Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping News Archive

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

* Report News


Port Reports - September 30

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
CCG Griffon appears to be the flagship for the 2007 International Search and Rescue Competition, and is open for public tours.
The schooner Empire Sandy returned from a charter out of Hamilton on Friday and the company's other excursion vessel Wayward Princess departed for Hamilton for a charter on Friday morning, returning early Saturday.
The tour boat Mariposa Belle went on Toronto Drydock Saturday afternoon for inspection and any necessary repairs. The Island Yacht Club's tender I Wy Sea II has been renamed Johnny C., in honor of a long time club employee who passed away earlier this year.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
Two ATB's came into port Friday. At 3 p.m. the barge PM41 and tug Undaunted came in with a load for Verplank's Dock. At 8 p.m. the barge St. Mary's Conquest and tug Susan W. Hannah brought in a load for the St. Mary's Terminal. The PM41 unloaded rather quickly and was gone overnight. The Conquest was still unloading but expected to leave late Saturday afternoon.

Holland - Bob VandeVusse
The Calumet made its second visit to Holland in three days on Saturday. It arrived early Saturday morning with a load of coal from KCBX for the James DeYoung power plant, departing at about 10:30. It had been at Brewer's on Thursday with a load of salt.


Updates - September 30

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Reserve Conversion Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 30

On 30 September 1920, the HENRY G DALTON (steel propeller bulk freighter, 580 foot, 7,810 gross tons, built in 1916, at Lorain, Ohio) took on a load of 14,614 net tons of anthracite coal at Lackawanna, New York for delivery to Duluth, Minnesota. This was a Great Lakes record that probably still stands. Anthracite or 'hard' coal was always expensive and was never used in large commercial operations. It was usually reserved for the old living room coal stove since it was a clean handling and burning coal.

On 30 September 1896, SUMATRA (wooden schooner-barge, 204 foot, 845 gross tons, built in 1874, at Black River, Ohio) was loaded with rail road rails in tow of the steamer B W ARNOLD in a storm on Lake Huron. The SUMATRA was "blown down" and foundered off the Government Pier at Milwaukee. Three of the crew were lost. The four survivors were rescued by the ARNOLD and the U.S. Lifesaving Service. The SUMATRA was owned by the Mills Transportation Company.

The 660 foot forward section of the BELLE RIVER (Hull#716) was side launched on September 30, 1976, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin by Bay Shipbuilding Co. Renamed b.) WALTER J McCARTHY, JR in 1977.

The ARTHUR SIMARD entered service on September 30, 1973, sailing to Montreal, Quebec to load gasoline.

The GOVERNOR MILLER was towed down the Welland Canal on September 30, 1980, in tow of the tugs MALCOLM, STORMONT and ARGUE MARTIN on her way to Quebec City.

The ROBERT C STANLEY departed light on her maiden voyage from River Rouge, Michigan on September 30, 1943, bound for Two Harbors, Minnesota to load iron ore.

On September 30, 1986, the Canadian Coast Guard vessel CARIBOU ISLE struck a rock in Lake Huron's North Channel and began taking on water. C.C.G.S. SAMUEL RISLEY arrived and helped patch the ship. The pair the departed for Parry Sound, Ontario.

On 30 September 1888, AUSTRALIA (wooden schooner, 109 foot, 159 gross tons, built in 1862, at Vermilion, Ohio) was carrying cedar posts from Beaver Island to Chicago when she encountered a gale. She was laid on beam ends and sprung a leak. She headed for shelter at Holland, Michigan, but struck a bar and foundered in the mouth of the harbor. The wreck blocked the harbor until it was removed on 5 October. Her crew was rescued by the U.S. Lifesaving Service.

On 30 September 1875, AMERICAN CHAMPION (wooden scow-schooner, 156 tons, built in 1866, at Trenton, Michigan) dropped anchor to ride out a gale near Leamington, Ontario on Lake Erie. The chains gave way and she struck a bar and sank to the gunwales. The crew of 8 spent the night in the rigging and the next day a local woman and her two sons heroically rescued each one.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Jody Aho, Ahoy & Farewell II, Father Dowling Collection, and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Droughts bolster wheat demand

9/29 - Superior, WI - You wouldn’t think good might emerge from global drought conditions and the weak U.S. dollar. But the combination is proving a boon for Superior.

Weather and economics have combined to heighten European demand for grain. Spring wheat, which is used to make bread, and durum, the ingredient in pasta, is rapidly flowing from local elevators into a long line of salties. Already this season, the number of salties and Canadian lakers through the Port of Duluth-Superior exceeds last year by almost 50. Traffic was so heavy this week that some vessels waited at anchor to load shipments.

“It’s quite a show right now — it’s hard to keep up with it,” said Chuck Hilleren, president of the Guthrie-Hubner Inc. shipping agency. “It’s certainly looking good,” agreed Dan Sydow, manager at Fedmar International.

The scenario unfolded this spring in Europe. “They had all that rain,” Hilleren said, followed by drought. “France, the UK and Ukraine all look pretty bad, supply-wise,” he said. Also lacking rain, Australia, also experienced a disappointing harvest. It’s typically the world’s second-largest grain exporter.

Worldwide, grain inventories are at the lowest level in 26 years, reported today. That supply dearth has pushed prices to record highs. “The price has doubled in the last four years,” Hilleren said. Meanwhile, in the United States, where ample grain is available, the devalued dollar has made it an excellent buy for countries that pay with Euros.

A third factor also is in play, Sydow explained. Compared with other commodities, grain is a low-value cargo. With freight rates running high, grain movements haven’t proven profitable. But with near-record prices now being paid for grain, it’s value has overcome the transportation handicap.

Taconite and coal shipments also have been high through the Port of Duluth-Superior, but those commodities don’t support nearly as many local jobs as grain, Sydow said. Saltwater vessels not only fuel grain elevator employment, but also require services from Great Lakes pilots, tugs, longshoremen and stevedores. “Grains provide a lot of jobs. It’s a big shot in the arm,” he said.

Those in the bulk commodity business, however, are unsure how long the boon will last. “We’re in the midst of something that we’re not quite sure of,” said Ron Johnson, Duluth Seaway Port Authority trade development director. “We don’t know if it will continue like this until the end of the season, but it’s a welcome turnaround.”

Unfortunately, it was unexpected. In recent years, Wisconsin and Minnesota officials have cooperated to downsize Twin Ports grain inspection services, closing an office in Duluth. With grain now on the rebound, “it’s been a disaster,” Hilleren said. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has provided assistance, loaning inspectors from points as far away as New Orleans and New York City. But even that hasn’t gone smoothly.

“We’re in the peak of the tourist season,” he said. “They can’t find local hotel rooms. We’re sending them as far away as Grand Rapids.”

From the Superior Daily Telegram


Port Reports - September 29

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
American Mariner delivered coal to the WE Energies dock at Greenfield Avenue in Milwaukee's inner harbor Friday morning, and was gone by mid-day.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Canadian Enterprise, an overnight arrival, was under the spout and loading early Saturday morning.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
English River was in overnight and departed at 4:40 this afternoon for Bath. CCG Griffin arrived Thursday afternoon and docked at Pier 27 (the foot of Yonge Street). Today she put up colored bunting. As well, a U.S. Coast guard patrol boat (of the numbered class) was in port today with other police and auxiliary coast guard vessels, conducting exercises.
Malyovitza remains at Redpath unloading sugar, and Evans McKeil and Metis remain at Essroc awaiting cargo.


Green Bay sees signs of 'harbor prosperity'
Increasing awareness of port businesses goal of waterfront signs

9/29 - Green Bay, WI - A series of new signs identifying terminal operators in the Port of Green Bay started going up this week along the Fox River as part of an ongoing effort to raise the profile of port businesses and the impact it has on the community and region.

The waterfront signs, which face the Fox River, feature the name of the business, its logo, and facts about that business. The thrust of the move — and a longer three-year effort — is increasing public awareness of the port. "It's to increase awareness and exposure of the port to all users of the Fox River," said Port Director Dean Haen. "It's one piece of a multi-faceted public outreach effort."

That includes billboards that have gone up around the area, school curriculum, a new Web site  and speaking engagements for Haen with various groups over the past few months under the banner Harbor Prosperity, which is being covered by terminal operators.

"It's almost like making a snowball, you have to get it rolling, and every time I do presentations I get more hands of people that have seen Harbor Prosperity," Haen said. "We're getting a few more people each time, but it takes a long time to build that brand and recognition."

More than 225 ships move through the port each year, supporting 13 businesses — and about 725 jobs — along a three-mile stretch of the river. Among the key goods moving through the port are coal, limestone, cement, salt and fuel oil.
Last year, 213 ships used the port, which handled 2.5 million metric tons of cargo, the third consecutive year of increases in that area. Looking back, the port handled about 3 million tons in 1970, 1.9 million tons in 1981 and 1.8 million tons in 1999, according to numbers from the port.

For LaFarge North America in Green Bay, which brings in 30 to 35 vessels each year loaded with powdered cement, Great Lakes shipping is the lifeblood of the company. A Ship by water "actually keeps some of the costs down. That's the cheapest freight you can get, from a ship," he said. "If we had to truck and rail everything in, I'm sure our prices would go up, which would filter down to everyone."

From the Green Bay Press-Gazette


New book explores Crystal Beach ships

9/29 - William Kae has fond memories of visiting Crystal Beach as a child.

He remembers riding the Giant roller coaster, even though as a child the sight of the ride scared him. He remembers gazing out onto Lake Erie and watching the big steam ships dock and hundreds of families scatter down the pier to spend time on the beach.

Kae was always fascinated with the steamers and 10 years ago his interest led him to dive into a decade of research. The end result is his newly published book, Steamers of the Crystal Beach Line. "I started researching to satisfy my own curiosity and as I began researching more and more, it snowballed," said Kae.

The book is a history of steam-powered passenger boats that plied the waters of Lake Erie between Buffalo and Crystal Beach. Kae explains newspaper articles, dives into statistics and displays an array of more then 200 photographs.

The chapters uncover a forgotten -- and at times turbulent -- history while revealing the facts behind the traditional, "romantic" history of 75 steamers, yachts and tugboats, former summer fixtures of the Niagara Frontier, said Kae.

Kae received the pictures and illustrations from private collections from residents like Rick Doan, Cathy Herbert and Harvey Holvsworth, as well as museum archives. Most of the photos detail Buffalo and Crystal Beach in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Kae said some have never been seen outside of private collections. "It was some of the rare ones that added the wow factor," he said.

The Buffalo area native spent countless hours at his local library, and in Canada at the Ridgeway Historical Museum. "I was surprised to find as much as I did, even though it took me a long time. I literally flipped through hundreds of feet of microfilm. I could go for hours and hours and hours and not find one iota of information -- then all of a sudden, bang, you find something."

Kae said his book clarifies information he heard of before he began to research. "Certainly there are some instances that are kind of glossed over in traditional history that are greater detailed in the book because I actually found the newspaper articles that referred to the events," he said. Kae has collected enough information to produce "at least a couple more" books which he said will cover different aspects of Crystal Beach.

"I wish that it was still there. I always liked it even in the declining era. My question now is, given the level of security after 9-11 and traffic tie-ups at the bridge, would it have even survived in to 21st century? I don't know."

The soft cover, 224-page book retails for $26.99 and so far is only available in Canada at the Ridgeway Historical Museum. Visit the Ridgeway Historical Museum at

From Niagara This Week


Updates - September 29

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Reserve Conversion Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 29

On 29 September 1891, the FRANK PEREW (wooden schooner-barge, 174 foot, 525 gross tons, built in 1867, at Cleveland, Ohio as a schooner) was carrying coal to Marquette, Michigan in tow of the N K FAIRBANKS (wooden propeller freighter, 205 foot, 980 gross tons, built in 1874, at Marine City, Michigan) in a gale on Lake Superior. Off Vermilion Point, the PEREW broke away from the tow. The waves stove in her hatches and she filled with water. The crew abandoned her before she sank and they rowed 13 miles east. They passed within two miles of Whitefish Point and made for Isle Parisienne. Their boat capsized in the surf and six were drowned. There was only one survivor.

September 29, 1930, for the first time in the history of Pittsburgh Steamship Company, the boats of the fleet loaded more than one million tons in a 7 day period. The 64 Pittsburgh boats loaded 1,002,092 tons of cargo between 9/23 and 9/29.

The J H SHEADLE (Hull#22) of the Great Lakes Engineering Works, was launched September 29, 1906 , for the Grand Island Steamship Co. (Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Co., Cleveland, Ohio, mgr.) Renamed b.) F A BAILEY in 1924, c.) LA SALLE in 1930. Sold Canadian in 1965, renamed d.) MEAFORD, and e.) PIERSON INDEPENDENT in 1979. She was scrapped at Santander, Spain in 1980.

Henry Ford II, 70, of Grosse Pointe, Michigan, passed away on September 29, 1987. Mr Ford's namesake was the Ford Motor Company self-unloader.

On September 29, 1986, the Polish tug KORAL left Lauzon, Quebec with the JOHN E F MISENER and GOLDEN HIND enroute to Cartagena / Mamonal, Columbia for scrapping.

September 29, 1892 - The ANN ARBOR NO 1 was launched.

On 29 September 1872, ADRIATIC (3 mast wooden schooner-barge, 139 foot, 129 net tons, built in 1865, at Clayton, New York as a bark) was in tow of the tug MOORE along with three other barges in Lake Erie in a heavy gale. She became separated from the tow and foundered. The entire crew of 7 was lost. The wooden schooner DERRICK was used in salvage operations. On 29 September 1854, she had just positioned herself above the wreck of the steamer ERIE off Silver Creek, New York on Lake Erie when she went down in a gale. She had spent the summer trying to salvage valuables from the wreck of the steamer ATLANTIC.

On 29 September 1900, the steamer SAKIE SHEPARD was re-launched at Anderson's shipyard in Marine City. She had been thoroughly rebuilt there during the summer.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Clure Marine Terminal nears cargo record

9/28 - Duluth - Fueled largely by shipments of wind power equipment, Duluth’s Clure Marine Terminal appears on pace to handle a record volume of cargo this year.

The terminal, which unlike other Twin Ports terminals that handle commodities, will move about 300,000 tons of cargo this year, said Gary Nicholson, president of Lake Superior Warehousing Co., the facility’s operator. That is more than triple the 82,000 tons of cargo the terminal moved in 2006 and an all-time high.

“We’ve had a ramp-up of activity we never envisioned,” said Adolph Ojard, executive director of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, which owns Clure Marine Terminal. “This is a shipping frenzy right now with wind power,” Ojard said.

Not only is the terminal receiving inbound components for Midwestern wind farms but it also has begun to handle outbound equipment, as well. Ron Johnson, the Port Authority’s trade development director, said Lake Superior Warehousing expects to ship 162 wind turbine blades to Spain this year, for example.

Nicholson compared the recent surge in wind power shipments to “a tsunami” and said his company has almost maxed out the terminal. To accommodate growing demand, Lake Superior Warehousing recently fenced in a few additional acres of land to provide additional space for cargo.

Besides wind power equipment, Nicholson said Lake Superior Warehousing expects to see additional shipments of equipment destined for oil-sand developments in Alberta.

He told members of the Duluth Seaway Port Authority on Wednesday that, based on work already scheduled, he anticipates the tonnage handled by the terminal could grow by another 25 percent in 2008.
“There’s huge potential out there,” Nicholson said.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports - September 28

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Rebecca Lynn and barge A-410 departed Buffalo at 8 p.m. on Wednesday.
The H. Lee White departed Lackawanna at 9 p.m. on Wednesday.

Lorain - C. Mackin
The Michipicoten passed through the Charles Berry Bridge at 9 a.m. Thursday morning on its way upriver to R.E.P.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Thursday at the Upper Harbor ore dock, American Valor made her first visit to Marquette since changing ownership and renaming last season. She loaded taconite.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algomarine arrived early Friday morning and is now loading at the Sifto Salt dock.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Traffic on the Saginaw River was pretty steady on Wednesday & Thursday with six vessels calling on her docks. On Wednesday, the tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 called on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City and the CSL Tadoussac called on the Essroc dock in Essexville. Both vessels were outbound later in the day. The Manistee was the next inbound vessel, lightering at the Bay City Wirt dock before continuing upriver to finish at the Saginaw Wirt dock. She was outbound Thursday morning.
The tug Invincible & barge McKee Sons were inbound Thursday morning going all the way upriver to the GM dock in Saginaw to unload. The pair was outbound during the afternoon hours. The tug Mohawk along with a dredge and workboat arrived on the Saginaw River Thursday morning, tying up at the Essroc dock in Essexville. They will begin dredging operations near the mouth of the Saginaw River. Finally, the tug Victory and barge Lewis J. Kuber were inbound late Thursday night calling on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City. The pair was expected to be outbound early on Friday.

Alpena & Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Manistee departed the Stoneport dock Wednesday morning after taking on cargo overnight. The Great Lakes Trader arrived Wednesday evening to load.
On Thursday morning the American Republic backed into the Lafarge slip to unload coal. Around 5pm the Republic was heading out into the lake while the dredging work was finishing up for the day.
The Alpena and the tug G.L Ostrander and barge Integrity are both expected in port on Friday.


Agency to test ballast treatment in Superior

9/28 - Duluth - A chemical treatment system that is designed to kill living organisms in a ship’s ballast water and then is rendered nontoxic will be the subject of the first test conducted at the fledgling Great Ships Initiative in Superior.

The chemical treatment, called Seakleen, is manufactured by Cleveland-based Hyde Marine Inc. Tests will begin next month at the Superior facility that was built earlier this year to test methods to kill invasive species in ballast water.

A committee of the Great Ships Initiative — a collaboration of shipping industry, research, state and federal government and non-government agencies — picked the Seakleen treatment because it has been tested in saltwater and is being considered for approval by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Seakleen has been tested for more than nine years, including on passenger ocean liners and large freighters. Company literature claims the treatment is a “natural biocide’’ that has been 100 percent effective at removing all organisms larger than 50 micrometers. That’s enough to kill zebra mussel larvae, cholera and E. coli, the company claims.

The Great Ships Initiative facility is a land-based test system of tanks and pumps designed to simulate a ship’s ballast water system. The University of Minnesota Duluth and University of Wisconsin-Superior will oversee the tests. Ships use water as weight, or ballast, to balance during loading and unloading and for maneuverability.

The issue of invasive species in ballast water has lurched into the limelight over the past year with the discovery of a fish-killing virus in the Great Lakes called VHS.

The issue also has gained headlines with recent lawsuits by environmental groups demanding that state and federal governments enact immediate controls to keep additional species from entering the lakes.

Earlier this month, a federal judge upheld a Michigan state law requiring ships to empty and treat their ballast water before entering Michigan waters. And a federal judge in California has ordered the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to begin regulating ballast water as pollution under the Clean Water Act, starting one year from now.

While both decisions probably will be appealed, they have buoyed supporters of strict new regulations to require ships to treat ballast water, even tiny amounts left in their tanks.

There are about 150 aquatic invasive species in the Great Lakes, including about 45 in the Duluth-Superior harbor, not including land plants. More than one-third of the invasive species are believed to have arrived in the ballast of ships, according to Minnesota Sea Grant.

Critics say that government and industry and have stalled for too long, allowing too many new species into the lakes.

Port and shipping industry officials support a single federal ballast regulation on the Great Lakes and nationally to avoid a patchwork of state laws that could drive shipping to other areas. Industry officials, including the Great Ships Initiative, have been working for years to develop cost-effective methods to treat ballast water aboard ships.

Legislation requiring some treatment on some ships has moved in the U.S. House of Representatives. But critics say it doesn’t go far enough to stop problems such as VHS from devastating not only the Great Lakes but also inland waters.

For more information on Seakleen Click here

From the Duluth News Tribune


New exhibit sails the Great Lakes
Maritime heritage highlighted this fall at Macomb Cultural Center

9/28 -Clinton Township — Mariners’ Church of Detroit became a historic site thanks to a local woman who envisioned a serene place where Great Lakes sailors could gather.

Julia Anderson, who passed away in 1842, left specific instructions in her will that a church to benefit sailors be constructed, a wish that came to fruition and still stands today on Jefferson Avenue in downtown Detroit.

The Rev. Richard Ingalls Jr. will speak about the city treasure at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 24 at the Macomb Cultural Center. His presentation is one of many planned during the “Great Lakes, Great Stories: Michigan’s Maritime Heritage” exhibit at the center, located on Macomb Community College’s Center Campus on Garfield Road, south of Hall Road, next to the Macomb Center for the Performing Arts.

The center opened last year. The maritime exhibit, which runs Oct. 6 through Dec. 2, will feature guest speakers, music, artifacts, photos and more. Shipwrecks, lighthouses, aquatic life and preservation are among the topic discussions.

Ingalls looks forward to sharing information about the well-known Mariners’ Church, where he has been lector for nearly two years. The church is a congregation of the Anglican Church, but is not attached to any one denomination. Services are held every Sunday at 8:30 a.m. and 11 a.m., and at 12:10 p.m. every Thursday — a service designed for those working in the city, but all are welcome. The church seats about 400 people.

The church once stood on Woodward Avenue and was moved in the 1950s to its current location. Workers used cables, rollers and other equipment to transfer the building. The church, transported a few yards at a time, was not taken apart and was moved whole.

Ingalls also will talk about the late Anderson, who lived in Detroit when it was considered a port city. “She married Col. John Anderson in New York in 1818. She was 18 years old,” said Ingalls, adding the couple had no children. “They came to Detroit from Buffalo on the maiden voyage of the Walk-In-The-Water steamboat. He was sent here to open the first office of the U.S. Army Topographical Engineers, now known as the Army Corps of Engineers.”

Because sailors at the time were regarded as a “pretty rough lot,” they weren’t allowed in the local churches, Ingalls said. So, Anderson invited them to her home for Bible study and hymn singing.

Ingalls said John Anderson was responsible for mapping out the Great Lakes and opening up roadways. He passed away in 1830. Upon Julia Anderson’s death in 1842, plans for Mariners’ Church were in progress. “Her entire estate went to build the church,” Ingalls said.

Keeping with tradition, a blessing of the fleet for those going to sea is held every March, and a Great Lakes memorial service is held every November for those who have lost their lives at sea.

The Great Lakes have always intrigued author Jerry Dennis, so he penned the book “The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas,” which he will discuss at noon Oct. 11 as part of the maritime exhibit. “I’ll talk about my observations while writing this book,” the Traverse City resident said.

Over the years, Dennis has traveled the Great Lakes on a variety of boats, with commercial fishermen, biologists and environmentalists. His longest voyage was a 30-day trip on a schooner boat that sailed from Lake Michigan to Bar Harbor, Maine. “It was fantastic,” Dennis said. “The captain of the schooner was a salt water captain. He couldn’t get over our lakes and how beautiful they are. He kept talking about what a challenge they are to sail.”

In his travels, Dennis came across shipwrecks, including a wooden steamer he saw when snorkeling with his sons and their friend. “I believe they are haunting,” he said of the shipwrecks. “They get into your heart and soul, and they change you.”

Dennis also encourages everyone to preserve the Great Lakes. “Most of the important work is being done by citizens that are out there working every day,” Dennis said. “They’re really getting people involved and making our lawmakers pay attention.”

Dennis’ second book, “A Watcher On The Shore,” is scheduled for release in 2009.

Pre-registration is required for the cultural center maritime events, excluding exhibits and video showings. For a full schedule of events, more information or to register, visit or call (586) 445-7348.

From the C & G Newspapers


Updates - September 28

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Reserve Conversion Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 28

On 28 September 1895, the ELMA (2-mast wooden schooner-barge, 165 foot, 401 gross tons, built in 1873, at Marine City, Michigan) was carrying lumber in tow of the P H BIRCKHEAD (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 378 gross tons, built in 1870, at Marine City, Michigan) along with two other barges on Lake Superior. However, the tow was broken up in a storm. The ELMA's steering failed and she beached under Miner's Castle near Munising, Michigan. One crewman died trying to take a rope ashore. Another finally made it to shore and sat shivering all night on the rocks while holding the rescue line. The rest of the crew came ashore in the morning.

On September 28, 1980, the BURNS HARBOR entered service, departing Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin bound for Superior, Wisconsin to load pellets.

THOMAS WILSON left Toledo on September 28, 1987, in tow of the tug TUSKER for overseas scrapping. WILSON has been laid up since December 16, 1979.

On 28 September 1891, THOMAS PARSONS (2 mast wooden schooner, 135 foot, 350 tons, built in 1868, at Charlotte, New York) was carrying coal out of Ashtabula, Ohio when she foundered in a storm a few miles off Fairport in Lake Erie.

On 28 September 1849, W G BUCKNER (wooden schooner, 75 foot, 107 tons, built in 1837, at Irving, New York) was carrying lumber in a storm on Lake Michigan when she sprang a leak, then capsized. The man to whom the cargo belonged was aboard with his wife and five children. One child was washed overboard while the wife and three children died of exposure. The schooner ERWIN took off the survivors plus the bodies.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Mike Nicholls, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Steel imports declined in August

9/27 - Duluth - Steel imports into the United States in August were 2.5 million net tons, a 22 percent decrease compared to July, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

The total includes 2 million net tons of finished steel, an 18 percent decline compared to July.

In August, the five largest suppliers of steel to the United States were China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Germany.

Over the first eight months of 2007, 23.6 million net tons of steel were imported into the United States. That compares to 31 million net tons imported over the first eight months of 2006.

On an annualized basis, total steel imports in 2007 would be 35.5 million net tons, according to the institute.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports - September 27

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The Maumee returned light Wednesday evening and took another load out of the Construction Aggregates dock in Ferrysburg.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
It isn’t as busy as it was 20 years ago, but the Twin Ports’ fall grain rush is in full swing, with long lines of grain hoppers arriving at local rail yards and a steady stream of salties and a few lakers pulling into local elevators. On Wednesday morning, Canadian Miner was making a rare call at Cargill B1 in Duluth. After several slow seasons, the Cargill elevator has seemed a little busier this year.
In Superior, Pilica was the latest in a parade of salties to load at CHS elevator. Several more salties are expected in port over the new few days.
Also Wednesday, the Edwin H. Gott was at the port terminal before continuing on to load the CN/DMIR ore dock.

South Chicago - Steve B.
The tug Samuel de Champlain/barge Innovation was at Lafarge at 130th Street on the Calumet River on Wednesday afternoon.
The Sam Laud was taking on a load over at KCBX, while the St. Marys Challenger arrived at Calumet Harbor at about 1:30 p.m., destined for St. Marys Cement on Lake Calumet.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Amalia, a small Dutch ocean freighter, brought steel Wednesday morning to the general cargo piers along Milwaukee's outer harbor.
Ziemia Cieszynska unloaded steel products nearby, for a second day. By Wednesday evening, both Amalia and Ziemia Cieszynska had departed.
Wilfred Sykes delivered cement clinker Wednesday evening into a hopper at the St. Marys plant at the inner harbor basin's south end.


Updates - September 27

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Diamond Belle Color Tour set for Sunday October 14

9/27 - Detroit - The last Diamond Jack's public tour for the 2007 season is set for Sunday October 14.

The Diamond Belle will depart Wyandotte at 11 a.m. travel up the Detroit River into Nicholson's slip, then continue upbound to downtown Detroit. The trip then turns downbound, all the way to Lake Erie via the Livingston Channel.

At light "D 33" the mini ship will turn upbound via the Amherstburg Channel, returning to Wyandotte at 4 pm. A chicken and pasta luncheon buffet with desert is included.

Tickets are by reservation only. Call 313-843-9376 to receive an information flyer or to make credit card reservations.


Today in Great Lakes History - September 27

When the CITY OF TORONTO (wooden side-wheel passenger-package freight steamer, 207 foot, 898 gross tons, built in 1864, at Niagara, Ontario) tied up to her dock at the foot of Younge Street in Toronto, Ontario on 27 September 1882, an officer of the customs house came aboard with four engineers and disabled her engine. The vessel had her certification revoked earlier and her owners had been warned that the vessel would be seized if she entered port.

September 27, 1959 The West Neebish Channel, through which downbound traffic normally passes, was temporarily closed to permit dredging to the maximum Seaway depth of 27 feet. Two way traffic was instituted in the Middle Neebish Channel until dredging was completed.

On 27 September 1877, the HIPPOGRIFFE (wooden schooner, 295 tons, built in 1864, at Buffalo, New York) had just left Chicago for Buffalo, loaded with oats, on a fine day with clear weather. The crew saw EMMA A COYNE (wooden schooner, 155 foot, 497 tons, built in 1867, at Detroit, Michigan) approaching from a long way off loaded with lumber. The two vessels' skippers were brothers. The two schooners collided about 20 miles off Kenosha, Wisconsin. The COYNE came along side and picked up the HIPPOGRIFFE's crew a few minutes before that vessel rolled over and dove for the bottom.

The CITY OF GENOA arrived with the first cargo of iron ore for the new factory at Zug Island. Reported in the The Detroit Free Press on September 28, 1903.

The H M GRIFFITH experienced a smoky conveyor belt fire at Port Colborne, Ontario on September 27, 1989. Repairs were completed there.

The ROGER M KYES proceeded to Chicago for dry-docking, survey and repairs on September 27, 1976. She had struck bottom in Buffalo Harbor September 22, 1976 sustaining holes in two double bottom tanks and damage to three others.

The GEORGE M HUMPHREY under tow, locked through the Panama Canal from September 27, 1986, to the 30th on her way to the cutters torch at Kaohsiung, Taiwan.

The tanker IMPERIAL COLLINGWOOD (Hull#137) was launched September 27, 1947, at Collingwood, Ontario by Collingwood Shipyards Ltd. for Imperial Oil Ltd., Toronto, Ontario. Renamed b.) SEAWAY TRADER in 1979, sold off the Lakes in 1984, renamed c.) PATRICIA II, d.) BALBOA TRADER in 1992.

September 27, 1909 - The ANN ARBOR NO 4 entered service after being repaired from her capsizing at Manistique, Michigan the previous May.

On 27 September 1884, WALDO A AVERY (wooden propeller, 204 foot, 1,294 gross tons) was launched at West Bay City, Michigan. Her construction had been subcontracted by F. W. Wheeler & Co. to Thomas F. Murphy.

On 27-29 September 1872, a big storm swept the lower Lakes. Here are the Lake Huron tragedies. The barges HUNTER and DETROIT were destroyed. The tug SANDUSKY rescued the 21 survivors for them. The schooner CORSAIR foundered off Sturgeon Point on Saginaw Bay at 4 p.m. on Sunday the 29th and only 2 of the crew survived. The barge A LINCOLN was ashore one mile below Au Sable with no loss of life. The barge TABLE ROCK went ashore off Tawas Point and went to pieces. All but one of her crew was lost. The schooner WHITE SQUALL was sunk ten miles off Fish Point -- only one crewman was saved. The schooner SUMMIT went ashore at Fish Point, 7 miles north of Tawas with two lives lost.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Russ Plumb, Mike Nicholls, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series, Detroit Free Press. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Federal Danube runs into arresting cable at lock 7 Welland Canal

9/26 - Thorold - Monday around 8:15 p.m. the Federal Danube came into contact with the ship arrestor cable while down bound entering Lock Seven at the Welland Canal.

When contact was made, the cable was dragged up over the lower portion of the bulbous bow about 2 or 3 meters out of the water. The arrestor did its job and stopped the ship. At that point the exhaust stacks on Federal Danube were pouring out the smoke as she backed up and then tied down.

There was no visual signs of damage to the ship, but the arresting cable receptacle was damaged. This caused about a 5-hour delay. There were several ships tied up above and below lock 7.

A work crew arrived to begin working to free the cable. Around 1 a.m. Tuesday morning, the cable and boom were raised to clear the chamber and the work crew began clearing the area. At 1:35 a.m. the Federal Danube was lowered in the chamber and normal operations resumed. The cable and boom were not being used and extra precaution was used while ships entered the chamber.

At 10:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, a work crew arrived to finish the repairs on the arresting cable receptacle, while ships were still coming through.

Report from Dan Syrcher


Port Reports - September 26

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Ziemia Cieszynska, from the Polsteam line, unloaded steel while backed into a slip at one of the general cargo piers in Milwaukee's outer harbor on Tuesday.
Looking ahead, ocean carrier Amalia is due in Milwaukee with steel on Wednesday, and BBC Italy is expected with wind turbines on Friday of this week.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The Cuyahoga was in bound the Saginaw River Monday morning, calling on the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. She completed her unload an was out bound late Monday night. In bound early Tuesday morning was the tug Joe Thompson, Jr. and barge Joseph H. Thompson. The pair called on the Sargent dock in Essexville to unload. Once finished, the Thompsons turned and were out bound for the lake Tuesday afternoon.


DECC's tug will go back to work in Duluth Harbor

9/26 - Duluth - The tug Lake Superior soon will bid adieu to its days as a floating ice cream shop and tourist attraction, returning instead to service as a working vessel serving marine traffic in the Twin Ports.

The Duluth Entertainment Convention Center received three bids for the 114-foot long vessel and accepted the most generous one: Bob Billington of Billington Construction Co. will pay a little more than $56,000 to buy the tugboat. This isn’t the first time the 64-year-old tug has been on the auction block. The Lake Superior was offered for sale last year, but no one stepped forward to meet the minimum $130,000 bid established by the DECC.

Dan Russell, the DECC’s executive director, said that in retrospect, it was clear the DECC had vastly overestimated the market for used tugs on the Great Lakes. It didn’t repeat the mistake this year and ended up selling the tugboat for less than half the original asking price. Russell said the lower cost, combined with the loss last year of the Duluth-based tug Seneca off Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, caused the stars to align this year.

The Seneca, which was owned and operated by Zenith Tugboat Co., grounded while being towed to Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. “There was suddenly a need for another tug in the harbor,” he said. Russell considers Billington’s winning bid a welcome outcome. “It’s a great vessel, and we’ll be excited to see it back at work in our harbor,” he said.

The Lake Superior first went on display at Minnesota Slip, behind the DECC, in 1996, opening its deck and holds for tours alongside the William A. Irvin, a retired 611-foot laker.

But Russell said the DECC’s acquisition of the 180-foot U.S. Coast Guard cutter Sundew in 2004 displaced the Lake Superior. While there was room for all three vessels in the slip during fair weather, the DECC had to move the tug to a berth in Superior each year to protect it from November’s battering gales and the scouring force of winter ice. Russell said a Superior marina that previously provided the DECC with a free berth for the Lake Superior was recently sold. Consequently, the DECC would have faced rising costs to keep the tug.

Russell said that with the Lake Superior returning to service, there should be room in the Minnesota Slip to accommodate other smaller tour vessels, such as restored fishing boats or other small vessels on a seasonal basis. “We want to keep things fresh,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Lake Superior will begin another chapter in a rich history which has included years of service on the Great Lakes, busting ice, assisting in the construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway and even serving a tour of duty in salt water during World War II.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Cruise ship will not be returning

9/26 - Thunder Bay, Ont. - City and Port officials celebrated an important anniversary on the waterfront Monday, but it may signal the end of an era of luxury Great Lakes cruising.

The celebration was sparked by the arrival of the luxury cruise liner MS c. Columbus. The docking marked the 10th anniversary of the vessel's first stop in the city which was seen as an important achievement for local tourist operators. Monday's festivities were tempered by the fact that this visit may be the last time the city sees the ship.

The Columbus has sailed the Great Lakes for the last decade and is the only cruise ship that makes a call at the Port of Thunder Bay. Even though the last three cruises had a full complement of the 423-capacity passenger ship, the captain announced Monday that the vessel will not be returning. Captain Daniel Beissel said Thunder Bay won't be the only city taken off their itinerary, the entire Great Lakes tour is cancelled.

The local Port Authority says water levels are partly to blame even though its not a problem here. Water levels in Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are down three to four feet since the late 1990s

The Columbus may return to the Great Lakes in the future, if water levels rise, but in the meantime CEO Tim Heney says they will continue to work with the tourism department to try and bring another cruise ship to the city.

From the Thunder Bay Source


Updates - September 26

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Reserve Conversion Gallery

Welland Canal Gathering Photo Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 26

On 26 September 1895, the EVALINE (wooden schooner, 118 foot, 236 gross tons, built in 1861, at Blendon's Landing, Michigan) sprang a leak in a foggy gale on Lake Michigan and foundered off Kewaunee, Wisconsin. No lives were lost.

September 26, 1930, the schooner OUR SON, originally launched in 1875, sank during a storm on Lake Michigan. Seventy-three year old Captain Fred Nelson the crew of OUR SON were rescued by the self unloader WILLIAM NELSON.

September 26, 1937, the Canadian Seaman's Union signed a tentative wage contract. Sailors would continue a two watch system (working 12 hours every 24 hours) and be paid the following monthly wages: Wheelsmen and Oilers - $72.50, Watchmen and firemen - $67.50, Second Cooks - $52.50, deckhands and coalpassers - $50.00, porters - $45.00, Chief Cooks on the Upper Lakes - $115.00, and Chief Cooks on Canal boats $105.00.

September 26, 1957, Taconite Harbor, Minnesota loaded its first cargo of 10,909 tons of taconite pellets into the holds of the Interlake steamer J A CAMPBELL.

On 26 September 1892, JOHN BURT (3-mast wooden schooner, 138 foot, 348 gross tons, built in 1871, at Detroit, Michigan) was carrying grain in a strong northwest gale. Her rudder broke and she was blown past the mouth of Oswego harbor and was driven hard aground. Two died when the vessel struck. The U.S. Lifesaving Service rescued the remaining five crew members. The vessel quickly broke up in the waves.

The CHI-CHEEMAUN cleared the shipyard on September 26, 1974.

The H M GRIFFITH was christened on September 26, 1973 at Collingwood for Canada Steamship Lines.

The C.C.G.S. GRIFFON (Hull#664) was launched September 26, 1969 by Davie Shipbuilding Ltd., Lauzon, Quebec for the Canadian Coast Guard.

ROGER M KYES returned to service on September 26, 1984, she had grounded off McLouth Steel and ended crosswise in the Detroit River's Trenton Channel a month before. She was renamed b.) ADAM E. CORNELIUS in 1989.

The BELLE RIVER was side swiped by the Liberian FEDERAL RHINE, of 1977, at Duluth on September 26, 1985. Both vessels received minor damage.

On 26 September 1914, MARY N BOURKE (wooden schooner-barge, 219 foot, 920 gross tons, built in 1889, at Baraga, Michigan) was docked at Peter's Lumber Dock in St. Mary's Bay, 15 miles north of St. Ignace, Michigan. The crew was awakened at 9:30-10:00 p.m. by smoke coming from her hold and they escaped. The BOURKE burned to the waterline and the fire spread ashore, destroying the dock and a pile of lumber.

At 3:00 a.m., 26 September 1876, the steam barge LADY FRANKLIN burned while moored near Clark's dock, about three miles from Amherstburg, Ontario in the Detroit River. One life was lost. This vessel had been built in 1861, as a passenger steamer and ran between Cleveland, Ohio and Port Stanley, Ontario. In 1874, she was converted into a lumber freighter, running primarily between Saginaw, Michigan and Cleveland. The burned hull was rebuilt in 1882.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Mike Nicholls, Ahoy & Farewell II, Father Dowling Collection, and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Dongeborg hits ship arrestor at Iroquois Lock

9/25 - The Wagenborg ship Dongeborg hit the ship arrestor at Iroquois lock around 5 a.m. Monday morning.

She was down bound with a cereal cargo, loaded at Thunder Bay for Dunkirk, France, and failed to stop while entering the lock. The ship arrestor boom collapsed into the lock. The accident resulted in shipping coming to a stop for 13 hours in this sector.

The Algocape and Sichem Defiance were secured at the tie walls below the lock. Other vessels were expected Monday and had to anchor while crews were at work replacing the ship arrestor.

Just before 6 p.m. Monday evening, Dongeborg was released from the lock, and Algocape and Sichem Defiance were allowed to go up bound before the lock was closed for additional work.

Canadian Olympic came up from the Wilson Hill anchorage to tie up below the lock and waited for the lock to reopen. This occurred at about 9 p.m., when Algoisle was allowed to proceed downbound. Redhead and Voyageur Independent were also called out of their anchorages.

Reported by Ron Beaupre, Walt Statham and Kent Malo

Pictures in the News Photo Gallery


Port Reports - September 25

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The Maumee arrived light late Monday afternoon. It was loading at the Construction Aggregates dock in Ferrysburg.

Fairport Harbor - Herb Hubbel
Sunday afternoon the barge Pathfinder and tug Dorothy Ann came in with a load of aggregate for the Osborne Fairport dock.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Michipicoten and Kaye E. Barker arrived to load taconite Monday morning at the Upper Harbor ore dock.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation arrived at Lafarge around 5 a.m. on Monday morning. The tugboat Manitou assisted the Innovation into port because its bow thruster was not working. Later in the morning the Manitou helped the Innovation depart the dock and then tied up in the river.
Also tied up in the river was the MCM Marine tugboat Mohawk, workboat Tammy and another barge with equipment. They are expected to go to Saginaw when the weather is more favorable.
The Alpena was loading at Lafarge Monday night.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Algorail departed north bound onto Lake Michigan Sunday morning after unloading salt overnight at the bulk cargo dock on Jones Island in Milwaukee's inner harbor.
Maumee departed at about 7:30 Monday morning after also delivering salt at the bulk cargo dock.


Experts tour 'Taj Mahal of the lighthouse world'

9/25 - Fort Erie, Ont. - A powerful ally joined the fight to preserve the Point Abino Lighthouse Saturday, after an international association of lighthouse experts toured the historic site on Fort Erie's lakeshore.

"This is the Taj Mahal of the lighthouse world and it needs to be taken care of," said Dick Moehl, president of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association, a group of self-proclaimed "fanatics" about preserving the icons of marine commerce. Approximately 50 of the group's members toured the national historic site Saturday. They recommended several ways the Point Abino Lightstation Preservation Society could raise money to preserve the site and make it an attraction for history buffs and tourists.

"We have a whole new group of lighthouse friends," said Charlene Nigh, president of the Fort Erie group dedicated to seeing the lighthouse, the keeper's home and surrounding property preserved. Ventilation is the first improvement the lighthouse's owners, the Town of Fort Erie, should make immediately, said Moehl, who helped restore the 1873 St. Helena lighthouse on Lake Michigan. The town should also quickly fix cracks in the lighthouse because of the water damage that will occur to the concrete, he said.

The Point Abino lighthouse was built in 1917. Its construction was hastened because of the now-famous sinking of the lightship LV 82 during a storm in 1913. When it was built, it was much different from other Canadian lighthouses, said Moehl, who called it "a humdinger."

The Canadian custom had been to build towers of white clapboard. But the well-to-do population along Lake Erie's shore wanted something more befitting of their community, Moehl said. That's why Point Abino has the concrete structure that overlooked the lake's eastern end for 90 years.

There are about 370 lighthouses in the Great Lakes area. About 35 per cent of them are in Canada. Most of them were built in the 1800s when shipping was the most prevalent form of travel, before rail and roads.

If Point Abino is restored and promoted properly, it could create a new tourist attraction in Fort Erie, said Judy Hofmann, who traveled from Gaylord, Mich., to see it. "It just needs to be worked on, rebuilt to its former self," she said.

Some Michigan lighthouses generate revenue by hosting guest lighthouse-keepers - vacationers who pay to stay there, but are expected to do some chores during their stay. The keeper's house at Point Abino would an ideal setting for that arrangement, which could generate the money to preserve that home, the lighthouse and the property around it, Hofmann said.

From the Niagara Falls Review


Updates - September 25

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Reserve Conversion Gallery

Welland Canal Gathering Photo Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 25

On 25 September 1883, the ONTONAGON (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 176 foot, 377 tons, built in 1856, at Buffalo, New York) caught fire and was run aground off Stag Island on the St. Clair River abreast of the Star Island House on the Canadian side. The vessel burned to a total loss. There were no injuries or loss of life.

In tandem tow, the MENIHEK LAKE and LEON FALK JR arrived at Vigo, Spain on September 25, 1985. The MENIHEK LAKE was scrapped at Vigo, and the FALK was towed to Gijon, Spain for scrapping.

The HENRY C FRICK departed Bay City on her maiden voyage on September 25, 1905 and rammed and damaged the Michigan Central Railroad Bridge at Bay City.

On 25 September 1869, COMMENCEMENT (2-mast wooden schooner, 75 foot, 73 tons, built in 1853, at Holland, Michigan) was carrying wood in her hold and telegraph poles on deck from Pentwater, Michigan for Milwaukee when she sprang a leak 20 miles off Little Sable Point on Lake Michigan. The incoming water quickly overtook her pump capacity. As the crew was getting aboard the lifeboat, she turned turtle. The crew clung to the upturned hull for 30 hours until the passing steamer ALLEGHENY finally rescued them. COMMENCEMENT later washed ashore, a total wreck.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Port Reports - September 24

Alpena/Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Friday afternoon the tall ship Highlander Sea arrived in Alpena and tied up in the river. It was sailing out in the bay throughout the weekend.
Dredging by MCM Marine continues in the shipping channel.
The tug G. L. Ostrander and barge Integrity were at Lafarge in the early morning hours on Sunday.
At Stoneport on Sunday the Arthur M. Anderson was first to load, followed by the Herbert C. Jackson in the afternoon.
The tug Joe Thompson, Jr. and barge Joseph H. Thompson were at anchor as nightfall approached and will load after the Jackson departs.

Port of Indiana - Sheldon Rody
Sunday afternoon found the Birchglen with the hatch covers open at the Port Of Indiana.


Updates - September 24

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Reserve Conversion Gallery

Welland Canal Gathering Photo Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 24

On 24 September 1914, the ARCTIC towed the SHEBOYGAN (wooden side-wheel passenger-package freight steamer, 208 foot, 623 tons, built in 1869, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) out of Manitowoc to be burned. Her engines and machinery had been removed. The fire was set at 1625 hours about two miles north of the harbor. The old vessel burned throughout the night.

On September 24th, the A H FERBERT went hard aground at the Cut-Off Channel's southeast bend of the St. Clair River. Six tugs, GLENADA, ELMORE M MISNER, BARBARA ANN, GLENSIDE, SHANNON and WM A WHITNEY, worked until late on the 26th to free her.

The EDMUND FITZGERALD's first cargo of taconite pellets was loaded September 24, 1958 at Silver Bay, Minnesota for Toledo, Ohio.

The PERE MARQUETTE 22 entered service September 24, 1924.

In early morning fog on the St. Clair River on September 24, 1962, the J L REISS was hit three glancing blows by U.S. Steel's SEWELL AVERY. The AVERY had lost control just below Robert's Landing and crossed the channel from the Canadian side and struck the J L REISS which was proceeding slowly by radar on the U.S. side.

On September 24, 1952, the CHARLES L HUTCHINSON entered service. This vessel was renamed b.) ERNEST R BREECH when it was sold to the Ford Motor Company in 1962, and it was given its present name, c.) KINSMAN INDEPENDENT, when it was sold to Kinsman Lines in 1988. She was sold Canadian converted to a motorship and renamed d.) VOYAGEUR INDEPENDENT in 2005.

On September 23, 1991, J W McGIFFIN rescued several people in a 24 foot pleasure craft off Presque Ile State Park. The group had been disabled since the day before. They were taken aboard the McGIFFIN and their boat taken under tow. The McGIFFIN was rebuilt with a new forward section and renamed b.) CSL NIAGARA in 1999.

September 24, 1924 - The PERE MARQUETTE 22 arrived at Ludington, Michigan on her maiden voyage.

On 24 September 1902, H. A. BARR (3 mast wooden schooner, 217 foot, 1,119 gross tons, built in 1893, at W. Bay City, Michigan) was in tow of the 'saltie' THEANO with a load of iron ore in a storm 30 miles off Port Stanley in Lake Erie. She broke her tow line in giant waves and foundered. THEANO rescued her crew.

On 24 September 1879, the tug URANIA was towing the schooner S V R WATSON into Sand Beach at about noon when the schooner struck the tug amidships, cutting a hole in the hull and sinking her in three fathoms of water. No lives were lost.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, James Neumiller, Jody Aho, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Port Report - September 23

Toronto - Clive Reddin
The saltie Malyovitza is at the Redpath sugar refinery dock. No sign of any off loading activity taking place as of Saturday evening.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Joe Thompson, Jr. and her barge, Joseph H. Thompson called on the Saginaw River Saturday with a split load. The pair lightered at the Sargent dock in Essexville and then continued upriver to finish unloading at the upper end Burroughs dock in Zilwaukee.
Early Saturday evening, the Manistee was inbound, also headed upriver to unload at the lower end of the Burroughs dock. Both vessels were expected to depart the Burroughs dock late Saturday or early Sunday.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Cinnamon, an ocean bulker (reg. Limassol, Cyprus) was backed into a berth at terminal #2 in Milwaukee's outer harbor on Saturday, unloading steel products.
Algowood departed northbound onto Lake Michigan at about 2:00 p.m. Saturday.

St. Joseph's Island - Teresa Parker
Cruise ship c. Columbus visited Hilton Beach Marina on St. Joseph Island Ontario on Saturday. Venders and musicians were on hand as the cruise visitors arrived. Some visitors traveled to Sault Ste Marie to tour and shop the various businesses. Two more visits are planned for October 2007.


Updates - September 23

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Reserve Conversion Gallery

Welland Canal Gathering Photo Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 23

On 23 September 1896, the GEORGE STEPHENSON (steel propeller bulk freighter, 407 foot, 4,563 gross tons) was launched by F. W. Wheeler & Company (Hull #116) at W. Bay City, Michigan for the Bessemer Steamship Company. In 1959, she was converted to a barge and in 1963-64 she was scrapped at Hamilton, Ontario.

September 23, 1922, the 306 foot NEPTUNE loaded the first Head-of-the-Lakes cargo of pig iron at Zenith Furnace, Duluth, Minnesota. The 5,000 tons of malleable pig iron was delivered to Buffalo, New York.

September 23, 1975, the HERBERT C JACKSON lost power while upbound on Lake Superior. She was towed back to the Soo by the USS straight decker D G KERR.

September 23, 1952, the steamer CHARLES L HUTCHINSON became the first boat christened at Cleveland since the early years of World War II. The 644 foot HUTCHINSON, Captain T. A. Johnson, is the new flagship of the Pioneer fleet and one of 35 boats in the three fleets operated by Hutchinson & Co. Renamed b.) ERNEST R BREECH in 1962, c.) KINSMAN INDEPENDENT in 1988. Sold Canadian in 2005, and sails today as the motorship d.) VOYAGEUR INDEPENDENT.

On 23 September 1910, the BETHLEHEM (steel propeller package freighter, 290 foot, 2,633 gross tons, built in 1888, at Cleveland, Ohio) was carrying general merchandise when she went ashore in a gale on the SW side of S. Manitou Island in Lake Michigan. Lifesavers and the crew unloaded her over several days. Although battered by several storms while ashore, she was eventually pulled free and repaired. She lasted until 1925, when she was scrapped.

The scow WAUBONSIE was launched at the Curtis yard in Fort Gratiot, Michigan on 23 September 1873.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


World's first commercial nugget plant anchors Iron Range rebound

9/22 - Eveleth — There were times in the past few years when Hoyt Lakes Mayor Marlene Pospeck wondered where the world’s first commercial iron nugget plant would be built. But she never doubted it would be built somewhere. In the end, it landed right where Pospeck and hundreds of other Iron Rangers had hoped: in the backyard of her small Iron Range community.

After years of ups and downs, deals and no deals, full-scale construction of the $235 million Mesabi Nugget Delaware LLC iron nugget plant will begin this fall at the former LTV Steel Mining Co. site near Aurora and Hoyt Lakes, officials from Steel Dynamics Inc. and Kobe Steel announced Thursday at Iron Range Resources headquarters near Eveleth.

Construction of the plant marks a new age in iron mining. “I don’t know that I’ve ever been involved in a project that has taken this long to take hold, but we’re finally here,” said Keith Busse, Steel Dynamics chairman and CEO. “I know a lot of people thought the Range was dead, but it’s not. I think this project is really going to change the face of the Iron Range and change the face of steelmaking.”

The plant would produce about 500,000 metric tons of iron nuggets a year. Although the production of iron nuggets has been proven in pilot projects, it’s never been done on a large scale. The nuggets, containing about 96 percent iron, would be the first new product developed from Iron Range ore since the production of taconite pellets started in the 1950s. Iron nuggets produced at the 6,000-acre facility would be fed into Steel Dynamics’ electric arc furnaces at its Butler, Ind., mini-mill plant and turned into steel.

Nugget production won’t replace the jobs or millions of tons of iron ore pellets produced at six Northeastern Minnesota taconite plants. But it kicks off the production of a new, higher-value product expected to be highly sought by the steel industry’s most modern mills. “It’s a transformational moment for the Iron Range, Northeastern Minnesota and the state,” Gov. Tim Pawlenty said at Thursday’s Iron Range Resources news conference. “I really think it is the beginning of a new future.”

A global resurgence in iron demand and pricing that began in 2003 is now allowing companies to invest in major projects, said Peter Kakela, a Michigan State University taconite industry analyst. “I think this is very important,” Kakela said of the nugget project. “This and projects like Minnesota Steel are different, but they’re both new technologies. It’s new stuff.”

In addition to the nugget plant, Steel Dynamics plans to develop a $165 million mine at the former LTV facility that would produce taconite concentrate — a purer, powdery form of taconite, Busse said. A deal with Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. to acquire mining property has been finalized, he said. Plans are to open the mine in late 2009 or early 2010.

Until the mine is permitted and developed, Steel Dynamics would buy taconite concentrate on the open market from Canada or U.S. Steel, Busse said. U.S. Steel’s Keewatin Taconite makes more concentrate than it can consume at its own plant. If the first production module proves successful, three more modules, each costing about $175 million, would be built at the site, Busse said.

Property owned or leased by Steel Dynamics at the site has enough ore to supply four iron nugget modules for about 100 years, Busse said. If four modules were built, some of the nuggets would be sold on the open market to other steel producers, he said. “We are excited about launching this project,” Busse said. “You will find that others will follow, just as they did when we developed thin-slab casting in 1987.”

The nugget plant and a base and precious-metals mine proposed by PolyMet Mining Corp. both would use property or assets of the former LTV taconite plant. LTV closed in 2001, putting 1,400 miners out of work after the bankruptcy of its parent company. The closure left workers, families, communities and businesses reeling.

Larry Lehtinen, an Iron Range native and former taconite plant manager, has shepherded development of a value-added iron plant on the Iron Range for decades. Lehtinen led an effort to develop a nugget pilot plant at Northshore Mining Co. in Silver Bay, which proved the process. He will serve as a consultant on the commercial facility. “There were periods of time when I wondered where it was going to happen,” Pospeck said of the nugget plant. “But I had confidence since day one that it was going to happen. I knew of Larry’s determination and, when the pilot plant proved it, I was confident.”

Steel Dynamics, Kobe Steel, Cleveland-Cliffs and Lehtinen’s company, Ferrometrics of Two Harbors, had been partners in the proposed plant. At one time, there was serious discussion about the plant being built in Indiana. However, Iron Range lawmakers led an effort to streamline the permitting process to keep the plant in Minnesota. But when business terms couldn’t be reached, Steel Dynamics and Kobe assumed control.

Cleveland-Cliffs is working with Kobe to develop a nugget plant at the Empire Mine in Upper Michigan.

In addition to the nugget project, others large projects proposed for the Iron Range include a $1.6 billion Minnesota Steel slab facility near Nashwauk, PolyMet’s mine and a $2 billion coal-gasification electrical generating plant. Several other mineral exploration firms are studying copper, nickel, platinum, palladium, cobalt and gold deposits.

Sandy Layman, Iron Range Resources Commissioner, said construction of the plant sends a signal to other companies looking to invest in Northeastern Minnesota. The state provided “patient money” and worked closely with the companies to advance the project, she said. “Psychologically, it’s a boost to have the first one move ahead,” Layman said. “The region has a large number of projects under way, and it’s important to see a project like this move ahead.”

Bill Ojala, mayor of Aurora, said the nugget and PolyMet projects, combined with construction of a new school, are creating renewed interest in his community. “We are getting inquiries daily about business space due to this and PolyMet,” Ojala said. “This is going to be a boost to the whole East Range.”

State Rep. Tony Sertich, DFL-Chisholm, was the only Iron Range lawmaker at Thursday’s new conference. Other lawmakers, Sertich said, had scheduling conflicts. The project will provide construction workers with much-needed work, Sertich said. “It took resolve not to let this project die,” he said. “Through it all, the folks within the agency [IRR] and the private sector moved forward to bridge the gaps. It was kind of that never-give-up attitude.”

From the Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports - September 22

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algoway made her way over from the new harbour dock after arriving early Friday morning. She was on the Sifto Salt dock at 9 a.m. loading.
Agawa Canyon arrived at 12:30 p.m. Friday, headed into the new harbour dock to wait her turn and then will proceed to Sifto Salt to load.

Holland - Bob Vande Vusse

The Wolverine delivered a load of coal to the James DeYoung power plant in Holland, arriving before dawn Friday and departing just before noon.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
About 5 p.m. on Friday the Wilfred Sykes came in bow first with a load of material for Verplank's Dock in Ferrysburg. It was still unloading as darkness fell, but she should back out later Friday evening.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Rebecca Lynn and her tank barge were in bound the Saginaw River early on Friday, calling on the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City. The pair had finished their unload and were out bound for the lake around 9:30 p.m. Friday night.
The Calumet was also inbound Friday morning. She traveled all the way upriver to unload at the Saginaw Rock Products dock in Saginaw. Calumet had turned and was back out bound by early in the evening.
The last arrival was the Walter J. McCarthy, Jr. who arrived at the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville to unload coal. She was expected to be outbound late Friday night or early Saturday morning.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
St. Marys Challenger arrived in Milwaukee Thursday afternoon, and continued unloading powdered cement through the day Friday at its terminal on the Kinnickinnic River.
Cement barge Integrity and its tug G. L. Ostrander made a delivery at the LaFarge silo on Jones Island in Milwaukee's inner harbor on Friday.
Also Friday, Algowood continued loading at the Nidera elevator in the inner harbor.


August Coal Total Comes Up Short by 8 Percent

9/22 - Cleveland—With the largest U.S.-Flag Lakers losing more than 6,000 tons of coal each trip because of lack of adequate dredging and falling water levels, shipments on the Great Lakes only totaled 4.4 million net tons in August, a decrease of 8 percent compared to both a year ago and the month’s 5-year average.

August is usually one of the strongest months for the coal trade. The peak summer heat increases demand for electricity to cool homes and businesses, yet this August’s total is the lowest this decade.

While demand for coal from Lake Erie ports was down in August, the dredging crisis played a major role in the weak Lakes-wide total. The largest coal cargo carried during the month totaled 64,504 tons. Turn the calendar back to 1997, a period of high water levels, and the top coal cargo was approaching 71,000 tons.

For the year, the Lakes coal trade stands at 23.6 million tons, a decrease of 6.6 percent compared to the same point in 2006. Compared to the 5-year average, shipments are nearly 5 percent off the pace.

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association


Iron range rebound

9/22 - Duluth - The $235 million Mesabi Nugget Delaware iron nugget plant should have an economic impact on the region of about $587 million, according to a Northeastern Minnesota economist. “This is really good news,” said Tony Barrett, a College of St. Scholastica economics professor. “It’s going to be quite an era for the Iron Range.”

Steel Dynamics Inc. and Kobe Steel officials said Thursday the companies also would seek to develop a $165 million taconite concentrate production mine at the facility. Together, the two projects would have a $1 billion impact on the regional economy, according to a standard 2.5-to-1 formula that economists use, Barrett said. With several other major economic development projects ready for permit approval or startup, Minnesota’s Iron Range could be on the cusp of its biggest economic surge in decades.

“We’re not going to replace 1,400 jobs all at once,” said Curt Antilla, economic development coordinator with the East Range Joint Powers Board in Aurora, referring to jobs lost when LTV Steel Mining Co. closed in 2001. “We don’t know what the total impact yet of Mesabi Nugget and PolyMet is yet on the horizon. But Steel Dynamics and Kobe Steel are nationally known companies. This is going to be a tremendous boost for the whole region.”

At a news conference Thursday at Iron Range Resources headquarters in Eveleth, Gov. Tim Pawlenty said he remembered the day when LTV closed. “All of us pledged we would try to bring jobs back to the Iron Range, and things are now changing in positive and energetic directions,” he said.

Estimates are that 500 construction workers would be needed over two years to build the nugget plant. Construction of a $1.6 billion Minnesota Steel direct-reduced iron and slab steel plant near Nashwauk would require about 2,000 workers. About 1,000 construction workers would be needed to build a $380 million PolyMet Mining Corp. base and precious-metals mine proposed south of Babbitt.

“This is like an Iron Range fantasy,” Barrett said of the proposed projects. “When we see all these construction jobs happen, it’s going to be great, but we’re going to have to import construction workers. When that happens, it’s going to be a culture change for the Iron Range in dealing with people with different values, and that’s going to have an impact.”

With an influx of construction workers, rental rates would rise for housing, existing home values would increase and small businesses would be in for a boom, Barrett said. “Now, the kids on the Range who have been leaving can think about staying, have a job and earn a good middle-income wage,” Barrett said.

However, the construction boom would be short-lived, he said. Within about four years, work on most of the projects would end and construction workers would leave the region for other jobs, he said.

In about seven years, rental rates, home values and small business activity would decline, Barrett said. “You could start a new business,” he said, “but you’d have to sell it in three years.”

From the Duluth News Tribune


 U.S. Coast Guard Announces Launch of Electronic CG-719 Applications

9/22- Last month’s National Maritime Center (NMC) senior staff offsite meeting saw the discussion of various initiatives to improve mariner licensing and documentation. One of these projects was an effort to make available CG-719 application forms that can be downloaded from the Internet and filled out on a computer. The test version of CG-719 is now available. Industry representatives have been asked to assist in "testing" this form to ensure that it works.

The Coast Guard’s National Maritime Center is managing a project to centralize and restructure the Mariner Licensing and Documentation program. Our goals are to decrease credential processing time, improve customer service, and ensure consistency across the nation. In an effort to decrease credential processing time, we have made available an improved CG-719B Credential Application forms that can be downloaded from the Internet and filled out on a computer. This is the first step in our drive toward on-line applications.

A new version of the application form is available on USCG Homeport website,  and

This version is the current application form with simple business rules embedded into it. The business rules will ensure that the application is completed with the required information before it is printed and submitted to the REC. Please note that the “check form” button (on the bottom of pages two and four) forces the form to check business rules and should prompt the user to add, correct or change information based on basic business rules.

From David C. Stalfort, Captain, U. S. Coast Guard, Commanding Officer, National Maritime Center


Cleanup of polluted Upper Peninsula bay completed, officials say

9/22 - Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - An $8 million cleanup of chromium and mercury from a section of the St. Marys River is complete, officials said Thursday.

About 44,000 cubic yards of sediment were dredged over the past year from Tannery Bay, north of town. The pollution came primarily from a leather tannery that operated by the river during the first half of the 20th century. The river links Lakes Huron and Superior.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, provided $4.8 million for the project under the Great Lakes Legacy Act, a 2002 program to cleanse severely degraded sediments across the region. Phelps Dodge Corp., which owns the former tannery property, contributed $2.6 million. Michigan Department of Environmental Quality added $600,000 through the Clean Michigan Initiative.

"One of the last known contaminated hot spots on the U.S. side of St. Marys River has now been cleaned up," said Mary Gade, the EPA's Great Lakes national program manager. "Large amounts of chromium and mercury no longer contaminate the bay and have been prevented from entering the Great Lakes."

Projects under the legacy act "have shown that it's possible to make meaningful progress in a short period of time toward cleaning up and restoring rivers and harbors" in the region, Gade said. Solid material dredged from the bay was hauled to a landfill with a thick clay base in nearby Dafter. Water was treated at the Sault Ste. Marie wastewater plant.

From Booth Newspapers


Program at Vantage Point open to the public

9/21 - Port Huron - The Lake Huron Lore Marine Society and the Algonac Clay Township Historical Society will present a special program, "Gar Wood & The Building of Miss America X: 75 Years Ago," at the Great Lakes Maritime Center at Vantage Point, 51 Water St., Port Huron, Michigan, at 7 pm Saturday, September 22, 2007.

This program is free and open to the public!


Seminar to be presented by Company of Master Mariners of Canada

9/22 - Imagine a dark clear night with a ship proceeding in its normal manner, the Master looking forward to a successful end to the voyage. Suddenly he finds himself and his ship involved in a catastrophic marine incident.

What must he do? – Where can he seek help? As the emergency unfolds – Who is in Charge?

The scene is set for this seminar and participants will begin to identify a number of issues and problems involving the Master in command of his ship and his interactions with the many rescue, emergency response and environmental groups – Who is in Charge?

The seminar will seek answers which will help to prepare Masters who might be involved in future Marine Emergencies.

Objective. An examination of the Incident Response System and relationships which develop during response to a marine emergency between the Master, Owners, Responders and inter-related Government Agencies.
To assist Masters in recognizing and appreciating the authority and responsibilities of government and other Agencies with respect to the response to marine emergencies such as fire, collision, foundering, grounding, oil-spill, ship and port security breaches, etc., and to promote efficient and effective working techniques and information sharing during emergency situations.

The seminar will be held at the Sheraton Hotel Hamilton, Ontario on October 11 & 12. Visit for more information


Updates - September 22

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Reserve Conversion Gallery

Welland Canal Gathering Photo Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 22

On 22 September 1896, the MUSKEGON (wooden side-wheel passenger-package freight steamer, 193 foot, 620 tons, built in 1871, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) was in dry dock at the Milwaukee Dry Dock Company when some of the bracing gave way and the vessel slid off the keel blocks and broke her back. She was patched up and towed to Manitowoc for repairs, but she was deemed unrepairable. After a lengthy lawsuit, which the Milwaukee Dry Dock Company lost, the vessel was dismantled.

On September 22, 1958, the EDMUND FITZGERALD entered service, departing River Rouge, Michigan for Silver Bay, Minnesota on its first trip. The FITZGERALD's first load was 20,038 tons of taconite pellets for Toledo. The vessel would, in later years, set several iron ore records during the period from 1965 through 1969.

While in ballast, the ROGER M KYES struck bottom in Buffalo Harbor September 22, 1976, sustaining holes in two double bottom tanks and damage to three others, whereupon she proceeded to Chicago for dry docking on September 27, 1976, for survey and repairs. Renamed b.) ADAM E CORNELIUS in 1989.

While being towed from Duluth, Minnesota by the Canadian tug TUSKER on September 22, 1980, the D G KERR rammed into the breakwater at Duluth causing $200,000 in damages to the breakwater. The tow apparently failed to make the turning buoy leaving Duluth Harbor.

On September 22, 1911 the HENRY PHIPPS collided with and sank her Steel Trust fleet mate, steamer JOLIET, of 1890, which was at anchor on the fog shrouded St. Clair River near Sarnia, Ontario. The JOLIET sank without loss of crew and was declared a total loss. The PHIPPS then continued her downbound journey and collided with the Wyandotte Chemical steamer ALPENA, of 1909, that incurred only minor damage.

The T W ROBINSON and US.265808 (former BENSON FORD departed Quebec City in tow of the Polish tug JANTAR bound for Recife where they arrived on September 22, 1987. Scrapping began the next month in October.

MATHILDA DESGAGNES was freed from polar ice in the Arctic on September 22, 1988, by the West German Icebreaker Research Vessel POLARSTERN.

September 22, 1913 - The ANN ARBOR NO 5 struck bottom in the Sturgeon Bay Canal and damaged her rudder and steering gear. After undergoing repairs at Milwaukee, she was back in service the following October.

On 22 September 1887, ADA E ALLEN (wooden propeller steam barge, 90 foot, 170 gross tons, built in 1872, at Walpole Island, Ontario.) caught fire while moored at Amherstburg, Ontario. She was cut loose and set adrift to prevent the fire from spreading ashore. She drifted to Bois Blanc (Bob-Lo) Island and burned to a total loss.

On 22 September 1882, Mr. H. N. Jex accepted the contract to recover the engine and boiler from the MAYFLOWER, which sank in the Detroit River in 1864. He was to be paid $600 upon delivery of the machinery at Windsor, Ontario. He succeeded in raising the engine on 12 October and the boiler shortly thereafter.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, James Neumiller, Jody Aho, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Future of historic Belle Isle boat house becomes murky

9/21 - Detroit -- There was a time when the Detroit Boat Club building provided a grand welcome to Belle Isle.

As the first building to come into view past the Douglas MacArthur Bridge, the striking, three-story Spanish-style structure -- built in 1902 -- epitomized a period in the city's history when the sky seemed to be the limit. Now, years of neglect have taken their toll as the Friends of Detroit Rowing club -- the building's tenant for the past decade -- struggle to find the resources needed to restore the crumbling structure.

The Friends group, which maintains the building in lieu of paying rent to the city of Detroit, says it can't keep up with repairs and is looking to move out. The group has proposed building a boathouse on five acres of adjacent Belle Isle property -- a smaller home that will be for rowing only and far more manageable. The roof on the existing building is full of holes, the ballroom is gathering dust and dirty water fills the pool out back. The organization for which the building was named no longer operates there, but rowers have used the city-owned building since its construction.

"There was a city study a few years back that estimated the price of completely repairing the boat club would be $28 million," said Joe Callanan, a spokesman for Friends of Detroit Rowing and a one-time member of the Detroit Boat Club. "Even at the height of the boat club's membership, with 400 members or so, we couldn't have afforded that."

That puts the Detroit Boat Club building, as well as its only remaining tenant, at something of a crossroads. Should Friends of Detroit Rowing be unable to hammer out a deal with the city, the 200-member group could wind up moving away from Belle Isle altogether. Either way, the Detroit Boat Club building could soon be without a tenant, meaning the cash-strapped city would take back responsibility for repairs.

And according to one city parks official, there are no proposals if that happens. "I'm not aware of what would happen at this point," said Jennifer Robertson, a spokeswoman for the Detroit Department of Recreation, which oversees Belle Isle Park. "That is something that will have to be decided down the road if an agreement is reached."

City resident Joe Hayden remembers the Detroit Boat Club during better days and admits it's no longer the best welcome to the island. "I've always thought Belle Isle was great, particularly with the boat club and the yacht club," he said. "I'd definitely like the boat club to get back up to where the yacht club is now. It's in the ideal place."

For his part, Callanan said members of the rowing group feel trapped by the negotiations for a new building. Officials first approached the city about building on the five-acre plot next to the boat club early in the spring and then again this summer. Negotiations, however, seem to be at a standstill.

Friends of Detroit Rowing want a lease with the city for as long as they can get before agreeing to spend money on a new structure. "There's no sense in us going forward with this is the city won't give us direction," Callanan said. "We'd like to get a 30-year lease with a 30-year option. But right now, we seem to be running into a stone wall." City officials, citing ongoing negotiations, declined to comment.
With approval, Friends of Detroit Rowing would build a 30,000- to 40,000-square-foot structure capable of housing 75 to 80 boats. It's a planned investment of more than $1 million that would be implemented in several phases. Unlike the old boat club building, the new project would strictly be an "athletic operation."

Despite the stripped-down proposal, it may be a hard sell to some with an interest in Belle Isle. Groups such as Friends of Belle Isle have actively opposed new construction on the island in the past. One sticking point, Callanan said, is the question of who will maintain ownership of the new building once a lease runs out.

While you don't have to look hard to see the signs of the Detroit Boat Club's deterioration, it's just as easy to see the signs of what the building used to be.

The second floor features a wood-paneled study area large enough to hold more than 100 people. A high-ceilinged ballroom now provides workout space for rowers, but looks ready to host weddings as it once did. A large kitchen capable of providing for a medium-sized restaurant is still in working order. And on the third floor, the bar looks like a floor-sweeping away from being ready to start serving.

While not on the National Register of Historic Places, the building's history makes it seem like a likely candidate. It is 105 years old, and the former home of the oldest boat club in the nation. The pool is thought to be the first 50-yard pool built in the U.S. In 1928, Johnny Weissmuller -- a five-time Olympic gold medalist who went on to play Tarzan in the movies -- competed in it.

But it has been years since these rooms were used to their potential. And in the meantime, despite roughly $250,000 pumped into the building by Friends of Detroit Rowing, the deterioration has spread. Outer walls are chipped and cracked and in some places sport huge holes. The concrete deck surrounding the 50-yard pool behind the building is crumbling and marked by grass growing through in patches. The maze of docks, once home to all manner of large and small boats, is now deserted and unsafe.

Along with Belle Isle's maintenance building/horse barn, another structure more than a century old, the boat club is at the top of the target lists for preservation groups. "Both of those buildings are so historical and also so in need of saving, it's craziness to just let them go," said Mary Waterstone, president of the Friends of Belle Isle. In 2000, the architecture and engineering firm Hamilton Anderson Associates completed a comprehensive plan for the revitalization and restoration of the whole island.

That $180 million overhaul would have included major improvements for the Detroit Boat Club, including: Renovation, destination restaurant, conference center, new boat slips and a marina club and water taxi service to downtown.

Like most of Hamilton Anderson's recommendations, the improvements for the boat club remain on the back burner while the city deals with its more pressing financial concerns. Yet, the building remains salvageable. "We've had structural engineers in here and, yes, it's salvageable," Callanan said. "But who has the dollars?"

Even those who aren't familiar with its past see something worth saving in the structure. While strolling with a friend Tuesday morning, Detroit resident Luvina Morgan eyed the building from across Riverbank Drive. "I think it has potential," she said. "It looks like it just has to be restored."

From the Detroit Free Press


Port Reports - September 21

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Wednesday saw the arrival of the tug Evans McKeil and cement barge Metis at the Essroc dock. They are laying in port for maintenance on Thursday.
Also arriving Wednesday afternoon was Beluga Expectation with windmill parts.
Algosteel remains at Redpath Sugar unloading.

Holland - Bob VandeVusse
After a month of inactivity, the tug Undaunted and barge Pere Marquette 41 arrived in Holland Thursday evening to deliver agricultural lime to the Brewer dock.


Updates - September 21

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Reserve Conversion Gallery updated

Welland Canal Gathering Photo Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 21

On 21 September 1942, the WAWINET (steel propeller yacht, 87 foot, 68 gross tons, built in 1904, at Toronto, Ontario as a tug) was on a fishing and party trip when she struck a bar off Beausoliel Island in Georgian Bay and sank in a few moments. One report says she was doing a high-speed maneuver when she hit. The drowned were all employees of a single factory, out celebrating the successful completion of a defense contract. 25 of the 42 aboard were lost. One of those who died was Bert Corbeau, the owner of the yacht; he was a well known professional hockey player.

On 21 September 1892, the whaleback steamer JAMES B COLGATE (steel propeller whaleback freighter, 308 foot, 1,713 gross tons) was launched by the American Steel Barge Co. (Hull #121) at W. Superior, Wisconsin. She only lasted until 1916, when she foundered in the "Black Friday Storm" on Lake Erie with the loss of 26 lives.

ALGOWAY left Collingwood on her maiden voyage in 1972, and loaded salt for Michipicoten, Ontario on Lake Superior.

On 21 September 1844, JOHN JACOB ASTOR (wooden brig, 78 foot, 112 tons, Built in 1835, at Pointe aux Pins, Ontario but precut at Lorain, Ohio) was carrying furs and trade goods when she struck a reef and foundered near Copper Harbor, Michigan. She was owned by Astor's American Fur Company. She was reportedly the first commercial vessel on Lake Superior.

On 21 September 1855, ASIA (2-mast wooden schooner, 108 foot, 204 tons, built in 1848, at Black River, Ohio) was carrying corn from Chicago for Buffalo when she collided with the propeller FOREST CITY off the mouth of Grand Traverse Bay. ASIA went down in deep water in about 10 minutes, but her crew just had enough time to escape in her boat. The schooner HAMLET picked them up.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Ahoy & Farewell II, Historical Collections of the Great Lakes, B.G.S.U. and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Fewer freighters are traversing the Saginaw River as the economy and water levels keep them at bay

9/20- Bay City - Like the Saginaw River's water levels, the number of freighters bringing cargo to waterway docks is dropping.

As of Monday, only 172 freighters have made their way up the Saginaw River this season, according to BoatNerd.Com  reporter Todd Shorkey. That's a considerable drop from numbers recorded in 2005 and 2006: 244 and 198, respectively.

While Bay City commuters might enjoy fewer disruptions at the bridges, area businesses depending on river shipping are worried about an inevitable revenue loss caused by a bad economy and shallow waters, according to observers. ''With those two setbacks, it lowers the amount of ships,'' said William G. Webber, president of the Saginaw River Alliance of dock owners. ''If you have a facility that moves 1 million tons a year, and it moves 500,000 tons, you still have costs.

''We're absorbing some of it, but we can't absorb it all or we'd go out of business.'' To maintain their operations and cover expenses, businesses are forced to charge more for less product. That means higher prices heaped on customers, he said. Dredging the river to remove sediments and other spoils is the long-awaited boost the area needs, Webber said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced Friday that Saginaw Bay's shipping channel and the lower section of the river would be dredged starting as early as this week. Two companies - MCM Marine Inc. of Sault Ste. Marie and Luedtke Engineering Co. of Frankfort - were awarded contracts totaling about $2 million for the work.

The area to be dredged has snagged passing freighters already. The 648-foot Algoway ran aground in November near the Hooters restaurant, 966 E. Midland St., by the Liberty Bridge, because of the shallow shipping channel.

The Corps announcement was welcome news for dock owners. ''When that's done, that's going to help out tremendously,'' said Webber, who is president of Sargent Dock and Terminal, a road salt distributor. ''One is the economy and the second is the water levels have really limited our market range.''

But one long-term snap is the dredging spoils confined facility, which straddles Saginaw and Bay counties, that is nearing completion. Officials have said the facility might not be in operation until next year due to building and policy drafting delays. ''A good share of it is solvable,'' Webber said. ''We've got to find what needs to be done with the dredge site and do it.''

For VanEnkevort Tug & Barge of Escanaba, which primarily ships limestone to the area, Saginaw River docks was once a place where freighters had lots of locations to unload. That saved time and money that might have been spent waiting for their turn at some other dock, according to a company spokesman. But with fewer Tug & Barge freighters able to traverse the river now, it makes doing business ''tougher,'' the company said.

Economic woes and sinking demand are some big reasons why shipping traffic has slowed on the Great Lakes, said Glen Nekvasil, vice president of corporate communications for Lake Carriers' Association, which represents U.S. ships on the Great Lakes.

Stone, a major area shipment used for road and home construction, isn't selling well in the region, he said. ''Michigan is kind of leading the charge in that area,'' he said. ''Obviously, if the economy strengthens here, people will buy more homes. It's just a function of the economy.''

For drivers, the bright spot is fewer bridge openings. As of Monday, drivers have only dealt with about 429 openings at the Lafayette Bridge and 405 at the Veterans Memorial Bridge, said Michael Conley, operator supervisor for the two bridges for the city of Bay City. There were, respectively, about 525 and 644 at the same time last year.

''I go across those bridges, so I kind of enjoy it,'' Conley said. ''Eventually, if we don't do something with the dredging in the river and the slowing economy, it's not going to be good for the area.''

From the Bay City Times


Port Reports - September 20

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Vessel action in the Twin Ports early Wednesday focused on fall’s slightly increased grain traffic. In Duluth, Americaborg was at the AGP elevator and Voyageur Independent was at Cargill B1.
In Superior, Voyageur Pioneer was spending its second day at CHS berth 1 while on the other side of the terminal Victoria was in berth 2.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Algowood loaded grain at the Nidera elevator in Milwaukee's inner harbor on Wednesday.
Across the turning basin, the barge Innovation and tug Samuel de Champlain delivered dry cement to the LaFarge terminal on Jones Island.

Alpena & Stoneport - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Tuesday much needed dredging began in the Alpena shipping channel. MCM Marine is doing the work with the Drummond Islander II, a crane barge with a small tug, along with a barge to load the removed material. Wednesday, they were working at the mouth of the river.
Alpena is due in Wednesday night around 11 p.m.
The Great Lakes Trader loaded at Stoneport on Wednesday.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Canadian Progress backed in the channel on a cool sunny Thursday morning. She went to the Sifto Salt dock and started loading at 8 a.m.
Following close behind, Algorail also backed in and went to the new harbour dock to wait her turn.


Local historians locate Lake Michigan shipwreck

9/20 - Merrillville - An Illinois-based group named for a local historian thinks it has found the remains of a ship that once carried escaping slaves to freedom before it was destroyed by slave hunters on the shore of Lake Michigan in Ogden Dunes.

Roger Barski, an underwater photographer and ex-Hollywood lighting technician, presented the findings of the Briggs Project to a spellbound audience of two dozen history buffs at a meeting of the Portage Community Historical Society on Tuesday night. Barski is a Project leader and a member of the underwater Archaeological Society of Chicago. He served as official photographer for the Kankakee Valley Historical Association's 2005 excavation at the Collier Lodge near Kouts.

He said his group has found virtually everything in the records that can be found about the ship. "We've traveled everywhere, to other states, we've looked in the National Archives. Everyone is highly interested all the way to Washington, because it's tied to the Underground Railroad," he said.

Barski said the project began more than four years ago when Peg Schoon, who worked at Indiana University Northwest, showed researchers some writings of former Portage Township teacher and ex-high school principal William Briggs, who was also a noted historian.

"He grew up in the years after the Civil War and had access to the people who actually lived through it. We believe his word is truthful," Barski said. For this reason, he said, the search for the boat was named the Briggs Project. "We asked Mr. Barski here because William Briggs was a Portage citizen. What he wrote gave them the information that this ship was there," said Lois Mollick, PCHS president.

For additional details on the Briggs Project, go to

From the Merrillville Post-Tribune


Wheat shipped to Halifax from Port of Churchill

9/20 - The Port of Churchill, enjoying one of its best shipping seasons in years, celebrated a first on Monday when a ship began loading wheat for delivery to the domestic market.

The Kathryn Spirit, an Arctic supply ship, had delivered a cargo of mobile homes, snowmobiles and other goods to communities on the Hudson's Bay coast before weighing anchor at Manitoba's northern port. Instead of returning with an empty hold, the former Great Lakes freighter is being filled with 12,500 tonnes of Prairie wheat for delivery to a flour mill in Halifax -- the first domestic destination ever for the port, the Canadian Wheat Board said Monday.

"This is a creative way to save farmers freight costs and maximize the use of Churchill," CWB president Greg Arason said in a statement. "It is important to identify innovative ways of shipping grain and other commodities through the Port of Churchill since its long-term viability is very important to Prairie farmers."

Bill Drew, director of the Churchill Gateway Development Corp., said in an interview that two-way traffic into the port should eventually reduce Arctic supply costs as well as grain shipping costs. "We certainly hope it's the start of more to come," he said of the domestic grain shipments.

Vessels carrying Arctic supplies normally arrive full and go home empty. Meanwhile, ships carrying grain for shipment overseas tend to arrive empty at Churchill. The port's goal is to develop more two-way traffic.

Meanwhile, the Canadian Wheat Board said Monday that shipment of board grains through Churchill could set a 30-year high this season. Already, the wheat board has sent more than 300,000 tonnes of wheat and durum to Brazil, Europe, South Africa and Morocco, said spokeswoman Maureen Fitzhenry. The Churchill shipping season typically begins in July and runs until early November.

In 1977, during the days of massive sales to the Soviet Union, the wheat board shipped 729,000 tonnes of wheat through Churchill. The highest total since then was the 621,304 tonnes in 1983 followed by 590,540 tonnes in 1986.

"It will for sure be the biggest (CWB shipping season through Churchill) since the mid-1980s," Fitzhenry said in an interview Monday.

From the Winnipeg Free Press


Updates - September 20

News Photo Gallery updated

Welland Canal Gathering Photo Gallery

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 20

On 20 September 1962, the BLACK BAY (steel propeller bulk freighter, 730 foot, 17,848 gross tons) was launched by Collingwood Shipyards, Ltd. (Hull #172) at Collingwood, Ontario for the Canada Steamship Lines. Renamed b.) CANADIAN VOYAGER in 1994, she was scrapped at Aliaga, Turkey in 2002.

John Jonathon Boland was born on 20 September 1875, in New York. Along with Adam E. Cornelius, he formed the partnership of Boland and Cornelius in 1903, and was one of the founders of the American Steamship Company in 1907. He died in 1956.

On September 20, 1986, vandals started a $5,000. fire aboard the laid up NIPIGON BAY at Kingston, Ontario where she had been since April, 1984.

GEORGE A STINSON's self-unloading boom was replaced on September 20 1983. The boom had collapsed onto her deck due to a mechanical failure on the night of April 19, 1983, at Detroit, Michigan. No injuries were reported. She continued hauling cargoes without a boom until replacement. She was renamed b.) AMERICAN SPIRIT in 2004.

On September 20, 1980, the EDGAR B SPEER entered service for the U.S. Steel Fleet.

The CHARLES E WILSON sailed light on her maiden voyage from Sturgeon Bay September 20, 1973, bound for Escanaba, Michigan to load ore. She was renamed b.) JOHN J BOLAND in 2000.

The CHARLES M WHITE was christened at Baltimore, Maryland on September 20, 1951.

On 20 September 1873, W L PECK (2 mast wooden schooner-barge, 154 foot, 361 gross tons) was launched at Carrollton, Michigan.

On 20 September 1856, COLONEL CAMP (3-mast wooden bark, 137 foot, 350 tons, built in 1854, at Three Mile Bay, New York) was carrying wheat to Oswego, New York when she collided with the wooden steamer PLYMOUTH and sank in just a few minutes. No lives were lost.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Dredging to clear Saginaw Bay shipping channel to start

9/19 - Bay City - Dredging of the Saginaw Bay shipping channel and the lower section of the Saginaw River is set to begin next week, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Corps announced Friday that two dredging contracts - totaling about $2 million - have been awarded to two different companies that will perform the work. MCM Marine Inc. of Sault Ste. Marie will dredge about 342,000 cubic yards from the Saginaw Bay shipping channel, according to Lynn Duerod, a spokeswoman for the Corps in Detroit. The work will take place from the mouth of the River, two miles out into the bay. Duerod said that work, at a cost of about $1.3 million, will begin next week.

By late September or early October, Luedtke Engineering Co. of Frankfort is expected to begin dredging 50,000 cubic yards from the lower section of the river, Duerod said. The $632,000 project will take place approximately from the Detroit-Mackinaw Railroad bridge near the Essexville city limits to the Penn-Central Railroad bridge near Liberty Bridge in downtown Bay City.

''It's vital for the shipping traffic to get through,'' said Duerod. ''This is a major shipping channel in the Great Lakes system and it's our goal to dredge it every year.'' Duerod said these section of the bay and river have not been dredged since 2005.

John A. Glynn, vice president of Wirt Stone Dock - which has facilities at 400 Martin St. in Bay City and 4700 Crow Island in Saginaw - said the money designated to dredge this area last year, was diverted for emergency dredging of the Sixth Street turning basin in Saginaw, where at least two freighters ran aground during the 2006 shipping season.

''This year, the focus is back on the entrance to the bay,'' Glynn said. ''It is important to keep the entrance channel at the mouth of the river open. It's a critical point in the river system.'' He said although the area to be dredged this year is deeper than in other parts of the river, it also fills in with sediment more quickly because of exposure to high winds and wave activity.

''If there's a cork on that end, there's nothing coming up the river,'' Glynn said. ''It's especially important ... for the 1,000-footers that need to unload coal at Consumers Energy. If they don't get in, we don't have power.'' Glynn said money has been budgeted to dredge sections of the upper Saginaw River next year.

David Williamson, plant manager at Essroc Cement Corp., 1601 Sailine St., Essexville, said news of the dredging project is timely. ''It's good they get it done this year so shipping can get off to a good start next year,'' he said, noting that a typical shipping season begins in March and runs until the river freezes in December or January.

Williamson said the pending dredging project will take a ''substantial'' amount of sediment out of the river. ''It's not huge or overwhelming, but it is substantial,'' he said, noting that, by comparison, most cement mixer trucks hold 8 cubic yards.

From the Bay City Times


Port Reports - September 19

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Vessel passages remain few and far between on the Saginaw River this past week. There have only been three vessels call on the river since the 12th of September. On Saturday, the CSL Tadoussac called on the Essroc Dock in Essexville to unload clinker. She backed from the dock later in the day, outbound for the lake.
On Monday the Buffalo called on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City and was outbound for the lake later in the day after unloading.
The tug Invincible and barge McKee Sons was also inbound late Monday night. The pair lightered at the Bay City Wirt dock before continuing upriver to finish unloading at the Wirt dock in Saginaw. The Invincible & McKee Sons was outbound for the lake Tuesday afternoon.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer & John Wilke
Algolake was at the bulk cargo dock on Jones Island in Milwaukee's inner harbor, Tuesday morning, delivering salt.
Ocean vessel Dongeborg departed north bound onto Lake Michigan for Thunder Bay overnight Monday night.
Early Monday the American Mariner left the WE Energies dock at Greenfield Avenue for the lake after arriving Sunday evening with a load of coal.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Tuesday at the Upper Harbor ore dock was the Charles M. Beeghly and tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder loading taconite.

Menominee-Marinette - Dick Lund
Monday and Tuesday were busy days for the twin ports. First on the scene was the Vancouverborg with a load of wood pulp around 11 a.m.
Next came the BBC Elbe with more windmill parts around 6 p.m. The BBC Elbe went to anchor for the rest of the night because the dock where it needed to unload was still in use by the Vancouverborg, which eventually switched docks around 7 p.m.
Early Tuesday morning, the BBC Elbe was assisted stern-first into the harbor by the Selvick tug, Jacquelyn Nicole. That made a quite impressive line-up at the KK Integrated Logistics dock - Vancouverborg, Reserve, BBC Elbe, Viking I and Manitowoc comprised close to 1/2 mile of ships & dock.
Around 2 p.m. the Pere Marquette 41 made its way to Marinette Fuel & Dock with a load of some kind of aggregate.

Port Colborne - David Bull
The Edward L. Ryerson wasn't the only vessel that had to wait for Welland Canal pilots Monday evening. At Port Weller, Tuesday morning, were Leda and Ziemia Cieszynska

Detroit/Windsor - Dave Cozens
The German cruise ship c. Columbus was upbound in the Detroit River Wednesday passing Amherstburg at 6:00 a.m.  The Columbus docked in Windsor for the day, this may be her last visit to the Great Lakes.


Oxford hears about Erie ferry proposal
Further studies needed on traffic impact

9/19 - Woodstock, Ont. - A Port Burwell ferry service to Ohio could bring thousands of trucks together with millions in investment and jobs through the county if the link becomes reality. Those were a few of the things brought to Oxford County council Wednesday by a delegation of municipal and private representatives from Ohio, accompanied by municipal reps from Bayham and Elgin County.

The groups are working to establish a ferry service and Lake Erie border crossing from Port Burwell to Fairport Harbor, Ohio. "Putting a new corridor across Lake Erie will help eliminate traffic and congestion at the existing crossings at the ends of the lake," Seaport Management Corp.’s Kent Kristensen said.

Kristensen, who leads the corporation shepherding this ferry link, said he has spent the past several years working with municipal, state, provincial and federal authorities in the U.S. and Canada. The initial investment would be in the range of $250 million, about $6 million of which would be first-year operating costs and the rest devoted to port infrastructure on both sides of the lake.

His presentation to council showed that U.S. governments appear to be ahead of their Canadian counterparts in committing funding to the project, and that Fairport Harbor appears better situated to divert traffic from bridge crossings onto interstate highways. Speaking to the Ontario side, Kristensen said their work has shown that possible routes could be either Highway 19 through Oxford and Bayham, or Culloden Road-the latter not currently considered a primary regional access point for the Lake Erie shore.

"We need to conduct further study on what is the traffic impact on Bayham and the surrounding communities," Kristensen said. "It could also impact on trucks the other way around, on Highway 401. "We’re also creating a new corridor where there is almost no traffic today."

The case for the ferry link in Canada has been left to the local municipalities to build, one that Bayham and Elgin have been working on for the Port Burwell site. Elgin Warden Lynn Acre said that council has not yet tossed its full support behind the Port Burwell site, and that Bayham is still looking to its regional neighbours to support the cost of a feasibility study. Oxford supported a request from Bayham, contributing $3,750 on July 11 towards the municipality’s $37,500 share of the feasibility study, but several councillors had questions Wednesday over this specific link.

Through his questions, Woodstock Coun. Michael Harding pressed Kristensen into admitting that so far the group has no major trucking companies onside saying they would divert their traffic through the ferry link. He was also able to get Kristensen to concede that while there are arrangements for a truck-train intermodal terminal on the U.S. side, there is no plan on how to handle the resulting railway needs on the Canadian side.

The question of local concerns came up as well, with Tillsonburg Coun. Stephen Molnar asking Grand River Village Mayor Christopher Conley whether there were any on his side of the lake. "As far as bothering residents, it wouldn’t," he said. "It would only add to Lake County … I have no problem with any of my residents, nor have I at any time."

The same cannot be said for the Ontario side, where Molnar referred to "minor local questions." "I commend the partners on other side of the lake for being leaders on this," Molnar said. "It’s a great opportunity… but it’s time to mobilize our resources to deal with this in unified approach so we’re not defeating each other as neighbours up here."

From the Tillsonburg, Ontario Times


Release of ballast water banned near Isle Royale

9/19 - Isle Royale - The National Park Service today banned ship’s ballast water releases near Isle Royale hoping to thwart the invasion of the deadly fish disease VHS into park waters. The new regulation is intended to keep Great Lakes freighters that motor through park waters from releasing ballast water that could contain invasive species, including viral hemorrhagic septicemia.

“Our biologist was pushing for this emergency rule because we have [lake trout] spawning season coming up which is a time when the fish are really susceptible to VHS,’’ said Phyllis Green, Isle Royale National Park superintendent. The park’s reefs are home to several unique varieties of lake trout and brook trout and are considered critical spawning area for many fish.

A common shipping route for freighters heading to Thunder Bay, Ontario, runs through park waters. The Park Service is hoping to use Lake Superior’s huge volume of water as a buffer against invasion. Even if VHS hits other, near-shore areas in the lake it might still be kept away from the 45-mile long Isle Royale archipelago that sits about 20 miles off Grand Portage on Minnesota’s North Shore.

The ban is the first of its kind by a federal agency on the Great Lakes and is on top of the state of Michigan’s law that requires ballast permits and treatment of any ballast released in state waters. The park regulation applies to saltwater ships from foreign ports and lakers that could pick up exotic species in infested waters of the lower Great Lakes.
In addition to the ballast ban, Green today encouraged industry officials to work with researchers, state agencies technical engineers to design emergency treatment for larger craft as soon as possible and to stop delaying action that might keep VHS out of Lake Superior.

Before the park could announce the ballast ban, however, park officials had their own issue to solve. The Park Service operates a 165-foot passenger boat, the MV Ranger III, which has ballast tanks that could carry VHS and other exotic species into park waters in violation of the park’s own regulation. “I couldn’t develop an emergency rule on ballast when I run a ballasted ship right here,’’ Green said. “We knew we need to get our act together first.’’

Park officials, along with scientists from Michigan Technological University, developed a ballast treatment system for the Ranger II that carries passengers to the island park from Houghton, Mich. The system uses simple, household chlorine bleach to kill all living organisms in the boat’s 10 ballast tanks. Crew members then use a form of vitamin C to render the chlorine harmless before ballast water is released into Lake Superior.

Ballast is used in large craft to help balance and steer. The entire system cost about $600, Green said. Just 1.3 gallons of bleach is needed to kill everything in all the tanks that total 18,500 gallons. It’s simple technology promoted in recent months by Duluth scientist Gary Glass. The 650-ton Ranger III is believed to be the first boat on the Great Lakes fitted with a complete ballast water treatment system. The boat’s ballasts will be re-treated once each round-trip.

“I told our people to imagine that Houghton harbor was infested with VHS. They had to design a system where we could operate and still guarantee we wouldn’t carry the problem’’ out to Isle Royale, Green said. “It took us about two weeks to figure it out and a couple more weeks to make it work.’’ Tests show the bleach solution has been completely effective in killing organisms in the tank.

“It isn’t that hard. We went low-tech… using a funnel and a hose, and got it done very cheap,’’ Green said. “This may not be directly applicable to Great lakes freighters. But the willingness to solve the problem should be.’’ Green said a higher-tech, on-board ballast treatment system may be added when the Ranger III is due for heavy maintenance in 2008.

From the Duluth News Tribune


U.S.-Flag Great Lakes Fleet Can’t Use All Its Capacity in August

9/19 - Cleveland - Lack of dredging and falling water levels again forced the U.S.-Flag Great Lakes fleet to leave cargo behind in August. Shipments totaled only 11.3 million net tons, a decrease of 2.7 percent compared to a year ago, and nearly 5 percent below the month’s 5-year average.

The largest vessels in the fleet, the 1,000-footers, were most noticeably impacted by the dredging crisis. The largest coal cargo to transit the locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, in a 1,000-foot long Laker totaled 64,504 tons. A coal cargo from Superior, Wisconsin, to nearby Silver Bay,
Minnesota, an Open-Lake transit, totaled even less - 64,450 tons. Yet 10 years ago, when high water levels offset the lack of dredging, ships this size were carrying nearly 71,000 tons of coal each trip.

The average iron ore cargo loaded in a 1,000-footer at a Lake Superior dock was 61,437 tons in August. However, the 13 vessels in this class have an average carrying capacity of 67,605 tons. The dredging crisis and falling water levels negated nine percent of these vessels’ carrying
capacity from just one loading facility in August.

Through August, U.S.-Flag carriage stands at 62.7 million tons, a decrease of 5.1 percent from the same point in 2006, and only a marginal gain over the 5-year average for the January-August time frame.

More information is available at .

Source: Lake Carriers’ Association.


Updates - September 19

News Photo Gallery updated

Welland Canal Gathering Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


 Today in Great Lakes History - September 19

On 19 September 1902, the GEORGE W WESLEY (wooden schooner, 109 foot, 136 gross tons, built in 1867, at E. Saginaw, Michigan) was loaded with lumber when she sprang a leak on Lake Huron off Presque Isle, Michigan and began to founder. Her crew abandoned her and were rescued by the tug CASTLE. Buoyed by her lumber cargo, the schooner eventually drifted ashore above Presque Isle light.

At Rush Street in Chicago, Illinois, a hand-operated ferry carried pedestrians across the Chicago River. The ferry operator would pull on a rope, hand over hand, to move the ferry across the river. At a signal from schooners, the rope was dropped and the schooner would sail over it. On 19 September 1856, the rope was dropped but the impatient passengers picked it up to move the ferry themselves. The incoming schooner snagged the rope and the ferry was spun around and capsized. 15 people were drowned.

When Cleveland Tankers new SATURN entered service and made her first trip to Toledo, Ohio on September 19, 1974, she became the first of three tankers built for the fleet's modernization program.

The EDGAR B SPEER departed the shipyard on her maiden voyage for U.S. Steel on September 19, 1980, bound for Two Harbors, Minnesota where she loaded her first cargo of taconite pellets.

The twin screw rail car ferry GRAND HAVEN of 1903, was laid up in the spring of 1965, at the old Pennsylvania Dock at Cleveland, Ohio and later at dockage on the Old River Bed where she sank on September 19, 1969.

September 19, 1997 - officials at Lake Michigan Carferry, Inc. announced that the CITY OF MIDLAND 41 would be converted to a barge.

On 19 September 1893, SAMUEL BOLTON (wooden schooner-barge, 150 foot, 330 gross tons, built in 1867, at Bangor, Michigan as a schooner) was loaded with lumber and being towed in fog in Lake Huron. She got lost from the tow and drifted ashore near Richmond, Michigan where she broke in two and was then torn apart by waves. She was owned by Brazil Hoose of Detroit.

On Saturday, 19 September 1891, at 11:00 a.m., the whaleback steamer CHARLES W WETMORE left Philadelphia, Pennsylvania loaded with the materials to build a nail mill, iron smelter and shipyard for the new city of Everett, Washington. Her skipper was Captain Joseph B. Hastings and she had a crew of 22.

On 19 September 1900, the Great Lakes schooner S L WATSON foundered off Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She had been sent to the Atlantic the previous autumn by her owner J. C. Gilchrist of Cleveland.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Port Reports - September 18

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The passenger ship C. Columbus came in at the break of day Monday morning. Algosteel was expected Monday with a load of sugar for Redpath.

Port Huron -
The USCG Hollyhock returned to Port Huron and tied up at her dock on the south end of Pine Grove Park about 4:20 p.m. Monday. The Hollyhock was returning from Baltimore where it had undergone repairs for an oil leak.

Buffalo - Jim Torgeson & Brian Wroblewski
Monday was a busy day in the Queen City. The tug Karen Andrie and barge A-397 arrived about 12 p.m. headed for the Black Rock Canal. The American Fortitude arrived from Owen Sound at 3:20 p.m. headed to General Mills. Unloading started at 6:30 p.m. after the attachment of the boom's grain funnel and a customs inspection was completed. The English River arrived at sunset and was towed backward up the Buffalo River to the Lafarge terminal by the G Tug Washington.


Updates - September 18

News Photo Gallery updated

Welland Canal Gathering Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 18

On 18 September 1875, the CZAR (wooden schooner, 441 tons, built in 1862, at Oswego, New York) was inbound to pick up a load of limestone when she encountered a storm and was pushed onto a reef on Lake Huron near Presque Isle, Michigan. Later she washed off into deeper water.

On 18 September 1855, SEBASTOPOL (wooden side-wheel steamer, 230 foot, 863 tons, built in 1855, at Cleveland, Ohio) was sailing on Lake Michigan in a gale. Her cargo included copper, tin, lead and iron ingots, safes and general merchandise. Her skipper misread the shore lights while she was coming in to Milwaukee and she stranded 500 feet from shore, broadside to the storm waves which pounded her to pieces. Most of the crew and 60 passengers were saved with the help of small boats from shore, but about 6 lives were lost. This was the vessel's first year of operation. Her paddlewheels were fifty feet in diameter.

On 18 September 1679, GRIFFON, the first sailing ship on the upper Lakes, left Green Bay with a cargo of furs. She left the explorer Robert Cavelier, Sieur de la Salle, behind. GRIFFON never reached her planned destination.

The E J BLOCK, a.) W R WOODFORD of 1908, returned to service on September 18, 1946, as the first large bulk freighter powered by a diesel-electric power plant and one of the first equipped with commercial radar on the Great Lakes. She lasted until scrapped at Ramey's Bend in 1988.

On September 18, 1959, the HENRY FORD II ran aground in the St. Marys River and damaged 18 bottom plates.

On September 18, 1958, the BEN MOREELL, a.) JAMES MAC NAUGHTON collided with and sank the car ferry ASHTABULA in the harbor at Ashtabula, Ohio. Captain Louis Sabo was in command of the ASHTABULA.

LAKE WINNIPEG was the first vessel to enter the Nipigon Transport fleet. She loaded her first cargo of 22,584 gross tons of iron ore clearing Sept Iles, Quebec on September 18, 1962, bound for Cleveland, Ohio.

The Pere Marquette carferry CITY OF MIDLAND 41 (Hull#311) was launched on September 18, 1940, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin. She was built by Manitowoc Shipbuilding Corporation at a cost of $2 million. She was named after Midland, Michigan for one of the Pere Marquette Railway's biggest customers, Dow Chemical Co. She was christened by Miss Helen Dow, daughter of Willard H. Dow, president of Dow Chemical Co. Converted to a barge in 1998, renamed PERE MARQUETTE 41.

On 18 September 1871, E B ALLEN (wooden schooner, 111 foot, 275 tons, built in 1864, at Ogdensburg, New York) was carrying grain when she collided with the bark NEWSBOY and sank off Thunder Bay Island in Lake Huron.

On 18 September 1900, the large steamer CAPTAIN THOMAS WILSON was taken from her launch site on the Black River in Port Huron out to the St. Clair River. The tug HAYNES was at the bow and the tug BOYNTON at the stern. It took an hour and a half to maneuver through the various bridges. Newspapers estimated that a couple thousand persons watched the event. Once the WILSON made it to the St. Clair River, she was towed to Jenks Shipbuilding Company where she was completed and received her machinery.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Max Hanley, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Port Reports - September 17

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The USCG Cutter Hollyhock arrived at a position 5 miles West of Buffalo to take on personnel being transferred out to the ship by the motor life boat from the Buffalo Base at 5 p.m. Sunday evening. She was Westbound on the lake by 7 p.m. and bound for Port Huron.
The Herbert C Jackson departed ADM in Buffalo at 4 p.m. on Sunday afternoon under tow by the tug Washington.

Green Bay - Scott Best
The Port of Green Bay has been busy in recent days with the Innovation in port Sunday unloading cement, the Earl W visited Saturday with coal for Georgia Pacific.
On Sunday the Philip R. Clarke arrived with a load of coal for the Fox River Dock.
Also expected later Sunday was the Algorail with salt for the Fox River Dock.

Milwaukee - John N. Vogel
Late Sunday afternoon the Americaborg and Dongeborg, both of which sail for Wagenborg, were docked in the outer harbor. Americaborg was at the bulk dock, while the Dongeborg was immediately adjacent at General Cargo Terminal No. 2.
At the same time, St. Marys Conquest and tug Susan W. Hannah were working their way up the Kinnickinnic River, past the old Chicago & Northwestern RR swing bridge to the St. Marys Cement Terminal.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Canadian Enterprise, an overnight arrival, is loading Monday morning at Sifto Salt.


Updates - September 17

News Photo Gallery updated

Welland Canal Gathering Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 17

On 17 September 1871, the DICTATOR (wooden propeller steamer, 500 tons, built in 1865, at Buffalo, New York) was docked at South Manitou Island in Lake Michigan when the JAY GOULD (wooden propeller passenger-package freight steamer, 213 foot, 996 gross tons, built in 1869, at Buffalo, New York) steamed into the harbor and rammed the DICTATOR. The collision spun the DICTATOR around and her bow sank in 30 feet of water while her stern rested on the shore. Amazingly, no lives were lost and no injuries were reported. The GOULD was undamaged. By the time the Coast Wrecking Company raised the DICTATOR, autumn storms had demolished her upper cabins, but she was raised and rebuilt as a schooner-barge.

On 17 September 1898, KEEPSAKE (2-mast wooden schooner, 183 foot, 286 gross tons, built in 1867, at Newport [Marine City], Michigan) was carrying coal from Ashtabula when she was struck by a terrible storm on Lake Erie. Her rudder was damaged, a sail torn away and her bulwarks were smashed. The CITY OF ERIE saw her distress signals at 3:30 a.m. and came to help. With the CITY OF ERIE's searchlight shining on the doomed schooner, a huge wave swept over the vessel taking away everything on deck and snapping both masts. The crew, some only half dressed, all managed to get into the lifeboat. They rowed to the CITY OF ERIE and were all rescued. Three days later, the other lifeboat and some wreckage from the KEEPSAKE were found near Ashtabula by some fishermen.

GRIFFON (Hull#18) was launched September 17, 1955, at St. Catharines, Ontario by Port Weller Drydocks Ltd. for Beaconsfield Steamship Ltd., Montreal, Quebec. Renamed b.) FRANQUELIN in 1967, c.) EVA DESGAGNES in 1987. Sold foreign in 1989, renamed d.) TELCHAC, scrapped at Tuxpan, Mexico in 1992.

On September 17, 1985, PATERSON suffered a crank case explosion as she was bound for Quebec City from Montreal. She was repaired and cleared on September 21. Renamed b.) PINEGLEN in 2002.

On 17 September 1830, WILLIAM PEACOCK (wood sidewheel steamer, 102 foot, 120 tons, built in 1829, at Barcelona, New York) suffered the first major boiler explosion on Lake Erie while she was docked in Buffalo, New York. 15 - 30 lives were lost. She was rebuilt two years later and eventually foundered in a storm in 1835, near Ripley, Ohio.

On 17 September 1875, the barge HARMONY was wrecked in a gale at Chicago, Illinois by colliding with the north pier which was under water. This was the same place where the schooner ONONGA was wrecked a week earlier and HARMONY came in contact with that sunken schooner. No lives were lost.

On 17 September 1900, a storm carried away the cabin and masts of the wrecked wooden 4-mast bulk freight barge FONTANA. The 231-foot vessel had been wrecked and sunk in a collision at the mouth of the St. Clair River in the St. Clair Flats on 3 August 1900. She had settled in the mud and gradually shifted her position. She eventually broke in two. After unsuccessful salvage attempts, the wreck was dynamited.

Tragedy struck in 1949, when the Canada Steamship Lines cruise ship NORONIC burned at Pier 9 in Toronto, Ontario. By morning the ship was gutted, 104 passengers were known to be dead and 14 were missing. Because of land reclamation and the changing face of the harbor, the actual site of Noronic's berth is now in the lobby of the Harbour Castle Westin hotel.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, James Neumiller, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Port Reports - September 16

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The St. Mary's Challenger left port Saturday morning, she had arrived late Wednesday, unloaded, and stayed to wait for favorable winds up north.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
After weather delays the Lee A. Tregurtha arrived at the Upper Harbor Saturday afternoon to unload coal and load ore.

Manitowoc - Charlie Nelson
Friday night the Saginaw arrived in Manitowoc, WI. to unload grain at Anheuser Busch's grain terminal across from the Wisconsin Maritime Museum. Saginaw makes regular visits to Manitowoc to deliver grain. Unloading throughout Saturday, the Saginaw was expected to leave Saturday night.

Goderich - Dale Baechler & Jacob Smith
After waiting outside all night for the winds to settle down, Algorail skillfully made her way into the channel and dropped both anchors to help her stop. She was on the Sifto Salt dock at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. Algolake, an infrequent visitor, arrived over night and was loading Sunday morning at Sifto.

St. Marys River & The Soo - Lee Rowe
Ships that went through on a sunny Saturday included the Lee A Tregurtha, Calliroe Petronicola, American Victory, Canadian Miner, Edgar B. Speer, Charles M. Beeghly, American Republic, Winona, Algowood, Algomarine, and Saginaw.


Updates - September 16

News Photo Gallery updated

Special Welland Canal Gathering Photo Gallery

Reserve Conversion updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 16

On 16 September 1923, the WILLIAM DICKINSON (wooden propeller tug, 78 foot, 78 gross tons, built in 1893, at Benton Harbor, Michigan) burned while tied up at a shipyard dock at Marine City, Michigan. No lives were lost.

On 16 September 1893, HATTIE EARL (wooden schooner, 96 foot, 101 gross tons, built in 1869, at South Haven, Michigan) was driven ashore just outside the harbor of Michigan City, Indiana and was pounded to pieces by the waves.  No lives were lost.

At about 8:30 a.m. Sunday, September 16, 1990, the inbound motor ship BUFFALO passed close by while the tanker JUPITER was unloading unleaded gasoline at the Total Petroleum dock in the Saginaw River near Bay City, Michigan. As the BUFFALO passed the dock's aft pilings broke off and the fuel lines parted which caused a spark and ignited the spilled fuel. At the time 22,000 barrels of a total of 54,000 barrels were still aboard. Flames catapulted over 100 feet high filling the air with smoke that could be seen for 50 miles. The fire was still burning the next morning when a six man crew from Williams, Boots & Coots Firefighters and Hazard Control Specialists of Port Neches, Texas arrived to fight the fire. By Monday afternoon they extinguished the fire only to have it re-ignite that night resulting in multiple explosions. Not until Tuesday morning on the 18th was the fire finally subdued with the assistance of the U.S. Coast Guard's BRAMBLE and BRISTOL BAY. The tanker, which was valued at $9 million, was declared a total constructive loss, though the engine room was relatively untouched. Unfortunately the fire claimed the life of one crew member who drowned attempting to swim ashore. As a result the Coast Guard closed the river to all navigation. On October 19th the river was opened to navigation after the Gaelic tugs SUSAN HOEY and CAROLYN HOEY towed the JUPITER up river to the Hirschfield & Sons Dock at Bay City (formerly the Defoe Shipyard) where a crane was erected for dismantling the burned out hulk. Her engines were removed and shipped to New Bedford, Massachusetts for future use. The river opening allowed American SteamshipUs BUFFALO to depart the Lafarge dock where she had been trapped since the explosion. JUPITER's dismantling was completed over the winter of 1990-91. Subsequent investigation by the NTSB, U.S. Coast Guard and the findings of a federal judge all exonerated the master and BUFFALO in the tragedy.

Parrish & Heimbecker Ltd. purchased all nine of the Soo River's fleet on September 16, 1982, for a reported C$2.5 million and all nine returned to service, although only four were running at the end of the season.

The NORISLE went into service September 16, 1946, as the first Canadian passenger ship commissioned since the NORONIC in 1913.

On September 16, 1952, the CASON J CALLAWAY departed River Rouge, Michigan for Duluth, Minnesota on its maiden voyage for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co.

On 16 September 1895, ARCTIC (2 mast wooden schooner, 113 foot, 85 gross tons, built in 1853, at Ashtabula, Ohio) was rammed and sunk by the steamer CLYDE in broad daylight and calm weather. ARCTIC was almost cut in half by the blow. The skipper of CLYDE was censured for the wreck and for his callous treatment of the schoonerUs crew afterwards. Luckily no lives were lost.

On 16 September 1877, the 46 foot tug RED RIBBON, owned by W. H. Morris of Port Huron, Michigan, burned about 2 miles below St. Clair, Michigan. Capt. Morris ran the tug ashore and hurried to St. Clair to get assistance, but officials there refused to allow the steam fire engine to go outside the city. The tug was a total loss and was only insured for $1,000, half her value. She had just started in service in May of 1877, and was named for the reform movement that was in full swing at the time of her launch. 

On 16 September 1900, LULU BEATRICE (2-mast wooden schooner, 72 foot, 48 gross tons, built in 1896, at Port Burwell, Ontario) was carrying coal on Lake Erie when she was wrecked on the shore near the harbor entrance at Port Burwell in a storm. One life was lost, the captainUs wife. 

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Jody L. Aho, James Neumiller, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Port Reports - September 15

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Americaborg from the Wagenborg line unloaded cargo at the north face of terminal #2 in Milwaukee's outer harbor Thursday.  Dongeborg, managed by the same line, joined Americaborg at the south edge of the same pier on Friday.  Also Friday, cement barge Integrity and its tug G.L. Ostrander turned in the inner harbor and docked at the LaFarge silo on Jones Island during the noon hour.

Owen Sound - Ed Saliwonchyk & Peter Bowers

American Fortitude arrived in Owen Sound for the first time ever approximately 7:00 a.m. Friday and began loading a cargo of oats at the Great Lakes Elevators. She is expected to leave later Saturday for Buffalo.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Canadian Transfer arrived Friday morning with strong winds and heavy seas to greet her. She waited outside until early afternoon until the wind shifted a little more westerly then proceeded to the inner harbour to do the turn, then went to Sifto Salt to load.

Green Bay - Dick Lund
The barge Innovation and tug Samuel de Champlain made its way up the Fox River to the LaFarge plant on Friday afternoon.


Updates - September 15

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 15

On 15 September 1904, the F B GARDNER (2-mast wooden schooner-barge, 177 foot, 402 gross tons, built in 1855, at Little Sturgeon, Wisconsin as a brig) was in tow of the steamer D LEUTY on Lake Huron when she caught fire and burned to the waterUs edge. She sank 2.5 miles from shore, about 7 miles north of Port Sanilac, Michigan in 50 feet of water. Her foremast could be seen above the waves. No lives were lost.

On 15 September 1886, F J KING (wooden schooner, 140 foot, 280 tons, built in 1867, at Toledo, Ohio) was carrying iron ore from Escanaba, Michigan to Chicago, Illinois. She sprang a leak and sank in a heavy southwesterly gale three miles off Rawley Bay, Wisconsin. Her crew reached shore in the yawl. Her loss was valued at $7500.

The A H FERBERT of 1942, was towed out of Duluth by the Sandrin tug GLENADA September 15, 1987, they encountered rough weather on Lake Superior and required the assistance of the another tug to reach the Soo on the 19th. On the 21st the FERBERT had to anchor off Detour, Michigan after she had run aground in the St. Marys River when her towline parted. Her hull was punctured and the Coast Guard ordered repairs to her hull before she could continue. Again problems struck on September 24th, when the FERBERT went hard aground at the Cut-Off Channel's southeast bend of the St. Clair River. Six tugs, GLENADA, ELMORE M MISNER, BARBARA ANN, GLENSIDE, SHANNON and WM A WHITNEY, worked until late on the 26th to free her. The FERBERT finally arrived in tow of GLENSIDE and W N TWOLAN at Lauzon, Quebec on October 7th.

The steamer WILLIAM A AMBERG (Hull#723) was launched September 15, 1917, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. for the Producers Steamship Co., (M.A. Hanna, mgr.). Renamed b.) ALBERT E HEEKIN in 1932, c.) SILVER BAY in 1955, d.) JUDITH M PIERSON in 1975 and e.) FERNGLEN in 1982. Scrapped at Port Maitland, Ontario in 1985.

On September 15, 1925, the JOHN A TOPPING left River Rouge, Michigan light on her maiden voyage to Ashland, Wisconsin to load iron ore for delivery to Cleveland, Ohio.  Renamed b.) WILLIAM A REISS in 1934, she was scrapped at Alang, India in 1994.

On September 15th lightering was completed on the AUGUST ZIESING, she had grounded above the Rock Cut two days earlier blocking the channel.

September 15, 1959, was the last day the U.S. Coast Guard Buoy Tender MESQUITE was stationed at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan.

MIDDLETOWN suffered a fire in her tunnels on September 15, 1986. 2nd & 3rd degree burns were suffered by two crew members.  She was renamed f.) AMERICAN VICTORY in 2006.

In 1934, the ANN ARBOR NO 6 collided with the steamer N F LEOPOLD in a heavy fog.

September 15, 1993 - Robert Manglitz became CEO and president of Lake Michigan Carferry Service after Charles Conrad announced his retirement and the sale of most of his stock.

On 15 September 1873, IRONSIDES (wooden propeller passenger/package freight vessel, 220 foot, 1,123 tons, built in 1864, at Cleveland, Ohio) became disabled when she sprang a leak and flooded. The water poured in and put out her fires.  She sank about 7 miles off Grand Haven, Michigan on Lake Michigan. Reports of the number of survivors varied from 17 to 32 and the number lost varied from 18 to 28.

On 15 September 1872, A J BEMIS (wood propeller tug, 49 tons, built in 1859, at Buffalo, New York) caught fire while underway. The fire originated under her boiler. She ran for shore but sank 3Z4 mile short, about 6 miles from Alpena, Michigan. No lives lost.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, David Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, James Neumiller, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Security stepped up at Mackinaw's dock

9/14 - Cheboygan, MI

Post-9/11 changes to the U.S. Coast Guard Moorings and buoy-tending base at Cheboygan are under way, including many improvements that go beyond security measures

Security, however, will be the most noticeable to the general public as ship-watchers will no longer be able to simply drive up to the dock and gawk at the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mackinaw.

“Installation of a perimeter security fence, entrance gates and CCTV system are being done to comply with post-9/11 security requirements,” said Lt. Cmdr. John F. Comar, senior port engineer of the Cheboygan detachment at the base.

The project will benefit a number of local contractors, with all workers on the project supplied by Michigan companies.

“The general contractor is Brix Corporation out of Southfield, Mich.,” Comar said. “They were awarded a contract worth approximately $740,000 through the Small Business Administration's 8(a) program. The local site manager is Adam Blasczyk.”

Sub-contractors involved in the project are CHMP of Grand Blanc, Mich., (project designer); Ryba Marine of Cheboygan; L&L Construction of Cheboygan; Advantage Electric of Traverse City; ABI Mechanical of Traverse City; Western Waterproofing of Livonia, Mich.; Noble Fence Co. of Livonia, Mich.; Robiadek and Sons Excavating, Inc., of Cheboygan and Great Lakes Landscaping and Excavating, Inc., of Cheboygan.

According to Comar, the companies will work on various aspects of the job and will provide many different improvements.

“We are replacing an old storage shed with a larger, heated, modern building,” Comar explained. “The old building was too small, unheated, and failing with the foundation sinking and walls separating. The new building will be placed on a more robust foundation. A covered patio/pavilion will be installed between our offices and the tennis courts to provide an onsite picnic/recreation area.”

Some improvements became necessary after the new Mackinaw arrived and are adjustments to the new vessel and its multi-mission capability.

“One thing will be relocation of the light poles on the main pier to improve lighting and safety during mooring evolutions,” Comar continued. “Two of the three current poles were removed by the old Mackinaw due to the interference during mooring evolutions. Structural improvements will be made to the wooden T-pier, and the main concrete pier. Improvements will ensure adequate structural support for the life of the ship.”

Safety and convenience also will be addressed by the project list.

“There will be increased cooling and fire protection for our shoreside telecommunications room,” he added. “This will bring the room up to code and provide dedicated cooling for the shoreside phone system and computer servers. We're also installing a trash Dumpster enclosure and pad closer to the ship. It eliminates the need to carry trash to the opposite side of the base. The enclosure will hide the Dumpsters behind an aesthetic wall or fence.

In addition, landscaping is planned for the base entrance and area around the training building and covered patio. Also included will be a new sign identifying the ship, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla, the Naval Engineering Support Unit and Electronics Support detachments.

“The work is being contracted through the Coast Guards Facility Design and Construction Center Atlantic in Norfolk, Va.,” Comar said. “Eric Hanson is the project manager.”

Comar said that completion of the work is expected in November

From the Cheboygan Daily Tribune


New mine opens on Iron Range

9/14 - Virginia, MN — A new taconite mine is being born on Minnesota’s Iron Range — the first in about 15 years.

ArcelorMittal Minorca, a 2.9 million-ton-per-year tac-onite plant north of Virginia, is opening a new mine this week between McKinley and Biwabik. The mine, for which it took about three years to obtain permits, extends the life of the taconite plant until 2025.

“It’s a real positive development for everybody here,” said Jonathan Holmes, ArcelorMittal Minorca vice president and operations manager. “You can’t make pellets without an ore body and the permits to do it.” The facility’s existing Laurentian mine has only about eight years of taconite reserves remaining.

Iron ore pellets produced at ArcelorMittal Minorca and other Northeastern Minnesota taconite plants contain about 65 percent iron. The pellets are transported by rail and ship to steelmakers and used as a primary ingredient in steel manufacturing. “It’s one of those milestones in which the industry has been able to keep providing the iron ore that the United States needs to make steel and keep building,” Craig Pagel, Iron Mining Association of Minnesota president, said of the new mine.

The new mine eventually will be composed of two mine pits, Holmes said. For about the next eight years, ore from the new mine will be blended with ore from the Laurentian mine to produce iron ore pellets at the taconite plant.

ArcelorMittal Minorca’s pellets are custom-made as a feed for North America’s largest blast furnace at an ArcelorMittal steel facility in Indiana. “The No. 7 blast furnace at Indiana Harbor is a crucial piece of equipment, and this is its feed source,” ArcelorMittal spokesman David Allen said.

A name for the new mine hasn’t been selected, Holmes said.

Production from the new mine began Tuesday after 230,000 tons of taconite were blasted loose from the earth. Massive production trucks haul the taconite about seven miles to the ArcelorMittal processing plant. Once developed, the mine will be about 280 feet deep, Holmes said.

An Environmental Impact Statement for state and federal regulators was required before permits were issued, he said.

The taconite plant’s 335-person staffing level would not change, Holmes said.

Although all iron range taconite mines have expanded, this is the first major opening of a new mine pit since the Laurentian was opened in the early 1990s. The mine is located in an area surrounded by exhausted natural iron ore pits such as the Corsica, McKinley, Holland and Canton. The Canton, which operated from 1893 to 1954, is the oldest of the exhausted mines in that area. Biwabik draws its drinking water from the Canton pit.

Because some of the natural iron ore pits surrounding the new mine will be drained to prevent water from entering the new pit, water levels in the Canton pit will be monitored, Holmes said. Officials from the taconite plant and city are working on contingency plans that would ensure the city’s water supply, he said.

Northeastern Minnesota’s six taconite operations have identified about 1.4 billion tons of remaining magnetic iron ore pellet reserves on their properties. Another 2 billion tons of magnetic pellet reserves exist in other locations across the Iron Range, said Pete Clevenstine, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Lands and Minerals division manager of engineering and mineral development.

Whether it’s economically feasible to mine most of the remaining ore on the Iron Range will be determined in coming years. Before ArcelorMittal’s new mine is depleted, the company would look to develop additional reserves, Holmes said. “There are other ore bodies in the area that can be developed,” Holmes said. “We will continue to work on whatever the next plan will be. We want to have more years out front.”

From the Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports - September 14

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The St. Mary's Challenger arrived on schedule Wednesday night. It unloaded, but remained at the dock on Thursday awaiting winds to die down up north.

Twin Ports - Al Miller
Midwest Energy Terminal was busy Thursday morning, with Canadian Progress loading coal for Nanticoke while Walter J. McCarthy Jr. was waiting out on the lake to load for Nanticoke and Mesabi Miner was in port waiting to load later in the day for St. Clair.
Elsewhere, Manistee was unloading salt at Hallett 8 dock in Superior, Pochard was loading grain at Peavey elevator in Superior and Lake Ontario continued to load at AGP elevator in Superior.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Sifto Salt is in high gear again with three arrivals in a twenty four hour period. Wednesday morning started with Canadian Transfer entering the inner harbour to turn with high winds. Algorail was waiting outside all day and came in about 5 p.m. Agawa Canyon was an early Thursday morning.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Groupe Ocean's tugs arrived in port this afternoon to assist the salty Calliroe Patronicola out of the Redpath Sugar dock.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
Thursday morning around 4 a.m. the Maumee returned to Alpena. It unloaded stone on the other side of the river for L&S Concrete Mix Company. Maumee departed before 9 a.m. and backed out of the river while the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation was heading into Lafarge.
The Alpena arrived by early afternoon and waited out in the bay until the Innovation passed before going in to load.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Adam E. Cornelius arrived in Buffalo on Wednesday for General Mills and was still unloading on Thursday evening.
The old Cargill Salt Pier on the Buffalo Outer Harbor will soon change hands. The Erie Canal Harbor Development Agency voted to pay $423,500 for the property on the 11th of September. The purchase is considered land acquisition for the site and there are no current development plans at this time. The salt pier was once the site of the Ranahann & McCarthy auto unloading docks and part of a local shipyard operation before that. The Navy aircraft carriers USS Wolverine and USS Sable were converted from Great Lakes passenger steamers at this location back in the 1940's.
9:30 am Update: The USCG bouy tender Bristol Bay and her special barge entered the inner harbor today at around 8:00 a.m. and appeared to be working on some of the buoys.


Updates - September 14

News Photo Gallery updated

Reserve Conversion updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 14

On 14 September 1901, the HARTFORD (iron propeller passenger-package freight steamer, 220 foot, 1,337 gross tons, built in 1892, at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, formerly HARTFORD & TERRY) arrived in Muskegon, Michigan from the Atlantic coast. She had been purchased by Captain Miles Barry of Chicago, Illinois as surplus from the U. S. Government. The following day she was renamed CHARLES H HACKLEY in honor of her most substantial financial backer. That evening she sailed out of Muskegon under the flag of the Barry Line. She was acquired by the Goodrich Line in 1906, and renamed CAROLINA.

September 14, 1962, the HORACE S WILKINSON was involved in a collision with the Canadian freighter CAROL LAKE in the Welland Canal. Rather than repair the WILKINSON, Wilson Marine had her towed to Superior, Wisconsin for conversion to a barge. All cabin superstructure, the engine, boilers, and auxiliary machinery were removed. The stern was squared off and notched to receive a tug. The WILKINSON was renamed WILTRANCO I and reentered service in 1963, as a tug-barge combination with a crew of 10, pushed by the tug FRANCIS A SMALL of 1966.

September 14, 1963, the BENJAMIN F FAIRLESS, Captain Earl C. Bauman, received a National Safety Council Award of Merit for operating 1,001,248 consecutive man-hours without a lost time accident. This accomplishment required 15 years, 600 round trips, and 1,200 passages through the Soo locks.

Captain Albert Edgar Goodrich died on 14 September 1885, at the age of 59 at his residence, 1474 Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. He was a pioneer steamboat man and founded the Goodrich Transportation Company, famous for its passenger/package freight steamers on Lake Michigan.

The J J SULLIVAN (Hull#439) was launched September 14, 1907, at Cleveland, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. for the Superior Steamship Co. (Hutchinson & Co., mgr.). Renamed b.) CLARENCE B RANDALL in 1963. She was scrapped at Windsor, Ontario in 1988.

On 14 September 1871, R J CARNEY (wooden barge, 150 foot, 397 gross tons) was launched at Saginaw, Michigan.

The 203 foot wooden schooner KATE WINSLOW was launched at J. Davidson's yard in East Saginaw, Michigan on 14 September 1872.

The steamer ASIA sank in a storm off Byng Inlet on Georgian Bay September 14, 1882. Over 100 people lost their lives with only 2 people, a man and a woman being rescued. ASIA was built in St. Catharines, Ontario in 1873, and was bound from Collingwood, Ontario to the French River and Canadian Sault.

Data from: Clive Reddin, Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, James Neumiller, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Algoma Central announces more global expansion

9/13 - Sault Ste. Marie - The corporation, through a wholly-owned subsidiary, has entered into an agreement with the Jiangxi Jiangzhou Union Shipbuilding Co., Ltd. located in Jiangxi, China to construct three double-hulled, IMO II, petroleum product tankers.

Deliveries of these three 16,500 DWT vessels are scheduled to commence in late 2010 with completion in early 2011 and they are expected to cost approximately $91 million U.S. in total. These vessels will be operated and employed jointly with Bernhard Schulte, Sloman Neptun and Intrepid Shipping who have ordered a series of sister ships from the same shipyard. Trading areas for the ships are expected to be focused in Europe, the Mediterranean and Asia.

This opportunity allows for further diversification of the corporation within the global shipping industry. The corporation owns and manages four Canadian-flagged product tankers with delivery of an additional two tankers scheduled for the first half of 2008. The corporation also owns a foreign-flag product tanker through a wholly-owned foreign subsidiary.

It is expected this foreign-flag product tanker will also be operated and employed jointly with the Bernhard Schulte, Sloman Neptun, Intrepid Shipping and Algoma group commencing in late 2008.

In addition to product tankers the corporation owns 19 Canadian flagged dry-bulk vessels that operate on the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Waterway as part of a 35-vessel fleet that is managed by Seaway Marine Transport, a partnership with an unrelated party. The corporation owns two ocean-going self-unloaders through a wholly-owned foreign subsidiary and an interest in five ocean-going self-unloaders through a joint venture. These seven vessels are part of a 28-vessel, ocean-going, self-unloader commercial pool.

The corporation also owns a diversified fabrication, ship and engine repair operation and commercial real estate.

Algoma Central News Release


Port Reports - September 13

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The St. Mary's Challenger was due in port around midnight Thursday from Chicago. The barge McKee Sons and tug Invincible arrived on Friday with coal for the Board of Light and Power plant on Harbor Island in Grand Haven. The pair returned on the Monday with a load of stone for Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Maumee was anchored off Alpena early Wednesday morning waiting for the winds to calm down. After 9 a.m. it came into the mouth of the Thunder Bay River to unload coal at the DPI Plant. By early afternoon the Maumee left and was headed to Stoneport.
The tug G. L. Ostrander and barge Integrity was expected at Lafarge Wednesday night.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
Traffic has been light on the Saginaw River the past six days as only two vessels have called on her docks. The tug Dorothy Ann and barge Pathfinder delivered coal to the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville on Sunday, departing later in the day.
On Wednesday, the Calumet was unloading at the Wirt Essexville Sand & Stone dock. She was expected to be outbound late in the evening or early Thursday morning.


Welland Gathering scheduled for this weekend

The annual Boatnerd Welland Gathering has been planned for September 14-16 this year. The dates are earlier than prior years in an effort to enjoy better weather.

There will be slide shows on Friday and Saturday evenings beginning at 7:30. Vendor tables will be open at 6:00 p.m. both nights. Bring a tray of your best slides to share with the Gathering. Vendors who desire a table either/both night(s) - Please send an e-mail to

Evening events will be held at the Canadian Corps Assoc. #22, 7 Clairmont St., Thorold, which is located 3 blocks West of The Inn at Lock Seven.

Saturday morning at 10 a.m., there will be a walking tour of International Marine Salvage in Port Colborne. A great photo opportunity.

The St. Catharines Museum and Welland Visitors Centre invitation
The St. Catharines Museum and Welland Visitors Centre, located at Lock Three, will be free to Boatnerds both Saturday and Sunday. The gift shop 'Merritt's Mercantile' is offering 10% discount on selected items. Be sure to register there for a free draw on a 'Boatnerd Basket of Goodies.' There will be a exclusive video presentation, 'Deep Six', open to all Boatnerds at no charge on Saturday at 2 p.m., with coffee, tea and doughnuts on hand. The basket raffle draw will take place immediately following the video. Please drop in and say 'Hi!'

Plan now to attend this final event of the 2007 season. Additional details are available on the Boatnerd Gatherings Page.


Updates - September 13

News Photo Gallery updated

New - A special Photo Gallery of the Reserve Conversion to be update weekly.

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 13

On 13 September 1894, the GLOBE (steel propeller package freighter, 330 foot, 2,995 gross tons) was launched by the Globe Iron Works (Hull #53) at Cleveland, Ohio. She was lengthened to 400 feet and converted to a bulk freighter in 1899, when she was acquired by the Bessemer Steamship Company and renamed JAMES B EADS. She lasted until 1967, when she was scrapped at Port Weller Drydocks.

On 13 September 1872, the wooden schooner RAPID left Pigeon Bay, Ontario bound for Buffalo, New York with 5000 railroad ties. While on Lake Erie, a storm blew in and Capt. Henderson decided to turn for Rondeau. While turning, the vessel capsized. Annie Brown, the cook, was trapped below decks and drowned. The seven other crew members strapped themselves to the rail and waited to be rescued. One by one they died. Finally, 60-hours later, the schooner PARAGON found the floating wreck with just one man, James Low, the first mate, barely alive.

The EDMUND FITZGERALD's sea trials occurred on September 13, 1958.

The HOFFMAN (United States Army Corps of Engineers Twin Screw Hopper Dredge) collided with the Japanese salty KUNISHIMA MARU at Toledo, Ohio, September 13, 1962. Reportedly the blame was placed on the pilot of the Japanese salty. Apparently the damage was minor.

On September 13, 1968, the AUGUST ZIESING grounded in fog two-hundred yards above the Rock Cut in the St. Marys River. The grounded vessel swung into the shipping channel blocking it until September 15th when lightering was completed.

September 13, 1953 - The PERE MARQUETTE 22 made her second maiden voyage since she was new in 1924. She was cut in half, lengthened, had new boilers and engines installed.

On 13 September 1875, CITY OF BUFFALO (wooden schooner, 91 foot, 128 tons, built in 1859, at Buffalo, New York as a propeller canal boat) beached and sank after striking a rock in the St. Marys River. The tug MAGNET worked for days to release her before she went to pieces on 19 September. No lives were lost.

On 13 September 1871, the bark S D POMEROY was anchored off Menominee, Michigan during a storm. Archie Dickie, James Steele, John Davidson and James Mechie were seen to lower the yawl to go to shore. Later the empty yawl drifted ashore and then the bodies of all four men floated in.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, David Swayze, James Neumiller, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


American Integrity offloads to enter Muskegon

9/12 - Muskegon - Overnight Monday, the American Integrity off loaded 7,200 tons of coal into the Wilfred Sykes in an effort to lighten its load enough to pass over the sand bar blocking the Muskegon Harbor entry.

The Integrity became stuck on Monday as it attempted to enter port and deliver the coal to Consumers Energy's B.C. Cobb electrical generating plant. The Indiana Harbor, also carrying coal, ran aground in roughly the same spot three weeks ago.

American Integrity ran aground at about 5 p.m. and freed itself about an hour later. It backed away from the harbor mouth and moved offshore.

The Sykes was expected to deliver that coal to the Cobb plan at 10:30 Tuesday morning, followed by American Integrity with its lightened load of 54,800 tons at noon. The Sykes was in the vicinity because of a shipment of asphalt sand it was carrying to the Verplank Dock, also at the east end of Muskegon Lake.

Consumers Energy spokesman Dennis McKee said the Cobb facility had a 170-day inventory of coal on hand, but is continuing to stockpile coal for the winter months. "One ship being delayed doesn't really affect our operations whatsoever," he said this morning.

American Integrity became stuck just before the 5 p.m. passage of the Lake Express car ferry. The ferry was able to slip past the freighter and continue on its run to Milwaukee.

The Indiana Harbor ran aground outside Muskegon's outer pierheads Aug. 22. It was stuck for about four hours before the captain was able to wiggle and rock it free.

A U.S. Coast Guard marine science technician said wind and currents caused the Indiana Harbor to run aground on the sandy bottom. Shipping officials also pointed to the need for additional dredging in Great Lakes ports because of low water levels.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers put out an advisory to mariners shortly before the Indiana Harbor ran aground, warning of shoaling -- a buildup of sand and silt -- that had taken place around the Muskegon harbor entrance. That shoaling has apparently been made worse by high winds and heavy seas in recent days.

According to the Corps of Engineers, Muskegon's harbor is next due for dredging in 2008.

Low water levels have affected harbors around the Great Lakes, according to the Lake Carriers' Association. That and lack of adequate dredging are among the largest issues facing shippers today, forcing them to lighten loads and increase costs, according to Glen Nekvasil, vice president of corporate communications for the association.

From the Muskegon Chronicle


Port Reports - September 12

Duluth - Al Miller
Duluth-Superior’s sluggish grain trade has picked up in recent weeks. On Tuesday, Lake Ontario was loading at AGP elevator in Duluth while Herbert C. Jackson was the latest vessel to load grain at the busy CHS terminal in Superior. Paul R. Tregurtha arrived early in the morning, fueled and then proceeded to Midwest Energy Terminal to load coal. On Monday afternoon, Joseph L. Block was tucked into the DMIR ore dock apparently loading under the gravity chutes while the Edwin H. Gott was backing in to the shiploader.

Marquette - Rod Burdick & Lee Rowe
On a blustery Tuesday at the Upper Harbor, H. Lee White loaded taconite on the south side of the ore dock while Mesabi Miner, loaded with western coal, waited off the Upper Harbor Light for the White to clear.


Steel Dynamics plans to begin producing iron nugget in spring of 2009

9/12 - Eveleth — The nation’s first large-scale iron nugget plant is targeted for start up in the spring of 2009 on Minnesota’s Iron Range.

Mark Millett, Steel Dynamics Inc. flat-rolled and ferrous resources president and CEO, told Iron Range Resources board members Tuesday that the company is close to completing several deals that would lead to construction of a 500,000-ton-per-year nugget plant at the former LTV Steel Mining Co. site near Aurora. The site is now called Cliffs-Erie.

The 13-member board, at IRR headquarters south of Eveleth, unanimously approved Tuesday rewriting a $16.4 million loan that would help Steel Dynamics and Japanese steelmaker Kobe Steel finance the $235 million facility. “It’s been a very arduous task,” Millett said. “There are a couple of things left to do such as the financing, but we are confident that it can be done. This has the potential to revolutionize the industry.” The plant could start up in April or March 2009, Millett said.

It would be the first new product made of Iron Range taconite concentrate since the production of iron ore pellets replaced natural iron ore mining. Nuggets containing about 96 percent iron would be a high-value, dependable product that would be in demand among mini-mill steel producers as a replacement for the scrap that’s used as feed in electric arc furnaces. Scrap prices have been extremely volatile in recent years, Millett said.

“I really hope we get this thing built,” said board member Rep. Tom Rukavina, DFL-Virginia. “It’s the next generation of iron up here.” All of the facility’s production would be transported to Steel Dynamics’ mini-mill in Butler, Ind., and used as an additive in the manufacture of steel. It hasn’t been determined yet whether nuggets would be transported by rail or ship to the Indiana steel mill, he said.

Officials of Steel Dynamics and Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. are finalizing a land purchase agreement under which the steelmaker would acquire additional property at the proposed site from Cleveland-Cliffs, Millett said. Steel Dynamics also needs to secure an agreement to purchase about 750,000 tons of taconite concentrate per year to feed the nugget facility. “I am confident that we will be able to secure concentrate,” Millett said. Steel Dynamics also is “in earnest” looking to build its own taconite concentrating facility near the nugget plant, he said.

Constructing the nugget plant would require about 18 months and 500 construction workers. It would employ about 50 permanent employees and another 50 for the mining of taconite concentrate. Additional modules could be built at the site after the first module proves successful, Millett said.

From the Duluth News-Tribune


Ferry service support sought

9/12 - Cleveland - A group of officials from Lake County communities will head to Canada on Wednesday for a meeting to give their support to a proposal for ferry service between Grand River and Port Burwell in Bayham, Ontario.

Kent Kristensen, Grand River's representative on the project, is scheduled to give a 45-minute presentation at a meeting of the Elgin County wardens (similar to county commissioners) in Oxford, Ontario, said Grand River Mayor Christopher W. Conley, who will also attend the meeting. After the meeting, the group will go to lunch with Canadian officials to talk more about the proposal before returning home Wednesday afternoon, Conley said. Officials from the Canadian side are slated to include those from municipalities where Ford, General Motors and Toyota plants are located, he said.

The ferry service could open up markets in Ohio and Canada for the automakers because of easier access and a shorter trip between the two countries, officials said. It would also take thousands of tractor-trailers off the road and help contribute to cleaner air and less wear and tear on the roads, as well as provide a much faster route to Canada for travelers and commercial traffic, they said.

Conley said the immediate goals of the trip are to: Ascertain the Canadian commitment to the project; Give Canadian officials Lake County's support as they attempt to acquire the funding for their portion of a feasibility/impact study for the International Border Crossing project on the north side of Lake Erie; and Further develop positive relationships between the two countries. "They want to see commitment from Ohio, and we're going up to show them the elected people here are in favor of this," Conley said.

Other officials slated to attend the meeting are: Mentor City Manager John Konrad, Mentor Mayor and Council President Ray Kirchner, Fairport Harbor Administrator Thomas Hilston, Grand River Port Authority Chairman Louis Horvath, Painesville Township Administrator Lee Bodnar, and Lake County Planning Commission Senior Planner Jason Boyd.
Kirchner said the city of Mentor is behind the ferry proposal. "We think it could have a significant economic (impact on) the immediate area and for Lake County," Kirchner said. "We feel our commitment to the ferry program is solid, and we want to see what the Canadians say."

Bodnar said Painesville Township trustees are sending him to find out how far along the project is on the Canadian side. "This meeting will serve to gauge the participation level on this side to match that which is going on the Canadian side," Bodnar said. "Everybody has been sitting back and taking a look from a distance, and it's time now to see the true reality."

"From my standpoint," Konrad said, "the trip is to express our interest in working with the right Canadian officials to implement the interest in the ferry, and as I understand, they have a rather ideal site in Grand River, from a standpoint of infrastructure, with Route 44 already there."

Boyd said the meeting is, for him, a fact-finding mission that can help the county's coastal planning efforts. He said the proposal would fit in with the county's interest in getting people to Lake Erie and to potentially create jobs for the region.

From the Cleveland News-Herald


Updates - September 12

News Photo Gallery updated

New - A special Photo Gallery of the Reserve Conversion to be update weekly.

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 12

On 12 September 1903, the R E SCHUCK (steel propeller bulk freighter, 416 fott, 4713 gross tons) was launched by the American Ship Building Company (Hull #327) at Lorain, Ohio for the Gilchrist Transportation Company. She was purchased by the Interlake Steamship Co. (Pickands, Mather & Co., Mgrs.) in 1913, and renamed b.) HYDRUS. However, she foundered in the "Big Storm" of 1913, on Lake Huron with all hands; 24 lives were lost.

On 12 September 1902, EXPERIMENT (2-mast wooden schooner, 65 foot, 50 gross tons, built in 1854, at St. Joseph, Michigan) was carrying fire wood in a storm on Lake Michigan when she went out of control in the harbor at St. Joseph, Michigan after swerving to miss an unmarked construction crib. She wrecked and was declared a total loss. Her crew was rescued by the Lifesaving Service. Three days later she was stripped and abandoned in place.

The ROGER BLOUGH was laid up at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin from September 12, 1981, through 1986, because of economic conditions.

CANADIAN PIONEER was christened at Port Weller Drydocks Ltd. on September 12, 1981, by Mrs. Louise Powis, wife of the Chairman and President of Noranda Mines for Upper Lakes Shipping Ltd. Renamed b.) PIONEER in 1987, she operates in ocean service flagged from Vanuatu.

CARTIERCLIFFE HALL, a.) RUHR ORE, was towed by the tug WILFRED M COHEN to Collingwood, Ontario for repairs from a June 5th fire and arrived at Collingwood Shipyards Ltd. on September 12, 1979. Renamed c.) WINNIPEG in 1988, and d.) ALGONTARIO in 1994.

Canadian Shipbuilding & Engineering Limited at Collingwood, Ontario closed the yard on September 12, 1986, after 103 years of shipbuilding. She was famous for her spectacular side launches. 214 ships were built at Collingwood.

While unloading steel in South Chicago from the a.) CANADA MARQUIS on September 12, 1988, a shore side crane lifting a pay loader into the hold, collapsed onto the ship. CANADA MARQUIS had a hole in her tank top and damage to her hatch coaming. She sails today on the ocean and lakes today as e.) BIRCHGLEN, for CSL.

On 12 September 1900, ALBACORE (2 mast wooden schooner, 137 foot, 327 tons, built in 1872, at Port Dalhousie, Ontario) had a storm blow out her sails, driving her into the seawall at Fort Bank just east of Oswego, New York where she broke up. The tug J NAVAGH tried unsuccessfully to save her. Her crew of 7 was rescued by the U.S. Lifesaving Service.

After an extremely dry summer, forests were burning all over the Great lakes region in the Autumn of 1871. The smoke from these fires affected navigation. Newspaper reports stated that on 12 September 1871, 38 ships and four strings of barges anchored near Point Pelee on Lake Erie due to the restricted visibility caused by the smoke from the forest fires.

On 12 September 1900, the schooner H W SAGE was raised by the Mc Morran Wrecking Company and was then towed to Port Huron for repairs. She had sunk near Algonac, Michigan in a collision with the steamer CHICAGO on 30 July 1900.

Data from: Joe Barr, Dave Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, James Neumiller, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


American Integrity Grounds In Muskegon

9/11 - Muskegon - American Integrity grounded on a sand bar at the entrance to Muskegon Harbor Monday evening. The grounding was reminiscent of the Indiana Harbor's grounding at the same location last month.

The Integrity was able to work free by swinging her boom and backing off the sand bar. After backing out, the thousand footer lay off allowing the tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation to enter. As darkness fell the American Integrity anchored off the entrance.

The Indiana Harbor grounded August 22 and required lightening of some of her coal cargo into another ship to enter port. 


Port Reports - September 11

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Alpena was docked at the LaFarge silo on Jones Island in Milwaukee's inner harbor on a rainy Monday afternoon, unloading powdered cement.


Explorers discover century-old shipwreck

9/11 - Traverse City, Mi. - Explorers have discovered a century-old shipwrecked ore carrier that sank mysteriously during a Lake Superior storm on a voyage that began in Superior.

All but one of the Cyprus’ 23 crew members died in the Oct. 11, 1907, disaster. A team with the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society found the wreckage last month about 460 feet beneath the surface and plans to announce the discovery today, said Tom Farnquist, the group’s executive director.

The Great Lakes are littered with thousands of shipwrecks. But the Cyprus is among the more puzzling — especially because it foundered on just its second voyage, while hauling iron ore from Superior to Buffalo, N.Y. The 420-foot-long ship is about eight miles north of Deer Park, a village in Michigan’s eastern Upper Peninsula, where lone survivor Charles G. Pitz stumbled ashore after floating aboard a life raft for nearly seven hours. He died in 1961, after a long career as a mariner.

Pitz’s great-niece, Ann Sanborn, said she hoped the discovery would lead to an explanation of the Cyprus’ fate. “The people who died on that vessel deserve that the truth be brought out, whatever that truth is,” said Sanborn, a former sailor. She is now an associate professor in the marine transportation department of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, N.Y.

Built in Lorain, Ohio, the Cyprus was launched Aug. 17, 1907. It was as “sea-worthy a vessel as has ever been turned out by a lake ship yard,” the Marine Review, a Cleveland trade publication, said after the sinking. The gale in which the ship perished was “so moderate that only the smaller class of vessels sought shelter while the big steamers scarcely noticed it at all,” the Review said.

But Pitz, the second mate, said after the wreck that the Cyprus was being pounded by northwesterly waves and developed a gradually worsening list on the fatal afternoon. The engines finally stopped and crew members donned life jackets. Most headed to lifeboats, but Pitz and three others — the captain, the first mate and a watchman — gathered near a raft closer to the front.

About 7:45 p.m., the Cyprus capsized and quickly sank. Pitz and his companions were hurled into the lake. They climbed aboard the raft and by 2 a.m. had drifted within 300 feet of land. But the raft flipped over several times in the churning surf, drowning everyone but Pitz, who washed ashore, cold and exhausted. All but two of the 22 victims’ bodies were recovered.

The cause of the wreck is a matter of debate. News reports speculated water had entered the Cyprus’ hold through faulty hatch covers, causing the ore cargo to shift and create the dangerous list. Pitz insisted the hatch covers were battened down, although Sanborn, who has researched the tragedy, said water did get through them. “There were absolutely no doubts that there were problems with the hatches,” she said in a phone interview last week.

Hull damage is another possibility, Farnquist said. Fred Stonehouse, a marine historian and author in Marquette, Mich., offered another theory: The Cyprus was doomed by engine or rudder trouble that prevented the crew from staying out of deep troughs between the waves, where ships are especially vulnerable to tipping over. Farnquist said the shipwreck society would send its underwater cameras back to the site for further study. Two inspections have shown that half the pilot house is missing and wreckage is strewn 270 feet off the bow, he said.

Pitz had estimated the ship was 10 miles farther offshore than it turned out to be — one reason no one discovered the site earlier, Farnquist said.

“It’s a relief knowing that finally this ship has been located,” said Bill Thorne of Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. His uncle, George Thorne, was the watchman who almost made it to shore with Pitz. His body was found three days later, still strapped to the raft. “Now we have a better understanding of what happened to George,” Thorne said.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Woman falls off boat, is rescued after more than an hour in Lake Superior

9/11 - Julie Rosen of Duluth is what you could call an extremely lucky woman.

While sailing solo Sunday in Lake Superior, the 52-year-old fell from her boat and was rescued after spending more than an hour adrift in Lake Superior without a life vest.

Authorities received a 911 call reporting a sailboat beached on Park Point at 4:50 p.m. Sunday. Mark Howard, a commercial fisherman, was just returning from his nets on the lake when he noticed the beached boat and attempted to make contact with it. He got within about 20 feet of it and could see no one aboard. He tried to make radio contact, but there was no answer.

Responding authorities found Rosen’s boat empty and aground about 200 feet offshore near the Aerial Lift Bridge with its engine still running. U.S. Coast Guard Boatswain’s Mate Second Class Stephen Braun said the vessel’s engine was engaged in a forward position. He said several empty beer bottles also were found aboard, but it’s unclear whether alcohol was a factor in the accident.

Emergency recovery efforts began immediately, with boats from the Coast Guard, the St. Louis County Rescue Squad and the Duluth Fire Department all engaged in the search for Rosen. Assistant Fire Chief Richard Mattson said the agencies also received assistance from other boats in the area. “It was probably the best example of teamwork between organizations you’ll ever see,” Mattson said.

At 6:10 p.m., Eric Kilpo of St. Louis County Rescue Squad said he heard Rosen shouting for help and spotted her floating on her back more than 100 yards away from his rescue vessel. With the help of fellow rescue squad members Brian Johnson and Lt. Jon Koop, Kilpo fished Rosen from the water, wrapped her in blankets and rushed her to the U.S. Coast Guard Station on Park Point. “She was conscious and coherent but very blue,” Braun said. “She was definitely hypothermic.”

Rosen was taken to St. Mary’s Medical Center for medical treatment. She was recovered about a half-mile from where her boat was found. Braun likened finding a single person afloat in Lake Superior to trying to locate a needle in a haystack.

It’s unclear exactly when or how Rosen went overboard, but she spent at least 1 hour and 15 minutes treading water. Braun said the surface water temperature of the lake was between 63 and 64 degrees. Mattson said the abandoned sailboat’s jib and mainsail had been lowered but were not properly lashed. He speculated that Rosen may have been thrown from the vessel as she was working to secure the sails.

Winds were blowing out of the northeast at about 12 mph Sunday evening, according to the National Weather Service. The air temperature at 6 p.m. was 59 degrees at Sky Harbor Airport on Park Point.

Mattson said members of his Rescue I team freed the 30-foot sailboat using a 12-foot Zodiac boat. They fastened a line to the mast of the beached vessel, then tipped the boat on its side to reduce its draft. A 38-foot Carver was then able to pull the sailboat into deeper water. Mattson said the vessel appeared to be undamaged and was towed back to its regular mooring at the Lakehead Boat Basin on Park Point.

Braun said he hopes recreational boaters will take some lessons away from Sunday’s incident: “When you’re out on your own, always make sure to share your plans with someone else, and always wear your PFD [personal flotation device]. It doesn’t do you any good if you don’t have it on.”

From the Duluth News Tribune


Updates - September 11

News Photo Gallery updated

New - A special Photo Gallery of the Reserve Conversion to be update weekly.

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 11

On 11 September 1899, the PENOKEE (3-mast wooden canaler schooner, 139 foot, 332 tons, built in 1872, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin), which was transferred to the Atlantic coast from Lake Erie in 1898, struck Romer Shoal off the shore of Staten Island and was wrecked. She was sailing from Norfolk, Virginia to Saco, Maine at the time. Her crew managed to reach the Life Saving Station through the heavy surf.

September 11, 1969, the Bethlehem steamer LEHIGH, Captain Loren A. Falk, delivered the first cargo to the new Bethlehem Steel mill at Burns Harbor, Indiana. The cargo consisted of 15,700 tons of taconite pellets loaded at Taconite Harbor, Minnesota.

On 11 September 1883, EXPLORER (2-mast wooden schooner, 48 foot, 33 gross tons, built in 1866, at Chatham, Ontario) struck rocks and went down on Stokes Bay on the outside of the Bruce Peninsula. Her crew was visible from shore clinging to the wreck until the vessel broke up. All five were lost.

The GEORGE M HUMPHREY, of 1927, was patched and refloated on September 11, 1944. She had sunk in 80 feet of water after a collision with the steamer D M CLEMSON, of 1916, off Old Point Light, on June 15, 1943. On May 6, 1944, the barges MAITLAND NO 1 and HILDA were employed as pontoons for the salvage operation positioned over the sunken hull. Cables were attached to the HUMPHREY's hull and to the barges. The hull was raised through a series of lifts which allowed it to be brought into shallower water. Partial buoyancy was provided by the HUMPHREY's ballast tanks which were pumped out to about 25% of capacity. The HUMPHREY was patched and refloated on September 11, 1944. She was taken to the Manitowoc Ship Building Co. first for an estimate of repairs which totaled $469,400, and then was towed to Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin for reconditioning which was completed at a reported cost of $437,000. Captain John Roen's Roen Transportation Co. assumed ownership on September 18, 1944, and the next year the ship was renamed b.) CAPTAIN JOHN ROEN. She re-entered service on May 1, 1945, chartered to the Pioneer Steamship Co. on a commission basis. Renamed c.) ADAM E CORNELIUS in 1948, and d.) CONSUMERS POWER in 1958. She was crapped at Kaohsiung, Taiwan in 1988.

September 11, 2001, the former Bob-Lo boat STE CLAIRE was towed from Detroit to Toledo by Gaelic's tug SHANNON. She was later towed to Lorain, Ohio, Windsor, Ontario in August, 2005, she was taken to Belanger Park in River Rouge and in the Spring of 2006 she was returned to Nicholson's Slip in Ecorse by Gaelic's tugs PATRICIA HOEY and CAROLYN HOEY.

On September 11, 1987, while in lay-up at Point Edward, Ontario, the FORT YORK caught fire which gutted her bridge.

Carrying cargoes off the Lakes, the CANADA MARQUIS departed Halifax bound for Philadelphia with a cargo of grain. The HON PAUL MARTIN departed Halifax the same day on her way to Tampa with a load of gypsum.

The HORACE JOHNSON sailed on her maiden voyage light from Lorain, Ohio on September 11, 1929, bound for Two Harbors, Minnesota to load iron ore.

On 11 September 1895, S P AMES (2 mast wooden schooner, 61 foot, 43 gross tons) was driven ashore at Pointe aux Barques, Michigan in a storm. She was quickly stripped before she went to pieces. She had been built in 1879, at Montrose, Michigan, in farm country, well inland, on the Flint River by Mr. Seth Ames. He wanted to use her to return to sea, but he died the day before her hull was launched.

On 11 September 1876, the schooner HARVEST HOME sank on Lake Michigan while bound from Chicago for Cleveland with a load of scrap iron. She was about 26 miles off Grand Haven, Michigan. The crew were taken off by the schooner GRACIE M FILER just as the boat was going down.

Data from: Joe Barr, David Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Jody L. Aho James Neumiller, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Port Reports - September 10

Goderich - Jacob Smith & Dale Baechler
Algosteel was an early Sunday morning arrival and was picking up her cargo at the Sifto Salt dock.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
On Saturday, the bunkering ship Hamilton Energy departed at 7 a.m. for Clarkson. Tanker Vega Desgagnes departed Pier 11 at 5 p.m. in ballast for Montreal. Hamilton Energy returned from Port Weller at 6:30 p.m.
Tanker Clipper Tasmania arrived at 7:30 p.m. going to Pier 23. Frontenac arrived at 8 p.m. with ore for Stelco. Spruceglen arrived at 9:30 p.m. Sunday, the Hamilton Energy arrived at 5 p.m. going to Pier 24. Montrealais arrived at 6 p.m. going to Dofasco with ore. Spruceglen departed Pier 26 at 6:15 p.m.

Escanaba - Scott Best
As reported earlier the Olive L. Moore and Lewis J. Kuber were in port to switch tugs. The Victory is now pushing the Lewis J. Kuber. The Olive L Moore is tied up at the Ore dock.
A USCG Bay class is in the Basic Marine dry dock and is currently in primer being repainted. Saturday in Escanaba the Burns Harbor loaded ore.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Alpena arrived in port around 6 p.m. on Saturday. Later in the evening the Saginaw was out in the bay and went to anchor to wait for the departure of the Alpena from Lafarge. After 11 p.m., or so, the Saginaw came in to unload slag into storage hopper.
The tug G. L Ostrander and barge Integrity tied up under the silos Sunday evening.


Updates - September 10

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 10

On 10 September 1890, the PORTER CHAMBERLAIN (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 134 foot, 280 gross tons, built in 1874, at Marine City, Michigan) was floated free of the Wolverine Drydock in Port Huron, Michigan where she had steel arches installed. When she floated free, the arches broke in three places and she stayed in Port Huron to have them repaired.

September 10, 1952, the forebody and afterbody of the future JOSEPH H THOMPSON arrived at the American Shipbuilding yard in South Chicago. The two sections were delivered to the lakes via the Mississippi River and Chicago Ship Canal. The afterbody departed Baltimore, Maryland on August 2 and the forebody departed Pascagoula, Mississippi on August 21.

On 10 September 1884, the 137 foot steam barge HENRY HOWARD was sailing up bound with the schooner-barge GEORGE WORTHINGTON in tow when she caught fire near Harsen's Island at the mouth of the St. Clair River. The fire broke out near the HOWARD's engine room and spread rapidly. The vessel was beached on the island but the WORTHINGTON ran against her and was thus scorched. No lives were lost. The HOWARD was valued at $5,000, but only insured for $3,000 by her owners, B. Hoose and Julia Miner.

The whaleback tanker METEOR was towed from Manitowoc, Wisconsin by the tug JOHN ROEN IV to Superior, Wisconsin on September 10, 1972.

The KINSMAN ENTERPRISE turned 75 years old on September 10, 2002. When she entered service as a.) HARRY COULBY, on this date in 1927, the 631-foot bulk freighter was the third largest on the Great Lakes.

While up bound in the Welland Canal on September 9, 1986, it was noted that the port anchor of the J W MC GIFFIN was missing, her chain was almost touching the water. Rebuilt with a new cargo hold section by Port Weller Drydocks, Ltd., in 1999, renamed b.) CSL NIAGARA.

On 10 September 1909, COLUMBUS (wooden propeller bulk freighter, 136 foot, 439 gross tons, built in 1874, as the tug JOHN OWEN) burned to a total loss at her dock at Gargantua, Ontario in Lake Superior. She was cut loose and allowed to drift out into the bay where she sank. The top of her engine reportedly still shows above the water.

September 10, 1979 - The SPARTAN was laid up. She remains in Ludington, Michigan.

The barge N MILLS was launched at P. Lester's yard in Marysville, Michigan on 10 September 1870. Her dimensions were 164 feet x 30 feet x 12 feet.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, David Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Jody L. Aho, James Neumiller, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Reports - September 9

Sarnia - Frank Frisk
Earl W. called Sarnia Traffic around 9 a.m. Saturday and was "proceeding up bound in ballast to the Soo".

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algorail arrived outside the piers at 8 a.m. Friday morning, didn't like the very brisk winds and went to anchor to wait it out. After a short while it was decided to send her up the lake for another cargo as the winds were not going to settle down anytime soon. Agawa Canyon arrived at 2:30 p.m. Saturday and went to the Sifto Salt dock to load.

Menominee - Dick Lund
After two weeks in port, the tug, Michaela McAllister, and barge, Atlantic Trader finally departed Marinette Marine on Saturday morning with a deck load of 6 INLS Navy craft. This is the second shipment of these craft to leave Marinette Marine by barge; another group was towed down to Chicago on an earlier visit. There are still at least three of the INLS craft at Marinette Marine.


A bird’s eye view
Almont man gets rare visit to top of the ‘Mighty Mac’

9/9 - Almont Twp — Ed Spicuzza is always on a journey. Whether it’s on his 1999 Harley Davidson Heritage Springer motorcycle or the mighty steamers and motorized ships that traverse the Great Lakes during the long sailing season.

It’s a ‘Nautical Journey,’ one that spawned some pretty remarkable things: a name for his art, photography, videography business and a trip to the top of the Mighty Mac—the Mackinac Bridge. As a sailor he’s passed under the bridge hundreds of times in his 15 year career. In time for the bridge’s 50th anniversary, Spicuzza gets an idea that leads to the top. “It’s a view nobody ever sees,” he says. “And I wanted to bring that view to people.”

The plan
Spicuzza starts making some phone calls in July—whenever ‘American Victory,’ the ship he’s sailing on—is within cell phone range. A good friend, Tom Farnquist—the executive director of the Whitefish Point Shipwreck Museum and Historical Society in Sault St. Marie—puts Spicuzza in touch with Corey Atkins from a television news station in Traverse City.

“Corey and I spoke several times,” Spicuzza says. “We got familiar with each other.” Atkins likes Spicuzza’s idea and realizes that he is serious about it. So Atkins gives him Bob Sweeny’s telephone number. Bob Sweeny just happens to be the executive director/secretary of the Mackinaw bridge. “I introduced myself over the phone and we spoke for about a half hour,” Spicuzza says. “I told him what I do for a living and what I had in mind and asked if it was possible.”

What Spicuzza has in mind is to shoot footage at the top of the bridge to include in his independent film ‘A Stern View,’ for distribution to Maritime and Great Lakes museums. His ultimate goal is to donate copies of the DVD so the museums can sell them and use the proceeds for various projects.

“On a ship I see things on the Great Lakes every day that most people don’t see from the beach,” he says. “I want to put those in the public view.” Sweeny thinks Spicuzza’s goal is admirable and tells him to call again once he’s on land. Spicuzza does so.

The invitation
Once off the boat, Spicuzza follows up with Sweeny. He doesn’t want to keep hounding him, but he wants to make sure Sweeny knows his desire to film atop the Mackinac Bridge is more than just a passing fancy. “So I called him again and he invited me up for 9 a.m. on Monday,” Spicuzza says. “I was elated.”

On Aug. 20 Spicuzza, his pal Farnquist and their ‘tour guide’ Dan, a bridge maintenance employee, find themselves at the base of the stanchion south tower Pier 19 of the bridge.

An upward journey
Right away, Spicuzza knows getting to the top will be no easy task.

“You wouldn’t believe the size of the opening we had to climb through,” the sturdy 6’1” Spicuzza grins. “And after squeezing through the small opening with the gear and all, we end up at a tiny, tiny elevator about half-way up the stanchion.” Spicuzza, who readily admits he’s claustrophobic, lets his companions squeeze into the miniature lift first. He grits his teeth, jams himself in and off they go. Yet another adventure awaits.

The elevator only goes so high. After that, it’s a slow, steady climb on a narrow ladder inside the stanchion. “We peel ourself out of the elevator and work our way up through the stanchion which is right over I-75,” Spicuzza says.“It is like being inside a steel tomb. One thing I can say is the bridge is immaculate. It’s so well maintained, it looks like it was just painted yesterday. For a 50 year old bridge, it’s beautiful.”

Once the group makes it to the top there’s yet another munchkin-sized manhole for the men to squeeze through. “It’s like the size of a wall clock,” Spicuzza grins.
Dan pops through first. Spicuzza follows, his equipment tied to a rope.

“When I saw the view for the first time, I was at a loss for words,” he says. “It is one of the most spectacular, breath-taking views I have ever seen. I got the chills.”
Spicuzza, so caught up in the moment, suddenly remembers his buddy Tom is still trapped—so to speak—in the skinny steel tube. “I realize that Tom is completely in the dark because I’m blocking up all the light,” Spicuzza laughs. “There I was and Tom’s below thinking ‘move, move’ but I wanted to take in the first moment as long as possible.”

On top of the world
Spicuzza sets up his equipment and doesn’t stop shooting until it’s time to go back down. It’s very windy, brisk—he says—with one to two foot whitecaps gleaming in the sunlight down below.

“I have just one regret,” he says wistfully. “I wanted to pack a sandwich to say I had lunch on top of the Mackinac Bridge but I forgot to. “It’s amazing,” he grins. “I never forget food.”

Though he’s thrilled with his photos and with the experience, Spicuzza still hasn’t gotten enough of the Mighty Mac. He rents a plane on Tuesday and flies overhead for more photos. He gets yet another unforgettable moment. “The ship I’d been sailing on for the past four years was going under the bridge at the same time I was flying over,” he says. “That’s how this adventure ends up! It’s unbelievable.”

The journey continues
Spicuzza hopes to wrap up his hour-long feature film by June 2008. Set to music, the video isn’t a documentary, it’s more like a scenic journey for the senses. He hopes to include icy winter scenes that are ever-changing. “A freighter coming down the water with what it’s amassed from Lake Superior during the winter is different every single day,” he says. “It’s something you can never repeat. It’s beautiful.”

He also plans to delve into other relaxation video projects which include sunsets and sunrises, waterfalls and waves, and clouds and fireplaces. He’s working on a book, and continuing to create glass and mirror etchings.

For more information about Spicuzza and his work, visit the Web site 

From the Tri-City Times


Updates - September 9

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 09

On 09 September 1889, the FOLGER (wooden propeller wrecking tug, 69 foot, 64 gross tons, built in 1881, at Kingston, Ontario) was sailing upbound past St. Clair, Michigan when fire was discovered in her engine room. Her wheelsman stuck to his post as long as possible, trying to beach her at Courtright, Ontario, but the flames engulfed the vessel and all hands had to abandon her.

September 9, 1936, For the second consecutive day, boats of the Interlake and Pittsburgh fleets collided. The SATURN collided with the HENRY H ROGERS in heavy fog above Whitefish Bay. The SATURN continued upbound to repair damage at Superior Shipbuilding. The ROGERS continued downbound to South Chicago where the anchor of the SATURN was removed from the Mate's starboard cabin.

September 9, 1940, the steamer MARITANA, Captain Charles E. Butler, went to anchor in Whitefish Bay due to weather. When they retrieved their anchor the next day, they also recovered a second anchor. The second anchor had an oak stock 12 feet across and 17 inches in diameter. The 8 foot forged metal shank was stamped with a date of 1806.

On 09 September 1886, GENERAL WOLSELEY (wooden side-wheel steamer, 103 foot, 123 tons, built in 1884, at Oakville, Ontario) caught fire on her way to Dyer's Bay, Ontario. She was run ashore for the crew to escape near Cape Croker on Georgian Bay and burned to the water's edge.

The WOLVERINE (Hull#903) was launched September 9, 1974, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co. for the Union Commerce Bank (Ohio), Trustee (Oglebay Norton Co., mgr.), Cleveland, Ohio.

DETROIT EDISON (Hull#418) was launched September 9, 1954, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin by Manitowoc Ship Building Co. for the American Steamship Co. (Boland & Cornelius, mgr.) Buffalo, New York.

The Steamer PERE MARQUETTE 18 sank on September 9, 1910, with a loss of 29 lives. No cause for the sinking has ever been determined. The PERE MARQUETTE 17 picked up 33 survivors, losing 2 of her own crew during the rescue.

The first of two fires suffered by the Grand Trunk carferry GRAND RAPIDS occurred on September 9, 1980. The cause of the fire was not determined.

On 9 September 1929, the ANDASTE (steel propeller self-unloading sandsucker, 247 foot, built in 1892, at Cleveland, Ohio) was probably overloaded with gravel when she 'went missing' west of Holland, Michigan. The entire crew of 25 was lost. When built, she was the sister of the 'semi-whaleback' CHOCTAW, but was shortened 20 feet in 1920-21, to allow her to use the Welland Canal.

On 9 September 1871, Captain Hicks of the schooner A H MOSS fired the Mate, a popular fellow, in a fit of anger the same time that a tug arrived to tow the schooner out of Cleveland harbor. The crew was upset to say the least, and when the tow line was cast off and Capt. Hicks ordered the sails hoisted, the crew refused to do any work. The skipper finally raised the signal flags and had the tug towed his vessel back into the harbor. When the MOSS dropped anchor, he fired the entire crew then went ashore to hire another crew.

The m/v ROY A JODREY (Hull#186) was launched in 1965, at Collingwood, Ontario by Canadian Shipbuilding & Engineering Co. Ltd. for Algoma Central Railway Ltd.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, David Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Port Reports - September 8

Marquette/Escanaba - Lee Rowe & Rod Burdick
Kaye E Barker loaded ore in Marquette Friday, followed later by fleetmate Charles M Beeghly. Work was being done on the ore dock.
The barge Lewis Kuber and tug Olive Moore arrived in Escanaba. It is likely the Moore will be replaced with the tug Victory at this time.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
American Victory was in Milwaukee's inner harbor Friday, unloading coal at the WE Energies dock at Greenfield Avenue.
Also Friday, St. Marys Challenger delivered powdered cement at its terminal and silo on the Kinnickinnic River.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The barge McKee Sons and tug Invincible was expected mid-afternoon Friday at the Board of Light and Power Sims plant, on Harbor Island in Grand Haven, with another load of coal.

Wallaceburg - Al Mann
After wintering in Wallaceburg since early December 2006, barge BIG 546 departed the Bruinsma Dock September 7 with the tug Radium Yellowknife directing through the Sydenham River and Chenal Ecarte. It is anticipated the corn barge service to Toledo inaugurated last year will resume later.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
On Thursday afternoon the Alpena was at Lafarge loading under the silos for Whitefish, ON.
Overnight on Friday morning the Sam Laud arrived to unload coal at Lafarge.
The tug Samuel de Champlain and barge Innovation came into port around 2 p.m. on a windy Friday.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
The saltie Calliroe Patronicola, a first time visitor to Toronto, was assisted into the Redpath sugar slip by Groupe Ocean tugs early Friday morning. The tugs returned to Hamilton.


Updates - September 8

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 08

On 08 September 1887, the ANGLO SAXON (2-mast wooden schooner-barge, 134 foot, 253 gross tons, built in 1864, at Port Dalhousie, Ontario as a bark) and J A SMITH (2-mast wooden schooner-barge, 138 foot, 255 gross tons, built in 1871, at Algonac, Michigan) were carrying cedar posts and railroad ties in tow of the steamer MATTAWAN when they encountered a storm in the Straits of Mackinaw. Both barges were left at anchor while the steamer refueled at Charlevoix, Michigan, but the barges sank in the storm.

September 8, 1936, the Interlake steamer CRETE and the Pittsburgh steamer CORNELL collided in heavy fog above Whitefish Point. After temporary repairs were made in the Weitzel lock, the CRETE proceeded to Chicago Shipbuilding to repair a damaged bow. The CORNELL proceeded to Manitowoc to repair damage to her starboard side just forward of her boiler house.

On 08 September 1868, HIPPOCAMPUS (wooden propeller, 152 tons, built in 1867, at St. Joseph, Michigan) stranded in a storm off St. Joseph, Michigan and was pounded to pieces. 36 of the 41 passengers were lost. Litigation continued until 10 November 1884, when the owner was held innocent of blame in the U. S. Court at Grand Rapids, Michigan.

The GEMINI (Hull#745) sailed on her maiden voyage in August, 1978, from Levingston Shipbuilding Co., at Orange, Texas, to load fuel oil at Baytown, Texas, for delivery at Detroit, Michigan. Passing upbound the next month on September 8th through the Welland Canal, GEMINI became the largest U.S. flagged tanker on the Great Lakes with a capacity of 76,000 barrels. GEMINI was renamed b.) ALGOSAR in 2005.

The W E FITZGERALD (Hull#167) was launched September 8, 1906, at Wyandotte, Michigan by Detroit Ship Building Co. for the Chicago Navigation Co., Chicago, Illinois (D. Sullivan, mgr.).

The bulk freighter HENRY A HAWGOOD was launched on September 8, 1906, at Cleveland, Ohio by the American Ship Building Co. for Minerva Steamship Co. (W. A. & H. A. Hawgood, mgr.), Cleveland. Renamed b.) C RUSSELL HUBBARD in 1912, and c.) W W HOLLOWAY in 1935.

The RADIANT departed the shipyard September 8, 1913, light on her maiden voyage bound for Montreal, Quebec.

September 8, 1970 - The MILWAUKEE CLIPPER made her last run from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

On September 8, 1985, the downbound the Panamanian NORCHEM collided with the upbound CANADIAN PROSPECTOR near Kanawake, Quebec. PROSPECTOR had little damage but NORCHEM was ripped open near her port anchor.

On 8 September 1885, ADVANCE (wooden schooner, 119 foot, 180 gross tons, built in 1853, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin) was carrying wood when she became waterlogged and capsized in a gale and blinding rain near Port Washington, Wisconsin in Lake Michigan. All but one of her crew of 7 drowned when her yawl capsized in the surf.

On 8 September 1871, the schooner MORNING LIGHT was sailing from Kelley's Island on Lake Erie with a cargo of stone for Marquette, Michigan in heavy weather. Trying to enter the Detroit River, the crew miscalculated their position and ran the ship aground on Pointe Mouille, just below Gibraltar. The crew scuttled the vessel in the shallow water to save her from harm. The following day, the tug GEORGE N BRADY was sent out with steam pumps and hawsers and the MORNING LIGHT was raised and towed to Detroit for repairs.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Al Miller, David Swayze, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, James Neumiller, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Port Reports - September 7

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
On Wednesday, the Maumee called on the Sargent dock in Essexville. She completed her unload, turned from the dock and was outbound late Wednesday night.
Thursday morning saw the tug Joseph H. Thompson, Jr. & her barge, Joseph H. Thompson, make their first visit to the Saginaw River of 2007. The pair lightered at the Sargent dock in Essexville before continuing upriver to finish unloading at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee. The Thompson's finished their unload and were outbound for the lake late Thursday night.
Also inbound on Thursday was the American Century who called on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville to unload coal. She arrived around 8 p.m. and was expected to be outbound early Friday morning.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Lake & Rail Elevator is getting ready to receive their first load of wheat in over 10 years via rail transport this Fall. This building is part of the Ethanol plant development and will eventually be getting shipments by lake freighter once a hopper is installed.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Thursday at sunrise, John J. Boland was unloading limestone at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock.


Ashland Ore Dock Slated For Removal
Surprise plan calls for complete demolition of historic structure

9/7 - Ashland, WI - Unless something dramatic happens to change things, within two to three years the landmark Soo Line Ore Dock will be no more.

In a surprise move Friday, officials of the Wisconsin Central Limited, owned by the CN (formerly Canadian National) Railway, announced to City of Ashland officials that they would no longer pursue a proposal by the Northeastern Maritime Historical Foundation to convert the ore dock into a museum and would instead raze the dock and its approaches and remove all of the dock structures to the lake bed.

"Despite many dollars and hours being expended, no real significant headway has been made," wrote Paul E. Ladue, CN region director for contracts and administration. "In view of the lack of substantial progress, WCL and the Foundation have decided not to renew the agreement."

Ladue said removal of the dock would occur in stages. "The first stage will be to remove the hazardous appurtenances and deal with the safety issues," he said. These safety issues were identified in a study prepared last year by Westbrook Associated Engineers Inc. of Spring Green. They included "imminent failure condition" in many of the dock's huge steel ore chutes. The same firm also released a report indicating that it would cost $14.3 million to address safety concerns so the dock could remain in place, and up to $35.5 million to demolish and haul away the entire dock.

Ladue did not indicate WCL's price tag for the dock removal, but said because of safety concerns, work on the first phase would begin "immediately" and should be completed by the first quarter of 2008. "The remaining stages will cover the removal of the superstructure and substructure, pending resolution of the Section 106 condition," Ladue said.

Section 106 is the set of state regulations that would control the abandonment and dismantling of the oredock. Ladue said some have asserted that removal of the dock's superstructure — including timbers and chutes — are also subject to the conditions of Section 106.

"WCL does not agree with this, but even if it were the case, WCL strongly believes that public safety compels the immediate removal of these and is moving forward with their removal," he said.

‘Surprise announcement’
State Senator Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, said there was nothing new about CN's plans for Phase I of the plan.
"They made that commitment following the report, and they began immediately to remove the entire structure around Highway 2," Jauch said Wednesday. "What is new is their intention to abandon the property and dismantle the entire structure. That is clearly a surprise announcement."

Jauch said before they could proceed with the total dismantling process, the railroad would have to follow the "106 procedure," which requires them to make a filing with the Wisconsin Historical Society. Following a review by the society of the project, the company would conclude a memorandum of understanding with the society.

"Within that time, there could be some public discussion about it and an opportunity for the city to influence the final product, what it would look like in the end," Jauch said. Jauch said he knew the Historical Society was in the process of writing a letter to CN outlining the 106 process they would be required to follow. "This should give some opportunity to identify some alternative to complete removal," he said.

In the end, Jauch noted that CN was the property owner and it was within their rights to initiate the demolition process.
"The issue all along for all of us has been in doing what we can to protect the historical significance of that structure, but at the same time making sure there is no fiscal liability to the citizens of Ashland or the taxpayers of Wisconsin,” Jauch said.

In his letter, Ladue said state law requires WCL to remove the dock once abandonment was consummated, unless the state had permitted its continued presence for an ongoing maritime purpose. However, Jauch observed that there wasn't any urgency directed at the ore dock’s removal. "Aside from wanting to make this structure safer, there is no one from the state pressuring them to take the rest of the facility down," he said. "There is no one from the DNR, the Historical Society or the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands that is pushing them or saying 'take it all down' — that is not happening at all. This is clearly a CN decision."

However, CN consultant Kevin Soucie said the decision to proceed with the removal of the dock came only after other efforts had been exhausted.

In December 2005, the State Building Commission approved a $150,000 grant to pay for a feasability study into the possibilty of reusing the dock. An engineering study revealed several imminent safety hazards and millions of dollars in needed repairs. "We've been working for as long as CN has been involved with the dock — working with the city, working with the state — trying to find an alternate public use for it, but there haven't been any takers," he said. "We've been in communication with the city and the state for years now, and we have no proposal before us to consider."

Alternatives still possible?
Ashland Mayor Ed Monroe said he believed that, despite the announced intention of CN to demolish the dock, there is still the possibility of communicating with the firm about alternatives to complete removal.

"It appears to be a done deal that they are going to start dismantling it. It's just a matter of what point they are going to take it to. It is my intent that they are going to leave something behind here that is going to be usable for the community when they are done," he said.

Monroe admitted that the city didn't have a lot of control over the process, but said the city would continue to discuss possibilities with the railroad. "I don't think anybody can argue that the ironwork has to go. It was rated a one on a scale of one to 10, meaning that there is imminent danger of a lot of this stuff starting to fail," he said. "But everything after that, to my mind, is still on the table."

Monroe said it was time for the citizens of Ashland to decide what they wanted to do about the ore dock. "Things are going to start happening very quickly," he said.

Monroe said the city is in the process of retaining an engineering firm to draw up a rendition of what they would like to see and how much it would cost. The goal of that exercise would be to see if it is possible to come up with a structure that city officials would be willing to accept the responsibility and liability for. "How much of the dock do you want to be totally and completely liable and responsible for?" he asked. "Be careful of what you ask for — if you wanted the whole dock, they would give it to you. But I don't want the whole dock, and I don't think anyone else in their right mind wants it either."

Monroe said the city is not going to abandon its vision for an ore dock that would be an asset to the community. "We are not going to let it slip away without every effort being made to work with the railroad to leave us something that we can fiscally afford to maintain and make use of," he said. Monroe said the city would have a proposal ready by Sept. 11 to bring forward to an engineering firm to get information they could then take to the railroad.

CN set on complete removal
Nevertheless, according to Soucie, CN has set its course for the ore dock, and that doesn't include anything short of total removal. "Our decision is to go forward with complete removal of the dock," he said.

That decision also came as a surprise to city officials. Ashland City Administrator Brian Knapp said Wednesday it was discouraging that the city had not had discussions with CN before the announcement was made. However, he also said it was encouraging that after two years, a different approach was being taken by CN on the ore dock.

"It is unfortunate that the Foundation was not able to make something work, but what is encouraging is that they have acknowledged that they have to move forward with doing something," Knapp said. Knapp said he believed that breaking that impasse might actually lead to an agreement with CN.

"We still hold out hope that we will be able to talk to them about a potential use for the base of the dock, but that is entirely dependent on the community's interest in that,” Knapp said. “It's dependent on the cost for fixing up the base so that it is a usable facility. That discussion is yet to occur."

Knapp said unless a body is willing to take up the CN's current liability for the ore dock, the railroad had no choice except to remove the structure in order to get out from under that liability. He said that body could be the state, the county or the city. "We have to have that discussion with the council and the community,” he said. “There are significant financial concerns and constraints that have to be overcome in order for the city to consider that option."

Like Monroe, Knapp said he believes there is still an opportunity for the city to work with CN on the oredock issue. "There may be opportunities that haven't been fully explored or discussed," he said. Knapp noted that the city has few options other than accepting responsibility and liability for the structure, something city officials are loathe to do because of the potential for an immense financial commitment.

Knapp stressed that the matter had to be discussed by the Ashland City Council and the community. "We can no longer sit there and presume that the railroad is going to hold off and wait for something to happen with the Maritime Foundation, which is what we've been doing for a couple of months now," he said. "We have to be actively involved, engage the community, and figure out what it is they would like us to do and what it is we can afford to do, and try to reconcile those two concerns.

It's near and dear to a lot of folks’ hearts; it would be really hard to see it go down, but we have very few options.”

From the Ashland Daily Press


Updates - September 7

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 7

On 07 September 1877, the first shipment of iron for the CITY OF DETROIT (composite side-wheel passenger-package freight steamer, 234 foot, 1,094 gt, built in 1878, at Wyandotte, Michigan) arrived in Detroit, Michigan from the Phoenix Iron Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The frames of the hull were all wrought iron while the planking was 5 feet thick Georgia pine. The hull was ready to be launched on 21 December 1877.

On September 7, 1978, the ROGER M KYES lost all power in Lake St. Clair requiring tug assistance from the Great Lakes Towing Co. tugs MARYLAND and MAINE which escorted her to the Great Lakes Steel dock. Renamed b.) ADAM E CORNELIUS in 1989.

The CADILLAC of 1943, was laid up on September 7, 1981, for the last time at Toledo, Ohio. She was later transferred to a West coast marine operation in preparation for conversion for a proposed container ship for service between Chicago, Detroit and Quebec City. However these plans never materialized.

On September 7, 1921, the D G KERR pulled up to the ore dock at Two Harbors, Minnesota to load exactly 12,507 gross tons of iron ore in the record breaking time of sixteen and a half minutes. This was accomplished through the cooperation of the dock superintendent, the dock employees concerned, the ship's captain and crew and the Pittsburgh Steamship Co. as a means of "showing up" the competition. Her time of arrival and departure to and from the dock took only nineteen minutes. For comparison, a good average loading time at that time was about three hours and forty-five minutes.

On September 7, 1975, on the St. Marys River loaded with iron ore pellets, the WILLIAM G MATHER, forced out of the channel by a salt water vessel, struck bottom. Upon proceeding further onto Lake Huron it was soon discovered that her pumps were unable to cope with incoming water caused by the damage. She was beached at Frying Pan Island (De Tour, Michigan) in 19 feet of water when it became evident they couldn't make dock.

On 7 September 1883, LAURA BELL (wooden schooner, 138 foot, 269 gross tons, built in 1870, at Toledo, Ohio) was carrying coal from Cleveland, Ohio to Marquette, Michigan when she stranded off Shot Point, east of Marquette in Lake Superior. Her crew spent 3 days in her rigging and all but one was rescued by a tug from Marquette.

September 7, 1916 - The PERE MARQUETTE 3 ran aground 10 miles north of Milwaukee.

September 7, 1996 - The American Society of Mechanical Engineers designated the propulsion system of the BADGER a mechanical engineering landmark.

The launch of the 188 foot wooden schooner ELIZABETH A NICHOLSON was set for 4:00 p.m., on 7 September 1872, at E. Fitzgerald's shipyard in Port Huron, Michigan. Just before 4:00 p.m., a telegram was received at the shipyard from Capt. Nicholson, the owner of the new vessel, which read, "Wait a while. We are coming." The launch was delayed until another dispatch was received which said to go ahead anyway. The boat Capt. Nicholson was on had broken down. The launch went well. The vessel was painted deep green with her name in gilt. All present cheered the sight, but there was no party afterwards. All of the food and beverages for the celebration were with Capt. Nicholson on the disabled vessel.

On 07 September 1883, the COLORADO (wooden schooner-barge, 118 foot, built in 1866, at Fairport, Ohio) was in tow of the steamer DON M DICKINSON along with the schooner-barge N P GOODELL in a gale on Lake Huron. As the gale worsened, the string of vessels went to shelter in the harbor at Sand Beach (now Harbor Beach), Michigan. The COLORADO broke loose as they entered the harbor. Deckhand Abbot Way jumped on to the breakwater with a line to secure the COLORADO, but the line broke as soon as it went taut. It broke three times and the barge drifted out into the gale, stranding Mr. Way on the breakwater with six foot waves washing over it. He managed to get to the harbor light at the end of the breakwater and climbed up above the waves where he was stranded for two hours until the crew of the Lifesaving Station got to him. COLORADO beached herself with no loss of life. She was later recovered and lasted until 1902 when she was abandoned.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, Tin Stackers - The History of the Pittsburgh Steamship Company, Father Dowling Collection, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships. We Remember series This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Coast Guard Rescues Woman from St. Clair River

9/6 - Port Huron - U.S. Coast Guard Station Port Huron rescued a woman from the St. Clair River Wednesday afternoon.

Station Port Huron received a phone call from the Port Huron Fire and Police dispatch office reporting a person in the water near the Huron Light Ship and the Coast Guard Cutter Hollyhock moorings on the St. Clair River. The victim's fiancé called the police after witnessing her fall over the railing on the waterfront.

A 25-foot response boat from Station Port Huron deployed immediately. The Coast Guard crew pulled the victim from the water within minutes.

The rescued female was transferred to local Emergency Medical Services at the Desmond Marina dock with the assistance of two Port Huron firemen who performed basic medical care during transit. She is reported to be in stable condition at Port Huron Hospital.

USCG News Release


Port Reports - September 6

Goderich - Dale Baechler
John D. Leitch backed into the Sifto Salt dock on a warm Wednesday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. Capt. Henry Jackman arrived late in the evening and went to the new harbour dock to wait her turn. The Jackman shifted over early Thursday morning and was on the Sifto dock at 6:30 a.m.

Menominee - Dick Lund
The BBC Elbe is becoming a regular on the windmill parts run to Menominee. The ship returned to port on Wednesday evening, making her third trip since August 11. It sounds like they have more of these runs to make from Becancour, Quebec to Menominee after this one.

Marquette - Rod Burdick
Thursday at sunrise, John J. Boland was unloading limestone at the Lower Harbor Shiras Dock.


Coast Guard Investigating Tug and Barge

9/6 - Toledo - U.S. Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Toledo is conducting a marine casualty investigation on a tug and barge after the vessel turned over debris which was lodged in the vessel.

The tug Cleveland and barge Cleveland Rocks was transiting east on Lake Erie from Kelley's Island, Ohio, to Cleveland on Monday. At 4 p.m., the 505-foot combined tug and barge reported to Coast Guard Station Lorain they found debris lodged between the tug boat and the barge. The debris was removed by the crew and provided to the Coast Guard Marine Safety Office in Cleveland.

The tug and barge departed Cleveland on Tuesday morning for the return trip to Kelley's Island.

Marine Safety Unit Toledo contacted the tug and barge on Tuesday and notified them of the intent to further investigate the recovered debris. The investigation is on-going.

The pair departed Kelley's Island on Wednesday heading for Cleveland.

The Coast Guard has been searching the area for three missing boaters who's boat was reported overdue on Monday morning. On Tuesday searchers found seat cushions, life jackets, a hatch cover, and decking that were thought to be from the missing boat in a 20-mile stretch from Kelley's Island to the mouth of the Vermilion River.

The body of one of the missing boaters was found off the Northeast shore of Kelley's Island late Tuesday, it is unknown if the debris found by the tug is connected to the overdue boat.

USCG News Release


Green Bay port keys on visibility
Shipping makes $88M annual impact on region's economy

9/6 - GREEN BAY — A pair of workers standing near the end of the dock along the Fox River watched the Great Lakes freighter Arthur M. Anderson begin its journey out of the Port of Green Bay on a recent afternoon.

The Anderson is one of more than 200 ships that come and go from the port on an annual basis, and since early spring port officials and terminal operators have been working to educate the public about the port.

During a tall ship festival hosted in downtown Green Bay last summer, Port of Green Bay Director Dean Haen said workers had surveyed 2,000 people from the immediate area and the region. "Nobody knew where the port of Green Bay was … and they think the port is a place you drive up to, that it's a building," he said. "But it's these three miles of river made up of these 14 businesses doing commerce."

Last year, 213 ships used the port, which handled 2.5 million metric tons of cargo, the third consecutive year of increases in that area. Looking back, the port handled about 3 million tons in 1970, 1.9 million tons in 1981 and 1.8 million tons in 1999, according to numbers from the port. Haen said the port has an $88 million impact on the region's economy and directly supports 726 jobs.

The port runs from the mouth of the Fox River to the Georgia Pacific Broadway mill just south of the trestle bridge between Green Bay and Allouez. Among the key goods moving through the port are coal, limestone, cement, salt and fuel oil. Late last spring, the port launched a new Web site and started advertising on billboards with the 14 port terminal operators covering costs.

One of those businesses using the port is Great Lakes Calcium, run by Wes Garner, a fifth-generation running the family business. The firm employs 25 people processing calcium carbonate primarily for bulk sales in Wisconsin. "It costs us as much to bring it in 400 miles on a ship from the quarry to Green Bay as it would cost us to put in a truck and ship it from Green Bay to De Pere," Garner said.

Calcium carbonate can be found in a number of agricultural uses, adhesives, coatings, glass, building supplies and environmental applications such as power plants, where it can be used to remove sulfur from the air stream, Garner said. He estimates the business does about $10 million of business a year.

Haen said the port is continually working on deals to bring additional business to the port. "We need to be out there actively selling Green Bay," he said. "It could even be as far as rolling the steel here and making the towers. ... But those are big issues that take state support and city support."

From the Green Bay Press-Gazette


Today in Great Lakes History - September 06

On 06 September 1955, the CHARLES HUBBARD (steel propeller bulk freighter, 438 foot, 4846 gross tons, built in 1907, at Toledo, Ohio) and the GEORGIAN BAY (steel propeller bulk freighter, 601 foot, 11,392 gross tons, built in 1954, at Collingwood, Ontario) collided in fog on the St. Marys River. The GEORGIAN BAY suffered damage to her port side.

On 29 August 1872, a storm struck Lake Erie. On 06 September 1872, nine days after she set sail from Port Colborne for Detroit, the schooner J W SARGENT was listed as missing in the Detroit newspapers, probably a victim of that storm. Later on the same day that the newspaper announcement was published, the SARGENT arrived in Detroit. Captain William Simms stated that the storm drove him south to Erie, Pennsylvania where he sheltered for a few days. He sent a telegraph message to the ship's owner but the news was not relayed to Detroit. The SARGENT only lasted another three months. In November 1872, a storm got her on Lake Erie.

The BADGER was launched on September 6, 1952, at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. In a christening ceremony that included the SPARTAN (launched earlier that year). The BADGER was named in honor of the University of Wisconsin. The BADGER was built by Christy Corporation, and is powered by two Skinner 4 cylinder Steeple Compound Uniflow Marine Steam engines, developing over 7,000 horsepower. She was the last of the large, coal-fired steamers to be built in the United States, and the only ship of her type still operating on the Great Lakes. The BADGER offers seasonal passenger service from Ludington, Michigan to Manitowoc, Wisconsin from mid May to early October.

The BELLE RIVER began her maiden voyage when she loaded 56,073 long tons of western coal at Superior, Wisconsin on August 31, 1977, and arrived at Detroit Edison Co.'s Belle River power plant at Recors Point on September 6, 1977. Renamed in 1990, she sails today as b.) WALTER J

On September 6, 1992, the H LEE WHITE was in tow of the "G" tugs COLORADO and LOUISIANA entering the Trenton Channel when she struck a section of the toll bridge at Grosse Ile, Michigan knocking down a 150 foot span immediately east of the main river channel. The WHITE was not damaged but a new section of the bridge had to be installed at a cost of $1.7 million. The bridge was back in service in late January, 1993. The U.S. Coast Guard investigated this casualty and their report states that it was the failure of the bridge tender to operate and open the bridge which caused this casualty. The Coast Guard found that the master of the WHITE was operating his vessel in a prudent and lawful manner including the use of whistle signals.

The CHARLES E WILSON completed her sea trials in 1973. Renamed b.) JOHN J BOLAND in 2000.

The GEORGIAN BAY collided with the steamer CHARLES HUBBARD in the fog-covered lower St. Marys River September 6, 1955.

On September 6, 1989, the twin screw rail car ferry GRAND RAPIDS left Muskegon, Michigan in tow of the tugs ANGLIAN LADY and PRINCESS NO 1, and arrived at Port Maitland, Ontario on September 11th. Scrapping was completed in the fall of 1994.

On 6 September 1887, BLUE BELL (2-mast wooden scow-schooner, 84 foot, 122 gross tons, built in 1867, at Milwaukee, Wisconsin) was carrying lumber from Wilt's Bay, Michigan to Milwaukee when she missed the harbor entrance at Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin in a storm. She was driven ashore where she broke up. Her crew made it to the beach with the aid of the local U.S. Life Saving crew. The total loss was valued at $5,000.

On 6 September 1871, the wooden schooner ROSA STEARNS, loaded with coal, was battling a storm for hours off Cleveland, Ohio. The ship was driven on the stone breakwater about 1:00 a.m. and was pounded to pieces. The crew jumped onto the breakwater and crawled to safety as the waves crashed over them.

Data from: Joe Barr, Jody L. Aho, Max S. Hanley, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Port Reports - September 5

Cheboygan - Jon Paul Michaels
The tug Michigan and barge Great Lakes arrived at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday from Whiting, IN with a load of gasoline for the BP Tank Facility.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Cement carrier Innovation and tug Samuel de Champlain unloaded at the LaFarge dock on Jones Island in Milwaukee's inner harbor on Tuesday.

Lorain - Jim Reagan
At 6:54 a.m. Tuesday evening the Edward L. Ryerson sounded its steam whistles calling for the bascule bridge on the Black River in Lorain to open allowing it to navigate upriver as it entered port with another load of iron ore pellets. The Ryerson departed the Port of Lorain at approximately 9:40 p.m. Tuesday evening.
Also in port over the weekend was the John J. Boland and the Pathfinder.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Olive L. Moore and barge Lewis J. Kuber continued up to the Wirt dock in Saginaw after lightering in Bay City overnight. The pair turned at Sixth Street when finished and then briefly tied up at the Sargent dock in Zilwaukee to allow the upbound Manistee to pass. The Moore & Kuber were outbound through Bay City Tuesday afternoon. Manistee was inbound for the Buena Vista Dock in Saginaw to unload. She finished her unload and was headed outbound for the lake Tuesday evening.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The Karen Andre left Buffalo on Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. heading to Cleveland.


Squaw Island and Lighthouse for sale

9/5 - Located six miles north of Beaver Island, Squaw Island features 69 acres of mostly wooded land.

The old red brick lighthouse with octagonal tower is architecturally spectacular and includes separate sailors' quarters. There are stunning white birch and mixed hardwoods throughout, and the island even contains its own blue heron rookery.

Built in 1892, the brick structure is in good shape. Beautiful stairway and woodwork. The inside of the lighthouse needs to be totally remodeled. Presently there is no electric or heat source.

Asking price - $3,200,000. Contact Graham Realty at 231-526-2750


Updates - September 5

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History- September 5

On 05 September 1910, the CHALLENGE (2-mast wooden schooner, 88 foot, 87 gross tons, built in 1852, at Manitowoc, Wisconsin) was carrying wood when she was driven ashore 12-miles south of Sheboygan, Wisconsin in a storm and was a total wreck.

September 5, 1899, the DOUGLASS HOUGHTON grounded at Sailors Encampment and sank when rammed by her barge, JOHN FRITZ. The HOUGHTON completely blocked St. Marys River traffic for five days. More than 300 boats were delayed at an estimated loss of $600,000.

On 05 September 1898, the MONTGOMERY (wooden schooner-barge, 204 foot, 709 tons, built in 1856, at Newport [Marine City], Michigan as a passenger/package freight steamer) sank in 21 feet of water on Lake St. Clair after colliding with the whaleback barge 137 (steel barge, 345 foot, 2,480 gross tons, built in 1896, at W. Superior, Wisconsin) which was being towed by the ALEXANDER MC DOUGALL (steel propeller semi-whaleback freighter, 413 foot, 3,686 gross tons, built in 1898, at W. Superior, Wisconsin). The MONTGOMERY was raised and repaired. She lasted another two years Ð breaking up in a storm in 1901.

On September 5, 1964, the 730-foot bulk freighter LEECLIFFE HALL sank after colliding with the Greek ocean vessel APPOLONIA in the St. Lawrence River.

The CHI-CHEEMAUN completed her sea trials on September 5, 1974, and then cleared the Collingwood shipyard on September 26th.

The BENJAMIN F FAIRLESS cleared Lorain on her maiden voyage September 5, 1942 for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co..

The J P MORGAN JR returned to service September 5, 1948, after repairs suffered in an accident in June.

The NEW QUEDOC arrived at McLouth Steel, Trenton, Michigan on her maiden voyage September 5, 1960, with a load of Labrador iron ore. Renamed b.) QUEDOC in 1963. QUEDOC was scrapped at Curacao Island, Lesser Antilles in 1985.

The WYANDOTTE of 1916, a.) CONNEAUT, was towed down the Welland Canal on September 5th & 6th, 1973, on her way to the cutters torch at Santander, Spain.

On 5 September 1905, ABERCORN (wooden propeller 'rabbit', 126 foot, 261 gross tons, built in 1873, at Marine City, Michigan) burned at the dock at Goderich, Ontario While unloading coal. She reportedly caught fire from the explosion of a signal lamp.

The schooner CALEDONIA, wrecked the previous autumn near the Fishing Islands on Lake Huron, was raised and arrived in Port Huron, Michigan on 5 September 1882, under tow to be rebuilt.

Data from: Joe Barr, Russ Plumb, Father Dowling Collection, Jody L. Aho, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Port Reports - September 4

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The English River finally made it into Buffalo with the help of the G Tugs New Jersey and Washington at 10 p.m. on Sunday night.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Monday had the Canadian Leader arriving at 9 a.m. with iron ore for Dofasco. The Quebecois departed at 10 a.m. to clean holds in the lake before proceeding to Clarkson and St. Lawrence Cement.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The St. Marys Conquest and tug Susan W. Hannah arrived late afternoon on Monday with a load for the St. Mary's Cement Terminal in Ferrysburg. This vessel will be unloading over night and is scheduled to depart Tuesday morning.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The American Mariner departed the Consumers Power dock in Essexville around 11pm on Monday after arriving earlier in the day to unload coal.
The Olive L. Moore with her barge, Lewis J. Kuber, were inbound the Saginaw River Monday night calling on the Bay City Wirt dock to unload.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algomarine closed out a beautiful Labour Day weekend with an overnight arrival. She is still loading Tuesday morning at Sifto Salt.


Welland Gathering scheduled for September 14-16

The annual Boatnerd Welland Gathering has been planned for September 14-16 this year. The dates are earlier than prior years in an effort to enjoy better weather.

There will be slide shows on Friday and Saturday evenings beginning at 7:30. Vendor tables will be open at 6:00 p.m. both nights. Bring a tray of your best slides to share with the Gathering. Vendors who desire a table either/both night(s) - Please send an e-mail to  

Evening events will be held at the Canadian Corps Assoc. #22, 7 Clairmont St., Thorold, which is located 3 blocks West of The Inn at Lock Seven.

Saturday morning at 10 a.m., there will be a walking tour of International Marine Salvage in Port Colborne. A great photo opportunity.

The St. Catharines Museum and Welland Visitors Centre, located at Lock Three, is offering free admission Saturday and Sunday, and the gift shop is offering 10% discount on selected items.

Plan now to attend this final event of the 2007 season. Additional details are available on the Boatnerd Gatherings Page.


Updates - September 4

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History- September 4

On 04 September 1902, the I M WESTON (wooden propeller passenger excursion steamer, 96 foot, 95 gross tons, built in 1883, at Grand Haven, Michigan) caught fire and burned in the Chicago River. No one was injured. She had been laid up at the time for repairs. She had been running excursions down the Chicago Drainage Canal to Lockport for several years.

On 04 September 1889, the new steamer CHEROKEE (wooden propeller freighter, 209 foot, 1,002 gross tons) arrived in Port Huron, Michigan from M. P. Lester's yard in Marine City, Michigan for the Phoenix Iron Works in Port Huron to installed the engine and boiler. Her outfitting was then completed by Carleton and Cole of Port Huron.

On 4 September 1876, CITY OF PORT HURON, a wooden steam barge, sank a few miles off shore near Lexington, Michigan at about noon. She was heavily loaded with iron ore and sprang a leak at about 11 o'clock. Most of the crew managed to get on top of the cabin while two were in the forward rigging as she went down in 6 fathoms of water. The heavy seas washed over those on the cabin. Captain George Davis and two others floated ashore on wreckage while a fish boat picked up the five others. No lives were lost.

Data from: Joe Barr, David Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, Jody L. Aho, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Port Reports - September 3

Marquette - Lee Rowe
The Lee A Tregurtha arrived in Marquette Sunday for a load of ore.

Escanaba - Dick Lund

The Joseph L. Block's stay at Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, WI appears to have been a short one, as the ship was at the ore loader in Escanaba by mid afternoon on Sunday.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The Cuyahoga came in very early Sunday morning with a split load for Meekhof's Docks. First half went to the D & M Dock on Harbor Island. Last half to the dock in Ferrysburg by the railroad swing bridge.
Wilfred Sykes backed in after the Cuyahoga departed mid-morning with a load for Verplank's dock in Ferrysburg. It left early afternoon.

Hamilton - Eric Holmes
Sunday the Federal Pioneer arrived at 9 a.m. from Contrecoeur in ballast. She went to Pier 12 and her next port is Quebec City.
The tug William J Moore and barge McLeary's Spirit departed at 9:15 a.m. for Quebec City. The Ocean Group tugs LaPrairie and Omni-Richelieu departed at 10 a.m. and returned at 4:30 pm.
Algolake departed at 1 p.m. for Detroit.  CSL Tadoussac arrived at 2 p.m. with iron ore pellets for Stelco. Her next port is back to Superior for more iron ore. Algosoo departed at 2:15 p.m. to clean holds in Lake Ontario and will return to Pier 10 for lay up.
The tug Tradewind Service and barge arrived at 7 p.m. The Quebecois arrived at 9 p.m. with iron ore pellets for Dofasco.

Saginaw River - Todd Shorkey
The tug Rebecca Lynn and her tank barge were inbound the Saginaw River Saturday morning, calling on the Bit-Mat dock in Bay City. The pair completed their unload and were outbound early Sunday morning.
Sam Laud was inbound on Sunday, calling on the Bay Aggregates dock in Bay City around 7:30 in the morning. She completed her unload and was outbound for the lake around 1 p.m.
The Agawa Canyon was also inbound Sunday morning headed to the upper Saginaw River to unload at the Buena Vista dock.
Sunday evening saw the tug Gregory J. Busch and her deck barge return to the Saginaw River headed up to her home dock in Carrollton.

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons

The saltie Olympic Miracle departed Sunday afternoon with the assistance of the Groupe Ocean tugs Omni Richelieu and LaPrairie, which came over from Hamilton for the job.
Spirit of Nantucket arrived after dark and berthed at the old fast ferry terminal. CCG Cape Storm has been in port for the past couple of days assisting with maintaining the "Keep Out" perimeter off Ontario Place in Humber Bay, for the air show.


Updates - September 3

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 3

On 03 September 2003, Lower Lakes Towing's MICHIPICOTEN (steel propeller self-unloader bulk freighter, 689 foot, 10,696 gross tons, built in 1952, at Sparrows Point, Maryland, lengthened in 1957, at S. Chicago, Illinois, converted to a self-unloader in 1980, at Toledo, Ohio, formerly ELTON HOYT 2ND).arrived at Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin for repairs to her bottom plates which were damaged while sailing on the St. Marys River.

September 3, 1919, the WILLIAM A MCGONAGLE loaded a record 15,160 tons of soft coal at Toledo, Ohio for delivery to Gary, Indiana. The record lasted less than 24 hours as the D G KERR, Captain Harry Harbottle, loaded 15,532 tons of coal at the same Toledo dock for delivery to Gary, Indiana.

September 3, 1942, The 250 foot STEELVENDOR, Captain G. L. Kane, sank at 3:45 a.m. on Lake Superior with a cargo of 3,000 tons of iron ore. The lone casualty was Oiler John N. Sicken. Twenty-two survivors were rescued by the CHARLES M SCHWAB, Captain Alfred Drouillard, and 2 survivors were rescued by the WILLIAM G CLYDE, Captain David M. LeRoy. Other boats standing by were the B F AFFLECK, ELBERT H GARY, JOLIET, and EUGENE P THOMAS.

September 3, 1957, the HARRIS N SNYDER of the Boland & Cornelius fleet, Captain Elmer Murray and Chief Engineer Frank McCabe, rescued 2 from the waters of Lake Michigan. Not only did the crew rescue Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Colby, but the crew used the unloading boom to recover their sailboat and place it on the deck of the SNYDER. The entire maneuver only required 55 minutes.

On September 3, 1899, the Great Lakes Towing company's RED CLOUD (wooden propeller tug, 62 foot, 40 gross tons, built in 1883, at Buffalo, New York) was sailing on Lake Erie for Lorain, Ohio when a storm forced her to head for port at Cedar Point, Ohio. However she was thrown on a reef and broke in two, a total loss. The crew made it to Sandusky, Ohio.

On September 3, the BELLE RIVER (now WALTER J MCCARTHY JR) set a then Great Lakes record for coal when it loaded 62,802 tons of coal at Superior Midwest Energy Terminal on its maiden voyage. This record has since been surpassed many times.

At Lorain, Ohio keel laying ceremonies for the 437 foot bow section of the ROGER BLOUGH (Hull#900) took place on September 3, 1968, and was float launched December 21, 1968, less ballast tanks because the existing dry dock wasn't wide enough to accommodate her 105 foot width.

SOODOC (Hull#210) of 1976, on her maiden voyage from Collingwood, Ontario, loaded salt at Goderich, Ontario on September 3, 1976. Renamed b.) AMELIA DESGAGNES in 1990.

U.S. Steel's SEWELL AVERY was laid up for the last time September 3, 1981, at Superior, Wisconsin. She was towed to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario in 1987, and is used as a dock.

The THOMAS W LAMONT was laid up for the last time at Duluth's Hallett dock #6A on September 3, 1981. She was scrapped at Aliaga, Turkey in 1987.

The H H PORTER sailed on her maiden voyage for the Brier Hill Steamship Co. (Pickands, Mather, mgr.) on September 3, 1920, light from Lorain, Ohio to load iron ore at Two Harbors, Minnesota. Renamed b.) WALTER E WATSON in 1957 and c.) NATIONAL TRADER in 1973. She was scrapped at Thunder Bay, Ontario in 1978.

On September 3, 1985, PHILIP R CLARKE plowed into the Drawbridge Cove Marina in Lorain's Black River damaging 5-10 small craft and sinking one at the steel dock. CLARKE managed to stop before hitting the Route 6 drawbridge.

On 3 September 1887, BULGARIA (wooden propeller, 280 foot, 1,888 gross tons) was launched at West Bay City, Michigan by J. Davidson, as their hull number 16.

September 3, 1910 - The MARQUETTE & BESSEMER NO 2 (Hull#450) was launched in Cleveland, Ohio by the American Ship Building Co. for the Marquette & Bessemer Dock & Navigation Co. She was the replacement for the MARQUETTE & BESSEMER NO 2 of 1905, (Hull#428), which foundered on Lake Erie, December 7, 1909.

On 3 September 1869, the 167 foot wooden propeller BOSCOBEL burned about two miles below St. Clair, Michigan. Three lives were lost. The ship was only about two years old and was in service of the New York Central Railroad, though owned by the Peshtigo Lumbering Co. of Chicago. The burned hulk was raised in 1876 and rebuilt as a schooner-barge at Algona, Michigan. She lasted until 1909, when she sank on Lake Huron.

Data from: Max Hanley, 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. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Minntac line to be restarted

9/2 - Duluth - An iron-ore pellet production line idle since January at U.S. Steel’s Minntac Mine in Mountain Iron will be restarted.

Line 3, the smallest of five iron-ore pellet production lines at the taconite plant, is projected to be at full production during the week of September 10, according to John Armstrong, a U.S. Steel spokesman. Increased demand at U.S. Steel steelmaking facilities and an expansion of a U.S. Steel tubular operation has created the need for additional iron ore pellets, Armstrong said. The line has been idle since January 30.

The restart won’t affect the number of jobs. A restart would produce about 550,000 tons of iron ore pellets through the rest of 2007, Armstrong said. Because the line is Minntac’s smallest, the line is operated as needed, depending on market conditions.

Steelworker leaders say a restart of the line is good news. “I think it’s going to be good for both the company and the work force for the line to be coming up,” said Mike Woods, president of United Steelworkers Local 1938 in Virginia. “From my understanding, they can sell all the pellets they can make.”

Northeastern Minnesota is home to six taconite plants. The facilities produce iron ore pellets that contain about 65 percent iron. The pellets are transported by rail and ship to domestic steel mills and used as a primary ingredient in the manufacture of steel. For 2007, the six plants are projected to produce about 40 million tons of pellets.

A strong worldwide demand for iron, especially in China, has trickled down to Iron Range taconite producers.

However, steelworkers and taconite companies are facing a critical year in 2008. Labor contracts at all six of the plants expire Sept. 1, 2008. Steelworker officials from taconite and steel facilities across the nation in December convene in Pittsburgh for a basic steel industry conference. The conference will help establish guidelines for 2008 labor negotiations.

From the Duluth News Tribune


Port Reports - September 2

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons & Clive Reddin
Canadian Ranger got underway Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. bound for Port Weller Dry Dock, where she will have her self-unloading system removed.

Grand Haven - Dick Fox
The Manistee completed three visits to the Construction Aggregates dock to take out sand. She was in port on Tuesday, Wednesday and then late Friday night. Each time this vessel came in light.

Milwaukee - Paul Erspamer
Irma from the Polsteam line was at terminal #2 in the outer harbor on Saturday, discharging cargo.
BBC Finland was gone from the heavy lift dock Friday, bound for Duluth.

Sturgeon Bay -
For the third time in less that three weeks, the fire suppression system in the engine room of the Joseph L. Block went off. This time the incident occurred while the Block headed for Indiana Harbor. She has returned to Bayship to get a going over with a fine tooth comb. Hopes are to get underway sometime Sunday.

Hamilton/Bronte - Eric Holmes
Friday the saltie Lake Ontario depart at 8 p.m. for Cleveland with a partial cargo of steel products.
Vega Desganges departed the Petro Canada Piers in Bronte at 8:30 p.m. heading down the lake.
The tug Anglian Lady and barge PML 2501 arrived at 9 p.m. going to Pier 24, the Provmar Terminal.
Saturday morning the Algolake arrived at 6:30 a.m. with coal for Dofasco.
The tug William J Moore and barge McLeary's Spirit arrived at 5:30 p.m.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algoway was an early Sunday morning arrival and is loading at Sifto Salt.

Alpena - Ben & Chanda McClain
The Alpena arrived in port around noon with the McKee Sons following close behind. The Alpena loaded cement under the silos and the McKee Sons tied up at the coal dock to unload cargo into the storage hopper.

Buffalo - Brian Wroblewski
The English River was inbound for the LaFarge Cement Dock in Buffalo and passing through the North Entrance Channel with the tug Washington at 8 a.m. when the ship experienced a bow thruster failure. The Chief Engineer was summoned up from the engine room but was unable to get the thruster going again. The ship's captain asked Great Lakes Towing how long it would take them to send another tug down and the reply was about 4 to 5 hours. He then decided to abort their approach to Buffalo and had the tug release her line. The ship then headed back out onto the lake to go to anchor off the Traffic Buoy until another tug can be sent out to help.
On Friday the Nantucket Clipper arrived in Buffalo at 9 p.m.


Updates - September 2

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 02

On 02 September 1965, the 455 foot BIA RIVER, owned by the Black Star Lines of Ghana, sailed upbound through the Soo Locks on her maiden voyage from the shipyard at Yokosuka, Japan.

On 02 September 1902, the White Star Line's TASHMOO (steel side-wheel excursion steamer, 308 foot, 1,344 gross tons, built in 1900, at Wyandotte, Michigan) hosted President Theodore Roosevelt when he came to Detroit, Michigan to speak to Spanish American War veterans. The vessel took the president and his party on a sight seeing tour up and down the river while flying the president's blue and gold flag from the main mast.

The BROOKNES (Hull #1177) was launched on September 2, 1970, at Glasgow, Scotland by Lithgows Ltd. for "Langra" Schiffahrsges G.m.b.H. & Co., Hamburg, Germany. Brought to the Lakes in 1976, converted to a self-unloader and renamed b.) ALGOSEA and sails today as c.) SAUNIERE.

ROBERT KOCH's first trip was on September 2, 1977, up the Welland Canal bound for Buffalo with cement.

The W F WHITE was one of the earliest ships built as a self-unloader on the Great Lakes. On her maiden voyage September 2, 1915, the WHITE loaded coal at Erie, Pennsylvania and sailed for Menominee, Michigan. She was the largest self-unloading bulk carrier on the Lakes at that time with a cargo capacity of 10,500 tons.

The RALPH H WATSON departed light September 2, 1938, from Detroit, Michigan upbound to load iron ore at Duluth, Minnesota. She was built as part of a fleet modernization plan for the Pittsburgh Steamship Co., Cleveland, Ohio, of four new "GOVERNOR MILLER' class bulk carriers, the other two were the JOHN HULST and the WILLIAM A IRVIN. The WATSON was only the fourth steam turbine powered vessel on the Lakes

HUBERT GAUCHER ran aground in the lower St. Lawrence on September 2, 1988. It took three tugs to free her, repairs took place at Quebec City.

ZIEMIA TARNOWSKA lost her engine while docking at Pier 24, in Cleveland, ramming the dock and caused about $100,000 in damage on September 2, 1988. The Polish vessel had minimal damage to her bulbous bow.

On 2 September 1851, BUNKER HILL (wooden sidewheeler, 154 foot, 457 tons, built in 1835, at Black River, Ohio) burned to a total loss at Tonawanda, New York.

The COLONEL ELLSWORTH (wooden schooner, 138 foot, 319 gross tons, built in 1861, at Euclid, Ohio as a bark) was beached on Whitefish Point in Lake Superior the entire winter of 1895-96. She was repaired and put back into service late in the summer of 1896. Then, on 2 September 1896, the newly rebuilt vessel collided with the schooner EMILY B MAXWELL about 6 miles from White Shoals on Lake Michigan and sank at about 4:00 a.m. Her crew escaped in the yawl and was picked up by the MAXWELL.

Data from: Max Hanley, Joe Barr, David Swayze, Father Dowling Collection, James Neumiller, Jody L. Aho, Ahoy & Farewell II and the Great Lakes Ships We Remember series. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.


Port Reports - September 1

Toronto - Charlie Gibbons
Spirit of Nantucket departed early Friday morning.
Canadian ranger conducted lifeboat and fire drills in preparation for her departure for Port Weller Dry Dock on Saturday.
The infamous Greenpeace protest ship Arctic Sunrise arrived in port this afternoon at 1 p.m., followed in by the Public Safety And Emergency Preparedness patrol vessel Simmonds and one of the Toronto marine police unit vessels.

Saginaw River Todd Shorkey
The Indiana Harbor was inbound the Saginaw River Friday afternoon, calling on the Consumers Energy dock in Essexville.  She completed her unload and departed around 10pm, backing out of the river to Light 12 to turn and head for the lake.
The tug Joyce L. Van Enkevort and barge Great Lakes Trader called on the Saginaw River Friday afternoon as well, marking the pair's first visit of 2007 to the Saginaw River.  The pair called on the Bay City Wirt dock to unload.  Once the most frequent visitor to the Saginaw River, the Joyce L. and Trader were a fixture here until the Moore and Kuber were paired up, taking over her old runs.

Goderich - Dale Baechler
Algorail arrived overnight and is loading Saturday morning at the Sifto Salt dock.


Slow start on cruises to the Rochester
Only one ship has stopped in Port since entry in coalition last year

9/1 - City leaders hope their membership in the Great Lakes Cruising Coalition pays long-term dividends. But it appears they will have to wait at least until 2009 to reap the rewards.

The city joined the coalition in November 2006, paying the first of an annual $3,500 membership fee. The only ship to arrive thus far is the Grande Mariner, which has been stopping in Rochester for years. Schedules show the 100-passenger ship made two stops in Rochester this summer, most recently this week. Four stops are planned in 2008.

City officials gathered at the Port of Rochester on Thursday to officially welcome the ship and announce their coalition membership. Mayor Robert Duffy called the venture "a seed for the future." The goal of the coalition is to attract more ships to the area, according to a statement released by the city.

The coalition includes a handful of ships and more than 20 U.S. and Canadian members.

Stephen Burnett, executive director for the coalition, said later that Rochester likely will not see new ships signing on just yet. The coalition lost two ships last year to overseas buyers who moved the vessels elsewhere. Another ship will be in dry-dock next summer. However, two new ships have committed to join the coalition in 2009, Burnett said.

The coalition began six years ago. Rochester is the latest addition, with other port cities including Cleveland, Chicago, Detroit, Erie and Toronto.

From The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle


Updates - September 1

News Photo Gallery updated

Public Photo Gallery updated


Today in Great Lakes History - September 01

On 01 September 1895, the PATHFINDER (wooden propeller steam tug, 69 foot, 38 gross tons, built in 1863, at Chicago, Illinois, formerly JOHN A CRAWFORD) collided with the tug MEDINA (wooden propeller steam tug, 66 foot, 57gross tons, built in 1890, at Buffalo, New York) while competing with her for the tow of the steamer JOLIET (steel propeller bulk freighter, 266 foot, 1921 gross tons, built in 1890, at Cleveland, Ohio) near Duluth, Minnesota. The PATHFINDER was cut nearly in two, but she was later recovered and rebuilt. Both tug skippers lost their licenses of this incident.

September 1, 1880, the Cleveland Vessel Owners Association, later Lake Carriers Association, was created with Alva Bradley as its first president.

September 1, 1892, the upbound WESTERN RESERVE, flagship of the Kinsman fleet, sank approximately 60 miles above Whitefish Point. There were 31 casualties among the crew and passengers. The lone survivor was Wheelsman Harry W. Stewart.

On 01 September 1891, EDWARD H JENKS (wooden propeller freighter, 119 foot over all, 180 gross tons, built in 1882, at Port Dover, Ontario as the passenger/package freight steamer E M FOSTER) was carrying limestone up the Detroit River during a foggy night when she collided with GEORGE W MORLEY (wooden propeller freighter, 193 foot, 1,045 gross tons, built in 1888, at W. Bay City, Michigan) in a misunderstanding of passing signals. Three were killed in the collision and the JENKS quickly sank at Ballard's Reef on the Detroit River. Her cargo kept her in place until she was recovered the following month and rebuilt.

Tragedy struck four days after the launch of the AGAWA CANYON, September 1, 1970, when the ship was rocked by an engine room explosion, killing one of the crew and injuring seven more. The AGAWA CANYON entered service in November, 1970, equipped with four 10 cylinder, two stroke cycle, single acting opposed piston diesel engines, built in 1970, by Fairbanks, Morse (Canada), Kingston, Ontario. Total bhp 6,680. Rated service speed: 12 knots (13.8 mph).

The TEMPLE BAR (Hull#101G) was launched September 1, 1970, at Govan, Scotland by the Govan Division of Upper Clyde Shipbuilders Ltd. for Lambert Bros. (Shipping) Ltd., London, England. Renamed b.) LAKE NIPIGON in 1977, c.) LAKETON in 1984, d.) LAKE NIPIGON in 1986, and e.) ALGONORTH in 1987.

Upon her arrival at Quebec City on September 1, 1962, the LAKE WINNIPEG was the first vessel of the Nipigon Transport Ltd. (Carryore Ltd., mgr.) fleet.

The self-unloader B H TAYLOR (Hull#787) was launched September 1, 1923, at Lorain, Ohio by American Ship Building Co., the third self-unloader built for the Bradley Transportation Co., Rogers City, Michigan. Renamed b.) ROGERS CITY in 1957. Scrapped at Recife, Brazil in 1988.

From September 1, 1947, to September 15, 1959, the U.S.C.G.C. MESQUITE was stationed at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

On 1 September 1854, ABIAH (2-mast wooden schooner or brig, 134 foot, 353 tons, built in 1848, at Irving, New York) was sailing light from Chicago, Illinois to Oconto, Wisconsin when she capsized and sank in a squall about 10 miles off Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The schooner L LUDDINGTON rescued her crew and 2 passengers.

The 135 foot wooden schooner JOSEPH E SPARROW was launched at Bangor, Michigan on 1 September 1873.

On 1 September 1900, the Canadian steamer ADVANCE (wooden propeller package freighter, 168 foot, 1,178 gross tons, built in 1884, at St. Catharines, Ontario) was placed in service. In August 1899, when she was named SIR S L TILLEY, she had caught fire off shore, about 7 miles from Fairport, Ohio and was destroyed. However, the hull was later recovered and used as the basis of the steamer ADVANCE. She lasted in this role until 1903, when she burned again.

September 1, 1919 - A switchman was killed in the yard at Manitowoc, Wisconsin while the ANN ARBOR NO 6 was being loaded. This caused a delay of four hours in her sailing time.

September 1, 1931 - W. L. Mercereau retired as superintendent of steamships, a position he had held since 1899.

Data from: Max Hanley, 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. This is a small sample, the books include many other vessels with a much more detailed history.



News Archive - August 1996 to present

Return to Great Lakes & Seaway Shipping

Comments, news, and suggestions to:

Copyright All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Due to frequent updates, this page will automatically reload every half hour