Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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* Report News

Rand Logistics gains breathing room with agreement from creditors

8/31 - Bulk shipping company Rand Logistics, which runs services on the Great Lakes, has reached agreement with lenders to amend its credit terms and to waive some default punishments that were looming.

Rand, which has a fleet of three conventional bulk carriers and 10 self-unloaders, had run into difficulty, defaulting on two loans, because of shifts in the value of the Canadian dollar.

The New Jersey-based company’s shipping business is operated in Canada by Lower Lakes Towing Ltd., and in the United States by Lower Lakes Transportation Company (Lower Lakes Transportation). It currently has negative earnings. The firm transports construction aggregates, salt, grain, coal, iron ore, and other dry bulk commodities for clients in the construction, electric utility, food and integrated steel industries.

It thanked creditor groups – one led by Bank of America, another led by Guggenheim Corporate Funding – for their support and confidence in the negotiations. And it pledged to continue improving its balance sheet with initiatives on work processes, budget reductions and cost-saving measures.

Rand also filed an overdue quarterly report with Nasdaq to regain compliance from that stock exchange.

Consumer Eagle


New flyover photos show Sleeping Bear Dunes shipwrecks

8/31 - Leelanau County, Mich. – When Sleeping Bear Dunes celebrated the National Park Service's 100th anniversary last week, their local Coast Guard station sent them a little love, flyover-style.

A helicopter crew from Air Station Traverse City snapped a couple new aerial photos of two of the shipwrecks lying in the waters off South Manitou Island, which is part of the national lakeshore.

The weekend post on the Coast Guard's Facebook page gave a shout-out to their friends at Sleeping Bear:

"Happy 100th to the National Park Service, we are proud to call the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore home! Enjoy the view of South Manitou Island and two of her shipwrecks from high above."

The shipwrecks featured are the well-known hulk of the Francisco Morazan, and its older underwater partner, the Walter L Frost. Their remains can be seen clearly in Lake Michigan's blue-green waters.

Read more and view photos at this link


Port Reports -  August 31

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
Joseph L. Block cleared Sherwood Point at 2:45 p.m. Tuesday heading north on Green Bay. She had been at Bay Shipbuilding for unspecified repairs.


Fair Jeanne docks at the Clayton Antique Boat Museum

8/31 - Clayton, N.Y. – Captain Caitlin Simpson and crew will dock their 20th century tall ship, the Fair Jeanne, from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday at the Antique Boat Museum, 750 Mary St.

The Fair Jeanne, which will be operated by crew from Bytown Brigantine Tall Ships Adventure in Brockville, Ontario, is a 110 -foot vessel built between 1979 and 1982 in the style of 18th-century ships. The ship has one frontal square sail, one fore-and-aft sail in the back and modern technology.

In the past, the ship sailed across the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, in addition to Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River.

“If you haven’t visited the Antique Boat Museum this year, mark your calendar for Thursday,” said museum Seasonal Events Assistant Mary Bowman.

Patrons may tour the ship at no additional charge to the regular admission. Tickets are $14 for adults, $12 for seniors, $8 for children between the ages of 7 and 17 and free for children younger than age 6.

Watertown Daily Times


Underwater explorers looking for crashed World War II bomber in Lake Ontario

8/31 - A team of underwater explorers that recently found the wreck of a 18th century commercial sailing vessel in Lake Ontario say what they're looking for next is not a ship. Shipwreck explorer Jim Kennard says he and his team would love to find a B-24 aircraft that sank in Lake Ontario in 1944.

“A number of people and divers have looked for this aircraft for years, but Lake Ontario is a big place, 7,540 square miles," said Kennard. "It’s somewhere in the lake off of Oswego, but where it is, we don’t know yet."

This wouldn't be the first aircraft Kennard has searched for. He and his team found an Air Force C-45 that crashed into the lake near Oswego in September 1952.

Kennard uses a side scanner sonar system to locate the wrecks deep underwater. He has found 200 shipwrecks in the Great Lakes, Lake Champlain, the Finger Lakes and in the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers over the past 35 years.

One of the most notable discoveries was the HMS Ontario in 2008. The British warship is the oldest shipwreck ever discovered in the Great Lakes. It sank in the Western part of Lake Ontario in 1780. All 120 on board were lost.

“It was a really somber occasion when we put the ROV (remotely operated underwater vehicle) down and we first came upon the ship,” Kennard said. “Usually, there’s high fives and all of that. All of us just stood there and watched the video as the ROV explored the ship and it was just silent reverence because 120 people died on that ship. We were happy that we found the ship, but at the same time, we knew that this was the greatest tragedy that ever happened in Lake Ontario.”



Viking ship reaches Oswego after tumultuous journey

8/31 - Oswego, N.Y. – When the Draken Harald Hårfagre long-ship floated into Oswego's harbor Sunday morning, 48 hours late, H. Lee White Maritime Museum director Mercedes Niess said she was relieved.

"Honestly, when they finally came around the lighthouse here I started to tear up," Niess said. "We’re just so glad because we were on pins and needles of whether today would happen."

The Draken's trip from Norway has been more like an odyssey. The crew has encountered multiple hurdles like when its mast broke in the North Sea. It also got stalled in American waters waiting for an available U.S. pilot to guide them as required by federal law.

"This was unexpected for us," said Draken naval architect Karolina Malmek. Malmek said the Draken crew were also surprised by the cost. The price for a pilot for their journey from Canada down to Chicago and back through the Great Lakes to New York City ran in the six-figure range. The Draken was able to cover those fees through an online crowdfunding effort. Malmek said the support they received from Americans was inspiring.

"I’m so surprised that when we come here and people actually know about this and they followed our story and it’s so rewarding," Malmek said.

The delayed visit to Oswego did not depress the enthusiasm for their arrival. Hundreds braved the sweltering heat Sunday, waiting in long lines to tour the boat and buy souvenirs. The visitors hailed from all over the northeast. Many like Emily Bergamo have Nordic ancestry.

"For me it was like touching a piece of my heritage and a connection to my father," Bergamo said.

The Draken plans to head to New York City next via the Erie Canal.



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.


Would a longer shipping season make sense for Seaway?

8/30 - Would a longer shipping season on the St. Lawrence Seaway be a good thing? A report this summer from the Conference of Great Lakes Governors and Premiers suggests a longer season - they call it "season optimization" - and major upgrades to the Seaway could double the amount of cargo traveling across the waterway.

"On the beginning and end of the main shipping season, is there a little bit of extra time we can squeeze out of those sides?" said Mike Piskur, spokesman for the Great Lakes group.

Wade Davis, the executive director of the Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority, said a longer shipping season could help. "Anything that helps increase the shipping season is something that's of value to the port, of local business, local farms, and so on and so forth."

Not everyone agrees. Historically, even the suggestion of an extended shipping season raises a red flag among environmentalists. Lee Willbanks, the director of "Save The River," said the recommendations came without enough study of the environmental impact.

"When you're going through the Thousand Islands and past Ogdensburg on to Massena, particularly when you get near the dam, there are some very sensitive areas," Willbanks said.

Fortunately, Willbanks said, the proposed improvements focus on the Great Lakes, not the St. Lawrence, and shipping deep into the winter might not make economic sense. "It may be that the economics of river international shipping will work in our favor," Willbanks said.

The proposed improvements would take 10 years and cost nearly $4 billion - and they'd have to be approved by the U.S. and Canadian governments.



Port Reports -  August 30

Toledo, Ohio – Jim Hoffman
Federal Yukon remained at Anderson’s E elevator Monday night loading grain. Federal Bering is in the Ojibway Anchorage in the lower Detroit River waiting to come to Toledo to load grain. She will either be going to Andersons E or K Elevator. She is one of a new class of vessels recently built for the Fednav fleet. This will be her first trip to Toledo. Gadwall is in the upper St Lawrence area and is bound for Toledo.

Toronto, Ont. – Bill Blair
On Monday at about 4 p.m. the KS Norge, a motor yacht belonging to King Harald of Norway, left Toronto harbor. It is not known whether the king was on board.


Rising water: Major factors driving lake levels can change from year to year

8/30 - Traverse City, Mich. – Steve Hutchinson knew he would need to replace a sea wall when he bought a home on Old Mission Peninsula in 2011. But he never imagined that he’d need it so badly. Now, the waves on East Grand Traverse Bay lap against the base of his nearly $75,000 wall, and the bottom two steps leading to the water are submerged.

“I knew we were going to have to do something, but hell, the water was way out there,” he said, pointing to the now-submerged spot where the water line once lingered. “Who would’ve ever guessed it would get this high?”

Water levels in Lakes Michigan and Huron in July were about 10 inches higher than the 95-year average for that month, but they’re still 22 to 24 inches below the record highs from 1986, said Keith Kompoltowicz, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District chief of Watershed Hydrology.

The two lakes are considered one because of their connection at the Straits of Mackinac.

Water levels in the lakes this year have risen to 580.18 feet above the International Great Lakes Datum — a baseline roughly aligned with sea level — according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data. That’s about four inches higher than last year’s peak. Lake levels will match the 30-year-old record in six years if they keep rising at that rate.

Hutchinson said he figures three more of his steps will be underwater if that happens, and while his new seawall will be fine, he wonders about other lakefront homes on Old Mission Peninsula. That includes the house next door, which he also owns. He pointed to the submerged shrubs, downed trees and the small rock wall in front of the house that might need repairs if water levels keep rising.

But what lake levels — and the factors that drive them — are going to do are hard to predict. Andrew Gronewold, a hydrologist with NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, said forecasting lake level changes can be tricky because the factors that drive them are so hard to predict.

“As we’ve seen in the past, there can be dramatic changes in regional air temperatures, such as the Arctic polar vortex formation a few years ago, and dramatic changes in precipitation,” he said.

Those are just two examples of the unpredictable factors that can influence Great Lakes water levels, Gronewold said.

Lake level changes mostly are driven by precipitation, but changes in evaporation are starting to take a bigger role, Gronewold said. Previously, precipitation rates would change while evaporation rates stayed mostly constant. But the high water levels of the 1980s dropped rapidly over several years, and scientists are blaming an increase in water surface temperatures, which cause more evaporation.

Above-average evaporation is blamed for keeping Lakes Michigan and Huron water levels below the long-term average from 1998 to 2013, Gronewold said.

“Then that period very abruptly and dramatically came to an end,” he said, adding that the three-year rise in the lakes is without precedent.

On top of that, there has been a gradual and persistent increase in precipitation over the Great Lakes basin, Gronewold said. That means for a given period, the question is whether there will be more evaporation or more precipitation when compared to averages.

All of this makes lake levels hard to forecast, but GLERL and USACE do collaborate on periodic outlooks that extrapolate lake levels under a number of scenarios, Gronewold said.

The latest looks at how hurricanes have caused the Great Lakes to rise, especially when they tracked over the lakes’ basin in the midst of an already rainy period. It uses those figures to show that the Great Lakes could rise even higher if a hurricane passes through, but likely wouldn’t reach record highs.

The USACE also includes six-month projections in its monthly lake level bulletins.

Abundant rain and snow brought water levels to where they are now, Kompoltowicz said. The big jump from record lows in 2012 and 2013 to today’s above-average highs came after two consecutive years of heavy snowfall and lots of spring rain.

August has been a wet one so far, Kompoltowicz said. Rainfall totals across the basin for Lakes Michigan and Huron have swamped average precipitation totals, amounting to 162 percent of the month’s normal. An exceptionally rainy fall could blunt the typical seasonal decline in lake levels, Kompoltowicz said.

“We have had instances in the past where a very wet September or October will kind of halt that seasonal decline,” he said. “As recently as 2014, we had a very small, nearly nonexistent (decline) because of the wet fall.”

Averages show the lakes typically drop by a foot from July to February. For now, USACE expects a typical seasonal decline this fall and winter, Kompoltowicz said. “But the weather changes all the time,” he said.

Traverse City Record Eagle


Coast Guard spent $21,700 pulling wayward Americans from river

8/30 - Sarnia, Ont. – The Canadian Coast Guard spent $21,700 to help pull 1,500 wayward Americans from the Ontario shores of the St. Clair River last weekend. The Yanks were taking part in the Port Huron Float Down - an annual tradition that sees thousands of participants from the Michigan side drift down the river on tubes and other floating things.

A strong wind blew them off course and stranded them on the Canadian side of the river in Sarnia, Ont.

The Coast Guard's estimate includes overtime, fuel and provisions for the Coast Guard Ship Limnos and several fast rescue craft. That's on top of the estimated $8,100 the city of Sarnia spent shuttling the wet Americans back across the border in police-escorted city buses.

Because the annual tradition is unsanctioned and has no sponsors to pick up the tab, the city has already written off the costs.

Joe Wiedenbeck, of nearby Marysville, Mich., launched an online gofundme campaign on Tuesday to help Sarnia cover some of the bill. As of Friday morning it had raised more than $4,700.

The stranded Americans also brought new scrutiny to the annual float. Many of those pulled to shore were drunk, had varying degrees of hypothermia and some even dangerously tried to swim back across, fearing they'd be charged for being in Canada illegally. A four-year-old was among those rescued.

"People need to be aware that while everyone had fun, and I appreciate the boost for tourism, we need to think about public safety, and we need to think about what's going to happen next year," said Sarnia-Lambton MP Marilyn Gladu, urging officials on both sides of the border to get more involved in the planning going forward.

Owen Sound Sun Times


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


Port Reports -  August 29

Alpena, Mich. – Ben & Chanda McClain
Saturday was a rainy day but there were a few vessels in port. The brig Niagara arrived in the morning and tied up. The tug G.L. Ostrander and barge Integrity loaded cement at Lafarge Saturday evening. The Alpena was in port as well, docking under the silos once the Integrity departed. The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation are expected back on Monday afternoon.

Conneaut, Ohio – Jeff Benson
Saturday was a busy day at the port. Roger Blough was unloading taconite. Algoma Spirit was being loaded with taconite via a portable conveyor and front-end loader. Algosteel arrived and went to anchor outside the harbor. Later, the Edwin H. Gott arrived and waited outside the harbor for the Blough to finish unloading. In the afternoon the Algoma Spirit departed, and the Algosteel proceeded in to load. Presque Isle arrived Sunday and went to anchor waiting for the Gott to finish unloading.

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
Algolake was in port with road salt for Port Authority dock. Norway dragon ship Draken Harald was visiting H. Lee White Marine Museum Sunday.

Kingston, N.Y. – Daily Freeman
The world’s largest Viking ship built in modern times, the 115-foot Draken Harald, will arrive in Kingston Sept. 9 and stay until Thursday morning, Sept. 15, at the Hudson River Maritime Center, before leaving for New York City. Built in Haugesund, Norway, she left her homeport on April 24 and sailed across the North Atlantic on the historical route explored by the Vikings 1,000 years ago. Deck tours will be available visit


BoatNerd Welland Gathering Sept. 16-18

8/29 - The annual Welland Canal BoatNerd Gathering is scheduled for Sept. 16-18. Once again, we will meet up for socializing, sharing pictures, slides and videos, plus watching and photographing 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.

Due to no vessels being at Marine Recycling Corp., the walking tour of the scrapyard will not be held.

Visit the Gatherings page for more details


Updates -  August 29

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 29

August 29, 1996 - The NICOLET, which had been sold for scrap, left Toledo under tow of the McKeil tug OTIS WACK, arriving in Port Maitland, Ontario during the early hours of the 30th. Last operated in 1990, the NICOLET was built in 1905 by Great Lakes Engineering Work at Ecorse, Michigan as the a.) WILLIAM G. MATHER (25), b) J. H. SHEADLE (55), c) H. L. GOBEILLE. The vessel spent the first 60 years of her life in service for the Cleveland-Cliffs Steamship Company. After 1965, her ownership was transferred to the Gartland Steamship Company and eventually American Steamship Company.

On this day in 1974, unsuccessful negotiations on a major shipbuilding contract resulting in Litton Industries terminating operations at its Erie yard. The Litton yard had built the first 1,000-foot boat on the lakes, the STEWART J. CORT, and the 1,000-foot tug-barge PRESQUE ISLE.

It is not often that a schooner tows a tug, but on 29 August 1882, the tug J. A. CRAWFORD was towing the big schooner JAMES COUCH to Chicago when the wind picked up and the schooner passed the tug. Captain Gorman of the CRAWFORD cut the engine and allowed the COUCH to tow him until 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


Port Sanilac Lighthouse rolls out the welcome mat

8/28 - Port Sanilac, Mich. – Lighthouse lovers – and there are lots of them around here – will want to circle Sept. 10 on the calendar. That's when Jeff and Lindsay Shook, owners of the Port Sanilac Lighthouse, will open the historic building constructed in 1886 for tours.

Shook said he believes the building has only been open once before to the public for tours.

The couple have owned the lighthouse since December 2014 and have been working inside and out to restore and renovate it. "It’s pretty much restoration and planning still," he said. "To this day we’ve stayed there three times only so far because it’s been under construction most of the time.

"It’s getting to the point now where it’s getting livable. We have furniture in there, but we haven’t started hanging pictures yet."

He said the open house, which will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., will be both a celebration of the lighthouse's 130 years as an active aid to navigation on the Great Lakes and the final opportunity to view its 1886 Fresnel lens in its original location.

The U.S. Coast Guard will be removing the lens and replacing it with a modern LED light. The lens will be kept on display at the lighthouse.

Shook said the grounds will be open free of charge to the public. Touring the tower, including a climb up to the lens, costs $5 for people 12 years and older. Children need to be at least 36 inches tall to climb the tower — and tower climbers can't be wearing flip flops.

Shook will give a presentation at 3 p.m. from the front porch of the lighthouse. Volunteers from the Sanilac County Historical Society also will be at the event. Proceeds from the tour will be used for lighthouse maintenance, Shook said.

Lighthouses run in the family. Shook's fifth great-grandfather and grandmother were the first lightkeepers at Pointe Aux Barques lighthouse north along the Lake Huron shore near Port Hope.

Catherine Shook cared for the lighthouse and her eight children after her husband drowned in a shipwreck.

He also is involved with the Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy that owns the Muskegon South Pierhead and South Breakwater Lights and the Alpena Breakwater Lighthouse.

People will be able to view other structures such as the lighthouse outhouse — a two-holer — the well on the property and the oilhouse where the kerosene that lit the beacon was stored.

The light, which was electrified in 1924, remains a marker for mariners and will continue to be so after the lens is replaced.

Shook said the plan is to have the lighthouse open for tours during the summer.

"We’re trying to make arrangements with the Sanilac County Historical Society to try to come up with a game plan starting next year ... to get some of their volunteers to open the light tower up for tours next year," he said, noting that discussions are in the preliminary phase.

The Fenton man said his family – he and his wife have two small children – plan to use the lighthouse as a vacation home.

"We've got quite a few letters and people who have stopped by and thanked us for taking such good care of the lighthouse and putting all the work into it," Shook said.

Port Huron Times Herald


Updates -  August 28

News Photo Gallery


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


Algosteel fits out, Frontenac getting ready to sail

8/27 - Algosteel left lay-up at Toronto on Friday and was in the Welland Canal by late evening. AIS has them expected in Conneaut on Saturday at noon. Frontenac, which had been sidelined at Goderich, is also in the process of fitting out for the season. Both vessels were relegated to spare-boat status this year, on call if needed. The grain carrier Ojibway is undergoing steel work at Sarnia before she resumes service in September.


Fresh out of water, R/V Chinook continues to educate at Besser Museum

8/27 - Alpena, Mich. – After being on the waters of Lake Huron for the past 60 plus years, the retired DNR Research Vessel Chinook has a new home, resting outside the Besser Museum in Alpena.

After being lifted out of the water for the last time on Monday, the R/V Chinook was trucked through Alpena and to the Besser Museum early Tuesday evening, and was propped up in the parking lot where it will stay temporarily on display.

Built in 1947, R/V Chinook was the oldest research vessel on the Great Lakes, and took its final voyage earlier in the month. Many people from the community were on hand to watch Chinook move to it's new home, including people with close ties to the research vessel.

One former ship captain and first mate used the moment to reflect on the 31 years he worked on R/V Chinook.

"Just being out there and working on the sea, and doing all the research we did. You know from planting lake trout, to brown trout to seeing the recovery of the lake. After being donated to the museum by the DNR, the ship which was used for research for over half a century...will continue to help educate people in northern Michigan about the importance of the Great Lakes,” says Clarence Closs.

The exhibit is not entirely complete, but the Besser Museum has some plans to highlight this fascinating vessel, which is still in great shape.

"We will build a dock around it so the public can get up and access the boat. It will be stocked with all the equipment like if you were going out to the lake to do a day's work, and we will add programs for students and adults; interpretive signage. And DNR will work with us, they have an education department, and will help us with developing a lot of the educational outreach, that we both want to share with the public," said Besser Museum Executive Director Chris Witulski

The process in building the exhibit will take a few years, but for right now it's a great opportunity to check out piece of history as it sits.



Port Reports -  August 27

Toledo, Ohio
Fednav’s Federal Yukon was upriver unloading on Friday. BBC Zarate was also in port.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The saltie Chestnut came in Friday around 7 a.m. with the tug Washington. They were still loading coke at the Gateway Metroport Main Dock Friday evening. The World's Largest Rubber Duck has taken up residence in the Watson Basin of the Buffalo River for the weekend.


Viking ship heading back to the East Coast

8/27 - Port Colborne, Ont. - Saturday will be the last chance for people to see the Viking boat Draken Harald Harfagre as she passes down the Welland Canal. The vessel arrived at Port Colborne Friday evening and proceeded to wharf 18-3, the West Street wharf, where she could get a pilot very early in the morning if she chooses to depart during the night.

Barry Andersen


U.S. border agents cross into Canada to rescue residents from Niagara Falls house fire

8/27 - Buffalo, N.Y. – Americans have unexpectedly come ashore in Canada for the second time in less than a week, but they weren’t wayward partiers — they came here to save lives.

It was just after 1 a.m. Thursday when U.S. Border Patrol marine units based in Buffalo, N.Y., noticed a house on fire on the Canadian shoreline near Niagara Falls, Ont. The border agents didn’t spot any firefighters or rescue vehicles, so they manoeuvred their boats close to shore, set off their sirens and shone spotlights to alert the residents.

The agents eventually came ashore and one led a family of four, including two children, out of the burning house to a safe spot across the road.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection says a second agent led another family of four to safety from a house adjacent to the blaze while the commander of a second American patrol boat contacted the RCMP to let them know what was going on.

This friendly cross-border invasion follows an incident last Sunday when some 1,500 wayward Americans washed ashore in Sarnia, Ont.

The unexpected visitors were on inflatable rafts and boats — attending the annual Port Huron Float Down — when they drifted off course due to high winds and strong currents.

“The decisive actions made by the agents involved demonstrates their willingness to go above and beyond to ensure the safety of citizens on both sides of the border,” said Matt Harvey, the acting deputy patrol agent at the Buffalo station.

Canadian Press


Why Norway’s Harald V has been sleeping on a yacht moored on Toronto’s waterfront

8/27 - Toronto, Ont. - His Majesty King Harald V of Norway was sitting at the back of his sailboat, munching on a green apple, reflecting upon the day of sailing that had just been. A day that was not “good,” according to the king. It was not good because the king, a sailor since age two, a three-time Olympian and the skipper of the Sira, a classic eight-metre sloop that his father, King Olav V, had built in 1938, thrives on competition.

Even today, the 79-year-old King Harald wants to win. But on a breezy Wednesday afternoon on Lake Ontario the king and his crew of Norwegians, whom he has been racing with since 1987, did not win. They came ninth out of 12 boats. The dismal showing dropped them to second place overall in the race for the Sira Cup – a coveted international prize that the king’s father donated to the international sailing community in 1983 — that concludes here Saturday.

“I’ve raced all my life,” says the king, who last won the cup in 2008. “You can’t stop playing, you know? The first time I was on this boat I was two years old. For me, with sailing, it’s about the competition. The wind — the weather — it doesn’t make any difference who you are, before the wind.”

Norway’s sailor king doesn’t look or act like one might imagine a monarch would. On his green-hulled boat with the wooden deck, with his crew sitting in a nearby boat enjoying a post-race beer at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club on the Toronto Islands, the king cut the figure of a kindly grandfather (he has six grandchildren).

Read more, and view photos at this link


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.


Tall ships visiting Marquette's Lower Harbor this weekend

8/26 - Marquette, Mich. – It may be quiet now, but Marquette's Lower Harbor will be the site of plenty activity this weekend, including three unique tall ships.

The Marquette Maritime Museum has arranged for the ships to arrive just in time for Harbor Fest. The first ship, The Pride of Baltimore, arrived Tuesday night. Two more ships, the Spanish El Galeon and General George Patton's personal yacht the When and If will be here by Friday.

Organizers say this is a great chance to see some fantastic ships.

"This is one of those remarkable occasions when folks in the Marquette area will really have an opportunity to come down and enjoy a wonderful festival and these great tall ships that will be in Marquette Harbor," said Fredrick Stonehouse of the Marquette Maritime Museum.

The El Galeon and the Pride of Baltimore will be available for deck tours. The When and If will be taking people for short rides on Lake Superior for a fee. Volunteers are needed to help take tickets at the event.



Port Reports -  August 26

Indiana Harbor, Ind. - Daniel Lindner
James R. Barker arrived Wednesday night to discharge iron ore. After experiencing dock delays, the ship began unloading Thursday morning. Wilfred Sykes arrived early Thursday, pulling in just behind the Barker and unloading limestone onto the dock. She departed just after noon. The Barker was expected to depart Thursday night.

Lackawanna, N.Y. – Brian W
The saltie Chestnut departed Port Colborne, went a few miles directly south out into the lake and went to anchor.


Parry Sound one of many stops along the Pearl Mist’s Great Lakes journey

8/26 - Parry Sound, Ont. – In the years of steam, passenger ships visited Parry Sound on a regular basis. After a long absence, they’re back in the form of the cruise ship Pearl Mist, operated by the Great Lakes Cruise Company.

A modern-built vessel, the Pearl Mist blends the conveniences and amenities of a large cruise ship – and there are only 100 staterooms aboard, all outfitted and all with private balconies. Because of its small size, the Pearl Mist is able to safely navigate into scenic areas inaccessible to larger ships and dock in small, characterful coastal communities.

The Pearl Mist exclusively cruises the Great Lakes (with the exception of Lake Superior). The itinerary includes such attractions as historic Mackinac Island, the majestic Flowerpot Rocks of the Bruce Peninsula, and even Niagara Falls. Ports visited include Toronto, Chicago, Windsor, Sault Ste. Marie, Midland, Little Current on Manitoulin Island and Parry Sound (seven times this summer).

Amenities aboard the Pearl Mist include an open-seating dining room with panoramic views, six onboard lounges, a spa, theatre, a fitness area on the outside deck, and a library. Launches allow shore excursions where the vessel itself cannot dock, enabling the itinerary to include sights and attractions that would otherwise be inaccessible to larger vessels.


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


Great Lakes steel output fell by 24,000 tons

8/25 - Raw steel production in the Great Lakes region dropped by 3.55 percent to 651,000 tons last week. Nationally, steel output so far this year continues to trail the anemic 2015 pace by about 632,000 tons, a decline of 1.1 percent, according to the World Steel Association.

Overall U.S. steel output fell by 30,000 tons or 1.78 percent last week, according to an American Iron and Steel Institute estimate. Total U.S. raw steel production last week was about 1.655 million tons, down from 1.685 million tons a week earlier.

Production in the Southern District, which spans mini-mills across the South, dropped to 568,000 tons last week, down from 575,000 tons the previous week.

Year-to-date steel capacity utilization at U.S. mills has been 72.5 percent, as compared to a capacity utilization of 72.3 percent at the same point in 2015.

NW Indiana Times


New vessel a friend to Great Lakes environment

8/25 - Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor - Officials with the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor welcomed the Federal Caribou, a new generation oceangoing vessel Tuesday that reportedly emits fewer greenhouse gases, uses less fuel and flushes out more invasive fish species than similar ships.

The $25 million, bright red ship is one of seven oceangoing lakers owned by Montreal-based Fednav Limited that is equipped with a new ballast water treatment system.

Fednav President and co-CEO Paul Pathy said the new system treats the ballast water twice for greater protection of the Great Lakes. He said the dual treatment, installed by JFE Engineering Corp., filters out any organisms and provides chlorine disinfection.

While the ship is on its fourth trip, this is its maiden voyage to Indiana, according to Capt. Rajat Roychowdhury.

Pathy said Fednav opted to use the new water ballast system in its seven new vessels before it is required to do so by any country or state and intends to add the system to all its new vessels going forward.

He said each system costs about $500,000. "The key is we took the lead and can show industry and government what is possible," Pathy said. "I believe in the commercial future of the Great Lakes and am interested in their environmental future," he said.

According to port officials, the new vessels have 25 percent fewer greenhouses gas emissions than similar vessels built less than 15 years ago and 15 percent fewer nitrogen oxide emissions.

Carol Comer, with Indiana Department of Environmental Management, said with these new vessels Fednav has shown that a company can be both economically successful and environmentally responsible at the same time.

She said the new ballast system is critical to the Great Lakes, which has endured such invasive species as zebra mussels and lamprey brought in by oceangoing vessels. Comer said if more companies follow Fednav's example, the healthier the Great Lakes will be. But she added this is no quick fix.

"It will take some time to recover from some of the damage that was done," she said.

Rich Cooper, CEO for the Ports of Indiana, said Fednav invested more than $400 million on 16 new vessels designed specifically for the Great Lakes, seven of which have the new ballast water system.

He pointed out that it was a family-owned business in Montreal led by a father and his two sons, not a huge corporation, that is leading the industry with the new environmental improvements.

"They're making sure that shipping on the Great Lakes is a viable option for many years to come," Cooper said.

The ship started its voyage in Germany, where it loaded 11,000 metric tons of fertilizer headed for Quebec. It then loaded 10,000 metric tons of steel in the United Kingdom, headed for Detroit, Milwaukee and Burns Harbor. After unloading the steel, the ship will load 21,250 metric tons of flax/canola in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and bring it to Mexico.

Post Tribune


Port Reports -  August 25

Milwaukee, Wis. – Alan
Dennis Sullivan is still heading east in Lake Superior along with other ships that were in Duluth. G.L. Ostrander lies at the Lafarge wharf and tug Karen Andrie is on the western side of the inner harbor, a position she has taken quite often before.


Lake Superior lights added to the National Register for Historic Places

8/25 - Lansing, Mich. – Three Lake Superior lighthouses, including one in the Upper Peninsula, were recently added to the National Register for Historic Places.

The Presque Isle Harbor Breakwater Light was built in 1941 to assist in shipping out iron ore mined in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, according to U.S. Coast Guard historian Daniel Koski-Karell, who applied to get the lighthouses added to the register. Standing in Presque Isle Harbor, the light is still used for this purpose.

The other two additions to the National Register are Minnesota’s Duluth Harbor North Pier Light, constructed in 1910, and South Harbor Breakwater Outer Light, constructed in 1901. Both were built to help ships navigate Duluth’s shipping canal, Koski-Karell said.

Both Duluth Harbor lighthouses had antique beacon lights that were replaced by modern LED lights in 2014. Previously, the Duluth Harbor South Breakwater Outer Light used a Parisian made beacon light from 1877, according to the application.

The Coast Guard still needs the Presque Isle and Duluth Harbor lights operational. Their register listing helps open the door for them to be donated to a nonprofit organization or auctioned to a private owner.

Great Lakes Echo


Removal of Lake Michigan catwalk to begin; year-long closing of pier imminent

8/25 - Grand Haven, Mich. – The removal of Grand Haven's iconic Lake Michigan catwalk could begin as soon as Thursday, Aug. 25. Grand Haven City Manager Pat McGinnis said that date is a moving target, so Friday, Aug. 26 and Monday, Aug. 29 are also possible start dates.

The King Company, a Holland-based marine contractor, will be handling the $84,000 project to remove the catwalk in sections. They will then transport it via barge up the Grand River for storage at the Verplank Trucking Co. site in Ferrysburg.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is scheduled to begin a $2.1 million repair project of the pier on which that catwalk sits on Sept. 19 so the historic catwalk, which is badly in need to of repair and restoration, needs to be removed if it is to be saved.

Read more and view a photo gallery at this link


Nautical Flea Market and Collectible Show Saturday at National Museum

8/25 - Toledo, Ohio – On Saturday, August 27, the National Museum of the Great Lakes will host a semi-annual Nautical Flea Market and Collectible Show featuring 12 vendors and duplicate material from its own collection. The show will feature photographs, books, postcards and memorabilia from the Great Lakes. Great deals on multiple purchases and rare material will be available.

Admission to the show is included in the price of admission to the National Museum of the Great Lakes. Members of the museum receive free admission. The show runs from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday.

National Museum of the Great Lakes


Special event at Gills Rock museum Sept. 4

8/25 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – The Door County Maritime Museum will be highlighting some of its new and existing exhibits at its Gills Rock Maritime Museum on Sunday, Sept. 4, from noon until 4 p.m. This special event will feature maritime guests and experts that will help bring the exhibits to life.

The event will be used to help introduce the museum’s newly restored 1917 Kahlenberg engine as well as the refurbished Plum Island Fresnel lens. Trygvie Jensen, author of “Through Waves and Gales Come Fisherman Tales” and “Wooden Boats and Iron Men,” will also be on board the commercial fishing tug Hope answering questions about commercial fishing and its tugs.

Kurt Krueger restored the Kahlenberg and will explain the workings of this remarkable engine. “Hear what it took to restore this workhorse of commercial fishing and the story behind this particular engine,” said Adam Gronke, museum curator. “Every single nut and bolt was taken off, cleaned, repaired and restored to it’s original,” said Gronke.

The engine sat outside for more than 25 years. It is originally off the fishing tug King in Ellison Bay, and had been in storage in Sturgeon Bay following Krueger’s ambitious restoration project. It was moved to Gills Rock on July 13. It is now one of four Kahlenbergs in the Gills Rock Maritime Museum.

Kurt Fosburg is one of the few in the United States who is licensed to remove, clean and repair Fresnel lenses for the United Stated Coast Guard. He removed the Plum Island light as well as the Green Bay entry light that is currently on display at the Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay.

The Plum Island light was constructed in Paris, France, in 1889 and served until 2015 when it was replaced with a LED light. Originally invented by Augustine Fresnel in 1822, the lenses were used extensively along European and North American coasts. They ranged in size from first to sixth order (first being the largest). The Plum Island lens is a fourth order lens, a very common size for the Great Lakes.

A representative of the Friends of Plum and Pilot Islands will also be at the Gills Rock Maritime Museum to discuss and answer questions related to its mission of preserving, restoring and maintaining the lighthouses and other historic structures on Plum and Pilot Island.

This special event is free to all Door County Maritime Museum and Friends of Plum and Pilot Island members. General admission to the event is $6 for adults and $3 for children.



Updates -  August 25

News Photo Gallery


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

Milwaukee, Wis. – Alan
Federal Caribou left late Monday evening headed to Burns Harbor. Milwaukee resident USEPA Lake Guardian is currently on a Lake Superior survey and also heading east. Back in port is the Dennis Sullivan, which has been taking part with other tall ships at Duluth.

Goderich, Ont.
Radcliffe R. Latimer was loading salt on Tuesday. Algolake was anchored waiting her turn.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
Tug Calusa Coast and barge Delaware were outbound for the lake Tuesday evening.

Erie, Pa. – Gene P
The Viking boat Draken Harald came into Erie early afternoon Tuesday and tied up in the slip usually occupied by the brig Niagara behind the Erie Maritime Museum.


Help Wanted Chief Mate

8/24 - Lower Lakes Towing is seeking a well-organized and self-directed individual for the position of Chief Mate with the following duties:

Safely manning a Navigation Watch
Supervising the Maintenance and upkeep of the hull, decks and superstructure of the vessel
Responsible for the safe loading, unloading of cargo
Ensuring that vessel lifesaving and firefighting equipment is properly maintained
Supervising and directing the vessels Deck Department, including the ordering of Deck Supplies
Other duties assigned by the Vessel Master


Chief Mate Near Coastal certificate issued by Transport Canada
Valid MED, Marine Medical, and First Aid Certificates
GLPA Certificate is an asset
Strong organizational, communication skills


Service on Great Lakes Self-Unloaders is preferred but not required GLPA Pilotage areas preferred but not required

VIA Mail: Human Resources Department
Lower Lakes Towing LTD
PO Box 1149
Port Dover, Ontario N0A 1N0

VIA email:


Updates -  August 24

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 24

At 2:00 a.m. on 24 August 1892, the GEORGE N. BRADY (wooden propeller tug, 102 foot, 165 gross tons, built in 1865, at Detroit or Marine City, Michigan) was engaged in pulling a raft of logs across Lake St. Clair along with the tug SUMNER. Fire was discovered around the BRADY's smokestack and 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.


Atlantic Erie takes step toward scrap heap

8/23 - Montreal, Que. – Canada Steamship Lines’ laid up self-unloader Atlantic Erie has had her name and stack marking painted out. This is usually a prelude to a scrap sale. However the 1985-built vessel still appears on the Transport Canada web site and no tugs are known to be enroute to tow the vessel overseas.

Rene Beauchamp


Climbing the ladder to be a Great Lakes boat pilot

8/23 - Windsor, Ont. – Many of us walk to the office in a zombie-like state, loaded down with over-the-shoulder bags carrying lunch and other necessities, often with a coffee in the other hand.

For Brett Walker, just getting to work can be a real adventure that demands his full attention and focus. Walker is a Great Lakes boat pilot. Working for Canada’s Great Lakes Pilotage Authority, his job is to navigate foreign vessels safely through the region’s rivers and waterways.

That means starting his work day by climbing a 30-foot rope ladder straight up the side of a moving freighter. The freighters must keep going in order to stay on schedule as they travel a busy water highway.

“It’s a proper rope ladder,” Walker says rather nonchalantly. “There are spreaders to stop it from twisting and wooden steps.”

A tug takes Walker out to meet the ship and pulls to the lee side for added protection from any weather elements, but Walker says “it’s still a little bouncy” on the climb up or down. Once aboard, other challenges can present themselves since each day means he’s working with a new crew, a new ship and different weather.

Every foreign vessel on the lakes must have either a U.S. or Canadian pilot on board. Pilot service has been mandatory and available ever since the St. Lawrence Seaway opened traffic for foreign vessels in 1959.

“We recruit the best people in the country to do this job,” said Robert Lemire, the CEO of the Canadian authority.

About 60 pilots work on the Great Lakes. The work is shared with U.S. pilots through an extremely complicated numbering system. Odd-numbered vessels are handled by Americans and even-numbered vessels go to Canadians.

“It’s insurance against grounding, collision or anything that could cause environmental disaster,” Walker said of the service.

The 57-year-old lives with his family in Beamsville, Ont. Coming straight out of high school, he enrolled in the marine navigation program at Georgian College where part of the curriculum requires a six-month placement at sea. Graduates attain the rank of first mate and then must apply for a license through the Ministry of Transport.

Walker earned the rank of captain at the young age of 26. As a Great Lakes pilot, he’s away from home roughly 40 days a year for a shipping season that generally opens in March and runs through October or November.

He’ll work 12 days straight followed by five off and every other month he spends 10 days doing runs between Windsor and Sarnia. The freighters he guides handle loads of oil, steel, grain or windmill parts.

Other assignments have him direct the 17-hour passage from Port Colborne to Detroit. He gets a nine-hour break during that stretch where he leaves orders on the bridge and is called upon if needed.

Weather, of course, can provide the stiffest tests. “The toughest conditions would be gale force storms in October and November,” he said.

He said both the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Lake Superior can mimic dangerous ocean-like conditions. Still Walker wouldn’t trade the helm for a desk job.

“I love the challenge of it,” he said. “I enjoy meeting people. Every ship is different, every crew is different.”

Windsor Star


Port Reports -  August 23

Toledo, Ohio
The Hon. James L. Oberstar went on the drydock at Ironhead Marine on Monday for repairs to her stern bearing, which could take around two weeks.

Welland Canal
John J. Boland was inbound at Port Colborne Monday night ‪‬on what is believed to be her first trip ever to Quebec City. ‬


Fednav's New Bulker Features High-tech ballast water treatment System

8/23 - Portage, Ind. – On Tuesday, Fednav Limited, the largest international bulk shipowner in Canada, will welcome to the Port of Indiana – Burns Harbor the Federal Caribou, one of seven new oceangoing lakers equipped with a ballast water treatment system – a first for the Great Lakes. This vessel protects the lakes by treating its ballast water two times: by conducting an exchange in the North Atlantic, and through filtration and a chlorine disinfection treatment on the ship.

Federal Caribou is part of a series of 16 Handysize vessels, representing an investment by Fednav of more than $400 million and designed specifically for the Great Lakes. The company is the leading international operator in the Great Lakes, has one of the most modern fleets of bulk carriers in the world, the average age being under 10 years. Of particular interest is that the Federal Caribou and its sister-ships have box-shaped holds in order to facilitate the handling of general cargo.

In April 2015, Fednav announced the signing of an agreement with JFE Engineering Corporation for the installation of ballast water treatment systems (BallastAce) on board its new ocean-going lakers. Federal Caribou is one of those ships, and its voyage to Burns Harbor highlights the fact that Fednav is the first shipping company in the Great Lakes to treat ballast water using an onboard system. JFE is now pursuing US Coast Guard certification, with expected approval in 2017.

At the ceremony on board the ship, Paul Pathy, President and Co-CEO of Fednav Limited and Chairman of Federal Marine Terminals said "This vessel confirms that the protection of the Great Lakes is a priority for Fednav and demonstrates the confidence we have in the region’s future. These ships will allow us to offer our customers in Indiana and throughout the region an unparalleled service at a higher standard.”



Help Wanted: McKeil Marine Limited

8/23 - McKeil Marine Limited has immediate openings for Chief Engineers and Captains on a permanent and relief basis. We’re are currently searching for qualified engineers and captains to join our team. Positions are available on both our Tugs and Cargo Ships Fleet.

Be a part of a winning and growing organization, joining our crew means receiving a total rewards package that includes company coordinated travels, favourable rotation schedules, company paid training and certificate upgrade bonuses. In order to be considered for engineer positions, candidates must possess a minimum of a 3rd Class Engineer, Motor Certificate. Candidates must possess a minimum of a Master 500 GT for the Captain positions.

If this sounds like an ideal position for you, please email your cover letter and resume to We thank all applicants but advise that only those selected for an interview will be contacted. McKeil Marine is committed to the principles of Employment Equity.


Toledo museum offers program about VIP travel on lakers

8/23 - Toledo, Ohio – The history of VIP travel aboard Great Lakes freighters and such trips’ evolving purpose over time will be presented at 7 p.m. Thursday at the National Museum of the Great Lakes.

Christopher Gillcrist, the museum’s executive director, will draw from rare photos and remembrances of trips aboard commercial vessels dating to the early 20th century.

While Great Lakes freighters do not accepted paying passengers, people as guests of the ship operators can see the lakes and their channels from a rare perspective in the ships’ guest cabins.

“Family, customers, and later charitable organizations were the beneficiaries of these trips over time,” Gillcrist said.

The museum is raffling off several freighter trips, and people buying tickets for the free presentation will be entered into drawings for a tour of a Great Lakes vessel in port at Monroe and a mail-delivery trip aboard the J.W. Westcott II mail boat in Detroit.

Thursday’s program starts with a beer and wine reception at 6 p.m. at the museum at 1701 Front St. RSVP at 419-214-5000 extension 200.



Great Lakes Shipwreck Society to host Sea Chanteys and Shipwrecks fundraiser

8/23 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – The Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society will host its first Sea Chanteys and Shipwrecks fundraiser on Thursday, Aug. 25.

This event features the popular Great Lakes balladeer Lee Murdock and his songs of the inland seas. Proceeds from this fundraiser will benefit ongoing historic restoration of the Whitefish Point Lighthouse Keepers Quarters, located at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum historic campus on Lake Superior.

This event will begin at 5 pm in the waiting room at Soo Locks Boat Tours Dock # 1, with Murdock providing music. Boarding of the vessel will be at 5:45 pm, with departure at 6 pm. Cost of this event is $50 per person, which includes drinks, appetizers aboard and a full dinner. The cruise will include transit through the Soo Locks, a cruise around Soo Harbor, and weather permitting, Lee Murdock continuing his performance on the upper deck.

Tables aboard can be reserved for parties up to 8 persons, with several tables available for parties of 6 and 4. Credit cards are accepted when making reservations; the vessel is limited to a full group of 70 persons. Tickets can be purchased online, or by calling the Shipwreck Society's administrative offices in Sault Ste. Marie at 906-635-1742.


Finding the 694: 106 years after tragic crash, locomotive located in Lake Superior

8/23 - Duluth, Minn. – Guided not just by the hands of operator Tom Crossmon, but also by the past efforts of an extended network of divers and the collective memory of a community, the remotely-operated vehicle descended into the depths of Lake Superior.

Dropping down a sheer rock cliff that plunges into the lake along a remote stretch of the northern Ontario shore, the ROV's camera and lights searched for its quarry: A wreck not seen since it happened 106 years ago. A wreck that claimed three lives. A wreck unlike any other in the Great Lakes.

Within about an hour on July 22, about 235 feet beneath the surface amid a jumble of massive boulders, Crossmon and his companions found what they were looking for. There, visible on a video screen aboard their 24-foot boat, was the wreckage not of some long-lost schooner or ill-fated freighter, but rather a railroad locomotive. Canadian Pacific Railway Locomotive 694, to be exact, which crashed into the lake from the cliffs above in a violent collision of metal and rock before sunrise on the morning of June 10, 1910.

Read more and see a video and photos at this link:


Updates -  August 23

News Photo Gallery


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


Float Down participants make unexpected visit to Canada

8/22 - Sarnia, Ont. – Inflatable rafts, tubes and other floatation devices littered Sarnia Bay Sunday afternoon. Hundreds of participants in the Port Huron float down made an unexpected visit to Canada after being pushed to Sarnia’s shoreline on strong westerly winds.

Sarnia police Inspector Doug Warn described the situation as the worst he’s seen for the unsanctioned event.

“Obviously no one has ID, but our only concern is that everybody is safe,” says Warn. “We’re not concerned about citizenship at this point. If people are tired or cold we want them to get out of the water and make their way home. Make some phone calls and so forth. We’re really not concerned about anything else.

“Once they are into this current in Sarnia Bay, there is no way that they can paddle out. Some people are getting towed, but you have to be careful when you’re doing that so you don’t swamp some of these unsteady crafts and put people in jeopardy. So, they’re making judgement calls.”

Warn said a number of Sarnia police officers were monitoring the situation.

Vessels from the Canadian and U.S. Coast Guard, Sarnia Fire and Rescue Services, Point Edward fire department, and the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department could be seen assisting people in Sarnia Bay and the St. Clair River.

Fort Gratiot resident Jeanne Gardner decided to scale the railing at Sarnia Bay to get out of the water. She was with her son, daughter and two of their friends.

“I’ve done this since I was in my 20s and I’m in my 50s now and never been in Canada illegally, ever,” says Gardner. “I have almost ended up in Canada a few times but I’ve always managed to get back, just not today. We spend about an hour and a half paddling and we were going nowhere. It just was not working. So the police officer told us to just come ashore.”

The group said they were calling a cab company to come get them but expected they may be in Canada for a while because they didn’t have any ID or money with them.

Shipping traffic was halted on the St. Clair River from 12 pm until 8 pm Sunday from the Blue Water Bridge to Stag Island. Last year, over 5,000 people went into the water on various floatation devices at Lighthouse Park in Port Huron.

Blackburn News


Sault historic group offers freighter trip raffle

8/22 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. – Le Sault de Sainte Marie Historical Sites, Inc. is raffling off a round-trip for four aboard a Great Lakes freighter, as well as the following other prizes:

• Grand Prize: Trip for 4 on a Great Lakes freighter The winner and 3 friends will take their trip during the summer of 2017.

• 2nd Prize: Two night stay at Ramada Plaza Ojibway Hotel incl. Dinner for 2 at Freighters Restaurant, 2 VIP passes to the Museum Ship Valley Camp, Tower of History & River of History Museum

• 3rd Prize: Two Dinner Cruise tickets on the Soo Locks Boat Tours, 2 VIP passes to the Museum Ship Valley Camp & Tower of History

• 4th Prize: Two Lighthouse Cruise tickets on the Soo Locks Boat Tours & 2 VIP passes Tower of History

• 5th Prize: Dinner for 2 at Karl’s Cuisine & 2 VIP passes Tower of History

Drawing will be held September 16, 2016. Need not be present to win. Trip winner must have valid passport, Nexus, or equivalent and be physically able to negotiate stairways & ladders.

Order tickets on line at this link:

To purchase tickets by mail, contact:
Sault Historic Sites
501 East Water St.
Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783
Make checks payable to: Sault Historic Sites. Tickets are $10 (U.S.) each or 3 for $25.

Order by phone at 906-632-3658.


Updates -  August 22

News Photo Gallery


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.


A Mail Boat Stays Afloat

8/21 - Detroit, Mich. – A narrow street dead-ends at the Detroit River, where a black-and-white boat bobs in the water, emblazoned with a Postal Service eagle. This is the mail boat J.W. Westcott II, the only floating ZIP code in the United States.

The little boat’s ZIP code, 48222, is reserved for mail addressed to the freighters that ply the Great Lakes. It is administered by the J. W. Westcott Company of Detroit, founded in 1874 when its main job was vessel reporting — telling companies, and the families of sailors, where their ships and loved ones were.

Today, its official motto is “mail by the pail.” It chugs out to passing freighters to deliver parcels to the crews, often by hoisting the mail with a rope and bucket. It’s been a registered post office since 1948.

First-class mail volume is down these days, said the owner, Jim Hogan. Most ships have wireless internet — so, like everyone else, sailors use email. “But our packages, express and priority, are up.”

It’s a small business that delivers everyday staples — food for the crew, a pair of pants ordered online, extra toilet paper for the voyage — to the giant vessels that carry the ore, coal, and grain that keep America running.

Forty or 50 years ago, when ships and ports were less mechanized, a boat’s crew had time to shop on land while their vessel was docked. “The modern sailor is a whole different game,” Mr. Hogan said. “Younger guys are used to ordering things online.” Today, “it’s not as important to get the love letter from home as it is to get something that he’s ordered.”

Read more here at this link


Port Reports -  August 21

Suttons Bay, Mich. – Al Miller
With gale warnings posted overnight for northern Lake Michigan and northern Lake Huron, the tug Molly M 1 pulled into Suttons Bay on Saturday evening to anchor. The tug, which lists its destination as Hamilton, was towing a barge that appeared to have an extra-long van or container on deck. It's unusual to see large vessels taking shelter in Suttons Bay at any time other than early spring or fall.

Grand Haven, Mich. – Al Walters
Sam Laud unloaded stone Saturday at Verplank.

Detroit, Mich.
Saturday afternoon the downbound John B. Aird was passing the tug Spartan and barge on Lake St. Clair when the two made contact. No damage was reported in the incident.


Updates -  August 21

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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.


Hon. James L. Oberstar repairs could take two weeks

8/20 - Due to an issue with her stern bearing, the Hon. James L. Oberstar will be placed in dry dock in Toledo to execute repairs. She is expected be able to resume her sailing schedule within the next two weeks once repairs are complete.

Interlake Steamship Co.


Huronia Museum declines offer to take in the S.S. Keewatin

8/20 - Barrie, Ont. – The Huronia Museum will not accept the S.S. Keewatin into their collection of artifacts. In a statement, museum officials say they reviewed Skyline Investments’ offer to take in the Keewatin, but have decided to decline the donation.

“The Huronia Museum is not able to responsibly accept this donation into its permanent collection with the information that is available on the future conservation and operational needs of this unique artifact,” the statement said.

Officials say they can only accept artifacts into their permanent collection when the longevity of the item is ensured and the museum can properly take care of it.

“The museum is hopeful that a solution can be found to preserve her, her story and her presence in Port McNicoll for future generations of Canadians whether that be found in the process of donation to a museum or by other means.”

In return for the 109-year-old ship, Skyline requested a charitable receipt for $32 million. The ship and its items were appraised at that value. Skyline bought the Keewatin from a Michigan businessman in 2011. She had been open to the public as a museum at Douglas, Mich., since the late 1960s.

The plan was to make it the centerpiece of a billion dollar development in Port McNicoll.

CTV News


Port Reports -  August 20

Marinette, Wis. – Scott Best
The saltwater vessel Beauforce arrived in Marinette Friday with a cargo of pig iron ingots for Fuel & Dock for use in local foundry operations. Beauforce is on its first visit to the Great Lakes.

Milwaukee, Wis. – Alan
Wicko left the Nidera elevator Thursday evening, followed a little later by Isadora from Pier 2. Samuel de Champlain left in the early morning on Friday. Federal Caribou is due Saturday, coming from Detroit.

Toledo, Ohio
As of 6 p.m. Friday, Algoway had made the turn into the Toledo ship channel, and was headed upriver. Radcliffe R. Latimer and Redhead were at the grain elevators Friday evening. BBC Zarate and Evans Spirit were also in port.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Algoway was at the 9th Street dock Friday morning. She left the harbor at 13:20.


Soaring Lake Michigan temps could set record in next two days

8/20 - Lake Michigan's surface water temperatures have warmed immensely in August. The recent hot weather has pushed the lake-wide average surface temperature of Lake Michigan to a level not felt since 2010, and within one-tenth of a degree of record warmth.

The current lake-wide average surface water temperature is 75.8° F. Water temperature data of this caliber started back in 2003. Through the entire 13 years of data, only August 15, 2010 had a higher average water temperature, at 75.9° F.

It was warmer on that one day back in 2010, but only by one-tenth of a degree.

We may reach a record warm temperature in the next two days. If we don't reach that record temperature by Sunday, we have probably felt the water temperature peak in Lake Michigan.

Sunday through Wednesday will bring cooler weather, and lake temperatures will have a hard time rebounding. We would need extreme record-setting warm air temperatures to bring water temperatures up to warmer levels.

M Live


From Montreal to Minnesota, by Inland Sea

8/20 - Montreal, Que. – The waiting room at St. Lambert Lock in Montreal looks out at a quarter-mile of chain-link fence, six security camera towers, a blaze-orange derrick and a guardhouse. There, three armed men stare at a 750-foot stretch of placid, blue-green water waiting to lift 33,000-ton freighters up along the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The lock is part of the oldest and most traveled inland waterway in America — a 2,300-mile corridor that connects the Atlantic Ocean with all five Great Lakes and the Mississippi River. Since deep draft navigation opened on the St. Lawrence in 1959, more than two and a half billion tons of cargo, worth around $375 billion, have traversed the seaway.

I’d been waiting 20 minutes for my ride — a 740-foot freighter called the Algoma Equinox. The Equinox traverses the St. Lawrence and four Great Lakes twice a month, transporting iron ore west and grain back east. Like many freighters around the world, it also occasionally carries people. Travelers willing to take the slow boat get a private cabin, three meals a day and shore leave wherever the ship loads, unloads or stops at a lock.

After picking me up in Montreal, the Equinox’s captain, Ross Armstrong, told me the ship would cross Lakes Ontario, Erie, Huron and Superior and drop me in Thunder Bay, Ontario — six hours north of Duluth, Minn. The trip would take six days.

Read more, and view photos at this link


USS Detroit to be commissioned Oct. 22 in namesake city

8/20 - Detroit, Mich. – The next U.S. Navy warship to bear Detroit's name has been assigned a commission date.

Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy, announced in a news release that the USS Detroit's commissioning ceremony will take place Oct. 22 on the Riverwalk outside the Renaissance Center.

Tickets for the commissioning are free to the public, but seating is limited, according to the release.

Ship commissioning marks a vessel's official entrance into active duty.

"She is a fast, agile ship designed for a variety of missions in coastal waters as well as humanitarian relief missions," the release reads. "Capable of open ocean operations, her modular design supports interchangeable mission packages, which will allow the ship to be reconfigured for antisubmarine warfare, mine warfare, or surface warfare missions as-needed."

In the week leading into the commissioning of the sixth ship to bear the city's name, there are several events and tours are scheduled to start Oct. 14.

Read more and view photos at this link


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.


Italian ship under arrest in Harbour since April, crew in limbo

8/19 - An Italian crew is in limbo while their cargo ship Ardita is under arrest in the port of Hamilton.

The ship arrived in Hamilton on April 24 according to Larissa Fenn, a spokesperson for the Hamilton Port Authority, and has been detained since, over a legal dispute that does not involve the port authority.

Bruce McKeil, chairman and CEO of McKeil Marine, said his company bought the Ardita but it is now under arrest by federal court order because the sale closing has been impeded by the Italian banks.

McKeil said he purchased the Ardita from the Italian shipping company Setramar, based in Ravenna, Italy but that the banks in that country would not release the ship to him after he paid out some money and for it to sail here.

"We were in the process of buying the ship for our fleet … We put up the capital to get it here with the full expectation of closing the deal here," McKeil said. The ship had to be brought here to be transferred to a Canadian registry, he explained.

Now, McKeil is trying to recoup his losses. There are $2 million in bills owing, mostly to his company, but also to a shipping repair company here.

Meanwhile, he has had to buy another ship for what he intended the Ardita to be used for — shipping cement down the St. Lawrence to a customer on the east coast.

"It put us in a very tough position," he said.

The 14-man crew meanwhile is still getting paid by Setramar — making the situation much easier to bear — according to Rev. Ronda Ploughman with the Hamilton staff of The Mission to Seafarers Southern Ontario. Ploughman said the men are all Italian except for two.

"They are all lovely men," she said, adding the mission's main concern is to provide a way for them to have contact with their families, since it was too expensive for them to communicate from the ship."

When the ship, now anchored in the middle of the Harbour, comes in to shore, the mission takes care of the crew's needs, like seeing a doctor or getting provisions.

Ploughman, who has visited the ship, said the men all sit down together for their meals, adding "they are very family-oriented, and apparently, the food is amazing."

Judith Alltree, the mission's director, said the mission provides whatever services the crew needs.

"Surprisingly, (the mood) is not as bad. They do know there are people advocating for them."

Even McKeil says the situation has nothing to do with the crew — what has happened is not their fault.

Alltree says the crew's circumstances are very unusual because of the time it is taking to get the matter resolved. "Fourteen people are stuck in limbo and all they did was show up for work."

However, the crew has had changeovers — replacements have been flown into Canada when others had their leave, according to Port Authority Harbour Master Vicki Gruber.

The Port Authority's involvement is to ensure the ship is anchored in the proper place and in a safe manner. It also must hear from the ship and arrange a docking area when the Ardita wants to come in to shore. Since June 19 when it was sent out to anchor in the harbour to free up docks for other ships, the Ardita has only come in once, in mid July.

When the ship is docked, the crew is free to come and go, she added. "The vessel is under arrest. Not the crew."

Hamilton Spectator


Port Reports -  August 19

St. Marys River
On Thursday morning the Burns Harbor, upbound in fog, scraped the channel edge at Mirre Point on the east side of Neebish Island. The upbound channel was closed and the Corps of Engineers sent the survey boat Bufe down to check to see if any rocks were dislodged. The all-clear was given just before 1 p.m., allowing the upbound Pilica, Algoma Spirit and Paul R. Tregurtha to proceed. Burns Harbor tied up at the Carbide Dock just before 11 a.m. for inspection. She was underway after a short stay. Evening traffic Thursday included the upbound Cuyahoga and Arthur M. Anderson, which were hear Lime Island at 8:30 p.m.

Escanaba, Mich.
Great Lakes Trader was loading pellets on Thursday evening.

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
Joseph L. Block arrived at Bay Shipbuilding Thursday afternoon for undisclosed repairs.

Milwaukee, Wis. – Alan
Dorothy Ann/Pathfinder departed mid-evening on Wednesday. The saltie Federal Baltic left late in the evening. Undaunted/Pere Marquette arrived in the late evening on Wednesday, departing after daybreak on Thursday. Arrivals on Thursday included the saltie Isadora just after daybreak to Pier 2, Samuel de Champlain in the late morning to Lafarge and Capt. Henry Jackman around 1 p.m. to unload salt.

Detroit, Mich.
The Draken Harald Hårfagre, billed as "the largest Viking ship built in modern times," will be open for weekend tours this Saturday and Sunday. The ship will dock at the Detroit Yacht Club, and allow tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. The Detroit Yacht Club is located on Belle Isle.

Toledo, Ohio
The Rt. Hon James L. Oberstar arrived at the Ironhead Shipyard for repairs Thursday morning. She is expected to go on the drydock. As of 2:15 p.m. Thursday afternoon the salt water vessel Redhead had departed the Welland Canal bound for Toledo. She should be arriving Friday afternoon.

The tug Dylan Cooper is upbound with her tank barge on a trip from Montreal to Green Bay. This will be their second visit to the Wisconsin port.


Sunken vessel Republic found off Lorain

8/19 - Lorain, Ohio – A vessel sitting on the bottom of Lake Erie is the newest find for a pair of shipwreck hunters who search the waters off Lorain.

The ship, Republic, has not been seen for more than a century, but this summer Avon Lake shipwreck hunters and authors Georgann and Mike Wachter pinpointed the location about 40 feet below the surface of the lake.

“Most people say, OK, it was a 40-year-old boat and it was waterlogged and it sank,” Mike Wachter said. “But there’s so much more to its story.”

Using maritime records, the Wachters have pieced together the history of the Republic, a 130-foot vessel built in 1854 in Clayton, N.Y., on Lake Ontario. The Republic was a 130-foot long vessel that began life as a tall ship plying the waters of the Great Lakes. Its working life ended July 30, 1895, on the bottom of Lake Erie off Lorain. It began life as a barkentine, a type of tall ship plying the waters of the Great Lakes. Later, it was rigged as a schooner, another type of tall ship that took fewer crew members to sail than the barkentine, Georgann Wachter said.

By the time the Republic was 40 years old, its glory days of wind power were over. It still carried masts and rigging for sailing as needed, but it was used as a barge towed behind a powered vessel. On July 30, 1895, the Republic was loaded with coal and being towed by the Swallow heading for the environs of Detroit.

When a storm kicked up off Lorain, the Republic could not handle the rough water. The crew of the Swallow signaled for help and kept pressure on its tow line to delay the sinking of the barge. The tug Cascade motored out from Lorain and rescued the Republic’s eight crew members.

Once the waters calmed, salvage operations began. Shipbuilders would remove rigging, masts or any equipment they could reuse, the Wachters said. A barge carrying a crane scooped out as much coal as it could reach.

Even as the Republic sat on the lake bottom, its masts still were visible above the surface of the water.

In the 1800s, shippers and harbor masters understood that a ship on the bottom of the lake would reduce the available depth for other vessels, especially in shallow areas of Lake Erie, the Wachters said. They needed a way to ensure shipwrecks did not create more hazards for other vessels.

“If you go down in the western or central basin of this lake, you’re still a hazard to navigation,” Michael Wachter said. “If I hit you hard enough to put a hole in the bottom of my boat, I’m going down.”

“So they would dynamite these in shallow water,” Georgann Wachter said. “There are many instances of a vessel coming along and hitting a sunk vessel and sinking themselves. They dynamited the heck out of this one.”

The Republic has its windlass intact. Its rudder is off the stern, and an anchor remains attached, which is surprising because anchors often would be pulled up and reused, Georgann Wachter said.

“The middle section of the ship, you’re going to see her centerboard and a few railing posts,” Michael Wachter said. “But at the bow and stern, there’s a lot of boat left.”

It’s entirely possible other divers have known about the Republic, but never publicly revealed the location for others, the Wachters said.

Using sonar to scan the sea bottom, they found the vessel and dove to it on July 4. When their documentation is complete, they intend to publish the GPS coordinates so other divers can find the wreck. Publicizing the sunken boats helps the dive industry and local economy when people seek them out, the Wachters said.

Incidentally, the tug Cascade, which rescued the crew of the Republic, itself sank in January 1904 in 30 feet of water about 200 feet west of the Lorain Lighthouse breakwall. The crew made it back to shore.

“Each one of them has its own story,” Michael Wachter said. “And what truly fascinates us is not so much the wreck – because after you’ve dove one a couple of times, it’s just a pile of boards on the bottom of the lake, frankly – but the story.”

Lorain Morning Journal


When tall ships were king: Duluth festival recalls long-gone Great Lakes era

8/19 - Duluth, Minn. – People are coming down in droves to the Tall Ships Duluth festival this weekend. They will celebrate and marvel at the majesty on display, but it's worth remembering a time when the ships fueled more industries than tourism.

Whether packed with Navy sailors or loaded with timber, tall ships once ruled the Great Lakes.

As a kid growing up in Detroit, Pat Labadie, 76, used to sit at his grandfather's knee and get lost in time as the romantic world of Great Lakes tall ships unfolded with one tale after another.

"I was his audience and I grew up not wanting anything more than to learn about that world he described to me," said Labadie, who would go on to become a maritime author, shipwreck diver, historian and museum director, including the first director of what is now Duluth's Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center.

Retired, but still teaching maritime history in Alpena, Mich., Labadie recalled in a telephone interview the heyday of tall ships on the Great Lakes.

His sepia-toned recollections conjured a loud and bustling America, where there were shipbuilders at ports all across the lakes — with heavy concentrations in the more eastern ports such as Cleveland and Buffalo.

Before the completion of the Soo Locks in 1855, tall ships were portaged from the St. Marys River and into Lake Superior using timber rollers and towed by horses. Those vessels were used to carry grain, timber, iron ore and coal from the heartland that was being summoned at breakneck pace to help fuel the fast-developing nation. Everything that was needed to settle a country was moving on water.

By 1871, there were 2,000 sailing craft on the lakes compared to about 400 of the newer steamboats, said Labadie.

Alas, that was the zenith of the tall ships, as the ratio would bend wildly away from them in a move toward the engine-driven freighters that were larger and could carry many times more cargo through a developing system of locks that now number 16 between Lake Superior and the Atlantic Ocean.

Prior to that evolution, tall ships were king. Afterward, their masts were cut down and the ships were towed by tugs as barges that required only paltry manpower compared to what it takes to crew a sailing vessel.

"The wind only works if you have the muscle to adjust the sails to use it," said Walter Rybka, senior captain of the U.S. Brig Niagara, a replica of the battleship that will be in Duluth this week.

During the War of 1812 and subsequent Battle of Lake Erie, the Niagara featured some 150 sailors — its most important cargo.

"They barely did fit," Rybka said, noting the 110-foot deck of the Niagara. "It would have been one stinking sardine can. But you needed to be able to absorb casualties and still be able to work the ship."

Another tall ship in town this weekend, the Pride of Baltimore II, exemplified the superiority of American shipmaking. Having snuck into port Monday night — through the Superior entry and quietly into Loon's Foot Marine, the famed Baltimore clipper-style vessel lived up to its reputation as it worked to evade detection in advance of the weekend's crowds.

With a skilled tactician at the helm, a ship like the Pride could outrun a blockade of enemy naval vessels. Additionally, it could be used as a deft privateer — a government-sanctioned ship used to overtake the commercial ships of the enemy.

"They were extremely fast," said Pride Captain Jordan Smith. "A vessel like this one would be used for anything where speed comes in handy — either chasing things or running away."

It wasn't uncommon for a privateer to carry as many as 100 men. Commercial vessels overtaken by privateers were immediately manned by a prize crew that would sail the captured ship into a friendly port to be sold.

But during most of the 19th century, a Baltimore clipper could have never made it into the Great Lakes from the Pride's current home in Annapolis, Md. Fierce rapids between Quebec and Montreal prevented seafaring ships from entering the Great Lakes.

The ships that did sail the Great Lakes often were poorly maintained, Labadie said, contributing to their eventual decline. Many rest at the bottom of the lakes, and Labadie recalled a harrowing diving expedition on the Lucerne, a tall ship that wrecked during a storm in November 1886 — just 13 years after she was launched.

Loaded with iron ore and bound for Cleveland, the Lucerne went to the bottom of Lake Superior just south of Madeline Island and less than 10 miles offshore from Washburn. The Lucerne was found with three of its men lashed to its rigging and frozen in ice. Labadie dove the Lucerne to spread the ashes of a friend and fellow diver over the wreck.

"It gives me a chill," Labadie said. "I certainly remember it well."

Bimidji Pioneer


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.


Updates -  August 19

News Photo Gallery


Long-term growth strategy for Seaway system could include longer shipping season

8/18 - Clayton, N.Y. – A $3.8 billion strategy to double maritime trade on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway system over the next 10 years includes a proposal to lengthen the shipping season, a situation Save the River will monitor closely.

The Conference of Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Governors and Premiers approved its first-ever regional maritime transportation strategy in June, an effort to improve efficiencies in the system, enhance its global competitiveness and create jobs.

Headed by Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, the strategy is designed to help increase the system’s commerce, which already contributes more than $30 billion total to the United States and Canadian economies and accounts for more than 220,000 jobs.

Key to the strategy would be construction of a second lock similar to the existing Poe Lock at the Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., which also includes the 73-year-old MacArthur Lock.

According to the strategy, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has found that an unplanned, extended closure of the Soo Locks would, among other things, cut off most the country’s iron ore supply, devastating the steel industry, as “nearly 100 percent of North America appliances, automobile, construction equipment, farm equipment, mining equipment and railcar production would shut down,” resulting in “crippling” unemployment and economic recession.

The Soo Locks separate Lake Superior and Lake Huron and allow ships access to the lower Great Lakes from Lake Superior. Last summer, MacArthur Lock experienced mechanical problems and was taken out of service for about three weeks, leading to bottlenecks and shipping delays at Poe Lock, which was built in 1968. Michigan legislators have long called for upgrades or replacement of the locks. The conference’s strategy recommends that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers “immediately accelerate” its cost-benefit study on the construction of a second “Poe Class” lock.

The strategy also recommends that the asset renewal program for the St. Lawrence Seaway Development Corp., which operates Eisenhower and Snell locks at Massena, be “fully funded.”

But the strategy contains a section titled “Season Optimization” which suggests ways the shipping season could be extended, a concern for Save the River, which was formed in Clayton in 1978 in part to oppose winter navigation on the St. Lawrence River. The organization’s executive director, D. Lee Willbanks, along with Joel Brammeier, president and CEO of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, had sent a letter outlining concerns about the strategy in February, when it was still in draft form.

The environmental groups contend that ice-breaking efforts needed to accommodate a longer shipping season would have negative consequences for the waterway’s ecosystem, including sport and commercial fisheries. Shoreline erosion and other damage from ice-breaking “can have significant impacts on ecologically sensitive and economically valuable areas,” the groups wrote.

Also, the group states that many areas in the Great Lakes are facing increased periods of high evaporation during ice-free winter months, a situation that could be exacerbated by intentional ice-breaking. The increased evaporation could contribute to lower water levels on the system, which may prompt the need for cargo reductions. The group also questions the amount of fuel needed to break up ice, noting that it could be incompatible with the conference’s goal of increasing fuel efficiency along the system.

Willbanks said in an email Tuesday that, after the groups submitted their concerns to the conference, they received “verbal assurance” that the focus of the extended season discussion is the inter-lake shipping between the United States and Canada, not on the St. Lawrence River. He said given the economic, environmental and permitting obstacles that the groups know stand in the way of any effort to expand the shipping season on the river, “those assurances ring true.”

“But, and this will always be true, Save the River and the River community have faced this threat in the past,” Willbanks said. “We remain vigilant to any renewed efforts for destructive ice-breaking for winter shipping and we stand ready to block it again,”

The strategy also includes, among other things, proposals for dredging certain channels and harbors to address safety issues and to allow ships to carry heavier cargo loads. It also includes a recommendation to ease the customs clearance process for passengers on cruise ships that visit ports on both sides of the international border, as existing Customs protocols can inconvenience or delay a cruise ship, inhibiting growth in the cruise ship industry.

Watertown Daily Times


Explorers find 2nd-oldest confirmed shipwreck in Great Lakes

8/18 - Albany, N.Y. – The second-oldest confirmed shipwreck in the Great Lakes, an American-built, Canadian-owned sloop that sank in Lake Ontario more than 200 years ago, has been found, a team of underwater explorers said Wednesday.

The three-member western New York-based team said it discovered the shipwreck earlier this summer in deep water off Oswego, in central New York. Images captured by a remotely operated vehicle confirmed it is the Washington, which sank during a storm in 1803, team member Jim Kennard said.

"This one is very special. We don't get too many like this," said Kennard, who along with Roger Pawlowski and Roland "Chip" Stevens has found numerous wrecks in Lake Ontario and other waterways.

The sloop Washington was built on Lake Erie in Pennsylvania in 1798 and was used to transport people and goods between western New York, Pennsylvania and Ontario. It was placed on skids and hauled by oxen teams across the Niagara Isthmus to Lake Ontario in 1802 after being sold to Canadian merchants.

The 53-foot-long ship was carrying at least five people and a cargo of merchandise, including goods from India, when it set sail from Kingston, Ontario, for its homeport of Niagara, Ontario, on Nov. 6, 1803. The vessel was caught in a fierce storm and sank.

At least three crewmembers and two merchants were on the sloop. All aboard died. According to Kennard, contemporary records said portions of the cargo and pieces of the ship were found the following day on shore near Oswego.

The Washington is the oldest commercial sailing vessel found in the Great Lakes and the only sloop known to have sailed on lakes Erie and Ontario, Kennard said. Single-masted sloops were replaced in the early 19th century by two- and three-masted schooners, which were much easier to sail, according to Carrie Sowden, archaeological director at the National Museum of the Great Lakes in Toledo, Ohio, which sponsors the New York team's explorations.

Since there are no known drawings of the Washington, the sloop's discovery will help maritime historians learn more about the design and construction of that type of sailing vessel used on the Great Lakes between the American Revolution and the War of 1812, she said.

"Every shipwreck offers something different that adds to our knowledge base," Sowden said.

The oldest vessel found in the Great Lakes is HMS Ontario, a British warship that sank in Lake Ontario in 1780. Kennard and another explorer found that wreck in 2008.

Chronicle Herald


U.S. steel industry has lost 48,000 jobs since 2000

8/18 - The layoffs at U.S. Steel's Gary Works on Friday were just part of an ongoing trend that's afflicted the steel industry, which was once Northwest Indiana's largest employer and a ticket to a comfortable middle class life.

Steel jobs nationally have fallen more than 35 percent to 87,000 jobs last year, down from 135,000 jobs in 2000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The United States lost another 4,000 steel industry jobs in 2015, as compared to the previous year.

The U.S. steel industry has been declining since the 1970s, but federal data shows job losses have accelerated rapidly in the 21st century. Health care has since eclipsed the steel mills as the Region's biggest employer.

Since 2000, the U.S. steel industry has weathered two import crises that have resulted in bankruptcies, closed mills and pink slips nationwide. The United States is however now enforcing 161 tariffs against dumped foreign steel, to try to protect the domestic industry.

"At the U.S. Department of Commerce, we are fully committed to enforcing U.S. trade laws and ensuring that our trading partners comply with their obligations under the World Trade Organization and our free trade agreements," U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker wrote in a letter to the Cleveland Plain Dealer after touring an ArcelorMittal mill there. "We are cracking down on companies and countries that don't play by the rules in record numbers."

Many steelworker jobs were lost during the unprecedented consolidation of the industry during the early 2000s, when more than 30 U.S. steelmakers went bankrupt. But the biggest issue facing employment at steel mills is automation, ArcelorMittal noted in its 2015 United States Integrated Report.

Technological improvements have enabled steelmakers to crank out more metal with far fewer workers.

"Steelmaking processes have transformed at a rapid pace, reflecting the industry’s improvement in operating practices and investment in state-of-the-art equipment to increase productivity," the report stated. "In 2015, one employee accounted for approximately 1,000 net tons of raw steel production, an increase of 20 percent."

NWI Times


Port Reports -  August 18

St. Marys River
Algoway was downbound Wednesday mid-afternoon headed for Bay City. CSL Welland and Roger Blough were also downbound at about the same time. CSL Welland, Taagborg and Algoma Harvester followed in the late afternoon and evening. Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin and American Spirit were upbound in the early afternoon, followed by Alpena and Michipicoten.

Port Huron, Mich.
Viking ship Draken Harald was downbound Wednesday. She tied up at the Bean Dock, presumably for the night.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
The cruise ship Grande Mariner came in Wednesday and docked at the Erie Basin.


Coast Guard to enforce safety zones for Tall Ships Duluth festival

8/18 - Duluth, Minn. – The Twin Ports will host the Tall Ships Duluth Festival from Thursday through Sunday, and the U.S. Coast Guard has established and will enforce a safety zone around each tall ship participating in the festival while navigating on the Great Lakes.

Due to the limited maneuverability of the tall ships and to ensure safe steerage, all vessels are required to maintain a distance of 300 feet (100 yards) from the ships at all times, including the World's Largest Rubber Duck and towing vessel.

The safety zone is in effect whether vessels are transiting, anchored or moored.

Additionally, from approximately 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday, the tall ships will participate in a parade of sail under the Duluth Aerial Lift Bridge and into the harbor. The parade route starts approximately one mile from the Duluth entry, and from there they head inbound to moorings at the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center. The Duluth ship channel and surrounding basin will be closed to all vessels except participating ships during this time.

Entering or crossing the parade route is prohibited. If in doubt, please contact the Coast Guard patrol commander on VHF channel 16. Official vessels assisting with the parade may be seen within the zone and will be identified with signage.

To ensure the safety of all spectators in the Duluth Harbor Thursday, the U.S. Coast Guard will establish and enforce a speed restriction of not more than 6 knots or at no wake speed, whichever is less, for all vessels. Vessels proceeding under sail will not be allowed in the area unless also propelled by machinery due to limited maneuvering ability around numerous other spectator craft viewing the tall ships.

Vessels may enter the 300-foot safety zone of moored tall ships only to transit through the Duluth entry or enter the Minnesota Slip at the conclusion of the parade of sail and throughout the weekend. Vessels must proceed at a no wake speed, may not loiter, or at anytime come within 75 feet (25 yards) of the tall ships. Temporary buoys will be in place to mark boundary of 300 foot safety zone from moored tall ships.

The Coast Guard reminds boaters to make proper preparations at all times while on the water, such as filing a float plan, wearing life jackets, and having a marine radio or other means of communication aboard. This is particularly important when operating in or around a large marine event such as the Tall Ships Duluth. Boaters should expect a large number of vessels and take extra precaution when transiting the area around the event. All boaters are reminded of the dangers of boating under the influence and are encouraged to consider alternatives to using alcohol while afloat. More BUI and safe boating information can be found at, including the CG Boating Safety Mobile App.



Buoy-marking project will protect Michigan shipwrecks, divers

8/18 - Grand Haven, Mich. – Captain Harry Sweetman tried twice to thread the needle with his ship, the Ironsides, before fate took over.

The beleaguered captain was trying bring his 218-foot passenger steamer into the safety of the Grand River channel during a Sept. 15, 1873 gale on Lake Michigan, but it was not to be. Instead, about 20 passengers and crew died in the heavy seas after rising water doused the boilers and the Ironsides went under.

Today, the wreck sits in about 120 feet of water roughly four miles west of the Grand Haven Pier, a popular destination for advanced scuba divers who want to visit a piece of Great Lakes maritime history hidden beneath the waves.

This year, (hopefully), the Ironsides will be among the first of more than 180 wrecks in Michigan's 13 underwater preserves to be marked by a mooring buoy — a project several years in the making that organizers hope can finally get underway before the weather on the lakes turns temperamental this fall.

The goal is to help preserve the state's shipwrecks by giving divers another option besides hooking a line directly onto the wreck, as is customary now.

"Putting a mooring buoy on a shipwreck is absolutely, hands-down, the best form of physical protection you can do for a wreck," said Wayne Lusardi, a state maritime archeologist at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Alpena.

Read more, and view photos at this link


2016 Mariner Award, Sturgeon Bay Coast Guard Person of the Year honored

8/18 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Sixteen iconic figures in the rich maritime history of the Door Peninsula and three local Coast Guardsmen were honored at the annual Mariner Award Dinner held at the Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club on Monday evening, August 8.

A joint effort by the Door County Maritime Museum and Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club, the Mariner Award is presented annually to recognize individuals who have had significant, positive and lasting impact on the Door County maritime community. One living and at least one deceased recipient are honored each year. The nominees for this year’s Mariner Award were Jeff Weborg, Minnie Hesh Cochems, Ingar Olsen, Steve Brunstrom, Joseph Harris Jr., Clifford B. Hart, Bill Parsons, Dick Purinton, August Rieboldt, William “Curly” Selvick, Leathem “Tim” Stearn, Alanson Sweet, Martha Burris, Dennis Hickey, Ken Schmidtke and Todd Thayse.

Nominees for the Sturgeon Bay area Coast Guard Person of the Year were also honored at the dinner. Sponsored by the City of Sturgeon Bay Coast Guard Committee, Greater Green Bay Council of U.S. Navy League, and Door County Maritime Museum, this award recognizes a local active duty Coast Guardsman who exemplifies the Coast Guard’s core values of Honor, Respect and Devotion to Duty. The nominees for this year’s award were Machinery Technician First Class Nicholas Foster, who is stationed aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Mobile Bay, Seaman Ashley-Starr Clark from Coast Guard Station Sturgeon Bay and Lieutenant Brett Belanger from the Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment (MSD) in Sturgeon Bay.

The 2016 Mariner Award recognizing a living nominee went to Dick Purinton. Purinton has worked more than 40 years with the Washington Island Ferry Line starting as a deckhand, progressing to captain, general manager and eventually company president and owner. Under his leadership, the ferry line has continued to successfully serve as the island’s lifeline to the mainland. Purinton is also an accomplished historian and his skills as a published author ensure that the history of the island is preserved for future generations.

Posthumous honors went to local maritime legends Jeff Weborg, August Rieboldt and Alanson Sweet. Weborg was honored for his efforts to both preserve the commercial fishery so identified with Gills Rock as well as his generosity to the community and his willingness to help those in need, on the water and on land. Sweet was the real driving force in the growth of Baileys Harbor and the county as a whole while Rieboldt is considered one of the founding fathers of Sturgeon Bay’s shipbuilding heritage.

Purinton was presented the Mariner Award trophy, a hand-crafted original work by noted local woodcarver David Frykman. Weborg, Sweet and Rieboldt were added to the impressive Mariner Award plaque that is prominently displayed on the second floor of the Door County Maritime Museum in Sturgeon Bay.

Seaman Clark, who distinguished herself for her dedicated volunteer work within the community from the time she was first stationed in the county, was this year’s Coast Guard Person of the Year. She received an impressive wooden plaque depicting the Coast Guard Seal. Lt. Belanger was also recognized for stepping up and providing leadership when it was needed at the MSD office.

The Coast Guard Person of the Year and Mariner Award dinner was part of the annual “Sturgeon Bay Maritime Week: A Salute to the United States Coast Guard”. The festival brings together many long-standing annual events along with new and exciting activities to celebrate the area’s rich maritime heritage and to honor local Coast Guard units.



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


Future of Ojibway, Manitoba announced in Rand conference call

8/17 - During a conference call with investors Tuesday, Rand Logistics (the parent company of lake carriers Lower Lakes Towing / Grand River Navigation) indicated that one laid-up laker (not named but most likely the grain carrier Ojibway), will be reintroduced into service in the next 30-45 days. She is currently laid up at Sarnia, Ont.

In addition, and according to a transcript of the call, “our smallest and least efficient Canadian-flagged bulk carrier was unlikely to provide a sufficient return on capital to justify the required annual capital and operational costs necessary to continue to operate it. We have decided to retire this vessel.” While not mentioned by name, this is likely the grain carrier Manitoba, which is currently laid up at Montreal, Que. Due to low scrap prices, the vessel is only expected to fetch $500,000-$750,000.

The call also revealed optimism for the iron ore and grain trades for the remainder of the season.

Meanwhile, according to the industry publication Marine Log, Rand Logistics is currently pursuing waivers and amendments from syndicates led by Bank of America and Guggenheim Corporate Funding after defaulting on two credit agreements.


Port Reports -  August 17

Duluth, Minn.
Taagborg departed Duluth late Tuesday afternoon after loading grain at the CHS elevators in Superior. Algoma Harvester left after loading grain at the Riverland elevator. John J. Boland arrived in the afternoon to load coal at Midwest Energy.

Milwaukee, Wis. – Alan
Federal Baltic arrived late afternoon Monday and is at Pier 2. Making another of their frequent visits are Samuel de Champlain and her barge at Lafarge and Prentiss Brown / barge at St. Marys Cement in the Kinnickinnic River.

Toronto, Ont.
The fueling tanker Sterling Energy was alongside the Algosteel on Tuesday. The veteran laker, which has been in spare-boat status this season, is expected to sail soon.


Great Lakes Shipyard lays keels for 10 new tugs

8/17 - Cleveland, Ohio – Great Lakes Shipyard laid keels for the first of 10 Damen Stan Tugs 1907 ICE to be built for The Great Lakes Towing Company on Wednesday, Aug. 10. This milestone marks the beginning of a new construction program to introduce two new harbor tugs per year for the next five years at the shipyard’s facility in Cleveland, Ohio.

Built to ABS Class, GLS Hull Numbers 6501–6510 will be the first tugs built to meet the new USCG Subchapter M Regulations. The ceremony was attended by the United States Coast Guard, American Bureau of Shipping, Damen Shipyards, Fifth Third Bank, Great Lakes Shipyard and The Great Lakes Towing Company.

Joe Starck, president of The Great Lakes Towing Company, said the new tugs will enhance its fleet and help to sustain the quality of its services at the highest level of safety.

“The new tugs will replace existing equipment – as each new tug is introduced into our fleet, two existing tugs will be retired from service. These 10 new tugs will stabilize our operations, and improve our day-to-day business. The tugs, with the modern equipment and automated machinery onboard, will be ideal for the long-term sustainability of our harbor towing activities, and provide our customers with an even greater level of reliability, performance, and safety, across our entire Great Lakes service network.”

Great Lakes Shipyard


Rail bridge malfunction keeps sailboats, large vessels from Canadian lock

8/17 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. – Tour boats and any ships taller than 12-feet have not been able to pass through the Sault Ste. Marie Canal for past week after a mechanical problem struck a CN rail swing bridge.

CN said the swing bridge that goes over the canal connecting Canada and United States malfunctioned on the morning of Aug. 9, preventing large traffic from passing through the locks.

The error is attributed to a “screw mechanism” that turns the bridge deck. CN said repairs are expected to be completed in another week.

This delay has perhaps most affected the Michigan-based Soo Locks Boat Tours, which is now in its peak season and before the malfunction was sending seven tours through the canal per day.

CN said in the summer months the normal position of the bridge is in the open position. It had been closed to let a train go across. One train a day crosses the bridge in each direction and CN reports that this traffic will be uninterrupted.

CN said the screw mechanism was set for a previously scheduled upgrade in the fall and that this will still happen.

Soo Today


Conference promotes proposed marine sanctuary

8/17 - Manitowoc, Wis. – Could a marine sanctuary be part of the future of the lakeshore? People at an environmental meeting in Manitowoc are promoting the idea.

The proposed National Marine Sanctuary would include 39 known shipwrecks. It would stretch 875-square miles under Lake Michigan from roughly Port Washington to Two Rivers.

"People know Lake Michigan as a big source of fresh water. It's also a place where there are a lot of shipwrecks," said Rolf Johnson, Wisconsin Maritime Museum CEO.

"The ships are relatively accessible and you don't even have to be a diver. We have these vehicles, remotely operated, with video on them. We can actually send those down and people can look at the shipwrecks without even getting wet," said Johnson.

The proposed marine sanctuary was part of the third annual Lake Michigan Day, at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, in Manitowoc. Last Friday, 95 people from state and federal environmental groups talked about concerns as well. Aquatic invasive species, farm run-off, and manure spreading topped the list.

In the coming months, the proposed marine sanctuary is in the hands of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. NOAA scientists will draft an environmental-impact statement, and release it to the public.

"(They will) also create a draft-management plan so the public understands how this might operate. What it will look like if the sanctuary is designated," said Russ Green, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Green says the federal designation will provide another layer of legal protection. Local leaders hope to cash in too.

"It does bring in a lot of tourists. We know people are fascinated with the lake, with the shipwrecks. So a lot of tourism dollars will be flooding into the area as well. We'll probably see a little bit of an uptick in the diving that occurs on the shipwrecks," said Johnson.

The approval process is ongoing. Officials say it could still take a couple of years before The Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary becomes a reality.


USS Detroit delivered to the U.S. Navy by Lockheed Martin

8/17 - Marinette, Wis. – The USS Detroit is another step closer to heading to Detroit.

The warship was delivered to the U.S. Navy on Friday, said officials with Lockheed Martin, builders of the ship. It’s the nation’s seventh Littoral Combat Ship.

“Team Freedom is proud to deliver another capable LCS to the Navy,” Joe North, vice president of Littoral Ships and Systems said in a statement Monday. “Once commissioned, the USS Detroit will represent the interests of the United States where and when needed, with a level of force that will deter and defeat threats.”

The future USS Detroit will officially assume its name when it’s commissioned on Oct. 22 in Detroit. It’s the fourth Freedom-variant LCS Lockheed Martin has delivered to the U.S. Navy. There are six ships under construction at Fincantieri Marinette Marine in Wisconsin, officials said.

“We are proud to deliver another proven warship that allows our Navy to carry out its missions around the world,” Jan Allman, FMM president and CEO said in a statement.

Last month the future USS Detroit completed its acceptance trials. According to the manufacturer, ships in its class cost about $360 million.

The LCS 7 will be the sixth U.S. Navy ship named USS Detroit. Other ships to previously bear the name include two 19th century sloops of war, an Omaha-class light cruiser, a Sacramento-class fast combat support ship and a Montgomery-class cruiser, officials said.

Detroit News


Coast Guard urges safety during un-sanctioned float down event

8/17 - Port Huron, Mich. – The U.S. Coast Guard, Canadian Coast Guard, and multiple state and local agencies are advising the boating public that the St. Clair River will be secured to all motor vessel traffic between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sunday during the un-sanctioned annual marine event known as the Port Huron Float Down.

The U.S. Coast Guard has established a temporary regulation requiring minors under the age of 18 to wear life jackets during the event due to the high number of rafters expected to transit the 7.5 mile course on the St. Clair River between Lighthouse Beach in Port Huron and Chrysler Beach in Marysville.

In 2015, first responders saved nine lives and assisted 285 people. More than 150 people became separated from the group they started floating down the river with, and about 1,850 people had to be assisted back across the border after wind blew them into Canadian waters. Emergency medical services assisted seven people and transported four to the hospital.

All traffic requesting to enter the safety zone must receive approval from the patrol commander, Coast Guard Station Port Huron, via VHF channel 21A.



Heritage markers vanish from Lake Superior shipwrecks

8/17 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – Two heritage markers have mysteriously vanished from shipwrecks in Lake Superior, and the vice chair of the Superior chapter of Save Ontario Shipwrecks says disappearances like that sink the group's efforts to promote local dive tourism.

Richard Harvey told CBC the two buoys went missing in separate incidents from the sites of the Puckasaw and the Howard, two sunken vessels popular with divers.

They are among five markers that the group has placed over the past two summers to encourage diving in the region; they help divers locate wrecks and provide a place to moor their boats.

SOS can't be certain that anyone purposely tampered with the buoys, Harvey said. But he noted fishers have previously removed temporary markers that were located near their favorite fishing spots.

"Our suspicion at this point is that it may have been a fisherman, not realizing the significance of what these are and just saying, 'Aw look at this. These guys have gone and put these out where I don't want them to be,' and not realizing that it actually is a federal offense to be tampering with them," Harvey said.

"The reason the fishing's so good is because fish like structure. They like underwater structure. ... The best underwater structure you could have, of course, is a shipwreck," he added.

The goal now, Harvey said, is to educate people about the importance of leaving the markers in place. It's a federal offence to remove a navigation aid, he said; it also violates the provincial Heritage Act. What's more, he added, replacing the markers is costly.

Buying and shipping them costs about $1,500 per buoy, he said. Some of that money comes from donations. Some comes from municipalities, including the City of Thunder Bay.

Volunteers must then invest time to go out on the water to replace them.

Lost buoys also mean lost tourism dollars, Harvey said. Last year, Thunder Bay Tourism estimated the first two markers SOS placed in the lake generated between $20,000 and $30,000 in economic activity for the city, he said.

SOS has replaced both of the missing buoys and recovered one of them. It's also adjusting the rigging to make it harder for people to detach them, Harvey said.

One marker is still missing. Anybody with information about its whereabouts is asked to contact the organization.



Museum to host nautical flea market, collectibles show August 27

8/17 - Toledo, Ohio – On Saturday, August 27, the National Museum of the Great Lakes will hold its semi-annual Nautical Flea Market and Collectible Show at the museum, located at 1701 Front St., in Toledo.

Thousands of books, duplicate photos, and postcards and other collectibles such as passenger steamer schedules, freighter christening invitations, and thanksgiving/Christmas menus and numerous lithographic prints will be on sale.

“For the past several years, the museum has been reviewing its library collection for duplicates and non-essential material” according to Christopher Gillcrist, executive director. “Because this material is already represented in the collection, from time to time we sell this material in support of our mission.”

The show will open to the public on August 27 from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Cost of the admission to the flea market is included in the price of admission to the museum. Members of the museum are admitted free.

Vendors wishing to participate in the show should contact John McCarty at 419-214-5000 or email at Vendors fees are $25 for an outside table under a tent or $35 for a table inside the air-conditioned community room.

National Museum of the Great Lakes


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.


Updates -  August 17

News Photo Gallery


Port Reports -  August 16

St. Marys River
Hon. James L. Oberstar spun around in the harbor after the leaving the Poe Lock downbound Monday afternoon and tied up at the Carbide Dock for unspecified mechanical work. She was headed downbound in the early evening. The tall ship El Galeon Andalucia locked upbound around 10:30 p.m. headed for Duluth.

St. Joseph, Mich.
The training Manatra will sail to St Joseph from her homeport of Chicago on Thursday, Aug. 18. Aboard will be 14 US Naval Sea Cadets from around the country, and their leaders. The retired naval vessel was used as a training platform for midshipman at the USN Academy. The Sea Cadets will operate the vessel, under crew supervision to practice seamanship skills, conduct firefighting and damage control scenarios and hone navigation skills. The vessel will depart Friday.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Great Lake Trader came into Lorain Sunday at 06:20 and departed at 17:01. She was at dock #3.

Welland Canal – Barry
Rt. Hon. Paul J. Martin came off the shelf at the former Port Weller Dry Dock Sunday with help from the tugs Jarrett M and Molly M1, to tie-up wall above lock 1 until she could ballast down. Shortly after 6 p.m. she headed through lock 1 to conduct sea trials. Algoma Spirit was out of drydock Monday and was ballasting down below lock 2. She was assisted by the tug Jerry G.


Tall Ships sailing to Duluth, preparations underway

8/16 - Duluth, Minn. – With the Tall Ships on their way to Duluth for this coming weekend's festival, preparations are well underway. Around 300,000 are expected for the festivities.

The first ships are expected to begin arriving and undergoing Coast Guard inspections Wednesday evening. But the big events kick off on Thursday with the Parade of Sails at 1 p.m. Tall Ships Director of Events and Marketing Abby Mlinar said she expects all the ships will be docked by 4 p.m. Thursday.

The Viking vessel Draken Harald wasn't able to make it, but Mlinar said that isn't holding them back. They'll still have performances twice a day that explain how the Draken got its name.

"Seriously, this event is going to be bigger than it's ever been before, with or without the Draken," she said.

The other ships on their way to the Twin Ports include: El Galeon Andalucia, US Brig Niagara, Mist of Avalon, When and If, Pride of Baltimore II, Denis Sullivan, Appledore V and Zeeto.

"What's cool about this year is ... it's half people who've been here before, and half who never have," Mlinar said. "The half who have been here before are the attractions year-in, year-out: Pride of Baltimore II, the US Brig Niagara, those are some of the most popular Great Lakes ships. They're always beautiful to see."

The Pride of Baltimore II has been to Duluth for every Tall Ships festival so far, most recently in 2013. She sunk 17 other vessels in the War of 1812, which is what earned her the "Pride" part of her name.

The S/V Denis Sullivan is a Great Lakes schooner that was completed in 2000 with the help of more than 1,000 volunteers. It's the ship's third trip to the Tall Ships Duluth festival.

The Mist of Avalon was built in 1967 in Nova Scotia, Canada. She was used to fish for cod until 1987, when she was abandoned at a Halifax pier. In the summer of 1997, she returned to sea for what the Tall Ships website calls her "maiden voyage under sail." She's appeared in several documentaries and feature films.

Mlinar also raved about one of the new ships to grace the Twin Ports, the El Galeon Andalucia, calling it a "showstopper."

"El Galeon Andalucia of Spain has never been here before, and this is her first time in the Great Lakes ever," she said. "She's seriously the most beautiful ship I've ever seen in real life, and we do these events all over the place."

But if war ships and trading ships aren't the draw for you, perhaps the world's largest rubber duck will make you consider stopping by the festival.

"It draws hundreds of thousands of people in other areas without the ships and stuff," Mlinar said. "The cool thing about it ... is that it draws people to the world of sailing that wouldn't normally consider it to be an option for them."

It should be easy to spot -- it's six stories tall and bright yellow. It isn't for rides, though, it's just on display to take photos with.

Mlinar said lines are a fixture at a huge event like Tall Ships, but there are ways to avoid some of them. She recommends buying tickets online in advance.

Day sails sold out long ago, but you'll still be able to get on the ships for tours if you're willing to wait. There will also be shuttles from around the city. Find out more at



Help wanted: Algoma Central Corporation

8/16 - Algoma Central Corporation is hiring full-time permanent and relief Engineering Officers. They are currently searching for qualified 2nd Engineers to join their team. Positions are available on both our dry-bulk and tanker fleets. Algoma offers a competitive wage and compensation package to shipboard employees. In order to be considered for engineer positions, candidates must possess a minimum of a 2nd Class Engineer, Motor Certificate.

If you are interested in a seagoing career with Algoma and meet the profile described within, please submit your resume in confidence to Human Resources at or by fax to 905-687-7841. Algoma Central Corporation encourages application from designated group members identified under the Federal Employment Equity Act. We wish to thank all applicants in advance, however, only those selected for an interview will be contacted.


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 16

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 of Cleveland called economic driver despite cargo decline

8/15 - Cleveland, Ohio Cargo tonnage on the St. Lawrence Seaway is down 11 percent for the quarter ending July 31, according to a report released by the seaway, and the Port of Cleveland is down by about 7 percent.

Jade Davis, the port's vice president for external affairs, said the decline is illusory because last year was so successful. The port is outperforming what it did year-to-date in 2014 by about 200,000 tons, he said, "and we could still catch up to 2015 by the end of the year."

He said in a telephone interview Thursday that tonnage moving through Cleveland has declined only slightly "due to our increased cargo from container shipping."

Since 2014, the first full year following a major investment in container cargo, tonnage moving through the port has quadrupled.

"We are the only container port on the Great Lakes, and have been able to catch market share from East Coast and Gulf ports," Davis said.

"Despite some slowness in the market to start the season, the Port of Cleveland has seen steady growth in our month-to-month tonnage numbers thus far in the 2016 season," David S. Gutheil, the Port of Cleveland's vice president for maritime and logistics, said in the seaway's quarterly report.

"We are also seeing increased interest in the project cargo market, through additional inquiries from customers seeking to move their cargo via the St. Lawrence Seaway and avoid congestion at coastal ports," Gutheil said.

Project cargo refers to cargo that will not fit in a standard container or that requires special handling and loading.

Port President and CEO Will Friedman said in a press release that the creation of the Cleveland-Europe Express (CEE) is a major driver of the port's growth. It is the Great Lakes' first regular international container shipping service in 50 years, he said.

CEE offers direct access between Cleveland and the port of Antwerp in Belgium.

The Port of Cleveland consists of four public terminals on the lakefront. There are also 13 private terminals on the Cuyahoga River.

Davis said some of the drop in seaway shipping is attributable to a decline in project shipping of natural gas due to fluctuations in the natural-gas and oil markets.

"We continue to see steady volumes on imported steel from Europe," Gutheil said, "while consistently bringing on new customers via the Cleveland-Europe Express, particularly in the container segment.

"We are also seeing increased interest in the project cargo market, through additional inquiries from customers seeking to move their cargo via the St. Lawrence Seaway and avoid congestion at coastal ports," he said.

"In July, we completed construction of a new 21,000 square foot warehouse," Gutheil added. "This new facility, partially funded through a grant secured through the Ohio Department of Development Logistics program, will be used for trans-load opportunities and increases our inside storage capacity to 320,000 square feet."

A report by Pennsylvania-based Martin Associates says the Port of Cleveland is producing $3.5 billion in economic value -– a billion-dollar increase since 2008, when economic impact was last assessed.

The Martin report said the port directly and indirectly supports 20,000 jobs.

The Plain Dealer


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.


Harbor Queen debuts as popular Buffalo boat tour company expands

8/14 - Buffalo, N.Y. – A fourth vessel has been added to a fleet of boats that serve visitors to Buffalo's Inner Harbor. Dignitaries joined members of the Hilliman family Friday morning to christen the Harbor Queen.

The vessel, a custom-built two-level catamaran that measures 63 feet long and 24 feet wide, can carry up to 149 passengers and will host daily 90-minute tours of Buffalo's Inner and Outer Harbor.

It's the fourth vessel to be introduced to Buffalo's waterfront by Buffalo River History Tours. It's the largest of the fleet, which also includes the Spirit of Buffalo sailing ship, River Queen and Queen City Bike Ferry.

Captain Rich Hilliman of Buffalo River History Tours explained that the Harbor Queen will allow the company to use another within the fleet as a second ferry. He revealed the family had pondered adding a fourth boat, but originally planned to acquire it next year.

But with business already booming, the opportunity to introduce a bigger tour boat was too good to pass up.

"How could we not?" Hilliman said during opening remarks at a Friday morning christening ceremony in Canalside. "With the rich history that we have here, from the Erie Canal to over a hundred years of the biggest grain port in the world, and the structures (grain elevators) we have standing behind us."

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul had the honor of breaking the ceremonial champagne bottle on the hull of the Harbor Queen, while Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation chairman Robert Gioia celebrated what he called the latest success story of public-private partnership on Buffalo's waterfront.



Port Reports -  August 14

Cedarville, Mich.
Wilfred Sykes arrived at mid-evening Saturday to load.


Workers to be reassigned after St. Clair Power Plant fire

8/14 - St. Clair, Mich. – A utility is reassigning workers from a power plant northeast of Detroit and can't say when the facility they worked at will be reopened following a massive fire.

DTE Energy Co.'s St. Clair Power Plant in East China Township remains shut down, the Detroit-based utility said in an update.

Fire crews on Friday extinguished the blaze that was reported about 6:30 p.m. Thursday and sent smoke into the air that was visible for miles, officials said. The fire started in a coal-fired generating unit, and no injuries were reported.

The St. Clair Fire Department said Friday that crews went into the building overnight to look for hot spots and remained at the plant.

The utility said customers won't see any effects on electrical service. Air quality readings were "well within normal limits outside the facility perimeter," DTE said.



Updates -  August 14

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 14

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

At 11 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.


A new chapter for United Taconite: Project Mustang

8/13 - Duluth, Minn. – Project Mustang is officially underway at United Taconite. The week that the full workforce of nearly 500 returned to the job, Cliffs Natural Resources hosted a groundbreaking event for the $65 million dollar investment.

State and federal leaders joined in for ceremonial dirt turning. Project Mustang means upgrades and additions to the pellet plant in Forbes, so UTAC can make a custom pellet for steelmaker ArcelorMittal.

"We are starting a new moment for United Taconite," Cliffs' CEO Lourenco Goncalves told the group of about 100 people.

Brian Zarn, president of Local 6860, said, that this pellet contract for Mustang is good for the future. He received a standing ovation after addressing the crowd. "We are ecstatic that our brothers and sisters have been recalled to work. Most have returned, with just a few retirements."

Contractors with Lakehead Constructors are already on site. They will work with steelworkers from UTAC to get the job done, so the new pellet can be rolling off the line in the spring. UTAC will also continue to make their standard pellet as well.

Governor Mark Dayton praised Goncalves for keeping his word about bringing people back to work, and even referenced Goncalves' hope to take over the Essar leases.

"I'm so glad you're leading the resurgence at UTAC here, and we hope to get the Essar leases over to you so you can build there," Dayton said. The state has started the legal proceedings to free the leases from Essar's bankruptcy proceedings.

Goncalves said that is part of his plan. "We are going to produce DRI for the electric arc furnaces. We are going to be in business for the next 100 years," he added.

General manager Santi Romani mentioned that Henry Ford helped start the mine and plant, to help him build his Ford Fairlanes and Thunderbirds.

"Now, 51 years later, the Mustang Project is a nod to our roots. And the longevity of the Mustang, and to the great years ahead for this facility," Romani said. He also welcomed back his full workforce.

They will begin producing their standard pellet again at the end of the month. You may remember the plant was idled in August of 2015, because of the domestic steel industry crisis.



Port Reports -  August 13

Marquette, Mich. – Rod Burdick
American Century unloaded coal into the Upper Harbor hopper on Friday. The visit was her first since January 2007.

St. Marys River
Upbound traffic Friday included the U.S. brig Niagara. Passenger ship Pearl Mist was also in port.

St. Joseph, Mich. – Mike Harting
Cuyahoga was unloading on Thursday. Grand Haven, Mich. – Sam Hankinson
Wilfred Sykes was inbound with slag around 8 p.m. Friday.


High water on Lake Superior pleases boaters, shippers

8/13 - Thunder Bay, Ont. – Boats large and small are having an easier time on Lake Superior this year due to higher-than-average water levels, says a Great Lakes researcher.

The higher water table is mainly due to the combination of wet weather —both rain and snow — and cold winters over the past couple of years said Andrew Gronewold, a hydrologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Currently, the lake is almost 20 cm higher than the August average, and almost 70 cm higher than the lake's lowest point in August, set in 2007.

Lake Superior's water levels generally follow a yearly cycle, rising to their highest point in July and August before declining through the fall.

"When water levels get extremely low, it can often be hard for commercial vessels or even individual recreational vessels to access narrow channels," Gronewold said, adding that vessels now have easier access to docks, marinas and ports.

Thunder Bay port officials also are saying that the current state of the lake is benefiting larger vessels in the lake. Harbor master Guy Jarvis told CBC News higher levels significantly reduce concerns about access throughout the Great Lakes shipping routes.

"When you have low water and you have silting ... you may have to restrict the loading of a cargo ship, but that hasn't happened in the last 10 years."

While levels this month are higher than average, they've still not reached the lake's high point for August, set back in 1952. Part of the reason why the lake looks so high is the relatively long period of low water that's preceded the past couple of years, Gronewold said.

"Many folks around the Great Lakes have grown accustomed to low water levels," he said. "And one of the areas we've seen an impact there is with beaches."

"Many folks have been used to having these sort of wide expanses of shoreline property, beaches, and they've gotten accustomed to water levels being a particular point and a particular shoreline."

But data shows the lake levels that produced those beaches were well below average. Gronewold said starting in the late 1990s, lake levels declined dramatically and stayed that way for about 15 years.

The International Joint Commission is predicting Lake Superior's water level will remain near or above average



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


Updates -  August 13

News Photo Gallery


Crews fight fire Thursday night at St. Clair Power Plant

8/12 - St. Clair, Mich. – Fire departments from throughout St. Clair County and beyond responded Thursday evening to a massive fire at DTE Energy's St. Clair Power Plant. Rescue crews were called to the power plant shortly before 6:30 p.m.

The plant receives its coal via lake freighter. No vessels were unloading there at the time of the fire.

Among the units responding was the Detroit Fire Department’s fireboat Curtis Randolph. The fireboat arrived Thursday evening and was assisting fighting the fire.

Officials said it is believed everyone was able to escape. The fire was caused by a generation unit catching fire, according to a statement from DTE.

"Employees were evacuated immediately and safely. At this time, there are no known injuries at the facility," according to the statement.

Mary Buslett, who lives on Clark Drive, has lived near the plant for about 12 years. She said she heard something different than normal about 6:20 p.m. "They blow the stacks occasionally, but this was unusually loud," she said.

Officials announced earlier this year the St. Clair power plant will be shuttered between 2020 and 2023. The plant in East China Township went into service in 1953 and currently employs 280 people.

The St. Clair plant's retirement was not the only one announced by the energy company in June. It will also be retiring the River Rouge and Trenton plants within the next seven years.

The plants together generate about 25 percent of electricity produced by the utility in 2015 or enough to power 900,000 homes, according to the company.

Port Huron Times Herald


Stelco Algoma merger: New bid tabled for U.S. Steel Canada

8/12 - Hamilton, Ont. – A spurned suitor is back with a new offer for the former Stelco.

Ontario Steel Investments Limited, a unit of Essar Global, tabled an unsolicited binding offer for the Hamilton steelmaker Tuesday in an effort to get back into the bidding process after its first offer was rejected in June.

As with its earlier bid, the company said its goal is to merge U.S. Steel Canada and its Algoma plant in Sault Ste. Marie into a new Canadian steelmaker.

"We are very excited to put this bid forward for Stelco; it is another important step in advancing our vision of creating a true Canadian steel champion," Ontario Steel said in a news release. "(W)e believe we are uniquely positioned to bring Stelco out of the CCAA restructuring process and create a foundation for a strong, competitive and sustainable steel business in Hamilton and Lake Erie."

The offer includes assumption of $954 million of employer pension liabilities and a commitment to contribute $25 million a year toward employee health benefits. The total proposed purchase price was not disclosed.

Ontario's stake in the restructuring is huge — it is owed $150 million loaned to Stelco in 2006 to top up its pension plans. There is also millions of dollars in pension top-ups at stake if the company is liquidated. That's all in addition to environmental liabilities for the company's bayfront land.

Ontario Steel's promise to operate the plants in Hamilton and Nanticoke, to pay off the company's massive pension shortfall and to resume paying health benefits to retirees, have earned it the support of the United Steelworkers.

"For us, the pensions and benefits are a huge concern," said Local 1005 president Gary Howe. "Having another bid in the mix is a good development."

The new offer leaves two bidders vying for Stelco — the other is a New York investment fund called Bedrock Industries. Its bid is said to provide nothing for the pension funds. Sources have also said an unnamed German steel company is considering a bid.

McMaster University business professor Marvin Ryder is not entirely entranced by the Ontario Steel offer.

"They've ticked off all the boxes that are important to the union, but they are absolutely silent on how the debts of U.S. Steel Canada will be paid," he said. "Those debts are why we're in this process and any proposal has to address that."

Those debts include $2.2 billion in court-approved claims by U.S. Steel of Pittsburgh.

To get its bids back into consideration, Ontario Steel must convince the court-appointed monitors in both cases to recommend them as the best outcome for both companies, or to bring a motion to court asking for the bidding processes to be reopened.

A court motion may be the only way the company can get back in the bidding. In an email exchange, U.S. Steel Canada spokesperson Trevor Harris said the company's board of directors "is not considering any further proposals from Essar."

Ontario Steel describes itself as "a consortium of steel industry specialists, including the shareholders of Essar Global. It was established as an investment vehicle for the Ontario steel industry."

Ryder said he wants to know more about the company's financial backers before passing final judgment on the proposal.

"We need to know who the partners are and what financial strength they have," he said. "Essar just doesn't have deep pockets. They came to North America without a lot of cash."

Essar's earlier offers for Stelco and Algoma were spurned on fears it lacked the financial strength to close a deal. Algoma went on to select a New York investment fund, KPS Capital Partners, as its preferred bid.

KPS dropped its bids for both companies last month, citing failure to reach agreement with the province over pension funding and environmental liabilities.

Ontario Steel has struck a deal with union locals in Sault Ste. Marie to draft a framework agreement to buy Algoma and is making similar efforts in Hamilton.

"Ontario Steelworks remains in active discussions with the United Steelworkers union regarding its offer for Stelco, and we look forward to continuing discussions with the Province of Ontario to ensure the long term interests of the community and the environment are protected.

"OSI is focused on steelmaking, and that will be its aim with Stelco. OSI's objective will be to rehabilitate the full asset base, including evaluating the return of steelmaking in Hamilton."

University of Toronto steel expert Peter Warrian said there have been positive developments over the last three months — all of the major players in the bidding process favor merging the two companies and the Ontario government now sees it as an industrial policy issue rather than just a financial issue.

The province's change in view was captured in comments Premier Kathleen Wynne made in Sault Ste. Marie this week. She told The Sault Star newspaper a strong steel industry is important to the province.

"We are building so much in Ontario right now — $160 billion over 12 years — and there is a lot of steel in that build," she said in an interview.

"It is important to the province that we have access to that high quality Ontario steel at a price that builders can afford," she said. "We're committed to the steel industry."

A motion is to go to court in Toronto next Wednesday asking for the Algoma bidding process to be reopened. The same day the union hopes to bring a motion asking for the reinstatement of health benefits payments to retirees.

Hamilton Spectator


Port Reports -  August 12

St. Marys River
Tall ship Niagara was tied up for the night Thursday at the Carbide Dock. She is on her way to Duluth, Minn. Other evening traffic included American Integrity, Federal Elbe and Baie Comeau.

Green Bay, Wis. – Scott Best
The Tug Olive L Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber arrived Thursday evening with a load of limestone from Port Inland, Mich.m for Graymont Western Lime. The combo unloaded salt at the Fox River Dock two days ago.


More marine sanctuaries coming to Great Lakes

8/12 - Buffalo, N.Y. – At the H. Lee White Maritime Museum in Oswego, N.Y., a popular exhibit is Derrick Boat 8, which came to rest at the bottom of Lake Ontario in 1984.

“It was about 180 tons so the concept of bringing it out of the water at that time -- we had to have like six bulldozers, one behind the other,” director Mercedes Niess says.

Niess says there are many more stories below the lake's surface that have yet to be told. Now, with the help of the federal government, she may get the chance to tell them.

For the first time in 20 years, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is expanding its national marine sanctuary program. For Oswego and other communities on the Great Lakes, that designation would bring federal funding and a boost to tourism.

“We would be able to have all kinds of new educational experiences,” Niess says. “We could take folks that are divers out but we could also take non-divers out and use ROV's so that they could maybe view the wreck.”

Niess is referring to remotely operated vehicles that could show tourists the dozens of shipwrecks located within the 1,746 square miles of Lake Ontario that a local group is proposing for the sanctuary.

There’s now only one freshwater marine sanctuary in the United States – it’s in Alpena, Mich., but NOAA wants to create a network along the Great Lakes, says regional director Reed Bohne.

“We think that there is a continuity of history in the lakes, particularly when you look at the historic resources and shipwrecks that builds an integrated kind of story as you go from one lake to the other,” he says.

There are local educational benefits as well. The Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary in Alpena has changed the area's schools. Students can learn about marine technology in primary school and earn a degree in it at the local community college.

Associate Dean of Education Kristen Munger says officials at the State University of New York in Oswego are exploring similar research and educational opportunities.

“There’s definitely interest about the regional effects that the lake has on us as well as that we’ve been having on the lake,” she says.

Despite the enthusiasm in Oswego and other communities seeking the federal designation, there are some concerns about potential consequences.

The Port of Oswego is still very active, generating more than $40 million in economic impact for the region and port director Zelko Kirincich wants to ensure the sanctuary does not restrict business.

“I understand the value of preserving the shipwrecks, but they got there because they were trading commercial business, right?” Kirincich says. “We’re hoping to coexist with the project because we understand the project is a good thing."

Bohne says many concerns about federal involvement and fishing restrictions are unfounded. The timeline for designating new sanctuaries is open-ended, but Bohne expects NOAA will receive about a dozen applications for the program this year.



Reunion brings back original Mackinaw crewmates

8/12 - Cheboygan, Mich. – Coast Guardsmen of all ages gathered by the docked U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw (WLBB-30) on Wednesday to enjoy a reunion of past members who served on the previous Mackinaw (WAGB-83).

The events included a relaxed picnic, tours of the new ship, and conversation between new and old guardsman. Many of the coasties spoke about the friendship and bond that they all shared and how happy they were to see each other once again. The majority of the men served in the 1960s and ‘70s and brought along their wives to enjoy the festivities.

Rene Zimmer, who served two terms on the old Mackinaw (1968-1971, 1978-1981) was one of the veterans reveling in memories. Zimmer started as a chief on the ship and worked his way up the ranks. From 1989-93, Zimmer served as master chief for the Ninth Coast Guard District.

While telling stories of playing games and watching movies in their free time, Zimmer lit up with a smile remembering how they would spend their off-duty time.

Another retired guardsman spoke of a random encounter with a stranger at a grocery store he recently had. A young woman had approached him for a hug after seeing his U.S. Coast Guard hat and told him “we’re family.” This guardsman spoke fondly of the entire reunion and remarked on the truly unique closeness that he and his fellow retirees shared.

Ron Korzecke, of Perry, Mich., was especially happy to be seeing his old friends again. “I haven’t seen this guy in 45 years,” said Korzecke, pointing to a chipper looking guardsman who was enjoying the picnic food.

“Most of us have participated in the five-rear reunions that were held to honor the Mighty Mac’s service and her contributions to the city of Cheboygan but, we’re all in our 60s and 70s now and we are trying to see each other a bit more frequently before it’s too late. Many of us also feel that when the reunions were moved to Mackinaw City, they just didn’t seem as appealing. For my wife and I, we felt that returning to Cheboygan was the most important aspect of the event.”

Newly appointed ensigns helped organize the event, with cooperation from Commanding Officer Vasilios Tasika, and led tours of the newer Mackinaw for the former crew members to see. Ensign Mary Hazen was particularly excited, as she played a major role in organizing the event. More than once throughout the afternoon, Hazen stood on top of a picnic table to address the crowd of men and woman with instructions on what was next on the agenda.

Hazen was interested to talk to the older guardsmen and offer her knowledge of the current operations of the ship. Leading a tour, she showed off the modern day engineer’s room. Korzecke remarked how during his time on the old Mackinaw Cutter, they needed three people in the engineer’s room at all times, while Hazen explained that it was no longer even necessary for one person to constantly be attending the controls.

With leaps in technology, the current cutter operates with a crew of about 47, while there were roughly 160 aboard during the years that many of these returning vets served.

Korzecke expressed the importance of the non-structured reunion-style of the day. “Next, we’ll just hang out,” said Korzecke, as the tours of the ship were winding down. “We all feel honored that the Coast Guard is doing this for us,” said Korzecke.

Cheboygan Daily News


Obituary: Captain Edward “Ed” Charles Perry

8/12 - Edward “Ed” Charles Perry, 73, passed away Monday, August 8 in Petoskey, Mich., following a sudden battle with lymphoma.

He took pride in his 50-year career sailing as a U.S. Merchant Mariner. He started his sailing career as a young man on the Straits Transit Mackinac Island ferries, earning his captain’s license at the age of 20. He also served on Great Lakes freighters and on the last hand-fired coal-burning steamship on the Great Lakes, the Chief Wawatam. He and his brothers owned and operated Captains Three, providing the first-ever night ferry service from Mackinaw City to Mackinac Island, and later a marina and rescue boat service in Cheboygan. He later captained ships in New York state for the Ann Arbor-based U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which later became part of the U.S. Geological Survey. Perry continued with the U.S.G.S., leading research trips for the Cheboygan-based office of the Great Lakes Science Center, which is dedicated to managing our lakes and their ecosystem. He served as captain for both the R/V Grayling and the R/V Sturgeon. The latter, which Ed helped re-design and christen, can often be seen from the State Street bridge.

He also served as president of the Great Lakes Captains Association for some 20 years. He supported restoration of the Cheboygan Light Crib which now adorns postcards and attracts visitors at Cheboygan City Beach. A

A funeral mass will be celebrated at 11 am on Friday, August 12, at St. Mary/St. Charles Catholic Church in Cheboygan, Mich.


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.


Two months after running aground, Roger Blough returns to Twin Ports

8/11 - Duluth, Minn. – The freighter Roger Blough was back in the Twin Ports to pick up a load of iron ore pellets this week, a little more than two months after it ran aground in eastern Lake Superior.

The 858-foot Blough, carrying a load of iron ore it picked up in Duluth, ran aground May 27 near Gros Cap Reef in Whitefish Bay, about 10 miles west of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. It spent a couple weeks there, as its cargo was offloaded to other vessels.

The Blough was freed and started traveling down the St. Marys River, escorted by a tugboat, on June 11, eventually reaching Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., for repairs.

The website reported that the Blough left Bay Shipbuilding on Saturday night and arrived in Duluth on Monday night. The Blough picked up a load of iron ore at the CN docks in Duluth on Tuesday, departing during the early evening hours.

The U.S. Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board have been investigating the cause of the Blough's May 27 grounding.

Canadian National Railway, the owner of the Blough, contracts with Keystone Shipping Co. to operate its lake freighters. Keystone officials told the News Tribune in late May that the company was conducting its own internal investigation into the cause of the grounding.

Messages left with the Coast Guard and Keystone on Tuesday, seeking an update on the status of the investigations, were not returned.

Duluth News Tribune


United Steelworkers applauds finding on steel import dumping

8/11 - Pittsburgh, Pa. – The United Steelworkers on Monday applauded the U.S. Department of Commerce’s determination that seven countries were selling their hot-rolled steel flat products in the U.S. below value.

In announcing the ruling late last week, the federal agency instructed the U.S. Customs and Border Protection “to collect cash deposits equal to the applicable weighted-average dumping margins.”

In a statement, USW International President Leo Gerard said the ruling “levels the playing field with imports to provide fair and sustainable market prices for American steel, a critical step in restoring balance to the market.”

Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel on Friday issued a statement welcoming the federal department’s determinations in cases filed in 2015. President and CEO Mario Longhi said, “The DOC’s thorough investigations have resulted in findings confirming what we knew to be true — that these countries have subsidized and dumped steel products on our shores.”

The antidumping investigation began after six companies — U.S. Steel Corp., AK Steel Corp. in Ohio, ArcelorMittal USA LLC in Illinois, Nucor Corp. of North Carolina, SSAB Enterprises in Illinois and Steel Dynamics Inc. in Indiana — petitioned federal authorities last August.

The companies alleged Australia, Brazil, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands, Turkey and the United Kingdom were violating international trade laws by selling some hot-rolled steel flat products in the U.S. below market prices.

Both U.S. Steel and the USW said they are now awaiting a final ruling by the U.S. International Trade Commission on the investigation’s finding. That ruling is expected early next month.



Port Reports -  August 11

Huron, Ohio
Algoway made a rare visit on Tuesday to unload.

Oswego, N.Y. – Ned Goebricher
McKeil’s Evans Spirit unloaded aluminum on Wednesday.

HNoMY Norge, the royal yacht of the King of Norway, with King Harald V on board, was westbound in the Seaway at the St. Lambert Lock on Wednesday afternoon. Her destination is Toronto. One of only three remaining royal yachts in Europe, the ship's name is Norwegian Bokmål for Norway. Norge was the Norwegian people's gift to King Haakon VII in 1947. The royal standard is flown from the aftermost mast when the king is on board.


Maritime Museum opens expanded shipwreck exhibit

8/11 - Manitowoc, Wis. – An expanded shipwreck exhibit will open at Wisconsin Maritime Museum at 3 p.m., Friday, Aug. 12.

The exhibit, “Wisconsin’s Underwater Treasures: Revealing Our Maritime Connections,” focuses on the historic and cultural significance of many notable shipwrecks and unique personal stories from communities along Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan shoreline. Admission to the exhibit is free with regular museum admission.

The exhibit expansion includes new technology-based experiences and interactive activities such as visitors exploring touchscreen trade routes, loading cargo, interacting with a shipwreck projection and running a virtual remotely operated underwater vehicle.

Wisconsin’s Underwater Treasures highlights the work underway by the Wisconsin Historical Society’s maritime archaeologists to better document, preserve and understand the shipwrecks that lie beneath the waves of Lake Michigan. The “treasures” are the basis for a regional effort to work with NOAA on the possible establishment of a new National Marine Sanctuary focused on various elements of maritime heritage.

Grants from the Wisconsin Humanities Council and the Ruth St. John and John Dunham West Foundation, along with donations from Peter G. Horton and the Windway Foundation, allowed for the community collaboration and the development of the tech-friendly exhibit area.

Herald Times Reporter


Updates -  August 11

News Photo Gallery
Saltie Gallery updated with pictures of the BBC Manitoba, Belasitza, Federal Saguenay, Federal Yoshino, Florence Spirit, Floretgracht, Malmo, MarBacan, Marsgracht, Ocean Castle, Puffin, San, SCT Stockhorn, Taagborg, Thorco Marjanne and Vectis Castle.


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.


Manitou Island lighthouse up for auction: Would you live there?

8/10 - North Manitou Island, Mich. – If you're on the hunt for an unusual Northern Michigan cottage – or perhaps a really nautical B&B - with unparalleled views of Sleeping Bear Dunes and the Manitou islands, an auction house may have a deal for you.

You'll just have to learn to flip-flop your Up North expectations: Can you live on the water, while gazing at the shore?

The North Manitou Shoal Light, which for decades kept ships safe in the sometimes treacherous Manitou Passage, is on the auction block after no buyers have been found for it in the last year.

The two-story lighthouse crib – with a working light and fog horn in its three-story tower – is located just southeast of North Manitou Island. It boasts four bedrooms, evidence of modern plumbing and generator-powered electrical service, though the condition of the aging utilities are not known.

Read more and see photos at this link


Spanish Galeon replica coming to the Soo

8/10 - Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. – A 16th Century Spanish Galeon replica will pull into Sault Ste. Marie later this week after city officials convinced its crew to make a last-minute route change.

El Galeon Andalucia is a modern-day copy of the kind of vessel the Spanish Crown used to use as far back as the 16th Century when it was trying to establish trade routes to America and the Philippines.

The 170-foot floating museum will offer tours at the Roberta Bondar Marina Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The Sault wasn't originally on El Galeon Andalucia's itinerary. The vessel has been touring the Great Lakes since completing a trans-Atlantic crossing in June.

"They managed to alter their course a little to be able to stop here. We're really fortunate," said Rick Borean, the city's supervisor of community services.

Tickets for tours of the ship are available at the Roberta Bondar Marina, and cost $10 for adults, $5 for kids and $30 for a family pass for up to two adults and three children.

Tours will be offered from 4-9 p.m. Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Soo Today


Port Reports -  August 10

Sturgeon Bay, Wis.
Wilfred Sykes arrived Tuesday morning for boom repairs and left in the afternoon. American Courage remains in layup. John J. Munson is undergoing conversion to diesel.

Toledo, Ohio – Jim Hoffman
The tugs Mississippi and Nebraska assisted the Algoma Olympic up river to Anderson's K elevator on Tuesday afternoon.


Stelco: New bid for steelmaker guarantees $954M pension debt, benefits

8/10 - Hamilton, Ont. – An offshoot of an Indian steel giant has tabled a new offer for Stelco. Ontario Steel Investments Limited announced Tuesday it has submitted a formal binding offer for the purchase of U.S. Steel Canada.

The offer includes the assumption of Stelco's pension plan in totality and a commitment to provide substantial post-employment benefits (OPEBs) to Stelco's active and retired employees.

OSI is also bidding for Essar Algoma in Sault Ste. Marie with a long-term plan to combine both companies into a new Canadian steel maker.

Earlier offers for both Stelco and Algoma were spurned by advisers at both companies in favor of bids from investments funds.

Specifically, the offer includes the assumption at closing of $954 million of employer liabilities under Stelco's defined benefit registered pension plans and a commitment to contribute $25 million per year toward OPEBs for both active and retired employees. The total proposed purchase price was not disclosed.

"We are very excited to put this bid forward for Stelco; it is another important step in advancing our vision of creating a true Canadian steel champion. Our offer is the culmination of 18 months of discussions with all of the key stakeholders to find the best outcome for the business," Ontario Steel said in a news release.

"It will provide maximum benefit to all involved, most importantly Stelco's active and retired employees who depend on their pensions and post-employment benefits, as well as a more secure day-to-day operating environment.

"Through its affiliation with Essar Global, Ontario Steelworks brings over 25 years of global experience in steel manufacturing as well as a best in class operating team, leading edge technology and deep financial capabilities. With this, we believe we are uniquely positioned to bring Stelco out of the CCAA restructuring process and create a foundation for a strong, competitive and sustainable steel business in Hamilton and Lake Erie.

"Ontario Steelworks remains in active discussions with the United Steelworkers union regarding its offer for Stelco, and we look forward to continuing discussions with the Province of Ontario to ensure the long term interests of the community and the environment are protected."

On July 12 Ontario Steelworks announced that it had signed a letter of intent with the United Steelworkers Local 2251, to negotiate the framework of an acquisition of Essar Steel Algoma Inc. by Ontario Steel.

The Stelco offer was submitted to the court-appointed monitor and the company's other advisers on Aug. 5. Ontario Steelworks will provide further comment and updates on its interest in the Stelco and Algoma processes as events warrant.

Ontario Steelworks also announced that it has launched a new website ( that will serve as a home for all information relating to its interest in the Ontario steel industry as well as its specific initiatives in the community.

Ontario Steel Investments Limited is a consortium of steel industry specialists, including the shareholders of Essar Global. It was established as an investment vehicle for the Ontario steel industry.

Hamilton Spectator


Historic lighthouse threatened by Poverty Island wildfire

8/10 - Fayette, Mich. - The return of dry weather to the northern Great Lakes has increased activity of a wildfire that threatens a historic lighthouse on a small Lake Michigan island.

The Poverty Island Fire, first reported in late June, consumed another 20 acres of the 200-acre island forest since late last week, according to Jeremy Bennett, a U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs firefighter. Bennett is the incident commander for 16 federal firefighters assembling Monday to stop the fire’s progress toward the lighthouse. Believed to have started by lightning, the fire burned 26 acres by the end of July when it stalled.

Bennett led the late July effort to burn out the rest of the island and stop the fire by eliminating the large amount of overgrown and down timber covering the island. Rain and humidity at the time prevented ignition of that burnout.

Over the next few days, Bennett said firefighters will attempt to burn out 70 acres around the lighthouse to eliminate nearby forest vegetation and debris that could spread fire to the brick and wood structure. The lighthouse, which is no longer in use, is now under the care of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. The island is located between the Garden Peninsula and the Door Peninsula of Wisconsin.

In July, firefighters left a brushed-out fireline and a hose-and-sprinkler system to protect the lighthouse until weather conditions would allow their return to do a burnout.

This week, a 26-foot Almar search-and-rescue boat from the National Park Service will be used to ferry firefighters to the island from Fayette State Park on the Garden Peninsula. The boat will also be used to ignite the burnout using flares launched into the island’s interior.

Bennett said a smoke column rising from the island this week could be visible from the Upper Peninsula, northwest Lower Michigan and northeast Wisconsin. Once the burnout is completed, smoke and occasional torching of unburned timber will occur until winter precipitation and temperatures extinguish the fire.

Foot travel on Poverty Island is treacherous under any circumstances, Bennett said, and he advised that the public not visit the island until winter cools hot coals left by the fire in crevices and ash-filled stump holes. Dangers and difficulties from timber blowdown and hidden crevices are the main reason why firefighters are burning out around the lighthouse instead of using other methods of stopping the fire, Bennett said.



McInnis Cement announces plans for new cement-carrying ship

8/10 - Stamford, Conn. – McInnis Cement has announced plans for a first of its kind, ecologically efficient, self-discharging dry bulk cement carrier. The 15,000-deadweight ton vessel will be time chartered by the company under a long-term agreement.

The ship, which was built in 2011, is currently undergoing conversion in China to a cement carrier by its owner NovaAlgoma Cement Carriers Ltd. The conversion will include the installation of a state-of-the-art cement unloading system delivered by Van Aalst Marine & Offshore, as well as, a hybrid exhaust gas scrubber system capable of operating in both fresh and salt waters.

NovaAlgoma Cement Carriers is the result of a joint-venture with Algoma Central Corporation which operates the largest Canadian flag fleet of dry and liquid bulk carriers on the Great Lakes. The company is dedicated to cement carriers to serve the global cement industry in its overall logistic needs.

Anticipated delivery of the vessel is scheduled for early 2017.

McInnis Cement


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.


Mélissa Desgagnés renamed, re-registered in Tanzania

8/9 - The Canadian vessel Mélissa Desgagnés has been sold and renamed Ethan while laid up at Québec City. Her new registration is in Tanzania. Her Canadian registration was closed on July 21. She’s been laid up at Québec City since May 11 at section 25. The vessel was built at Collingwood, Ont., in 1975 as Ontadoc (2) for the now-defunct N.M. Paterson & Sons fleet.

René Beauchamp


Port Reports -  August 9

Duluth, Minn.
The saltie MarBacan arrived Sunday late to load grain at Riverland Ag. Roger Blough arrived Monday evening to load pellets. Cason J. Callaway also arrived to load.

St. Marys River
The ferry Ottawa left MCM drydock Monday afternoon and was downbound for Mackinac Island.

Charlevoix, Mich.
The saltwater vessel Johanna C remains at the St. Marys Cement dock.

Milwaukee, Wis. – Alan
Polsteam’s Wicko arrived Monday just after sunrise. She moored at Pier 2.

Toronto, Ont. – Jens Juhl
The Cook Islands-registered bark Picton Castle arrived this past Saturday afternoon. The square-rigger is alongside over at Terminal 52 and is in port to do some film work.


Great Lakes could hit record warm temperatures

8/9 - Detroit, Mich. – Jump in, the water’s warm — so warm that at some Great Lakes beaches, the water temperatures are expected to hit 80 degrees this month.

It could be a record year for water temperatures, according to meteorologist Mike Boguth of the Gaylord office of the National Weather Service.

“Average summer temperatures are a couple of degrees above normal,” Boguth said. “We’re coming off a low ice cover year of the lakes, we see a lot of correlation between the ice cover or lack of it, and a nice response in warmer lake temperatures.”

Ice protects the water from the sun’s warming rays, keeping water temperatures low until the ice melts in the spring. Ice cover was so light last winter that the ferry service to Mackinac Island ran all season.

An increased number of clear days also had an impact early in the season. Warm spring weather and open water causes the lakes to warm more quickly.

“We’re a little behind in water temperatures than the spring of 2012,” Boguth said. “We had a historic March heat wave that year with temperatures in the 80s and 90s. The lakes had quite a jump in warming.

“We’ll probably exceed those temperatures this month, as our August heat is expected to continue, where it usually cools some in August.”

George Leshkevich, a staff scientist with the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, said Lake Superior’s surface water temperature was 65.2 degrees Monday. On Aug. 1, 2012, his lab measured Superior’s water temperatures at 67.8 degrees. “We are approaching that temperature and may very well surpass it,” he said.

Leshkevich said last winter just 34 percent of the lakes were covered with ice, “and the lakes have warmed considerably.”

The buoys Friday recorded readings of 81.5 degrees at the Toledo Water Intake to 73.1 at the Straits of Mackinac and 75.2 in Grand Traverse Bay, according to Michigan State University Remote Sensing buoys.

A series of 23 buoys record everything from wind direction and speed, wave heights, solar irradiance, barometric pressure and air and water temperatures. The buoys, which cost between $50,000 and $100,000, are placed in the lakes in May and removed in November.

Temperatures along the Lake Michigan shoreline Wednesday measured 73.2 degrees in Pentwater, 72.7 in Ludington and 71.9 in Manistee, according to the buoys.

The forecast of continued hot days in August will increase the chances of water temperatures staying at near-record highs.

Compared to 2015, when water temperatures in Lake Superior averaged 40-46 degrees, this year the temperatures are averaging 50-58 degrees, with one buoy in the middle of the huge lake hitting 60 degrees in late July, near-record warmth for the largest and deepest of the Great Lakes. By contrast, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan in 2015 averaged 54-60 degrees, and is averaging 65-69 degrees this year.

The National Weather Service says the average air temperatures are up 3 degrees this year, and water temperatures are up an average of 7-10 degrees.

The Detroit News


Notice to Recreational Mariners – Welland Canal

8/9 - Mariners are advised that due to high volumes of commercial shipping traffic on the St. Lawrence Seaway, recreational mariners can temporarily expect delays of 12-24 hours when passing through the Welland Canal. Vessels with air drafts less than 15.6 feet can use the Western Erie Canal instead.


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.


Roger Blough back in service

8/8 - Roger Blough departed Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wis., at 9:10 p.m. Saturday after repairs from her May grounding were completed. She is headed for Duluth to load.


Port Reports -  August 8

Sarnia, Ont.
Tug Olive L. Moore and Lewis J. Kuber have left temporary layup. They were upbound in Lake Huron after loading salt at Goderich Sunday morning.

Donjon Marine's new tug, Atlantic Enterprise, is expected in Erie Sunday for a refit.


World’s largest rubber duck in in Green Bay

8/8 - Green Bay, Wis. – Its been busy recently on the Fox River in downtown Green Bay, with nine vessels participating in the Tall Ship Festival sailing into town last week. But one other attraction at the festival also gained a lot of attention.

It’s billed as the World’s Largest Rubber Duck. When fully inflated, she’s 61 feet tall, 50 feet around and 12 tons of just silly fun. Mama Duck, as she’s called, arrived in Green Bay about two weeks ago in nothing but a shipping crate. Her arrival has been the talk of the town.

But to create Mama Duck in all of her glory, it takes hours of manpower, and a pontoon made of six big steel pipes that she floats on.

Bob Hom is one of Mama Duck’s Wranglers. He says, “We set the duck up on top, we spread it all out like a giant egg yolk and we tie it on and then we blow it up.”

The Duck Wranglers who travel with Mama Duck say it takes about two-and-a-half hours to make her fully bloom. It’s a process that’s worth it, once she’s put on display.

“The reaction is unbelievable, people absolutely love it,” says Bob Hom. “It’s a nice duck. The duck has no politics. It’s neither conservative or liberal, it’s just a nice friendly duck.”

Terry Charles adds, “The nine ships are fantastic. They’re vintage vessels. The Duck, some people say maybe doesn’t fit with the ships, but it’s fun and it’s another attraction for the festival.”



Wisconsin ferry American Girl was island's lifeline

8/8 - Washington Island, Wis. – Decades before the Washington Island Ferry Line served as a floating highway to the Door County mainland, islanders relied on the Anderson family to provide that life ring for fetching day-to-day supplies.

But before that fact might be forgotten to history, retired island retailer Jim Anderson sat down and penned "Memories of the American Girl," a fondly recollected, anecdotal account of his family's roughly 75 years in the cargo freighting trade, starting around the birth of the 20th century.

"I started (writing the book) some years ago, thought things out and wrote them down longhand on a legal pad," Anderson said. "I would shelve it for a while, but then after I retired and the other (family members in the business) were gone, I realized I was the last one standing to tell this story."

It was another island ferrying veteran, Dick Purinton, who helped pull the collection of snippets into a richly illustrated, 87-page book. Purinton, the semi-retired president of the Washington Island Ferry Line, is also a freelance writer who runs Island Bayou Press.

The American Girl was the third of four vessels in the family fleet over the years, a 65-foot, steel-hulled lady often twinned with the trailing, fuel-carrying barge Oil Queen. Jim Anderson worked aboard American Girl from 1955, when he was 12 years old, to 1971, interrupted by a five-year hitch in the U.S. Air Force in 1962-67.

The book concentrates on those formative years, though Anderson shares tales from before and after for context. It recalls a bygone era when kids could bring their guns to school and go hunting for physical education class.

The stories are by turn gripping with potential danger, insightful as to how a shipping business operates from the inside and, most of all, warm with nostalgia about Anderson's late crewmates: grandfather John Anderson, father and captain Cecil and uncle Jackie.

"I really wanted to do this for my dad; I really admired him and my uncle and grandpa," Anderson said. "This was really hard work they did."

Purinton correctly describes in the introduction how a reader can't help but feel "sympathetic exhaustion" for the Andersons.

Their labors kept them away from home as much as a long-haul trucker, laying over in other ports four or five times a week. Sturgeon Bay might be only 90 minutes away by ferry and car today, but it was a four-hour sail from the Island.

A trip to Green Bay, the other most common destination, took nine hours. Many of the return voyages took place with running lights at night, after a day of loading and unloading in Sturgeon Bay or Green Bay.

The crew not at the wheel would futilely try to catch some shuteye while being tossed by waves on Lake Michigan, Sturgeon Bay or Death's Door. There was no rest for the weary after hours of hauling off as much as four or five tons of cement, potatoes or other cargo, work that didn't get much easier after a conveyor and winch were introduced. As well as bringing needed supplies back, the American Girl also helped haul goods to market for farmers and other Island businesses.

Other captains besides Cecil Anderson worked the island semi-regularly. But Jim Anderson said his family's was the go-to boat for grocery stores and, in particular, diesel fuel to power the Washington Island Electrical Cooperative.

"We were the only ones running a predictable, regular, full-time schedule all the way to Sturgeon Bay and Green Bay," Anderson said. "There wasn't a lumber yard here then or hardware stores, so everything had to come by boat."

But highway improvements to the tip of the peninsula – coupled with the Ferry Line's ability to carry loaded trailers from semis over the passage – eventually gave it the competitive edge in the cargo competition.

Also, the WIFL, founded in 1940, carried passengers to and from the mainland. This was something the Andersons tried to avoid and, after an unsettling episode that will startle readers, they made no more exceptions to the policy.

Jim Anderson could see the writing on the wall that the old methods of freighting were growing obsolete. That is why he said he had no interest in following the footsteps of his father, who retired in 1974.

"It was apparent this way of transport was going into the past," he said. "The ferry had made progress with its (multiple) bigger boats, and there was just progress in general. We could fit in just two grocery runs (to Green Bay) per week, and that would never fly nowadays."

Plus, the island electric company eventually modernized with an underground cable from the mainland, ending the need for diesel resupply runs.

But in its heyday, American Girl stacked everything imaginable into its holds. In addition to items already mentioned, the venerable boat carried propane tanks; coal for home furnaces; locally caught herring to the Upper Peninsula (and fish-packing boxes for the Islanders on the return trip); perishable meat, fruits and vegetables; and empty beer and soda bottles for deposit in the days before glass recycling.

"Believe me, they drank a lot of beer on the island," Anderson said with a laugh.

The perils of the sea come across vividly: Yarns about running aground and getting attacked by swells while stranded. Riding rollercoasters of waves reminiscent of the movie "The Perfect Storm" and not wanting to risk a possibly fatal U-turn. Struggling home caked with ice, while already weighed down and riding low with cargo.

"Uncle Jackie" was Captain Cecil's only surviving brother, after two others were lost to sailing tragedies before Jim was born. Jim himself almost got killed or seriously injured in a near-accident dockside.

"There were nights we would leave and see the weather on the TV in the galley and just know we were going to get our butts kicked," Jim said. "My dad taught me to tie knots with my eyes closed, because in a snowstorm or rainstorm (emergency) I wasn't going to have the luxury of being able to see."

The skill was invaluable on the rare occasions when a barge or tug being towed broke free in bad weather. Jim had to lash a lifeline to Uncle Jackie, so the latter could leap aboard the drifting vessel and reattach it.

But other memories bring smiles to Anderson's face.

Bull sessions with his relatives in the galley. Fresh smelt dinners, a gift from shore fishermen when the tiny fish were running in Menominee. Looking forward to the nightlife – such as it was for a teenager – during overnights in Green Bay.

The book begins with a flashback to Anderson watching the boat leave the Island for the last time in 1971, sold to a new owner in Beaver Island, Mich. It ends with news that the "Girl" is still working as a freighter as it nears 100 years old.

After years of persistent hints to the new owner around Easter and Christmas, Anderson finally acquired the vessel's metal steering wheel as a gift after it was replaced. He later obtained the original nameboard as well.

"I would think, 'Please don't make a coffee table or something out of that wheel,'" Anderson said. "The wheel came back with the spokes rubbed down, of course, but it's special. I put my hands on those spokes knowing it's my father who wore them down."

Green Bay Press Gazette


U.S., Canadian Coast Guard leaders reinvest in Great Lakes stewardship

8/8 - Grand Haven, Mich. – Rear Adm. June E. Ryan, commander of the U.S. Coast Guard Ninth District joined Assistant Commissioner Julie Gascon of the Canadian Coast Guard, Central and Arctic Region Friday in the midst of annual festivities at the Grand Haven, Michigan, Coast Guard Festival to review and sign the annual update of the operational annex to the bilateral Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan between the United States and Canada, commonly referred to as the CANUSLAK Plan, Friday morning.

The Great Lakes are a pristine binational treasure and this ongoing agreement builds on the existing unity of effort through binational collaboration, uniquely positioning agencies to meet rapidly evolving and complex threats facing both nations by speeding up the sharing of information, equipment and personnel between countries in the event of a cross-border spill.

"We greatly appreciate our close partnership with the Canadian Coast Guard on our shared waterways," said Ryan. "Crews from both countries play a vital role in ensuring the safe movement of cargoes, flood mitigation, search-and-rescue and a unified approach to responding to environmental incidents, and we look forward to further strengthening this partnership in years to come.”

The CANUSLAK annex of the Joint Marine Pollution Contingency Plan between the United States and Canada covers the Great Lakes boundary between Canada and the United States, defines the CANUSLAK Joint Response Team, and is regularly tested and improved in an ongoing series of exercises and real-world events like the May 25 exercise in Marysville, Michigan or the May 27 grounding of the motor vessel Roger Blough in Whitefish Bay on Lake Superior.

Environmental stewardship is just one of the multiple mission areas where the collaborative partnership has grown. Similar agreements also exist for search-and-rescue, the coordination of icebreaking operations on the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway, and for maritime security.

Maritime security is another mission vital to the United States and Canada, much like environmental stewardship. A shared maritime border requires cooperation and partnership to strengthen maritime security on our shared waterways. Over the past decade both nations have developed an unparalleled security arrangement, officially named Integrated Cross-border Maritime Law Enforcement Operations, and commonly referred to as Shiprider, which allows for seamless operations in specific areas for both U.S. and Canadian crews to man one vessel and enforce both U.S. and Canadian law at the same time.

These continued partnerships highlight the unique nature of the U.S. Coast Guard as a force with both military and civil authorities. The Coast Guard and our missions are a part of nearly every facet of this nation’s expansive maritime domain. Coast Guard authorities, people and assets are essential to environmental stewardship, national security and economic prosperity.

Canadian Coast Guard


Updates -  August 8

News Photo Gallery


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.


Spruceglen re-enters service

8/7 - Canada Steamship Lines’ bulk carrier Spruceglen departed its winter lay-up in Toronto Friday morning, headed for the Welland Canal. This is the first time in the 2016 season that the Spruceglen has sailed. They laid-up in Toronto in December 2015 and have not seen any activity until now.

Denny Dushane


Michigan’s Empire mine produces last taconite

8/7 - Palmer, Mich. – Upper Michigan’s Empire Mine produced its last ton of iron ore Wednesday when production ended, heading toward a complete shutdown on Aug. 28.

Cliffs Natural Resources confirmed the last day of production, and officials with United Steelworkers Local 4950 posted a layoff notice to the final 266 union employees, according to the Mining Journal newspaper in Marquette. Another 45 supervisors also will lose their jobs.

Company officials say the mine effectively ran out of high-value ore.

“We have moved to an indefinite idle state. The plan is to preserve the optionality of the Empire operating assets and mothball the pellet plant,” Patricia Persico, the company’s spokeswoman, told the News Tribune.

She said the company will abide by its environmental permits for reclaiming the mine and that layoffs will be complete by month’s-end.

The Empire operations near Palmer, Mich., had been producing taconite iron ore for ArcelorMittal steel mills. Most of that production will now shift to United Taconite in Eveleth, Cliffs officials have said. After a one-year shutdown due to low demand, United is reopening later this year and undergoing a more than $60 million upgrade to produce a special pellet for ArcelorMittal. A formal ceremony marking that project is set for Aug. 11, with Gov. Mark Dayton and other dignitaries expected.

Cliffs’ Tilden operations, just a few miles from Empire and the last iron ore mine in Michigan, with about 770 employees, remains in operation and is considered viable for years to come, company officials have said.

The Empire mine began production in 1964 and it was expanded in the mid-1970s. It was producing about 3 to 4 million pallets annually in recent years.

Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports -  August 7

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Kaye E. Barker arrived Thursday during the early afternoon. Also due on Thursday were the barge Pere Marquette 41 and tug Undaunted in the early evening. There were no vessels scheduled for Friday. Three vessels are expected to arrive on Saturday, with the Joseph L. Block due in first in the early afternoon, followed by the Wilfred Sykes in the late afternoon. The Pere Marquette 41 / tug Undaunted return on Saturday in the early evening. After that, the next vessel due will not be until Tuesday, August 9, when the Wilfred Sykes returns in the morning.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Manitowoc was expected Friday in the late afternoon. Due Saturday is the Joseph H. Thompson, arriving in the mid-afternoon. There are three vessels expected to arrive on Sunday. Due first is the Joseph L. Block in the early morning, followed by the barge Ashtabula and tug Defiance on Sunday in the early morning. Calumet is due on Sunday in the late evening.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
There were no vessels loading Thursday and none are scheduled for Friday-Monday due to dredging.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
A busy Friday at Calcite saw the Great Republic and the H. Lee White loading stone cargoes. Great Republic was expected to depart at around 3 p.m., while the H. Lee White was expected to depart around 5 p.m. Awaiting a clear dock was the American Mariner. Cason J. Callaway was expected. Due Saturday is the Arthur M. Anderson in the early afternoon for the South Dock.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
John D. Leitch was expected at the CSX Coal Dock to load on Friday at noon. Also due at CSX is the CSL Laurentien on Saturday in the early evening. Algoma Transport is due at CSX to load on Sunday morning. Due at CSX on Monday are the barge Pathfinder and tug Dorothy Ann in the early afternoon. At the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock, Algowood is expected August 19 in the morning. Vessels due at the Torco Dock include the barge James L. Kuber and tug Victory, on August 11 in the morning. They are scheduled to return on July 17 at noon. James R. Barker is also expected at Torco sometime on August 25. Vessels in port included the G tugs Nebraska and Mississippi. The tug Genesis Victory and barge GM 6506 were docked along the Maumee River, while upriver were the Saginaw and the salty Federal Oshima.


Tawas Point Lighthouse to be turned off in September

8/7 - Cleveland, Ohio – The U.S. Coast Guard is alerting boaters of a change coming to the Tawas Point Lighthouse navigational aid in East Tawas, Michigan, in September.

The U. S. Coast Guard will be turning off the light inside the Tawas Point Lighthouse and activating a new lighted aid to navigation about 3,000 feet away at Tawas Point where the fog signal is located, providing better visibility to mariners.

In addition to the new location, the light characteristic will change from an occulting white light that appears red from some areas, called red sectors, to an all-around white light that flashes every four seconds. The GPS position of the new light is 44-14.9040N, 083-27.5477W.

The current light is housed inside a fourth-order Fresnel lens that was installed in the lighthouse in 1901. Lighthouse keepers turned it on and off daily until it was automated in the 1950s. Fresnel lenses are now antiquated, subject to environmental damage and difficult and costly to maintain so the Coast Guard is replacing them with modern aids to navigation.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources, which owns Tawas Point Lighthouse and the property it sits on, has submitted an application to allow the Fresnel lens to remain unlit inside the lighthouse as a museum display. The application is currently under review by the Coast Guard curator.

The date of the change is based on weather and availability of Coast Guard aids-to-navigation teams, but it is expected to happen some time during the month September. When the change occurs, Coast Guard Sector Detroit will broadcast it over VHF-FM marine radio for two weeks.

U. S. Coast Guard


Life on Duluth's Aerial Lift Bridge: Lots of ups, few downs

8/7 - Duluth, Minn. – Dave Campbell typically gets two questions when people learn he runs Duluth's Aerial Lift Bridge.

The first question — Why do you start raising the bridge when cargo ships are still a mile and a half away? — takes a few minutes to answer. The second — "Can I go for a ride?" — is easy. No, you can't. Being a lift bridge operator is a great gig, but it's not a game.

The city's five lift bridge operators pilot the span up and down about 4,500 times every year, 24 hours a day, seven days a week during the Great Lakes shipping season that runs from March to January.

Their office is the pilot house, a one-room cabin perched in the middle of the bridge, above the roadway. It's outfitted with a control panel, computer, radio and satellite systems to monitor and communicate with boat traffic.

On a recent, glorious Duluth day, Campbell offered a look behind the scenes at the delicate, daily ballet between giant boats and bridge.

Read more, and see video and photos at at this link


Old Coasties recall Arctic mission aboard Bramble

8/7 - Port Huron, Mich. – Stories, and a few tears, flowed around the large wooden table that dominates the wardroom aboard the retired U.S. Coast Guard cutter Bramble.

Six members of the 1957 Coast Guard expedition through the fabled Northwest Passage at the top of North America were aboard the Bramble and reminiscing. The Bramble was part of the expedition, along with the Coast Guard cutters Spar and Storis.

Two from each ship came to Port Huron at the invitation of Bob Klingler, owner of the Bramble, for the 59th anniversary of the historic voyage, which was the first through the Northwest Passage by U.S. vessels and the first circumnavigation of the North American continent.

The Bramble is the only surviving vessel: The Spar and the Storis were scrapped.

Ron Kubeck, who lives in Brighton and was aboard the Spar, had a question of his own when asked about his most memorable moment.

"You mean on liberty, or on duty?" he said.

Read more and see photos at at this link


Latest American Great Lakes Pilots statement on Tall Ships pilotage issue

8/7 - Port Huron, Mich. – American Great Lakes Pilots are surprised that the Draken Viking Ship Organization has decided to skip the Duluth Tall Ships Festival. To date, the American pilotage fees that the Viking Ship has incurred up to arriving at the Port of Green Bay total $79,000. The latest estimates with the vessel traveling at 8.5 knots speed bring down the total round trip transit costs to $145,000, very near the $140,000 that has already been raised from donations.

They are continuing to claim high pilotage fees and confusion that they were misinformed prior to setting sail from Norway April 26th as the reason they are skipping Duluth. The laws and costs were made very clear to the Tall Ships America organization and the Draken organization in a series of meetings and direct communications with the US Coast Guard and the pilot companies last fall and throughout the winter. The US pilotage regulations base their requirements on whether a foreign flag vessel is conducting commercial activity on the Great Lakes, such as collecting fees to attend events and providing tours for paying passengers, much like cruise ships. The Draken Harald Harfagre is certified as an oceangoing commercial cargo vessel with the Norwegian Maritime Authorities.

In October of 2015, the US pilot companies handling pilotage where the events are scheduled, sent estimates of $192,000 for the Viking Ship’s pilotage costs at the request of Tall Ships America Director, Patricia Lock, for their whole itinerary on the Great Lakes. That figure, based on 6 knots speed, was later revised downward by 15% after the new lower rates were published April 1st. In November the spokesperson of the Draken Expedition, Woodrow Wiest, acknowledged that pilotage was mandatory for the entire Great Lakes in an email circulated to all pilotage districts by the US Coast Guard. In addition, a meeting was held in Cleveland in February attended by Patricia Lock, the US Coast Guard Director of Great Lakes Pilotage Todd Haviland and all three US pilotage district presidents to discuss US pilotage rules and rates. It was made clear that there would be no exceptions to the US regulations for the tall ships.

Great Lakes pilots work for the American people and play an important role in the safety and protection of the largest body of freshwater in the world. Foreign vessels big and small employ pilots to navigate the intricate channels and dangerous shoals to prevent accidents and environmental catastrophes.

We also protect the lives of those on board vessels and regret that we have been classified as useless, over paid and unnecessary in some media articles. The recent groundings of the tall ship Pathfinder, twice in the last 30 days, signify that hiring local pilots can be a good policy to insure safety. The groundings took place July 12th at Southeast Shoal in Lake Erie and August 3rd at Peche Island Light in the Detroit River. In both cases, the vessel was passing on the wrong side of a major navigational light marking a shoal. The vessel again narrowly missed grounding a third time in the Detroit River after being released August 3rd. The tall ship was heading outside of the safe channel but changed course quickly after being warned by a US registered pilot on a passing foreign vessel that they were in danger. The Pathfinder did not have a registered pilot on board and is exempt from pilotage requirements under Canadian law.

Over the last forty years, there have been frequent tall ship events held on the Great Lakes. Foreign flag ships that required pilots have regularly attended them and collected significant fees. They came and left without any public campaign to fund their costs. The Viking Ship organization cannot say that pilotage fees and misinformation is the reason for disappointing the people of Minnesota and Duluth when those people have already funded their pilotage costs.

Lakes Pilots Association


Updates -  August 7

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 7

August 7, 1789 - President George Washington signed the ninth act of the first United States Congress placing management of the lighthouses under the Department of the Treasury. August 7 in now "National Lighthouse Day".

On 07 August 1890, the schooner CHARGER (wooden schooner, 136 foot, 277 gross tons, built in 1868, at Sodus, New York) was struck by the CITY OF CLEVELAND (wooden propeller freighter, 255 foot, 1,528 gross tons, built in 1882, at Cleveland, Ohio) near Bar Point near the mouth of the Detroit River on Lake Erie. The schooner sank, but her crew was saved.

The JAMES R. BARKER was christened August 7, 1976. She was to become Interlake's first 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.


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.


Lakes limestone trade down 18 percent in July

8/5 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of limestone on the Great Lakes totaled 3,348,040 tons in July, a decrease of 18 percent compared to a year ago. July’s loadings were also 14 percent below the month’s 5-year average.

Loadings out of U.S. quarries totaled 2.6 million tons, a decrease of 26 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments from Canadian quarries totaled 760,000 tons, an increase of 35 percent compared to a year ago.

Year-to-date the lakes limestone trade stands at 13.1 million tons, a decrease of 6 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings out of Michigan and Ohio quarries total 10.4 million tons, a decrease of 11 percent. Shipments from Ontario quarries total 2.7 million tons, an increase of 19 percent.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Port Reports -  August 5

Milwaukee, Wis. – Alan
Federal Asahi left Wednesday evening and was heading north in Lake Michigan. Federal Leda arrived early Wednesday morning, laying off in Milwaukee Bay and eventually taking the berth vacated by Federal Asahi at the Nidera elevators.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Manitoulin arrived in Lorain Thursday at 9:24 a.m. and was at dock # 3.


Norwegian Viking ship won't make it to Tall Ships Duluth

8/5 - Duluth, Minn. – It appears the saga of a Norwegian Viking ship's visit to the Great Lakes this summer will end without a stop in Duluth.

A statement posted Thursday on the website of the Draken Harald Hårfagre — which has found itself in ongoing turmoil over the cost of pilots required by U.S. law for foreign ships of its size on the Great Lakes — said it will go no farther than a tall ships festival this weekend in Green Bay.

The replica Viking vessel had been slated to be a part of Tall Ships Duluth, to be held Aug.18-21 — but that meant an additional 800 miles of travel, and pilotage costs, beyond Green Bay.

"We are very sad not to sail all the way to Duluth; it is one of the stops where the Scandinavian communities (have) been the strongest and most involved with promoting and engaging in our ship from the very beginning, and it is a disappointment not to be able to sail all the way," the statement read.

Draken Harald Hårfagre representatives said they consulted with the Superior-based Western Great Lakes Pilots Association, and found that the estimated pilotage costs for the entire trip would be about $250,000 — a big drop from the initial estimate that was in excess of $400,000.

But "even with this significant reduction in cost, we have not been able to raise enough funds to complete our entire expedition," they said.

All the money raised so far — including through a fundraising campaign by the Sons of Norway — will go toward costs already incurred, the ship's statement reported.

"Draken Harald Hårfagre and Sons of Norway deeply appreciate the strong outpouring of support and contributions that put wind in the Draken's sails for several ports and would like to thank all donors who invested in the Draken's journey," the statement read.

After this weekend's event in Green Bay, the ship will set a course to exit the Great Lakes.

"We have had the most amazing time sailing this expedition, meeting all the people and visiting all these places," Draken Harald Hårfagre Capt. Björn Ahlander said in a news release.

Pilotage law has been in place on the Great Lakes since 1960, and requires that foreign vessels welcome aboard local pilots to help guide ships and non-recreational sailing vessels through unfamiliar waters.

Representatives of the Draken Harald Hårfagre have said that before the ship left Norway, its operators worked to understand both American and Canadian rules regulating the Great Lakes — even flying to Canada before the expedition to gain further understanding.

They said they thought they would be exempt from the rules — and the pilotage fees. But something changed after the ship entered the St. Lawrence Seaway and the boat was told to take on a pilot somewhere between Quebec City and Toronto.

Tall Ships Duluth executive producer Craig Samborski said organizers are disappointed that the Draken Harald Hårfagre won't be attending the festival in Duluth.

"Our team at Tall Ships Duluth and the Duluth community did everything in our power to assist the ship in coming to Duluth, but the circumstances leading to the ship's decision were out of our control," Samborski said in a statement.

Although the Draken Harald Hårfagre was "an important part of the event," Samborski said Tall Ships Duluth attendees still will be able to see other attractions including the El Galeon Andalucia from Spain, a replica of the massive 16th- and 17th-century ships that were designed to explore trade routes around the world; the World's Largest Rubber Duck; Gen. George S. Patton's private schooner, the When and If; US Brig Niagara; Pride of Baltimore II; Appledore V; the Denis Sullivan; and the Mist of Avalon, in addition to art vendors, entertainment, food and craft beer.

Duluth News Tribune


Research vessel Chinook will become a museum

8/5 - Alpena, Mich. – The research vessel Chinook, first commissioned in 1947, made its last voyage on Wednesday afternoon before its eventual conversion into an exhibit for the Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan.

The 50-foot Chinook left the Alpena Fisheries Research Station on Wednesday and spent a day on Thunder Bay, the Alpena News reported. Its new home will be the Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan alongside the fishing vessel Katerine V.

Designed and built by Marinette Marine in Wisconsin, the Chinook evolved along with its role for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. From 1947 to 1968, it was an enforcement vessel monitoring commercial fishing. In 1968, it was converted into a research vessel.

Wednesday was an opportunity for the Chinook Committee of the Besser Museum, DNR researchers and guests to be a part of the historic moment and see her cruise one last time.

"It's sort of a catharsis for those of us who worked wit her for so long, to just go out one more time and just listen to her go at cruise speed and get the feel of her again. And for the committee, who had never been on board, this helps the committee as we develop interpretive displays, because now they actually have been aboard and seen how the systems work, they've seen the gill netter, they've seen the trolling system, they know how to boat worked and that will help them as we work together to develop a display," Chinook Committee Board Member Jim Johnson said.

She'll be pulled out of the water in about two weeks time, and will be stationed in the Besser Museum parking lot until monies are raised for an exhibit to be built. Both the Besser Museum and the DNR didn't want to see the Chinook scrapped because she has a great story to tell.

The Chinook's replacement, the Alpena-based R/V Tanner, began operating earlier this year.

WBKB, The Alpena News


Restored lighthouse ready in Ottawa County

8/5 - Port Clinton, Ohio – A restored 120-year-old lighthouse will float down the Portage River to its final destination along the Lake Erie waterfront Aug. 16, completing a years-long volunteer effort to refurbish the structure and relocate it along the lake.

The Port Clinton Lighthouse Conservancy began work to restore the lighthouse in 2011. It will be lifted onto a barge at Brand’s Marina and float down the river to a spot along the east pier. Then, it will be moved to a prepared place along the lakeshore east of Water Works Park.

Organizers expect the lighthouse to be on its river journey by about 10 a.m.

Toledo Blade


Once-familiar saltie Federal Agno goes to scrap

8/5 - The saltwater vessel True Brothers (IMO 8316522) of Belize registry, more familiar to many as the one-time Fednav Ltd. saltwater ship Federal Agno, arrived at Alang, India, on Aug. 3 and was beached for scrapping.

Federal Agno was built as Federal Asahi, a name it carried from 1985 until January 1989 under the Japanese flag. It came inland as Federal Asahi for the first time in 1985. In 1989 the ship was renamed Federal Agno and the registration was changed to the Philippines with Manila as its port of registry. The ship returned inland as Federal Agno in 1989 and was a frequent visitor to our shores. In 2006, registration was changed again and the ship was re-flagged to Hong Kong but still continued to make inland trips and voyages with its last visit being in 2013.

In April 2014 the ship was sold and renamed True Brothers of Belize registry, and it never returned inland. With the scrapping of the Federal Agno, along with sistership Federal Polaris, only one other sistership, and also former Fednav fleetmate, Federal Fuji, now the Federal Adi of Belize, still exists.

Denny Dushane


26th Annual Classic & Wooden Boat Fest Aug. 12-13 in Sturgeon Bay

8/5 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – The Door County Classic & Wooden Boat Festival marks its 26th year with a new look. There will still be plenty of classic vessels and the Sikaflex Challenge boat building competition, but new this year is an art exhibition, “ArtMart,” featuring some of the county’s most accomplished artists.

This year’s event is Friday and Saturday, Aug. 12-13, coinciding with the West Side Business Association and Sturgeon Bay Visitors Center’s Maritime on Madison event. While Maritime on Madison is a one-day event on Saturday, the Boat Festival gets underway Friday evening at 4 p.m. with the building portion of the Sikaflex Challenge.

As in the past, there will be an assortment of watercraft in and out of the water, some dating as far back as the 19th century. In-water boats will be located both in front of the museum as well as along the Harbor Club Marina dock located north of the Michigan Street Bridge. The number of in-water runabouts is expected to increase this year and will share the spotlight with sailboats, kayaks and canoes. Awards will be presented based on people’s choice voting.

The not-so-aesthetically pleasing, but still oh-so fun and colorful Sikaflex vessels always draw a crowd, especially on Saturday when the final decorating work will be completed before they hit the water for the sea trials at 3 p.m. The Sikaflex Challenge involves two-person teams required to build a boat with limited materials and just four hours to do it Friday night in order to garner points which carry over into Saturday’s in-water race. There is voting Saturday for a People’s Choice award and a coveted spot on the Palmer Johnson Trophy.

Meanwhile, “ArtMart” artwork will be located under the big tent on the water side of the museum. Some artists will also be working on plein air pieces around the grounds. Half the proceeds from the sale of the art will benefit the Door County Maritime Museum.

The United States Coast Guard will be well represented, highlighted by tours of the 41-foot utility boat that rests in front of the museum. Adjacent to the boat, children’s activities will be offered by the Coast Guard Auxiliary. There will also the unusual and one of the few remaining “Amphicars” in the United States on display. Demonstrations will take place during the day Saturday. People will have the opportunity to browse the Boathouse Sale, featuring gently used maritime gadgets, printed materials and items of all kinds. Other highlights include demonstrations of a Kahlenberg engine, made famous by its use on commercial fishing tugs. The tug John Purves, the museum’s historic floating vessels, will be open for deck tours Saturday for a nominal fee.

Special boat excursions will be offered Saturday with the Chicago Fireboat making its schedule tours of the bay as well as the arrival of Door County’s Tall Ship, the Edith M. Becker, a 60-foot sailing schooner from Sister Bay. Each will be offering three tours, capped by an evening sunset tour. Visit or for more information on the tours.

Boat registrations are taken up to Saturday morning at 9 a.m. Call the museum at (920)-743-5958 for more information or visit to register a boat.

Door County Maritime Museum


Updates -  August 5

News Photo Gallery  Another long week of real work has kept our volunteers from updating for the past several days, but we have some fantastic photos to post. Look for updates this weekend.  


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


Great Lakes iron ore trade down 15 percent in July

8/4 - Cleveland, Ohio – Shipments of iron ore on the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway totaled 5.6 million tons in July, a decrease of 15 percent compared to a year ago. Shipments also trailed the month’s 5-year average by more than 18 percent.

Shipments from U.S. ports totaled 4.95 million tons in July, a decrease of nearly 14 percent compared to a year ago. Loadings at Canadian terminals dipped even more - 23 percent - to 643,000 tons.

Year-to-date the iron ore trade stands at 26.8 million tons, a decrease of 3 percent compared to the same point in 2015. Year-over-year, loadings at U.S. ports are down by 113,000 tons, but shipments from Canadian ports in the St. Lawrence Seaway have slipped even more, 21 percent, or 743,000 tons.

Lake Carriers’ Association


Port Reports -  August 4

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Manitowoc arrived Wednesday in the morning. Two vessels are expected Thursday. Due first is the Kaye E. Barker in the early afternoon, followed in the early evening by the barge Pere Marquette 41 and tug Undaunted.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
The barge Pathfinder and tug Dorothy Ann arrived during the early afternoon on Thursday to load. Due on Thursday in the early evening was the Wilfred Sykes. There are no vessels expected on Friday. Due in Saturday is the Manitowoc in the early evening.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Arthur M. Anderson loaded at Stoneport on Wednesday and was due to depart around 11 p.m. Due for Thursday are the barge Lewis J. Kuber and tug Olive L. Moore at noon. Of note, they are also on the schedule for Calcite on Thursday at about the same time.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
The barge Pathfinder and tug Dorothy Ann were expected to arrive during the late evening on Wednesday for the South Dock. Two vessels are due in for Thursday, the barge Lewis J. Kuber and tug Olive L. Moore during the late morning for the North Dock. Great Republic is also due during the late evening for the North Dock. Three vessels are expected Friday. Two morning arrivals include the H. Lee White at the North Dock in the early morning followed by the American Mariner for the South Dock in the morning. Cason J. Callaway is due on Friday for the South Dock in the mid-afternoon.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
The barge James L. Kuber and tug Victory are expected at the Torco Dock on Thursday in the late afternoon. They are scheduled to return on Monday, August 8 in the early morning. Two vessels are due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. Algoway is expected to arrive Monday, August 8 in the late evening. Also expected is the Algowood on August 18 in the late afternoon. Due at the CSX Coal Dock to load is the John D. Leitch on Friday in the early morning. Also due at CSX is the CSL Laurentien Saturday in the morning. Algoma Transport is due at CSX on Sunday in the morning. Vessels in port included two G tugs, Mississippi and Nebraska. The ASC 1,000 footer American Century also left Tuesday from the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock where it was believed that she was in for some type of repair work.


Marine Historical Society of Detroit launches Facebook page

8/4 - CDetroit, Mich. – The Marine Historical Society of Detroit has launched a new Facebook page dedicated to displaying historic Great Lakes images from its extensive archives, which include photographs from the Peter B. Worden Collection and many others. Visit and like at


Coast Guard to enforce safety zones for Tall Ships Festival in Door County

8/4 - Green Bay, Wis. – The Port of Green Bay will hold its Tall Ships Festival from Friday through Sunday.

The U.S. Coast Guard has established and will enforce a safety zone around each tall ship participating in the festival while navigating in the Great Lakes.

Due to the limited maneuverability of the tall ships and to ensure safe steerage, all spectators and commercial vessels are required to maintain a distance of 300 feet from the ships at all times. The safety zone is in effect whether vessels are transiting, anchored or moored. The vessels will be arriving in Green Bay for the festival on Thursday.

Additionally, on Wednesday, from approximately 4-6:30 p.m., the tall ships will participate in the Parade of Sail in Sturgeon Bay. The parade route starts in the vicinity of the Sturgeon Bay Canal Station, and from there they head inbound to the City of Sturgeon Bay to their mooring.

Crossing the parade is prohibited. If in doubt, please contact the Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan command center on VHF channel 16. Official vessels assisting with the parade may be seen within the zone and will be identified with yellow flags.

Boaters shall adhere to all posted no wake zone boundaries, especially within the Sturgeon Bay Canal. Be mindful of the long bowsprits on the front of the large sailing vessels.

All recreational and pleasure boats must carry one wearable life jacket for each person aboard and children under the age of 13 are required to wear a properly fitting life jacket at all times while onboard a boat. However, the Coast Guard highly encourages all boaters regardless of age or experience to wear a lifejacket at all times.



OPP rescue 12 after pleasure boat begins sinking on Lake Erie

8/4 - Kingsville, Ont. – Police say the newest vessel in the provincial police fleet was called in to rescue a dozen people on Lake Erie during the long weekend.

OPP say the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre got a distress call from the occupants of a jet boat on Saturday night near Cedar Beach at Kingsville, Ont. The vessel, occupied by 12 people, was returning from a bay between two weather systems, when they reportedly had mechanical issues and began to take on water. The OPP vessel Chris D. Lewis located the pleasure craft just prior to it sinking, took all 12 people aboard and towed the jet boat to the Canadian Coast Guard base in Amherstburg, Ont.

Police say those who were rescued were cold and wet but uninjured.

Canadian Press


Memorial: Skip Gillham

8/4 - A Memorial Service will be held for the late marine historian, author and photographer Skip Gillham at Glenridge Bible Church, 310 Scott St., St. Catharines, Ont., on Saturday, Aug. 13 at 3 pm. Skip passed away on July 27 at the age of 75.


Updates -  August 4

News Photo Gallery


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.


Roger Blough set to reenter service after grounding damage repaired

8/3 - Sturgeon Bay, Wis. – Roger Blough was removed from the graving dock at Bay Shipbuilding Tuesday afternoon and was tied up on berth 15. She is due to load at Two Harbors, Minn., on Aug. 8. The Blough was damaged in a grounding on Gros Cap Reef May 27.


Saltie Thorco Marjanne hits wall at Ogdensburg

8/3 - Ogdensburg, N.Y. – No one was hurt when a ship carrying wind components hit the concrete wall at the Port of Ogdensburg Tuesday morning.

Officials said the Gibraltar-registered Thorco Marjanne was being operated by a ship pilot and not the captain when the ship made contact with the wall, ripping out a small section of concrete and causing a small dent on the front bow.

Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority Executive Director Wade Davis estimated damages to the concrete wall at about $20,000.


Port Reports -  August 3

Port Inland, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Wilfred Sykes loaded Monday and was expected to finish around noon. Manitowoc was due to get the dock upon the departure of the Sykes. There were no vessels expected Tuesday. Manitowoc is due back Wednesday in the morning to load. Wilfred Sykes is also expected to return Wednesday at noon to load.

Cedarville, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Calumet was expected Tuesday in the late afternoon. After that, there are no vessels scheduled until Friday, when the Manitowoc is expected in the early morning, followed by the barge Pathfinder and tug Dorothy Ann on Friday in the early evening.

Alpena, Mich. – Ben and Chanda McClain
On Sunday morning the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation loaded cement at Lafarge. The Alpena was in port on Sunday afternoon as well, taking on cargo. Monday the tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 unloaded cargo at Lafarge. The Calumet brought coal to Lafarge on Tuesday.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
H. Lee White loaded Tuesday and was expected to depart around 1 a.m. on Wednesday. At anchor was the Arthur M. Anderson, expected to get the dock after the White cleared. Also due Tuesday were the barge Pathfinder and tug Dorothy Ann during the early evening. There are no vessels scheduled Wednesday. Two vessels are due Thursday, with the barge Lewis J. Kuber and tug Olive L. Moore due in the early morning followed by Great Republic at noon.

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Philip R. Clarke and American Mariner were expected Tuesday to load. The Clarke will be arriving for the South Dock in the early evening, while the American Mariner is expected very late in the evening for the North Dock. There are no vessels due in for Wednesday. Due Thursday is the H. Lee White loading from the North Dock in the late evening. Two vessels are expected on Friday, both in the early afternoon for the South Dock. Cason J. Callaway and Arthur M. Anderson are due. Rounding out the schedule Saturday are the barge Pathfinder and tug Dorothy Ann for the South Dock in the early morning.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W.
English River departed at 8 p.m. Tuesday.


U.S. Steel South Works site back on the market

8/3 - Chicago, Ill. – Looking for some beachfront property close to the Loop? South Works, a massive, long-vacant U.S. Steel site along Lake Michigan, is back on the market.

U.S. Steel, which abandoned redevelopment plans for the 430-acre site earlier this year, is offering it up to potential buyers as a "clean slate," perfect for everything from industrial use to a vacation resort, according to Cushman & Wakefield, the firm newly hired to sell the property.

"This is a complete fresh start for the property," said Larry Goldwasser, senior director of industrial and development services in the brokerage firm's Chicago office.

The sprawling South Side site, between 79th and 91st streets, housed a U.S. Steel plant until 1992. After scraping it clean of buildings and its industrial remnants, U.S. Steel partnered with McCaffery Interests more than a decade ago with plans for an ambitious residential and commercial redevelopment.

Solo Cup flirted with relocating its factory there 10 years ago, and the city offered tax-increment financing for multiuse projects, but redevelopment never got off the ground, and the partnership with McCaffery was dissolved earlier this year.

The Pittsburgh-based steelmaker forged ahead with plans to sell the property outright two weeks ago.

Renamed 8080 Lakeshore, the property touts proximity to downtown Chicago and more than 3 acres of "pristine" Lake Michigan shoreline among its amenities. The construction of a new four-lane extension of Lake Shore Drive, completed in 2013, runs through the site, providing 2 miles of highway frontage.

Early response has been strong, according to Goldwasser. "We have people looking at industrial, retail and residential, and we have people talking about building vacation communities there," Goldwasser said. "We have people talking about building research parks."

Goldwasser said local, national and international investors and developers have expressed interest in the property.

The sales brochure breaks the site into four parcels, but Goldwasser said that's only one option and the whole site can be had — for an undisclosed price.

"We don't really have a preference," he said. "It's whatever makes the most sense for U.S. Steel, once we get the offers in."

Chicago Tribune


Updates -  August 3

News Photo Gallery


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.


Fraser faces nearly $1.4M in OSHA penalties for lead exposure, other hazards

8/2 - Superior, Wis. – Fraser Shipyard is facing $1.4M in penalties after the US Dept. of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited the company with 14 health violations, including exposing workers to lead, according to a news release from the federal agency.

Findings yielded 14 "willful egregious" health violations for each instance of overexposing a worker to lead.

OSHA also cited five additional willful violations for failing to conduct monitoring to assess employee exposure to lead, failing to implement a lead compliance program or a respiratory protection program for lead and for failing to provide training on lead and asbestos hazards.

In addition, the agency issued 10 serious violations to the company, and placed Fraser Shipyards in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program for failing to address safety and health hazards.

Interlake Steamship Company of Middleburg Heights, Ohio, contracted Fraser to modernize the Herbert C. Jackson under a $10 million contract. OSHA opened the February 2016 health inspection after receiving multiple complaints of unsafe working conditions.

The agency determined Fraser Shipyards’ management knew of the presence of lead and asbestos throughout the vessel. Built in 1959, the ship arrived at the shipyards in December 2015 for a six-month retrofit project. The contract required the company to meet specific deadlines to get the vessel back in service for the summer iron ore shipping season.

“Fraser ignored federal regulations, its own corporate safety manuals and worker concerns,” said Ken Atha, OSHA’s regional administrator in Chicago. “Such behavior is unacceptable. No worker should be put at risk from exposure to hazards that can cause permanent health issues to meet a contract deadline.”

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration halted all work aboard the vessel in March. In May, workers filed a lawsuit against the shipyard.

According to the lawsuit, James Holder was among dozens of workers who had started retrofitting work in January 2016, aboard the 57 year-old vessel, when they were exposed to toxic levels of lead. Tests determined the level of lead in Holder's blood was more than 7 times the level recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as being harmful.

According to OSHA's findings, workers were exposed to lead at levels up to 20 times the permissible exposure limit.

OSHA inspectors also found Fraser exposed workers to iron oxide, arsenic, hexavalent chromium, cadmium and lead hazards while performing torch-cutting and welding procedures because the company failed to provide adequate respiratory and personal protective equipment to limit their exposure to these harmful substances. Fraser also failed to conduct required medical evaluations and exposure monitoring for employees.

The company has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and penalties to comply, request an informal conference with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

OSHA cited the shipyards for exposing workers to asbestos hazards in 2000 and for multiple lead violations in 1993. Since 1972, the agency has inspected Fraser 28 times.

In a press release Monday, Fraser said they're making improvements to protect the safety of workers and contractors.

According to the release, their improvements include:
- Halting work as soon as they were alerted of high lead levels
- Engaging medical and industrial safety experts to advise the company and oversee health testing of workers
- Purchasing safety gear and equipment, including: protective suits, breathing equipment, air scrubbers, decontamination and changing trailers and cleaning supplies

Fraser has requested a settlement conference with OSHA. Northland News Center


Port Reports -  August 2

Calcite, Mich. – Denny Dushane
The barge Ashtabula and tug Defiance were expected Monday in the late morning for the South Dock. Due in Tuesday is the American Mariner in the late morning for the North Dock. Rounding out the schedule is the Cason J. Callaway due Wednesday in the early morning for the South Dock.

Stoneport, Mich. – Denny Dushane
Great Republic was expected Monday to load in the late morning. Also due in on Monday was the H. Lee White in the early evening. There are three vessels expected Tuesday, with the Arthur M. Anderson arriving first in the early morning followed by the John J. Boland in the late morning. The barge Pathfinder along with the tug Dorothy Ann are expected in the late afternoon. Due on Wednesday are the barge Lewis J. Kuber and tug Olive L. Moore in the late evening.

Grand Haven, Mich. – Jim Lindholm
The Coast Guard Festival Parade of Ships was held on Monday. The Canadian Coast Guard vessel Constable Carriere led the way, with the USCG’s Mobile Bay, Morro Bay and Hollyhock following. The festival runs through Aug. 7, with ship tours, fireworks, two parades, concerts, Coast Guard memorials, midway carnival rides and a street dance.

Toledo, Ohio – Denny Dushane
CSL Laurentien is expected at the CSX Coal Dock to load on Wednesday in the early morning. Also due at CSX is the John D. Leitch on Thursday in the morning. CSL Laurentien returns to CSX to load on Saturday, Aug. 6, in the late afternoon and the Algoma Transport is due at CSX on Aug. 10 in the morning. Two vessels are due at the Midwest Terminal Stone Dock. Algoway is due Tuesday, Aug. 9 in the early morning. Algowood is expected August 18 in the early morning. At the Torco Dock there is one vessel scheduled, the barge James L. Kuber and tug Victory with three trips. They are due Aug. 4 during the early evening, Aug.11 in the morning and Aug. 17 in the late afternoon. American Century arrived on Saturday during the lunch hour and docked at the Midwest Terminal Overseas Dock. They were still at the dock as of Monday. The tug Karen Andrie and barge Endeavour were also in port on Monday.

Lorain, Ohio – Phil Leon
Joseph H. Thompson got in at 8:10 am Monday for dock #3.

Buffalo, N.Y. – Brian W
Inbound English River had an ETA off the breakwall of about 10:30 p.m. Monday. American Mariner departed Buffalo around 4 a.m. Monday.


Updated list of new saltwater vessel visitors

8/2 - As of Aug. 1, 24 new saltwater vessels had made first time inland voyages into the Great Lakes/Seaway system at the Eisenhower Lock in Massena, N.Y. The list includes Ardita, BBC Haren, BBC Manitoba, Belasitza, Bro Agnes, Cape (ex-Heloise), Fearless (ex-Bright Laker), Federal Biscay, Federal Caribou, Federal Champlain, Federal Churchill, Floretgracht, Jan Van Gent, Marsgracht, Minervagracht, Mona Swan, Ocean Castle (ex-Federal Mattawa), SCT Matterhorn (ex-MCT Matterhorn), SCT Monte Rosa (ex-MCT Monte Rosa), SCT Stockhorn (ex-MCT Stockhorn), Stade, Tradewind Adventure and Vectis Castle. Vectis Castle was chartered to Groupe Desgagnes and re-flagged Canadian on April 13. In addition to the 24 first-time visitors, three more are headed our way. The tanker Malmo, San and Thorco Marjanne are expected sometime during the month of August.

Denny Dushane


Muskegon's Port Day brings regional interest, international visitors

8/2 - Muskegon, Mich. – Not all arrived by water, but Muskegon's first Port Day July 26 brought visitors from near and far. Hobnobbing at the Tuesday event were luminaries from the Grand Rapids area, the Holland, Mich. community and, well, Holland -- as in, the Netherlands.

"Without this event, I was not here," said Professor Bart Kuipers, a Seaports and Logistics Adviser for Rotterdam's Erasmus School of Economics.

Leaders in the logistics industry bumped elbows and clinked glasses with local government officials as the Port City Princess, a dinner cruise boat, motored around the Port of Muskegon.

Two of Kuipers' students are spending the summer in Muskegon working on a study of possibilities at the Port of Muskegon.

Four years ago, a different group of University of Erasmus students conducted a similar study of the Port of Cleveland that brought attention to that port and played a role in Dutch shipping company Spliethoff's scheduled shipping service from Cleveland to Antwerp.

Kuipers said the Dutch Consulate and Muskegon's Arn Boezaart connected to talk about students coming to Muskegon – "They said, 'repeat this trick,'" Kuipers said. Now, his students are studying Muskegon until early September.

Read more, and view a video at this link


Polsteam vessel San expected in Montreal

8/2 - The Polish Steamship (Polsteam) vessel San (IMO 9521851), built in 2012 at the Sanfu Ship Engineering and Shipyard in Taizhou Jiangsu, China, is due in Montreal sometime on Aug. 2, after which they will head for Thunder Bay, Ont. This is the first time that San has made an inland transit. San is one of eight new Handy-size ships built for Polsteam at Sanfu since 2011, when Regalica, the first in the series, was built. A sistership to the San, the Ina, built in 2012, was the first of the series to make an inland voyage in 2012. San has seven other sisterships – Regalica, Narew, Raba, Olza, Prosna, Skawa and Ina – all of which have made inland voyages. The ships are registered in Liberia with Monrovia as their port of registry. Each vessel is 149.96 meters in length (492 feet) and has a beam of 23.6 meters or (77 feet).

Denny Dushane


Recent saltwater vessel demolitions

8/2 - Recent demolitions as found in August 2016 Marine News - journal of the World Ship Society.

Blue Phoenix I - (9134816, Pan) - 13,781 / 1998 - b.c. - 1st Seaway passage 2014; Blue Phoenix-14, Birch 2-13, Pacific Grace-10, Elise Oldendorff-07 - 1st Seaway passage 1998.

Cape Lambert - (7324390, USA) - 22,286 / 1973 - ro-ro cargo - Federal Lakes-88 - 1st Seaway passage 1985; Avon Forest-85 - 1st Seaway passage 1973built PWDD St. Catharines as hull #56 for Burnett S.S. Co. of the U.K.

Garnet - (7702516, Pan) - 15,392 / 1978 b.c. - Kapitan A. Polkovsky-97 - 1st Seaway passage 1984; Kopelia-83 - 1st Seaway passage 1978.

James McHenry (7700489, USA) - 2,646 / 1979 - heavy load carrier - Paul Bunyan-94; James McHenry-89; Paul Bunyan-88 - 1st Seaway trip 1979, built at Petersen Builders Inc. Sturgeon Bay, WI - hull # 9412.

K. No. 7 - (8410809, Pan) - 7,772 / 1984 - g.c. - Matina-09; Stolt Sakra-03 - 1st Seaway trip 1990; Singapore Clipper-90 - 1st Seaway trip 1985.

Universe Forest (8323850. Pan) - 13,881 / 1984 - b.c. - Vinashin Iron-11; Washington Rainbow II-06 - 1st Seaway trip 1998.

Zolotaya Kolyma - (7906966, Rus) - 18,237 G / 1981 - "Wismar" type b.c. - Necat A.-02 - 1st Seaway passage 1994; Bronson-91 - 1st Seaway trip 1989; Federal Elbe (i) - 1st Seaway trip 1981.

Data submitted by Barry Andersen and René Beauchamp


Sailing ships the highlight of festival in Sandusky

8/2 - Sandusky, Ohio – This town on Lake Erie’s southern shore will host Festival of Sail Sandusky on Labor Day weekend. “Sandusky is really experiencing a renaissance,” said festival event producer Ryan Whaley, who is also opening a boutique hotel there.

“I live in Sandusky, and I’ve been witnessing the revitalization firsthand, with more restaurants and bars and shops and the (Sandusky State) Theatre,” Whaley said.

He hopes the festival will draw more attention — and end-of-summer visitors — to town. The featured attractions will be three memorable sailing ships, which will offer dockside tours or day trips.

El Galeon Andalucia is the only sailing full-scale replica of a 16th-century Spanish galleon, the type of ship used 450 years ago to explore the New World. The home port of the 170-foot, 495-ton ship is in Spain.

“It’s a floating museum,” Whaley said. “There are interactive exhibits on board, a lot of great history. And the chance of it being on the Great Lakes again soon is rare.”

Also on hand will be the Niagara, a replica of the brig used by Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry to win the War of 1812 Battle of Lake Erie, and the When and If, a 63-foot schooner built in 1939 for U.S. Army Gen. George S. Patton.

The ships will be docked at the Jackson Street Pier. The Niagara will offer tours. Visitors can take a lake cruise on the When and If.

Whaley said that a fourth tall ship, to be announced later, probably will join the lineup. The festival also will include live music and food on the waterfront. Sandusky’s downtown restaurants, shops and attractions will welcome festival visitors, too.

“Sandusky is an amazing vacation spot, with access to Cedar Point and the Lake Erie Islands,” Whaley said. “It’s an exciting place to be right now.”

Especially when the big sailing ships come to call.

A multi-day pass for festival admission and touring the Niagara and the El Galeon Andalucia costs $20 in advance. Tickets that include a day-sail aboard the When and If are available at an additional charge. For information, call 1-877-435-9849 or visit

Columbus Dispatch


Final days to get your reservations in now for our Detroit River Cruise this Saturday

8/2 - The weather looks great for Saturday, August 6, when we will repeat the popular Boatnerd Detroit River Cruise aboard the Friendship. This year’s cruise will be four hours and will go up the Detroit River, and hopefully into the Rouge River. A pizza lunch will be delivered by the J. W. Westcott mail boat, with a cash bar onboard. Cost is $36 per person and we are coming close to the limit on the boat.  The cruise departs at 10 a.m. from the Portofino Restaurant in Wyandotte, Mich.
Click here for Reservation form.


Updates -  August 2

News Photo Gallery


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.


Port Reports -  August 1

Hamilton, Ont. - Jan van der Doe
The Dutch motortanker Stella Polaris departed Hamilton Sunday for Malmo, Sweden.

Montreal - Rene Beauchamp
Florence Spirit entering the Seaway for the first time under that name on Sunday.


Updates -  August 1

News Photo Gallery


Today in Great Lakes History -  August 1

In 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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