid be opened despite a last-minute scrawl on the back of the envelope that said the offer was conditional on the ship staying in the Toronto Harbour. That bid, for $150,000, was rejected by the court because it violated a key condition of an earlier court order that the ship be removed by Aug. 22.

Toronto Star


Cleveland ready to welcome a growing Great Lakes cruise ship industry

8/1 - Cleveland, Ohio – To a city accustomed to seeing mighty lakers and international freighters steam past the harbor lights, a different kind of ship will present itself Monday.

The Grande Mariner, a sleek luxury liner, will sail into Cleveland Harbor around noon and send 88 passengers strolling down gangplanks into the West Bank of the Flats.

They'll be met by a greeting party and serenaded by a choir. It's not every day a cruise ship calls upon Cleveland – although that's expected to happen more often as the Great Lakes cruising industry expands and as Cleveland becomes better known as a port of call.

"You have a marvelous city to visit," said Stephen Burnett, executive director of the Kingston, Ontario-based Great Lakes Cruising Coalition, which supports the blossoming industry. "Your lovely waterfront. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. You're definitely on the radar."

The Grande Mariner is one of two cruise ships scheduled to visit Cleveland twice this summer on tours that reflect the growing diversity and adventure of Great Lakes pleasure cruises. The three-deck, 184-foot vessel was specially designed by Blount Small Ship Adventures of Rhode Island to traverse the inland seas and coastal waterways.

It left Chicago on July 27 on its Great American Waterways tour. That includes a stop in Manitowoc, Wis., and bucolic Mackinac Island, Mich., en route to Lake Erie and a one-day, one-night excursion in Cleveland.

From Cleveland, the ship sails on to Buffalo, allowing passengers to visit Niagara Falls, before threading the Welland Canal into Lake Ontario.

Along the coast of New York, the nimble craft will make a right turn up the Oswego Canal to meet the Erie Canal near Syracuse. A retractable pilothouse allows it to pass under low bridges, and the ship will ply the historic canal to the Hudson River, then sail down to the ocean and on to its home port in Warren, R.I.

These are people who have a lot of time to travel and they want to travel the Great Lakes.

Passengers are paying $5,000 to $7,000 for the 16-day, 15-night voyage.

"These are people who have a lot of time to travel and they want to travel the Great Lakes," said Lynde Vespoli, whose company, Discover My Cleveland, plays a key role in the Cleveland port of call.

Her buses will meet the Grande Mariner at its berth aside the Nautica Queen near the mouth of the Cuyahoga River and motor them off on an eight-hour tour. The itinerary includes visits to the West Side Market, the Rock Hall and the Cleveland Museum of Art. It climaxes with dinner in Amish country in Geauga County.

Vespoli plotted a similar town and country tour for the cruise ship Yorktown, which one day last August unloaded 160 sightseers at once.

"People loved it," she said. "They were just like, 'Wow, look at all this. What a great city.'"

The city's convention and visitors bureau also learned from the Yorktown visits. Positively Cleveland will again send its ambassadors and staff to stage what it calls a pop-up party. Members of the Singing Angels, the region's renowned choral group, will sing a greeting.

Burnett suspects such welcomes will become more common for Cleveland and other Great Lakes cities as one of the region's oldest industries reawakens.

A century ago, Great Lakes passenger cruises were wildly popular, mostly as a practical form of transportation, he said. His coalition formed in 1997 to begin to promote vacation cruises, which are catching on. This summer, five ships from four cruise lines are offering tours on the Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence Seaway.

The Great Lakes cruise ships are much smaller than the titanic vessels that sail the ocean, but they offer private cabins, full meals, and on-board entertainment in addition to frequent ports of call.

"What we have on the Great Lakes is a surprising tourism environment," Burnett said. "People see a completely different set of attractions every day and scratch their heads and say, 'I had no idea this was here.'"

Cleveland Plain Dealer


U.S. Steel says Hamilton plants are "challenged" money losers

8/1 - Hamilton, Ont. – U.S. Steel's president says the struggling company's Canadian plants are "challenged" money losers that have to be reshaped.

Mario Longhi told industry analysts Wednesday the former Stelco operations in Hamilton and Nanticoke are squarely in the sights of the company's cost-cutting plan, but "no decisions have been made" yet about restructuring.

Longhi spoke to analysts in a conference call to explain the company's $18-million second-quarter loss — a sharp improvement from the $60-million loss stock watchers predicted and the $78-million loss for the same period last year.

Jefferies & Co. analyst Luke Folta asked why the company was rewriting credit and factoring agreements in the United States, a move he said "looks like an initial step to distance yourself from that business in case you did want to pursue some kind of restructuring up there."

Longhi said the move "will give us the additional levels of flexibility that in this kind of business are necessary. We have been looking at every angle of our business and Canada is one that is challenged.

"We are working on it and are going to keep working on it," he said, adding the Canadian branch "unfortunately is not generating a profit."

In an email exchange company spokesperson Courtney Boone said U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rules prohibit the company from revealing plant-by-plant financial results. She refused to answer other questions beyond what Longhi said.

In a recent SEC filing, U.S. Steel reported it had amended agreements with American lenders to ensure a debt default in Canada would not trigger defaults in the U.S. That move is seen by some as a first step in a plan to exit this country at the end of 2015. That's when promises to operate in Canada expire, along with a special pension funding arrangement with the Ontario government.

The moves take place against the background of a company-wide cost-cutting drive dubbed the Carnegie Way. It is expected to shave $435 million in costs by the end of this year.

Independent steel analyst Chuck Bradford said there have been persistent Wall Street rumors that U.S. Steel intends to close some or all of its Canadian branch and recent events hint something is coming.

"It certainly looks like they're getting set up to do something, but I don't know what," he said. "I'm a little surprised at all this talk about them closing something in Canada."

Bradford was also doubtful that the Canadian plants are true money losers.

In Hamilton, the company operates a coke oven battery, cold mill and the Z Line coating facility Bradford said is popular among automakers. It may be suffering now because of business lost during an 11-month lockout of Hamilton workers in 2010-11.

"There could be a number of things they're doing to make it appear to be a loser," he said. "Everything I've heard is that the Z Line is one of the best around, that it's a very specific and unique entity."

Rolf Gerstenberger, president of United Steel Workers Local 1005, added it's small wonder the Hamilton plant is losing money given the amount of time it has been closed and the way its operations have been slashed.

"We were profitable in 2008 when we were running at 100 per cent, but it's hard to be profitable when you're not operating," he said. "It's almost like they've designed this to fail."

He also agreed orders were lost during the lockout.

Hamilton Spectator


Ferry parent continues to search out ways of increasing ridership

8/1 - Owen Sound, Ont. – The Owen Sound Transportation Company is always looking at ways to increase its ridership on the Chi-Cheemaun, says OSTC President and CEO Susan Schrempf.

“Compared to 2013 at the same time (as of July 10) we are up in terms of vehicle numbers by 10 percent, but last year we lost 10 days at the start of the season,” stated Susan Schrempf, of the OSTC, in an interview with the Recorder recently.

“If you compare our numbers this year against 2012 for the same number of operating days we are down 11 percent. We had one day where the ship was down and we lost 406 potential vehicles so we would still be down 2,000 vehicles over the same time period as 2012.”

“I understand from talking to other tourist operators the numbers are depressed universally,” said Ms. Schrempf. “They are attributing a lot of this due to the late spring.” As well, another big factor, “is the exorbitant fuel prices. People can’t afford to drive like they could in the past, and of course guess what we want people to do– drive to either Tobermory or South Baymouth to take the ferry to the other side.”

“We have been providing discounts for passengers for retail and accommodation businesses for people who use the ferry through the Destination Manitoulin program and it seems to be working well,” said Ms. Schrempf.

“We have also been doing as much promotion and advertising in areas like southern Ontario, the GTA and the Golden Horseshoe as we can,” continued Ms. Schrempf.

Ms. Schrempf explained, “on a trip by trip basis, for the 7 am out of Tobermory and the 10 pm sailing from South Baymouth, the numbers of users of these services are almost invisible. It seems 7 am is too early for people to drive up and ferry. In the early days of the ferry, people would come up the night before and stay at a hotel and couldn’t get the middle sailings because they were on a first come first served basis. But now they can reserve a spot on the middle sailings so customers aren’t worried about getting here that early in the morning to catch the Chi-Cheemaun in Tobermory. And hotel rooms are generally full in Tobermory and even if you can find a room customers don’t want to pay about $150 a night for a room and then another $40 to use the ferry service as well. So instead they are making reservations on the ferry at 11:20 am and not driving around.”

“Our board of directors are quite aware of the problems we are having this year, but what’s the solution?” asked Ms. Schrempf. She explained the OSTC has put in place a stargazing cruise for walk-on traffic for the month of August (starting in Tobermory at 8 pm and returning from South Baymouth at 10 pm (except for Wednesdays). She pointed out, “in the past we’ve been criticized for allowing for this, but these customers may come back in the future and it adds passengers to the ship.”

The OSTC is also going to be requesting the municipality of Tobermory change its current bylaws to allow for the ferry lot to be used for recreation vehicles, to allow people to park there overnight and take the first sailing over to South Baymouth in the morning. “With the dry camping, people could bring in their RVs and park them on the lot. They wouldn’t be connected to hydro or anything else, they would just be allowed to sleep in their RV’s on the lot. “This is a market that we have no access to right now, and there would need to be municipal bylaws changed, but we will be making an application to the municipality to allow for this.”

“We look at all avenues, all the time, to find markets to promote and help fill the ship,”said Ms. Schrempf.

Manitoulin Expositor


Lookback #257 – Former Saguenay wrecked by Typhoon Louise on Aug. 1, 1951

8/1 - Three ships have carried the name Saguenay in the Canada Steamship Lines fleet. Their first was a passenger carrier that was part of the original fleet in 1913.

This ship had been built at Govan, Scotland, in 1911, and came to Canada for the Richelieu & Ontario Navigation Co. This was the last ship built for this company and it could accommodate 240 passengers in cabins for the trip between Quebec City and the beautiful Saguenay River. The vessel was finished with fine rugs and curtains and mahogany paneling.

Saguenay was laid up in 1929 as new ships (Tadoussac, Quebec, Richelieu and St. Lawrence) took over the route but Saguenay was reactivated for freight only service between Montreal and Quebec City in 1934 before returning to lay-up in 1941.

The idle ship was sold to the Wah Shang Steamship Co. of China and left Canada in 1946 as Kiang Yong for service in the Far East. The name was changed to Yangtse Phoenix in 1949.

On Aug. 1, 1951, this vessel was anchored off Hong Kong when Typhoon Louise, a Category 4 storm, swept the area. The anchors failed to hold and the ship came aground near Tai Po and was wrecked 63 years ago today. What remained of the ship was broken up for scrap in the months after the storm subsided.

Skip Gillham


Updates -  August 1

Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the Lita, MCT Monte Rosa, Nulifer Sultan, and Zealand Juliana


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.

1911 – Seven lives were lost when the wooden passenger ship SIRIUS capsized and sank in the St. Lawrence 8 miles from Massena, N.Y. There were 75 passengers on board headed for a picnic when the accident occurred. Apparently, many passengers had rushed to one side of the ship to see a woodchuck as the ship was turning in the current and this led to the ship going over.

1951 – The first SAGUENAY to sail for Canada Steamship Lines was built at Govan, Scotland, in 1913 for service between Quebec City and Saguenay River ports. It left Canada for the Far East as b) KIANG YONG in 1946 and became c) YANGTSE PHOENIX in 1949. The vessel dragged her anchors while riding out a typhoon near Tai Po, Hong Kong, on this date in 1951, went aground and was wrecked.

1969 – The British freighter HOPERIDGE made two trips to the Great Lakes in 1959. It sank on this date in 1969 as b) BETHLEHEM due to a collision with the SHOWA MARU while about 30 miles from Singapore. The ship was enroute from Tokyo to Aden and 7 of the crew were lost.

Data from: Skip Gillham, 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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